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August 2011

August 30, 2011

2011 BMW Z4 Roadster sDrive 35is Test Drive

2011 BMW Z4 Roadster Test Drive by Martha Hindes

by Martha Hindes

Ever hear the expression "point and shoot" when referring to an auto? There's one car company that virtually invented that expression, or glommed onto owning it long ago. Think of a 2011 BMW Z4 hardtop convertible and you can visualize putting an object in your sights, flooring it, then spinning the steering wheel at the last second and knowing exactly how much space will be left between you and the object as you blow on by. That's called nice handling.

Of course this is best done with inanimate objects such as orange traffic cones since that's always a judgment call. But it has to be almost as close as a persistent paparazzi can get to sneaking tight photos of Beyonce's bouncy backside without getting slapped in the process. (Probably not a problem with Lady Gaga or Katy Perry.)

We chose the Z4 deliberately here since it is virtually synonymous with "sports car" for us, and comes only in droptop demeanor for two without pretending it's a sporty family-friendly sedan. We love its no apologies purpose. Jump in and go. Just you and me baby burning up road with abandon on a long, wild drive up the canyon or down the coast. Need clothes when it's time to peel off those Speedos at party time? Consider buying something new, since it's unlikely much luggage can stash in the trunk once the  intricate foldable coupe hard top is hidden inside. Full Review

August 29, 2011

2011 Lexus IS 350 Coupe Road Test

2011 Lexus IS 350C Road Test by Martha Hindes

by Martha Hindes

Know that song “I want it all and I want it now?” It could be the theme for the 2011 Lexus IS convertible, with top down, breezing along a Southern California coastal road, special someone sitting close by and heading for a late day wine tasting or something equally esoteric. You cruised in surround sound comfort that adjusted for open air audio quirks, spurred this rear-drive topless beauty into red line action when a tempting stretch of uncluttered winding road opened up, and upon arrival tossed the keys to an admiring valet with the offhanded confidence of someone like Angelina Jolie or her squeeze Brad Pitt.

In these Justin Bieber or Vanessa Hudgens days, where growing pains can be painfully apparent, knowing what you want and getting it right the first time can be a cultivated taste.  Your arrival in the IS 350C makes the statement your car does everything well, a confirmation of your achievement, good taste and intent. Consider that a prelude, perhaps, to a late night rendezvous at some sumptuous resort overlooking the Pacific, without the time consuming business of an awkward first date.

Critics have occasionally bashed Lexus in the past for having its sport convertibles try to do too many things. They not only performed with racing agility and gutsy engine power, but pampered with all those luxurious touches the premiere car company's known for. Full story

August 26, 2011

Where to Find the Best Fall Foliage

Exploring the Shades of Fall

by Suzanne Carmel

When the summer travel season ends and throngs of tourists head back home to work and school, the fall season brings cool, crisp weather, vibrant colors and an easy pace in which to explore the landscape. As autumn leaves change color, hikers, bikers and road trippers come outdoors to welcome the new season.

There are many wonderful places across the United States where September and October usher in shades of red, yellow and orange; magically transforming vistas already breathtakingly beautiful. During fall, every twist on a path or road brings a new surprise, as the possibilities in these five states illustrate.


The best time to experience fall in this East Coast state is from the middle of September to the end of October. State foresters issue fall foliage reports in the morning three times a week so you're sure to have the inside scoop on where to see the best hues. The state tourist office offers tips such as visiting mid week or exploring back roads to enjoy the season leisurely. Locals and visitors alike enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing — even tramping through a pumpkin patch to find the perfect one. Read Full Article

August 25, 2011

2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Review

2011 Chevrolet Converitble

by Martha Hindes

When Chevy's Camaro first re-blasted along America's roadways a couple of years ago, it made even blasé teenage boys weak in the knees. Women in parking lots gave the thumbs up – especially at the sight of another woman driving it. Grown men nearly wept at the return of a long-lost love that had been unceremoniously yanked from their fantasy cache by earlier practicality.

It was eye candy, lure and awe all wrapped into one. Come 2011, what could improve on that kind of inner thunder?

How about a little drum roll here please, a kind of boom-chick-a-boom-boom, as the husky Camaro sheds some unneeded covering and as the expression goes, lets it all hang out.

That kind of unveiling probably wasn't in Chevrolet's post intro planning. After all, its bankrupt parent General Motors had endured the worst kind of knuckle-rapping an auto maker can be subjected to, and on its emergence Camaro was the kind of delicious treat that sometimes can't be justified. Yeah, we know. You put your foot on the accelerator and POW! Just listen to the sound of petrol surging through the deliciously decadent 3.6-liter, 312 HP V-6 engine exploring some teenish city or 29-rated highway miles of roadway on a precious gallon of gas.  Add the premium guzzling current 6.2-liter, 426 horsepower V8-powered SS to the pack and (at 16-mpg city) it's downright evil. But oh so much fun. (We can picture the Camaro, like a hunked up and slightly decadent Ashton Kutcher, thumbing its nose at the electric Volt and other properly pious statements of green groveling.) Full review.

August 24, 2011

Car Games for Kids

Fun Car Games for Kids of All Ages

by Laurel Smith

Time flies when you’re having fun - the miles fly by too! You can make a long family car trip seem a lot shorter if you have fun with your kids along the way. Plan ahead with a few car activities, and making the journey can be as much fun as the destination. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Make a Trip-Journal or Scrapbook
Give everyone a big spiral bound sketchpad and a box of crayons or markers. Each day of the trip or for each event along the way, draw a picture of what you did that day, or draw a map of where you went, and write about it. You can also paste in souvenirs.

Get a Good Songbook With All the Lyrics
It surprising how many songs you think you know, but you don't really know all the words. Have a singing marathon and learn the old classics by heart.

