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On tonight’s premiere of Adam Richman’s Fandemonium, you’ll dive headfirst into the top tailgating events that the great state of Florida has to offer. First at 10|9c, Adam heads to the Daytona 500 where tailgating (and super fandom) is taken to new levels. This is the only place where you’ll find a checkered flag beard.

Then at 10:30|9:30c, Adam sees what mudding is all about when he goes to the Redneck Yacht Club’s Trucks Gone Wild. In Punta Gorda, FL, the parties get down and dirty with unique barbecue (atomic buffalo turd, anyone?) and non-stop off roading.

Are you a super fan? Get tips for the Daytona 500 or the Redneck Yacht Club with our travel guides, and we’ll see you in sunny Florida!

A Hug For the World: British runner Kate Treleaven, co-founder of the One Run For Boston cross-country charity relay, stretches out in St. Louis.

The “Stink Mobile” never stops. Barring any unexpected detours, it will have trekked 3,300 miles when it welcomes hundreds of runners Sunday night finishing One Run For Boston — a cross-country relay to raise money for Boston Marathon bombing victims. Event co-founders Kate Treleaven and Danny Bent, friends from England, are taking turns sleeping in their donated 2013 grey Ford Escape, a logistical support vehicle that doubles as a motel.

One Run began in Los Angeles on June 7 and will end on June 30 at Boston Common, a few steps from the Boston Marathon Finish Line. Taking a scenic backroads tour of America, the route meanders through 14 states and is being tracked with a GPS baton along with a 24/7 Live Photo Gallery.

The purpose is to raise money for The One Fund Boston but also to showcase acts of human kindness and generosity in the wake of the April 15 terrorism attacks. Runners also passed through tornado-ravaged parts of Oklahoma and are earmarking that state’s donations to help families who lost their homes.

“This is a much deeper experience than a road trip,” says Bent, a triathlete and author who previously bicycled from England to India to raise money for child poverty. “We’re experiencing America from the inside out. People are inviting us into their homes. Every one hour and forty minutes, we meet a new person. It’s a like a spike of adrenaline.”

Runners from around the country are flying into Boston to join the ceremonial last 8 mile leg of the journey. Strangers have been donating frequent flier miles to each other after meeting on the One Run Facebook page.  Bent and Treleaven, who sometimes run alongside supporters, recently logged a 16-mile stretch to replace a Pennsylvania runner whose father had just died. Their tribute memorial run was coincidentally on the same day as the funeral.

Along with the inevitable tear-jerking moments, the One Run founders are also sharing plenty of lighthearted memories as they stumble across silly roadside attractions and truck stop oddities.

On June 16, the runners passed through Amarillo, Texas, home of Cadillac Ranch, a public sculpture garden where graffiti-covered junk cars are planted nose down into the earth. Bent and Treleaven painted “One Run For Boston” on one of the steel (yes, cars were not always made of plastic) canvases.

Road trippers Danny Bent (left) and Kate Treleaven pretend to spray paint each other at Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 in Texas.

“Every British person dreams about driving across America and seeing all the different landscapes. You can drive across Britain in just a few hours,” says Treleaven. “But we’re not going to the usual tourist places. We actually drove straight past the Grand Canyon!”

“This trip is about meeting people we would otherwise never have a chance to meet,” she adds. “We’re getting under the skin of America and loving every moment of it.”

**

(For more information on donating to One Run For Boston or joining the runners in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts anytime from June 28-30, click here).

– written by Darren Garnick

 

 

Most seasoned travelers have probably heard of (and dreamt about) the amazing train ride through the Tijuca Rainforest to see the 125-foot Christ the Redeemer statue high atop Corcovado Mountain. And who hasn’t heard the gossip about the Brazilians’ buff beach bodies and the droves of scantily-clad women who sunbathe on the world-famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.

Well now, you can get your chance to see Rio de Janeiro – free of charge! Enter to win a trip for 2 to the Marvelous City and see why it’s such a hot vacation destination. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that tourists are flocking to the tropical city not only for its beaches, but also because it will host both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

See Rio for yourself! Explore this Brazilian city and its secret treasures like Leblon, Rio’s most affluent neighborhood with a beautiful beach that’s known for being much quieter than Ipanema or Copacabana. See Rio from above and go hang-gliding off Sugarloaf Mountain, or just lay low and spend the day on Paqueta Island, where it’s not uncommon to see a horse-drawn carriage.

There’s something for everyone in this Brazilian city, so take the first step and enter to win a free trip — your next adventure awaits you in Rio de Janeiro!

Getty Images

Golf fans, rejoice, it’s that time of year again! The US Open starts tomorrow and for the first time in 32 years it will return to the legendary Merion Golf Club, a private golf club located just outside Philadelphia in Ardmore, PA. Designed by golf course architect Hugh Wilson, this club’s courses have hosted the US Open 5 times, with the last in 1981 when David Graham won.

