Archive for May, 2013

Chattahoochee River

Rush hour is about to take on a whole new meaning in Columbus, GA, as city officials demolish 2 old dams and release a 2.5-mile section of the mighty Chattahoochee River. Deemed River City Rush, the world’s longest urban whitewater course will open May 25 and will roar through the heart of downtown Columbus, creating a hub for outdoor adventure. The “Hooch” is open to kayakers and canoeists year round, but the biggest thrills are to be had during the summer.

As folks in Atlanta (located about 2 hours to the north) crank up their air conditioners, the 430-mile Chattahoochee, which is controlled by hydroelectric dams, will intensify from a Class II-III base flow to intense Class V rapids, says Sutton Bacon, CEO of Nantahala Outdoor Center, which will be the exclusive outfitter at the whitewater course. Bacon says NOC plans to build a full adventure center at the river, offering everything from rafting, kayak instruction, standup paddleboarding and mountain bike rentals.

After a day of paddling, hike or bike (Trek and Specialized bike rentals are available at Ride on Bikes) along Riverwalk, a 20-mile linear park that hugs the banks of the Chattahoochee River. Or, explore an 11-mile pathway that follows former rail lines that weave through Columbus past several city parks.

Other great downtown destinations include the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, where you can catch a Broadway show or concert. Or, explore the National Civil War Naval Museum, which features 19th-century military vessels, uniforms, equipment and weapons. Located across the street from the Naval Museum is International Market Place, where you’ll find everything from classic cars and antiques to kitchenware. It’s most famously home to the Lunchbox Museum, a must-see destination for lovers of kitsch and pop culture that houses one of the country’s largest collections of lunchboxes, many dating back to the early 1950s.

When your stomach starts to rumble, refuel with some authentic Southern fare at Country’s Barbecue. This family-owned restaurant opened in 1975 and is legendary for its ribs, made-from-scratch Brunswick stew, lemon pie, and, of course, barbecue, which is cooked fresh over hickory and oak. There are 3 Columbus locations, including one in a former downtown bus station. Also not to be missed are the famous chilidogs at Dinglewood Pharmacy, located in the historic district along the southern edge of downtown. Established in 1918, it’s the city’s oldest eating establishment. Or, grab a seat at the copper-topped bar and enjoy delicious pizza and locally brewed beer at Cannon Brewpub, a popular hangout among locals that is filled with funky wood and metal sculptures.

For convenient accommodations during your stay, the 177-room Columbus Marriott, built around a restored 1861 cotton mill, is in the heart of downtown Columbus within walking distance to River City Rush as well as museums and performing art centers. For something more intimate, the Rothschild-Pound House is a cozy bed and breakfast 2 blocks from the river. Its suites and cottages feature Jacuzzi tubs, antiques, fireplaces and beautiful hardwood floors.

- Sam Boykin

Courtesy of Gansevoort Meatpacking

You can’t beat the view from this rooftop pool atop the Gansevoort Hotel in New York’s sleek Meatpacking District. More »

When retired police detective Steve di Schiavi and his psychic medium partner, Amy Allan, travel to Buffalo, WY, to investigate reports of frightening paranormal activity at the historic Occidental Hotel, they had no idea that they would be walking straight into the epicenter of a bloody battle — and a ruthless murder that took place at the hotel in the 1890s.

When the Occidental’s owner, Dawn, bought the legendary hotel, her dream was to turn the property back into an Old West landmark, but since her purchase her plans have gone south. Strange occurrences have been forcing employees and guests to flee the building.

During her harrowing walk, Amy encounters numerous frightening spirits, including a barbaric male entity who takes out his rage on the female guests and staff members, while Steve’s research reveals evidence of a bloody war that took over the town of Buffalo in the late 1800s.

Will Amy and Steve be able to rid the Occidental of its poisonous past … or will Dawn be forced to shut the books on her dream and walk away before getting seriously harmed? Find out on an all-new episode tonight @ 10|9c.

Plus, don’t miss these exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from The Dead Files’ Bloodlust episode.

Photography by Clint Johnston

The Philippines is home to over 7,000 islands with picturesque beaches and turquoise seas, which is why the rice terraces of Batad — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — are often forgotten. The terraces are a stunning scene to behold, sculpted like giant staircases from the mountains of Ifugao. Sadly, they have begun to deteriorate due to climate and abandonment. So make the trek now to Batad before the world loses another wonder. I chose to travel there by Jeepney, the local transportation found all over the islands.

My Jeepney was an old military vehicle, leftover in the Philippines by the US army during World War II. The hulking beast had been converted into a passenger bus —  like thousands of others — each jeep uniquely festooned in a colorful and loud fashion. I climbed to the roof of the vehicle when I realized there was no room down below. I gripped firmly on a support bar and swung my legs over the side where they dangled freely.

The road to Batad begins in Manila with a 9-hour overnight bus to Banaue. While Batad is not a long journey from Banaue, it can be a difficult one. Washed out bridges, landslides and neglected roads are just the beginning. Riding on the roof of  a Jeepney may be common practice for a local, but it is a thrilling experience for a foreigner.