Give Your Kids an Allowance for the Day
Tell them that this money is for snacks, treats, souvenirs etc. Help them learn to budget their money and make good choices. More Tips Here.

August 23, 2011

Tips for Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Enjoying & Preparing for Great Outdoors

How to Enjoy the Great Outdoors with the Right Preparations

by John Ricci
Founder & Chief Adventurer, Wandrian Adventures

Now that it’s summer time in North America and people have time off and children are out of school, it’s time to hit the great outdoors. The great outdoors can give you most of the comforts of home (Usually not a microwave or a DVR, but everything else is possible) and with some proper planning and a can do attitude; you will be at home in the wilderness and sharing stories around the fire. Here are a few tips everyone should consider as they plan their own Great Outdoors experience.

I live by the Mantra of Know before you go….Know that you can be comfortable in the outdoors with the right preparations…. … Know the rules, know the weather, Know what you have access to (water, provisions, firewood, bathrooms etc.) All of the above are crucial to your comfort as well as safety and will allow you greater enjoyment.

Whenever possible, carry out whatever you carry in and leave only footprints and take only pictures. We are lucky to have National Parks like The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Baxter State Park and others to enjoy. The more we take care of them and tread lightly, the better chance others will have that same experience in the future.

Lastly, be prepared for the unexpected – weather, accidents etc. know that accidents can occur and know that you are prepared to handle them if you came with a plan.  There are several other things you should account for depending on where you are going and for how long, but the above covers all adventures, everywhere. Full Story

August 22, 2011

2011 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide

2011 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide by Martha Hindes

by Martha Hindes

Many of  2011's sexiest cars seem to share a relationship with French Riviera aficionados. They peel away their inhibitions, go topless and bask in all the attention in the process. After all, if you've got it, why not flaunt it?  But some just display their well-toned bodies, their innate athleticism, and their delicious attraction with no need for open air adaption to hold us captive.
Getting on Road & Travel Magazine's Top 10 2011 Sexiest Cars list is an accomplishment no matter how it's viewed. Each auto has to have that special appeal to grab one’s attention, to make one weak in the knees, to suggest that auctioning off one's possessions or perhaps even spouse for the honor of ownership is a small price to pay for the privilege.Some of our choices for 2011 are past friends that we welcome back for a repeat rendezvous; others are new to the harem. Either way each leaves us touched with a unique ability to wipe out thoughts of any competitor as we fall prey to their unrestrained allure. For your foray into the tantalizing world of RTM's annual sexiest car buyer's guide, read on...

August 19, 2011

Teaching Students How to Travel on a Budget

Teaching Students How & Where to Travel on a Budget

Top 10 Student Getaways and Tips on How to Save

With the summer winding down, many college students are gearing up for the year ahead. Taking a break to shake off the stress that comes from all-nighters and dining hall “food” is not only essential but can be done within a student budget with tips from’s guide on How To Travel on a Student Budget. And, whether you’re in need of a weekend away to detox before exams or a spring break packed with parties - err, culture – we have suggestions. Our list features affordable getaway ideas for a long weekend break, spring break, winter break or the summer holidays. 

Below are four student getaways from our Top 10 College Student Destinations from each of the vacation categories.

  • Over a long weekend … Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada - As a college student, it’s important to get your money’s worth without spending an arm and a leg. Niagara Falls can satisfy that for cash-strapped youth. Cheap hotels by the Falls abound, and you can move around town easily on foot, as many of the attractions are within walking distance of each other. Pack your weekend with visits to the Falls and Marineland Theme Park, where you’ll get your fix of seafaring animals like dolphins and killer whales – combined with the thrill of amusement park rides. The drinking age is 19, so a visit to the Fallsview Casino – and Dragonfly Nightclub after – is an absolute must. READ MORE

August 18, 2011

3 Things to Look For When Test Driving New Cars

3 Questions to Ask When Buying a New Car

If you’re in the market for a new car, a test drive is an essential part of the shopping process. But, do you know exactly what to look for when test driving cars to choose the right model for your needs? Even if you plan to buy the car online, you should still test drive the car or a similar model to understand how it handles on the road. Consider these three factors the next time you visit the dealership.

Before you test drive the car

When shopping for a new or used vehicle, do your homework using the Internet and buyer’s guides before visiting the dealership. Consider what type of vehicle best fits your needs – from size and style to safety ratings and price. Make a list of must-have features, such as side airbags, anti-lock brakes, or an electronic stability control system. When you get to the dealership, only look at the models that closely match your budget and must-have list.

During the test drive
Matt Greenberg, general manager of Bedford Nissan in Bedford, Ohio, recommends you keep the following in mind when you test drive a car: Full article here.

August 17, 2011

Airline Passenger Rights Take Flight

Airline Passenger Rights go into Effect August 2011

Airline passengers need to understand the fine print

Will the Department of Transportation’s move to impose new airline passenger protection rules really make traveling easier? Ian Ford, a travel expert and business owner with more than 15 years in the industry, believes the four major components to the rules are a step forward. But, he also sees the “fine print”.

Ford points out:

1.  That airlines that lose a passenger’s luggage will now be required to reimburse the passenger for baggage fees and actual luggage cost.

2.  There will be an additional charge for unreasonable delays in getting passengers their bags, though ‘unreasonable’ and when a bag is considered lost isn’t clearly defined. Airlines may still delay weeks in getting a person their bags or money with the new rules.

3. Passengers bumped from a flight will be eligible to receive double the amount of the ticket they paid for -- up to $650 for short delays.

4. Those passengers subject to longer delays would be eligible for payment up to four times the price of their ticket, up to $1,300. Read story