Other things to know about this year’s Open? Merion will be the shortest US Open course in the past 9 years. Also, it has been 5 years since Tiger Woods has won a major; he won his 14th major in the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines. Even though Woods returned to No. 1 this year, the world is waiting to see if he will stay on top at this year’s Open.

If you don’t have tickets to this year’s Open, plan your next golf getaway with our picks for the World’s Best Golf Courses, from Scotland to Dubai. Don’t want to leave the country to tee off? Check out our Best US Golf Courses.

And don’t forget about this Sunday… if Dad’s a golf fanatic, there’s nothing he’d like more than a little Father’s Day bonding on the green.

 

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With some of the highest peaks east of the Rocky Mountains, Beech Mountain Resort has long been one of North Carolina’s most popular places to go skiing. It’s now carving out an identity as a year-round sports destination with a new program that allows mountain bikers to hook their bikes to a high-speed quad chairlift and ride to the top of the mountain’s 5,506-foot summit. From there it’s an adrenaline-pumping ride down a series of trails with rock gardens, jumps, berms and wooded sections. Don’t have a mountain bike? A full line of rentals will be available. The new trails will be open every weekend from June 7 until Sept. 29. After your ride, grab a cold drink and a bite to eat (pizza, burgers, sandwiches, etc.) at the resort’s Beech Tree Bar and Grill.

Elsewhere in tiny Beech Mountain (population: 320), you’ll find the Beech Mountain Adventure Trail Park. This 8-mile network of single track ranges in elevation from 4,700 to 5,400 feet and provides unparalleled mountain vistas and overlooks. The park’s second and third phases are scheduled to open in 2014 and will encompass more than 25 miles of trails. Cycle 4 Life Bike Shop in nearby Banner Elk offers rentals and guided bike trips of the park.

After a day on the trails, reward yourself with some delicious grub at Alpen Restaurant and Bar, which features an open stone fireplace and an outdoor patio and deck where you can enjoy menu items such as burgers, sandwiches, grilled salmon, steaks and pasta dishes. For more casual fare, there’s Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria, which also has wings, sandwiches and salads. Also be sure to stop by Fred’s General Mercantile, an old-school country store that’s famous for having a little of everything, from clothes to outdoor gear, toys, tools, beer and wine. Fred’s also has downstairs deli that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Bed down for the night at The Beech Alpen Inn, which has 24 hotel rooms, some of which have fireplaces and private balconies. Archer’s Mountain Inn has 15 lodge guest rooms that feature panoramic views, rustic décor and wood-burning fireplaces. There’s also Pinnacle Inn Resort, which features one- and two-bedroom condos, as well as an indoor heated pool, Jacuzzi, arcade, sauna and pool table.

- Sam Boykin

Few things in life are free, particularly when it comes to leisure. But this summer travelers interested in outdoors and adventure can enjoy one of the most popular outdoor activities while taking part in a weeklong celebration of a fun sport free of charge.

This coming weekend marks the start of National Fishing & Boating Week (NFBW). Across the country, state agencies will roll out free fishing days in which no license is required to fish in area lakes, streams and rivers. Also on tap will be special events such as fishing derbies and boating shows, and plenty of kid-focused events.

And with 90% of Americans living within an hour of navigable water, enjoying these events and fishing in general is easy and accessible. It is also affordable, with the average-annual license going for around $15. Best of all, these funds go toward conservation and sustainability efforts such as fish stocking and habitat management.

As we hit the lull between Memorial Day and July 4, this is an ideal way to enjoy summer weather and perhaps do something different. Folks can visit TakeMeFishing.org to plan their NFBW adventure, as well as access how-to-fish and where-to-fish information.

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Is your bike collecting more dust than dirt these days? Now is the perfect time to take it for a spin since it’s National Bike Month. From the best cities for cycling to bike-friendly hotels, here are ways to get your wheels rolling this month.

See a City By Bike

Avid cyclist and adventure traveler Ryan Van Duzer shares with us his top 10 US cities for cycling, from Boulder, CO, to Austin, TX.  With 300 days of sunshine and a picturesque mountain backdrop, biking in Boulder is at the top of Van Duzer’s list. You won’t be able to tell if that Rocky Mountain high is from the altitude or the endorphin rush after a ride here. Quirky Austin makes Van Duzer’s list for its unique Bike Zoo, where you can see a pedal-powered 80-foot rattlesnake, and the 6-mile-long Lance Armstrong bikeway, which opened in 2009 and runs through this Texas capital city. (You can see the rest of his picks here.)

Stay at a Bike-Friendly Hotel

Kimpton Hotels is celebrating National Bike Month with its national “Bike Like a Local” program. Travelers staying in Kimpton Hotels in cities like Chicago, San Francisco or New York can take advantage of complimentary bike rentals and bike promotions during May.

