A Look At Minnesota’s Backroads
Motorhomers who want to explore the natural wonders and rural history of Minnesota may be interested in Shawn Perich’s new book, Backroads Of Minnesota ($19.95, Voyageur Press). The book leads travelers on a scenic tour of the Gopher State, revealing many of Minnesota’s hidden treasures.
Included in the book are more than 30 recommended drives that visit many of the parks, rivers, lakes, and other sites that capture Minnesota’s colorful history. Outdoor photographer Gary Alan Nelson illustrates the drives with 120 color photographs and 24 black-and-white photographs that highlight many of the interesting sights along the way.
The book can be purchased from the publisher by calling (800) 888-9653; by visiting www.voyageurpress.com; or from bookstores and online booksellers.
Federal Government Debuts National Recreation Web Site
The U.S. government recently launched a new Web site, www.recreation.gov, to help people find information about the many public recreation opportunities throughout the country. The site is a free, user-friendly, one-stop resource to help travelers plan visits to numerous public recreation sites, either for a few hours of outdoor fun or during an extended vacation.
Web site visitors can obtain information about parks, museums, monuments, historical landmarks, and other recreation sites, including hours of operation, fees, public accommodations, and services. Visitors also can make reservations, order passes, and conduct other transactions online. In addition to providing basic information about these areas www.recreation.gov offers links to many other separate Web sites for more detailed information about a specific attraction.
The site, managed by the Department of the Interior, is a collaborative effort among federal land management agencies. Current partners are the Bureau of Land Management; the Bureau of Reclamation; the Federal Highway Administration; the Fish and Wildlife Service; the Forest Service; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the National Park Service; the Smithsonian Institution; the Tennessee Valley Authority; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Three Workamper Job Fairs Scheduled For January
Workamper News, C4909, an organization dedicated to finding jobs and volunteer opportunities for working RVers, recently announced its 2003 Workamper Job Fairs schedule. Events will be held in Florida, Arizona, and Texas during the month of January. The job fairs, now in their second year, were created to match Workampers with potential employers.
Greg Robus, editor of Workamper News, expects the 2003 job fairs to be even more successful than last year’s. “Several thousand Workampers were hired on the spot at our first job fairs last January, so we are very excited about 2003,” he said. “There is no substitute for face-to-face meetings with your potential employer. Whether you’re thinking about embarking on a Workamping adventure, or you need to recruit some great workers, these job fairs are the place to be.”
Representatives from numerous campgrounds, parks, and travel sites will be on hand at the three job fairs to meet with prospective workers and discuss employment opportunities. The job fairs will be at the Lakeland Center in Lakeland, Florida, January 10 and 11; at the Casa de Amistad in Harlingen, Texas, January 21 and 22; and at the Yuma Civic Center in Yuma, Arizona, January 29 and 30. Each event also will include Workamping seminars presented by experts in the Workamping field.
Also making its debut at the job fairs will be a new resume clearinghouse for Workampers called Awesome Applicants. The service includes a searchable database designed to help both Workampers and employers find a perfect match.
For more information about the job fairs or other Workamping topics, visit www.workamper.com or call (800) 446-5627.
Great American Drives
Joining the Fodor’s Road Guide USA series of books are two recently released editions: Great American Drives Of The East and Great American Drives Of The West ($16.95 each, Fodor’s Travel Publications). Together the books offer 65 driving tours through the 48 contiguous states.
Fodor’s local correspondents provide town-by-town listings, descriptions of attractions along the way, and dining suggestions. Each tour also includes a route map and a “Rules Of The Road” section for the particular state.
The eastern book includes 37 tours in the 26 states east of the Mississippi River, with more than 1,800 individual entries. In it, find out how to cruise the Gold and Treasure coasts (Florida), stay overnight in a former grain silo (Ohio), or visit the nation’s oldest jail (Massachusetts). The western book covers 28 tours in 22 states west of the Mississippi and includes more than 1,400 listings. Follow the trail of Billy the Kid (New Mexico), stand where Custer last stood (Montana), and run the bases on the real Field of Dreams (Iowa).
These books, as well as other Fodor’s travel publications, can be found in bookstores and through major online booksellers.