Upon reaching the entrance to the village of Batad, a 45-minute descent winds to the center of town. There are no roads that lead to the quiet village of 1,500 people, which means that walking is the only mode of transportation. There are limited guesthouses in Batad, however many villagers will welcome you into their home, cook for you, and share a glass of traditional rice wine.

Trekking around Batad is a challenge worthy of any traveler. The 2,000-year-old terraces require careful navigation and balance. With paths only wide enough for one person  and steep drops of 10 or more feet in some places, I needed to watch my step. But there is no greater reward than reaching the promontory overlooking the magnificent terraces carved from the mountains of Ifugao.

Don’t overlook the road to Batad. The journey from Manila is long but the 8th wonder of the world awaits. The homestays, people, and culture will embrace you. Make the trek so you can call the rice terraces your home, if only for a few days.

Photography by Clint Johnston

Tricked-Out RV

Is your RV totally tricked out? Do you have granite countertops, HDTVs, slide-outs or a spiral staircase? What about a T-shirt cannon?

In celebration of this Sunday’s premiere of Rock My RV (tune in at 9|8c) we want to see your tricked-out RVs! In just 6 seconds, show us what makes your RV a rockin’ travel vehicle. We’ll pick our favorites and post them on our blog.

How to Participate:

1. Download the Vine App. Film your 6-second tour of your vehicle. Show us what’s special and unique about your RV!

2. Tag your Vine with #MyRVTour. Tweet your Vine to @travelchannel, making sure to include the hashtag #MyRVTour. 

Photography by Getty Images

Before you book your next flight, here’s a word of warning: You may not want to fly on Spirit Airlines. The carrier received the lowest overall scores of any company that Consumer Reports has ever rated.

Today, Consumer Reports released its results from a readers’ survey that ranks the best and worst airlines.

So why didn’t Spirit Airlines make the cut? Industry analysts say that although the no-frills airline charges less than other carriers, customers still take a hit in their pockets by paying other additional fees, including $10 to $19 to book a flight, $3 for a soda or M&Ms, and $35 to $100 per carry-on bag. Readers also claimed that the airline has some of the “tightest” seating space in the industry.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Virgin America topped the list for the first time, receiving some of the highest customer satisfaction scores that any airline has received in years.  According to the survey, flyers said they like the comfy, leather seat cushions in the airline’s economy class. Readers also gave the airline’s in-flight entertainment high marks.

Other carriers that fared well included Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines for check-in and cabin staff. American, United and US Airways received the lowest ratings possible for cabin cleanliness, seating comfort and onboard entertainment.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center surveyed more than 16,000 readers — who flew a combined 31,732 domestic flights — in February. Readers were asked to rate their satisfaction with the airlines’ check-in ease, cabin-crew service, cabin cleanliness, seating comfort, baggage handling and in-flight entertainment.

Here’s a quick look at the airlines and their overall score, based on a 0 to 100 scale:

1.   Virgin America, 89
2.   Southwest Airlines, 85
3.   JetBlue Airways, 85
4.   Hawaiian Airlines, 82
5.   Alaska Airlines, 81
6.   Frontier Airlines, 78
7.   Delta Air Lines, 71
8.   US Airways, 66
9.   American Airlines, 66
10. United Airlines, 63
11. Spirit Airlines, 50

Photography by Patrick Orton / Aurora Photos

Who said you need an ocean to go surfing? The 43-mile-long Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, ID, has become popular for wakesurfing. More »

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Toy Hunter extraordinaire Jordan Hembrough to appear on the Mike Lawrence podcast, Nerd of Mouth. I repeat, Jordan Hembrough to appear on the Mike Lawrence podcast that specializes in all things nerd!

Word of mouth is a tried-and-true marketing concept, and Jordan plans to take full advantage of spreading the word on the podcast. Of course, nothing comes for free, and Mike is looking for something in exchange. Mike is an up-and-coming comedian and comic book enthusiast who lost his interest in collecting somewhere along the way … until now.

A decent portion of Mike’s stand-up routine includes bits about Batman, so Jordan thinks he may have found the perfect piece for Mike — the original Batman Ray Gun.

What other vintage toy collectibles will Jordan dig up? Will he be able to rekindle Mike’s love for collecting? Tune in to an all-new episode, tonight at 9|8c to find out.

Plus, don’t miss the exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos from Jordan’s trip to Pennsylvania.

Photography by Yadid Levy / Aurora Photos

Even cruise ships can anchor in the Bay of Villefranche, one of the deepest natural harbors in the Mediterranean. More »

 

At the airport, there are no “finders-keepers.” If you don’t turn a lost item in to the authorities … you stole it. And at a large airport like Miami International, there are cameras everywhere to catch your every move. Tonight at 9|8c, see how this helps the MIA staff track down thieves.

The security checkpoint at the airport is a popular place for lost items, and when a traveler loses his watch, the TSA agents try their best to find the cherished item.

Then, the action continues when it’s discovered that an airport employee is trapped in the elevator … with a bad case of claustrophobia.

Will TSA agents recover the lost watch? Will the trapped airport employee make it out of the elevator unscathed? Find out what happens tonight on an all-new episode of Airport 24/7: Miami at 9|8c, and check out these behind-the-scenes photos for a sneak peek of tonight’s episode.

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