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November 2011

November 30, 2011

How to Elimate Jet Lag by Dr. Jo Lichten

How to Eliminate Jet Lag

Jet Lag AdviceOur internal body clock is regulated by circadian rhythms that respond to daily light/dark cycles. When we travel over time zones, these abrupt changes confuse your body clock and cause what is referred to as jet lag. Symptoms of jet lag include fatigue, sleep problems, irritability, queasiness, upset stomach, headache, and grogginess or difficulty concentrating. Jet lag symptoms appear to be more severe when flying east or crossing three or more time zones.

To prevent jet lag, follow these tips:

  • Start out well rested.

  • Drink plenty of water.
    Dehydration worsens the symptoms of jet lag; so try to drink at least eight ounces of non-caffeinated fluids before, during, and after your flight. Go easy on the alcohol and caffeine; besides dehydrating you, they will also disturb your sleep pattern. See all tips here.

November 29, 2011

Do You Need a Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle?

Do You Need a Four-Wheel Drive?
by Cameron Sloane

When purchasing a new car, you have many options to choose from, including four-wheel drive (4WD). Although cars with four-wheel drive offer performance benefits – namely, better traction on slippery roads – they’re more expensive. So, before you pay for this feature, make sure it’s necessary for the conditions you’ll be driving in.

What is four-wheel drive?
Most vehicles are equipped with two-wheel drive, meaning that the engine powers either the front or rear wheels. With 4WD, the engine can power all four wheels. This reduces the risk that you’ll lose control of your vehicle if any of your wheels lose traction. Four-wheel-drive systems are most useful in conditions when it’s difficult for your tires to grip the road – like snow. 
Weighing the costs of four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive typically adds between $1,500 and $4,000 to a vehicle’s purchase price. In addition to a higher upfront cost, a car with 4WD also has higher ownership costs. Four-wheel-drive systems generally weigh between 500 and 1,000 pounds, which makes the vehicle less fuel efficient. In addition to higher fuel costs, you should take into account the extra expense of maintaining a 4WD system. Replacing or repairing your tires and brakes, both of which tend to wear faster on vehicles with four-wheel drive, can also add to your maintenance costs. If you live in an area with severe winters, the cost of a 4WD vehicle may be worth it, but in areas with mild winters four-wheel drive usually isn’t necessary. Full Article

November 28, 2011

2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Road Test

2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

by Bob Plunkett

A rough trace cut through the Tillamook State Forest in Oregon's rugged Coast Ranges presents a challenge for four-wheeling through tall timber.

There are big rocks and deep ruts to overcome, barricades of felled tree trunks to bump across, steep inclines to scale, rock-littered creek beds to wade and oodles of tire-sucking mud to traverse.

Run this trail in a new 2012 Wrangler Rubicon by Jeep, and this sturdy four-wheel-drive vehicle will quickly dispel all daunting trail fears and build driver confidence with a demonstration of its amazing off-road prowess.

Wrangler traces in concept and heritage to the original off-road Willys MB "jeep" vehicle of World War II fame.

A modern interpretation appeared in 1987 to replace the CJ series, while a fresh design in 1997 brought a progressive suspension system and strong ladder-frame chassis with superior ground clearance and generous angles of approach and departure, all necessary for moving into off-road recesses where conventional vehicles cannot tread. Full Review

November 23, 2011

25 Free Things to Do in San Diego, CA This Winter

From traditional holiday parades and festivals to the migration of California gray whales along the Pacific coast, a visit to San Diego during the winter offers a wealth of free, fun and festive experiences. Visitors to the region can escape overcast skies and the wintry cold for San Diego's brilliant sunshine and temperate climate and enjoy diverse wintertime experiences.

The following suggestions for free activities and events are sure to capture the imagination and lift the spirits of visitors to San Diego during the upcoming winter months.

  1. Join the festivities during Balboa Park December Nights, a two-day holiday celebration of food, entertainment and fun on December 2 - 3. The numerous museums and cultural institutions in Balboa Park, the nation's largest urban cultural park, open their doors free of charge, and festivities include carolers, live music, holiday light displays, theater and dance performances and delicious foods from around the world.

