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July 2011

July 29, 2011

Adventure Tours for Women Travelers

RVers Will Travel Despite High Gas Prices
Get Gutsy on These Exciting Adventure Tours for Women

Attention Women Travelers! Every have a hankering to go out and do something wild? Or have you wanted to go somewhere out of the ordinary, but just couldn’t find someone to share the experience? Well, chances are you’re not the only one. Women of adventure now have a plethora of choices for the closet thrill seeker inside you.

So, if your friends want to lounge around a posh hotel and get pampered, but you want something with more thrills & chills, check out these adventure groups and get whisked away to wherever the wind blows…

Adventures in Good Company

Adventures in Good Company

Say good-bye to the stress and clutter of daily life. Reconnect with what is truly essential. Spend a few days—or a few weeks—in the peace and splendor of some of the world’s most beautiful natural locations. Reinvigorate your mind…rejuvenate your body…nurture your spirit. And share the adventure with other active women as you laugh, support, and inspire each other to take on new challenges, both on your journey and in your life.

[Learn More]

July 28, 2011

Sharing the Road With Authorized Vehicles

Sharing the Road with Authorized Vehicles

Driving Safety Tips: Sharing the Road with Authorized Vehicles

Driving laws differ by state, but some rules of the road apply nationwide. Some of these pertain to sharing the road with police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, school busses and funeral processions. These vehicles change the rules of the road, and it’s important to respond correctly and safely when you encounter them.

1. Pull over for emergency vehicles.
Encountering police cars, ambulances and fire trucks on the road is fairly common. When one of these vehicles approaches at a high rate of speed with lights and sirens, it’s important to move out of the way quickly and safely for two reasons. First of all, you don’t want to obstruct the vehicle’s path. Secondly, you will receive a ticket and face penalties if you don’t obey these traffic laws. Check with your state on specifics, but in general, here are the rules of the road you should follow when you spot an emergency vehicle showing lights and sirens.

• Pull over to the right side of the road and come to a complete stop. If you’re on a multi-lane road, get as far right as you can. It may not be possible due to traffic congestion to move all the way to the right. The same rule applies whether you are on a road or highway.

• If you see an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road with lights flashing, change lanes to move as far away from the vehicle as possible. You must also slow down. All but three states (Hawaii, Maryland & New York) require you to react this way to a stopped emergency vehicle. [Full story]

July 27, 2011

2011 Chrysler 200 New Car Review

2011 Chrysler 200 Road Test Review by Bob Plunkett

2011 Chrysler 200 New Car Review By Bob Plunkett

The Blue Ridge Parkway, serpentine asphalt curling across the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, slithers around peaks like Potato Knob and Craggy Dome in a road theme of seemingly endless curves.

This twisty highway quickly reveals the taut handling characteristics and sporty attitude of a new car from Chrysler constructed on a rigid platform with the independent suspension tuned to favor a smooth ride and the five-seat passenger compartment, padded and insulated, fitted with comfortable appointments.

The vehicle, slotted in the mid-size segment of four-door sedans with front-wheel-drive traction, carries the numeric label of Chrysler 200 as one step down in size and price from Chrysler's 300 series.

It amounts to a complete make-over for year 2011 of the discontinued Sebring series.

The re-do produces a shapely body carving muscular fenders over large wheels with a sweeping front hood scored by lines strafing across the top and the raked windshield tipping to the extreme to enhance aerodynamic efficiency.

Check that chin-forward prow -- with glimmering chrome-finned grille and corner-mounted projector-beam headlamps, it's the new face of the Chrysler brand.

The 200's silhouette shows brief overhangs front and back.

A crisp character line etched into the trailing edge of each front fender stretches rearward across the doors and rises gradually to the tail deck. And a high beltline pitched parallel to the character line gains a chrome trim piece along the bottom edge of cabin windows.

Imported from DetroitTo forge the 200's taut handling traits and precise manners, Chrysler engineers re-worked and reinforced the architectural structure of Sebring to make it stiffer and stronger. They revised, retuned or redesigned the suspension geometry, expanded the wheel track width by an inch and dropped the suspension -- down 12 mm at the front wheels and 6 mm for rear wheels -- for a lower and wider stance.  

[Read full review]

July 26, 2011

The Cost of Human Life from Texting While Driving

Cost of Texting While Driving by Keith Jensen

By Keith Jensen, CMO of Plymouth Rock Assurance

Distracted driving – particularly, using a cell phone while driving – has unfortunately emerged as the most dangerous habit of drivers across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 6,000 people died on the roads in 2009 at least in part because of the use of electronic devices such as smart phones and cell phones. I’ve seen this dangerous behavior first hand here in Massachusetts, where, for example, several subway trains experienced crashes as a result of conductors using their phones while operating the trains, resulting in at least one fatality and multiple injuries.