Seat Belt Use By Drivers, Passengers On The Rise
The use of seat belts continues to increase, with 75 percent of all drivers and passengers buckling up in 2002, according to a large-scale study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is the highest level of seat belt usage since national seat belt surveys began in 1994.
“Though we can’t rest until seat belt use is 100 percent in this country, I am nevertheless pleased that we’ve reached another milestone,” said Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, NHTSA administrator. “More and more, people are realizing that seat belts are absolutely the most effective safety device in a car. The Bush Administration is committed to a seat belt use goal of 78 percent by 2003.”
The new data shows a 2 percentage point increase in seat belt use since 2001. The study, known as the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), is conducted periodically by the agency to obtain nationwide estimates of shoulder belt use and motorcycle helmet use to support the agency’s occupant protection programs. The last such survey was conducted in June 2001.
A 2 percentage point increase in seat belt use translates into an additional 6 million users. It’s estimated that 500 lives per year will be saved as a result of the increase.
The latest NOPUS estimates were derived from a survey conducted during a three-week period in June 2002. A total of 150,000 vehicles and 900 motorcycles were observed for seat belt and helmet use at 2,000 roadway and intersection sites throughout the United States.
National Highway Funding Legislation A Priority In 2003
RVers depend on a network of safe, efficient roads and bridges to pursue their passion of traveling on U.S. highways. Having a national highway system that is properly funded for new construction and maintenance is tremendously important to the RV community. In 2003, reauthorization of the national multiyear surface transportation legislation, which provides funding for the nation’s highway programs, will be a top legislative priority RVers will want to follow.
Last passed in 1998 as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA21), the new legislation to be crafted by Congress in 2003 is referenced as T-3. As this legislation is being developed, the RV community will work with highway advocacy and recreation groups to ensure full funding for the nation’s highway projects; provide funding for the National Scenic Byways Program, recreational trails, and improvements to other recreational opportunities; and seek new funding for highways on federal lands that lead to developed campgrounds, lakes, trailheads, and scenic vistas.
For more information about highway funding and reauthorization, or to find out how you can get involved, visit the Web site of the American Highway Users Alliance at www.highways.org, or call (202) 857-1200.
New Book Highlights Accessible Florida Spots
Wheelchairs On The Go: Accessible Fun In Florida (Access Travel Guide Publishing, $24.95) is a new book that offers those who are mobility impaired a list of places to visit and things to do in the Sunshine State.
Michelle Stigleman, who co-authored the book with Deborah Van Brunt, is married to a quadriplegic and knows the special challenges of traveling with someone who is mobility impaired. She and her husband have traveled throughout Florida for more than 20 years, and have discovered numerous activities and attractions that are accessible to physically challenged people.
The 424-page book includes information she’s collected about Florida’s beaches, theme parks, tourist attractions, sports stadiums, lodging, and typical vacation activities, plus other recommendations for fun and thrills. The book can be purchased at bookstores; through online booksellers; or from the publisher at (888) 245-7300, (727) 573-0434, or www.wheelchairsonthego.com.
Western National Parks Featured In New Book
Fodor’s Road Guide USA: National Parks Of The West ($20, Fodor’s Travel Publications) is a new book that provides a wealth of information about the 33 national parks found in the mainland Western states. The guide is divided into five regional sections — The Pacific Northwest, California Classics, The Mountains and the Plains, Canyon Country, and The Desert Southwest — and includes both the famous and the more obscure national parks of the West. The book was reviewed for accuracy by National Park Service personnel.
Each section begins with a regional driving tour and map and ends with a field guide to help travelers identify and understand the ecosystems, wildlife, and geography featured in the region’s parks. In between are detailed descriptions of the section’s parks. Each includes an introduction; park basics; suggested tour itineraries; attractions; sports and outdoor activities; dining and camping opportunities; and other information about the park and the surrounding area.
Those who purchase the book also can receive $5 off the $50 price of a National Parks Pass. This pass is used for admission to national parks that require an entry fee, allowing all occupants of a personal vehicle with the pass into the park. For parks where a per-person entry fee is charged, the pass-holder, spouse, children, and parents are admitted free with the pass.
Fodor’s Road Guide USA: National Parks Of The West is available in bookstores and through major online booksellers.