  2. Witness a tradition that began as a gift to the children of San Diego in 1947 - the Annual Mother Goose Parade on November 20 in the East County city of El Cajon. One of the biggest parades of its kind in the country and the largest single-day event in San Diego County, the parade features floats, clowns, Santa Claus, marching bands, equestrian teams and celebrity appearances.

  3. Whale watch from the shores and cliffs of Point Loma, as California gray whales migrate south to the warm water breeding grounds off the coast of Baja, California. Spectators can catch a spectacular show during December through April when these majestic mammals pass through the waters off San Diego's coastline.

  4. Be part of a grand Holiday Celebration on December 2 in Coronado with a festive parade along Orange Avenue, the lighting of a 75-foot Christmas tree, holiday music and a firework show over Glorietta Bay.

  5. Enjoy free organ concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park beginning at 2 p.m. each Sunday. The Organ Pavilion features the world's largest outdoor pipe organ, where organists resound holiday favorites, waltzes and show tunes from the organ's monstrous 32-foot lead alloy pipes. [See all 25 events]

November 22, 2011

Advice About Driving in the Dark

Healthy Vision with Dr. Val Jones

When you are behind the wheel of a car, your eyes are constantly on the move – looking at vehicles ahead and to the side, reading road traffic signs, checking your rear view mirrors, and shifting your gaze inside and outside your vehicle in order to check the speedometer, look at your global navigation system, or change a radio station.

Healthy Vision with Dr. Val JonesDuring darkness these tasks can become even more difficult for some drivers.  On the new edition of Healthy VisionTM with Dr. Val Jones, two experts join Dr. Val to talk about what happens to your eyes in the dark and how you can take better care of your eyes – and your car  –  to improve your nighttime driving.

Nearly one of every three drivers on the road (32 percent) say they have difficulty seeing all or most of the time while driving in the dark, according to a nationwide survey* of 515 vision-corrected Americans aged 18 and over. More than one-fourth (26 percent) report that they have trouble seeing signs or exits; one-fifth (20 percent) acknowledge difficulty seeing animals or pedestrians, and more than one in five (22 percent) report problems judging distance while driving in the dark.
[Full Story]

November 21, 2011

Tips to Avoid Holiday Travel Chaos

Holiday Travel Tips

Ahhh, the holidays are here again! Turkey, Mom's famous sweet potato pie...and chaos at the airport. To ensure your holiday travel experience is as enjoyable as possible, please consider these tips:

Allow for extra time at the airport. Domestic travelers should arrive at the airport 75 minutes prior to departure. International travelers should arrive two hours in advance.

Bring photo identification with you. All passengers age 18 and older must carry government-issued photo identification at all times and may be asked to show identification at check-in, security checkpoints and during boarding.

In cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration, a boarding pass is required to get through security checkpoints. An E-Ticket receipt or itinerary is no longer adequate. To eliminate uncertainty, all passengers should obtain a boarding pass prior to the security checkpoint. All Tips Here.

November 10, 2011

2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI Road Test Review

2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI Road Test Review - Road & Travel Magazine's 2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

It could remind one of its German-engineered Audi cousin with its haughty, European good looks. It cruises with authority at hyper highway speeds. It has elbow room to spare both in front and rear seating. And yet it falls into the earth-friendly, fuel-saving category thanks to its "clean diesel" technology. Score a big one for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI.

My one-day driving encounter with the new, clean diesel VW Passat was briefer than I hoped for, but sufficiently long to recognize this was attention-getting technology at its best. A tour around metro Detroit's "Motown" country served as backdrop for some express road, country road and city street driving in Germanic style.

Style-wise the Passat isn't in-your-face. And unless you hear the muffled diesel purr that barely signals its underpinnings, you'd probably never realize it's an environmentally-responsible version of an iconoclastic Euro road cruiser, but designed for U.S. consumption.

The six-speed automatic on my test vehicle had manual mode when spontaneous upticks were desired. The overall feel of the drive was typical VW style, a bit weightier than one would expect from a compact, but not surprising considering the Passat's overall dimensions. Size wise, it gains a shade in passenger room for 2012. This is a true midsize auto, not the compact of electrified competitors. Full Review

November 09, 2011

2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Road Test Review

2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Road Test Review

by Martha Hindes

In a landscape of automotive cacophony, sometimes it's the simple things that stand out most such as a steering wheel not over-laden with gadgets. Or, a cluster of instruments that say enough, but not too much. Putting the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid in that category clarifies what seems a rather fundamental, but well-determined strategy: Keep the driving experience what you'd expect from a handsome, easy-handling, well-appointed family sedan for five and let the high-tech core quietly do its job.