Drivers who text are distracted, slower to respond, cannot watch the road carefully and do not have full control of the vehicle. In fact, many states including my home state, Massachusetts, have passed legislation that completely bans texting while driving and eliminates all cell phone use for younger drivers. I’m glad to see that many lawmakers are more informed about the real dangers cell phone use poses to drivers, passengers and pedestrians.  Emphasis is put on safety first by passing the bill into law.

I wanted to share with you a few tips that are helpful in avoiding distracted driving behavior.  While it is imperative that you completely avoid using your cell phone while driving altogether, these tips will make you aware of the other forms of distracted driving that will remove your attention from the road.

[Full story]

July 25, 2011

2012 Audi A6 New Car Test Drive

2012 Audi A6 New Car Review by Steve Siler

Audi once again nails its not-too-big, not-too-small

By Steve Siler

Audi butters its bread with the A6, its mid-sized luxury sedan, positioned between its “entry level” A4 and the grand A8. Yes, that technically makes it the middle child in the Audi sedan family, but as I found recently along the picturesque roads of the Italian island of Sicily, where Audi hosted the worldwide media first drive program, the A6 is hardly Audi’s “Jan Brady.” Rather, think Goldilocks, and her perennial quest for things that are “just right,” which is precisely how I would characterize the all-new 2012 A6’s blend of style, space, luxury and prestige.

On the outside
I confess that I was not at all impressed with the styling of the 2012 A6 when I first saw pictures of it last fall. And I wasn’t much more impressed with it even after seeing it at the Detroit auto show in January, bathed as it in light so bright I longed for my Persols. Out on the road, the A6’s wide stance, newly athletic proportions (the result of a reconfigured engine bay in which the engine and transmission essentially switched places), and beautifully rendered details all convey unspeakable confidence. In my view, it is still a bit too understated, but not so understated as to appear plebian, which is the mortal sin of the dull-looking A8. Easily the best styling bits of the A6 are the cool optional LED headlamps, which do away with standard bulbs in favor of a line of individual LEDs, underlined by a line of super-skinny LED daytime running lights that switch into amber turn signals when summoned. Available 20-inch wheels are a must, especially as they do not exact any penalties in the ride quality department.

[Read full review]

July 22, 2011

How to Plan a Road Trip on a Budget

Tips for a Budget Road Trip
When planning a family vacation, how can travelers stretch their budgets and maximize just a few vacation days? The answer for an increasing number of families is: Take a road trip close to home.

Driving vacations allow families to select scenic destinations that are nearby, reducing time spent in transit and fuel costs. In fact, the RV Industry Association says that a family of four can save up to 65 percent on a camping road trip, compared to other vacations, such as taking a cruise or traveling by plane.

Family Roasting Marshmallows

"Families that are starved for quality time together don't have to take a three-week trek," says Jim Rogers, president and CEO of KOA Kampgrounds of America, the world's largest system of family campgrounds. "Parents and grandparents can plan several weekend trips close to home, yet still enjoy an authentic camping experience and save money too."

The size of the camping travel market in North America may be larger than you think. Private campgrounds accommodate 107 million overnight stays each year, and two-thirds of U.S. campers are RVers, according to KOA's comprehensive market research. [Full story]

July 21, 2011

Women Adopt Eco-Friendly Car Technology

It's not surprising that women are eagerly adopting the new breed of environmentally friendly vehicles that boast updated technologies. The perks of purchasing a hybrid electric or natural gas car go above and beyond environmental benefits; they open the door to tax incentives, express driving lanes and even free parking. And with gas prices at record highs, considering an eco-friendly car is a practical decision that can save time and money.

For its Women's Car Guide section,, the premier online automotive resource, spoke to women across the U.S. to learn the benefits and drawbacks of owning these eco-friendly cars, presented in series entitled "How Far Would You Go For the Planet?"

"Women are very sensitive to their impact on the environment," said Joanne Helperin, senior features editor for "And an increasing number of women are interested in purchasing 'green' vehicles for other, more practical reasons, including significantly better mileage, access to free parking or express driving lanes and significant tax incentives."

[Read full story]

July 20, 2011

5 Tips for Staying Cool on the Road

5 Tips for Staying Cool on the Road

Brought to you by Mobile Air Conditioning Society Worldwide (MACS)

Temperatures over 90 degrees and high humidity can challenge your vehicle’s air conditioning system. Here are some easy tips to keep you and your passengers cool on the road.

  1. If possible, leave the windows down slightly on hot days to reduce heat build-up. An A/C system works by removing heat, so the cooler the interior is to start with, the easier and faster the A/C will do its job.

  2. When you get in the car, open all the windows completely, or even open the doors, for a moment to vent the hot interior air quickly.

  3. When you first turn the A/C on, set the controls to MAX or REC and use highest blower speed. This moves the greatest volume of air and re-circulates it for even faster cool-down. As soon as you are comfortable, switch the system to NORM or OUTSIDE or FRESH, and select a lower fan speed. The lower blower speed produces colder the air from the system. [Full Story]

July 19, 2011

Best Cruise Lines for 10 Types of Cruisers

Best Cruise Lines for 10 Types of Cruisers

By Jason Cochran, dealnews contributor

Just like cars, houses and universities, the cruise deal you choose for your vacation is as much a reflection of your lifestyle and expectations as it is of your budget. Thirty years ago, cruising was more or less a one-size-fits-all proposition, but now, it's a $30 billion-a-year industry within the travel deal industry, with various lines jockeying to command its particular niche.

Experienced cruisers know that the line you choose can define the quality of your holiday. So which one should you pick? Here are 10 considerations a vacationer might have, paired with the line that answers them best.

"I want to feel like I'm in Titanic."
Sinking aside, the grand liner experience is one worth cherishing, and it lives on in just one brand: Cunard Line, which has been sailing since the 1830s. In the summer, it makes regular five-day runs between New York City and England aboard the Queen Mary 2, which was designed and constructed just for the task. Its other two ships usually sail farther afield than the North Atlantic, going as far as Australia, but all three strive to offer elevated, dignified diversions including lectures by university professors, the largest libraries at sea, and always a smattering of black-tie-only evenings. All of that means it tends to attract an older, educated, more experienced crowd that can appreciate the trappings that Cunard's long lineage provides.

"I want to see Europe."
Most of the major lines (including Princess, and Disney) and Royal Caribbean with deals like this 10-night 2-for-1) make summer forays into Europe, but my advice is to stick with ships that are on the smaller side. Why? Europe's medieval back streets were not meant to handle the simultaneous disgorgement of thousands of American tourists, so smaller ships will yield more copacetic day trips. Smaller ships can also venture to smaller ports, which Europe has plenty of. While seeing the great coastal cities of Europe in six-hour shifts aboard a traveling hotel will never be ideal, Costa Cruises has generally modest-sized ships and it has been a player in the region for decades. It's also mainstream enough to please Americans who are used to a few bells and whistles on their vessels, but not so rarefied that it's daunting. For a similar, sensibly-sized experience in Asia, there's Star Cruises.

"I wanna party!"
Belly up to the casino bar on a Carnival ship, my friend. Most of the vessels in the Carnival fleet, while jammed with opportunities to drink and eat yourself into a stupor, are fairly indistinguishable from each other thanks to being dominated by long-time designer Joe Farcus. Count on twinkly signage, neon tubing, lots of brass and faux pink marble, piles of crowd pleasing grub in restaurants with unchallenging names such as Grand Buffet, Chic, and Taste of Nations. Each ship comes equipped with a signature water slide (its ships being family-targeted, kids are well served with arcades and activities), and the cabins are a notch more spacious than those of most of its competitors, but it's still not a line that bears snobs comfortably. Because of its mass-market predictability, Carnival is the Burger King of the seas, but there's no judgment in that: Sometimes you just want a Whopper. [Full story]

July 18, 2011

Don't Leave Kids Alone in Hot Cars at Anytime

Dangers of Aerosol in Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National SAFE KIDS Campaign today reminded parents and caregivers that leaving children unattended in a motor vehicle can quickly lead to fatal consequences, especially in warm weather. NHTSA also issued summer safety tips for parents and caregivers.

From 1996 to the present, at least 241 children have died of heatstroke after being trapped inside parked cars, and at least 19 have died already this year. Most of the children were in child safety seats and left behind or forgotten by an adult. Others gained access to an unlocked car and then became trapped inside.

"During warm weather, temperatures can rapidly rise inside a vehicle, even if it's parked in the shade. A tragedy can occur within minutes if children are left in a closed car," said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D.

Young children trapped in a hot, closed vehicle are at particularly great risk on a day that is sunny or humid. Even when the temperature is as mild as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a closed vehicle can heat to levels that are dangerous for children within a short span of time.

[Read full report]