It isn't that Hyundai ignores this is a combined electric-gasoline powered auto that, during express cruising, can toggle into electric-only mode for spurts -- even at speeds of 74 mph. It just doesn't scream at you in the process. You get the hint of its advanced underpinnings when you hit the Start button on the uncluttered dash and a small cluster of leaves in the driver's center gauge peeks back, and then disappears. If you have a taste for technological toys and don't have the navi version, you can choose to display a real time energy score or a small scale diagram showing the power source (40-hp electric motor or 166-hp engine) flowing to the wheels.

A late summer test in the predecessor of the 2012 model hinted at what to expect during extended daily driving, with a stint on express roads and some inner city stop-and-go traffic. Road feel was solid and serene, only hinting at its hybrid foundation when coasting quietly on electricity alone, without the subtle purr of the 4-cylinder engine. Visually and mechanically, it gains from last year's major Sonata redesign, with fluid side sculpting and aggressive stance, and remains unchanged for 2012. "Blue Link" advanced telematics is standard, however. Full Review

November 08, 2011

2012 Chevrolet Volt Road Test Review

2012 Chevy Volt Electric Vehicle

by Martha Hindes

Our Top Pick of the Month - Most Earth-Friendly

For those suffering from that new "auto immune" syndrome plaguing some plug-in electric vehicle owners, take heart. "Range Anxiety" can't get you if you're driving a new, 2012 Chevy Volt.

The folks at Chevy were gracious enough to provide me with one of the first 2012 Volt five-door sedans out of the chute on a blazing late summer day. I took the keys only after a thorough initiation on what to expect from a Volt specialist. The fully charged electric-only range - as received - was about 50 miles, depending partly on how it was driven. Not to worry, I was told. The 9 or so gallons of premium fuel in the gas tank would power up an auxiliary engine that refuels the battery. But still, I had that sense of trepidation wondering if I'd do something incorrectly once the lime green energy bars of battery power disappeared from the navigation screen's display.

I started driving with the Volt's air conditioning keeping me chilled at 68 degrees. It handled easily and cruised silently along a local express road and city streets as I made several preplanned stops. When the gasoline engine finally woke up, it barely purred in the background, while the usage icon toggled into recharge mode with every slowdown or stop to extend the electric-only cruising. Full Review

November 07, 2011

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid Road Test Review

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid Sedan Road Test Review - Road & Travel Magazine's 2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

Toyota's mainstay midsize Camry auto has about the same impact as some recent ubiquitous Macy's department store ads reminding us that just about everyone shops there. And if they haven't, they probably want to. Well, who hasn't heard of America's best selling Toyota Camry, even if the 2012 hybrid model promos haven't achieved quite the same saturation level?

The 2012 Camry Hybrid, like its earlier brethren, is based on Toyota's bread-and-butter family sedan in what's probably the hottest auto arena on the planet. That kind of competition means putting your best face forward. And Camry got some less-than-radical surgery in the design and hybrid engine technology categories for 2012 to keep it a bride instead of a bridesmaid as more hybrid competitors knock at the door.

While some fuel-stingy sedans have tightened the reins on size to cut weight and eke out a shred more mileage, Camry hasn't. Its midsize-for-five is comfortably so. And rear seat passengers can lounge during long drives without feeling crunched. Ditto that for usable trunk space, an improvement thanks to a shuffling of inner components below.

Dressing for the occasion also has won attention, with interior renovations enhancing the luxury feel, including brushed aluminum trim. A requisite power-flow display coaxes conservative driving. The upmarket XLE gets chrome touches, 17-inch rather than 16-inch wheels, and heated sideview mirrors, plus 24 additional pounds of curb weight that skims a shade off fuel economy. Options include blind spot warning, navi and Entune multimedia system. But the base LE is no slouch, with standard push button start, dual zone climate control and enhanced passive safety systems among amenities. Full Story