If you’re a cycling history buff, pedal back into Alexandria, Virginia’s history with the Civil War Bike Tour package at Monaco Alexandria. This Kimpton Hotel is offering complimentary bikes for guests to explore the Alexandria Civil War Defenses of Washington Bike Trail. Take in the history while getting a workout stopping at historic sites throughout Alexandria like Fort Ward and Alexandria National Cemetery.

At the Hotel Palomar in Phoenix, guests can explore Downtown Phoenix’s must-see spots on the hotel’s complimentary bikes. Guests can also pick up the hotel’s pocket-sized maps of Phoenix, themed for “foodies, artsy types, style lovers and mental flossers.” Each themed map highlights the best spots in the city to eat and drink and what to see and do  — all with a bike rack conveniently nearby.

Borrow a Bike for Few Hours

Don’t have a bike? That’s no excuse! Bike-sharing programs are popping up all over the county — from Washington, DC to Long Beach, CA. The much-anticipated bike share program in NYC opened for registration just last month, and had over 5,000 people sign up within 30 hours. On Memorial Day, the NYC bike share program officially opens, making it country’s largest bike share program with over 6,000 bikes and 330 stations. Another popular bike share program is Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare, which has over 1,800 bikes at over 200 stations across the metropolitan area. Whether you are a tourist or a local, borrowing a bike in these bustling cities helps you avoid traffic frustrations and parking meltdowns … and burn calories while you’re at it.

 

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Two years ago, on Marathon Monday, I was sitting on the sun-drenched front steps of a house party in Boston’s Kenmore neighborhood, when someone stole my boyfriend’s brand-new Canon camera right from under my nose. At the time, we were particularly horrified that someone would have the audacity to do something so mean and so brazen on Marathon Monday! Call me naive, but we thought that was just about the worst thing that someone could ever do on such a celebratory day.

Boy, were we wrong. On Monday at 2:50 p.m., 2 bombs exploded within seconds of each other as runners made their way across the finish line. That act of violence claimed 3 lives, injured dozens more and forever changed how the world viewed my hometown’s very best holiday. For the first time in the race’s 117-year history, Bostonians have to adjust to hearing words like “explosion,” “bombing” and “tragedy” uttered alongside “Boston Marathon.”

It’s just not how Marathon Monday was supposed to be.

What many out-of-towners may not realize is that the Boston Marathon is not just a race, it’s so much more. It’s a day of city pride, a day typically filled with stories of love and support and incredible accomplishment, all celebrated against a backdrop of Patriots’ Day, a state holiday commemorating the opening battles of the American Revolutionary War. School kids and government workers enjoy the day off, Sox fans flock to Fenway Park to see our team host the only morning game on the entire Major League Baseball schedule, and more than 20,000 people from dozens of countries come to compete in the marathon.

It’s a day that runners work toward for months, even years, forgoing hungover brunches with friends to spend their Sunday mornings on 14-mile runs, dreaming of making it over Heartbreak Hill.

On what seems to always be the first sunny, spring day in the city, thousands of spectators head out for the event. Moms and dads pack picnics, grandpas plop down in foldy chairs, and the city’s droves of college kids embark on a marathon of their own — typically, a day-long booze-filled party, all in good fun. Thousands line the 26.2-mile route, at times 10 to 15 people deep, and spend hours rooting and cheering on friends, family and total strangers. Among them this year was 8-year-old Martin Richard, watching from the sidelines in Copley Square as runners made their final strides across the finish line. By Martin’s side were his parents, his 11-year-old brother and 5-year-old sister.

While a few run to compete, many more Boston marathoners run to raise money for charity. Some even run for those who no longer can. The runners write their names on their T-shirts, arms and legs, ensuring 26.2 miles of feeling like a rockstar as adoring Bostonians shout out personalized words of encouragement.

That’s how it’s supposed to be.

This time was different. This time, the spectators weren’t cheering words of encouragement, they were yelling at the runners. They were telling them to stop, to turn around, to run away from the finish line that they’d spent months training to run toward.

This time, Bostonians at marathon-watch parties shied away from their balconies overlooking Beacon Street and instead sat silently around TVs, watching in shock as Copley Square erupted in smoke and horrified screams.

And now we have learned the cost in lives. On Monday, we lost 3 of our own: Martin Richard, the 8-year-old Dorchester boy; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old woman from Arlington, MA, who had been waiting on Boylston Street for a friend to cross the finish line; and a Boston University graduate student from China, watching the race with 2 friends.

Now comes the investigation and the questions of who and why? But here’s the hardest question of all: Will Marathon Monday ever be our very best day again? Anyone who knows Boston knows the answer. The city of Boston is a city of fighters, from its earliest patriots up until today. Next year, make it a point to experience the Boston Marathon the way that it was supposed to be celebrated this year, the way that it’s been celebrated all of my life — as a joyous, loving and supportive celebration of incredible strength, determination and will.

To help those most affected by Monday’s bombings, please visit The One Fund Boston.

Photo by Reuters/Mike Segar

Finally! In a victory that previous Aussie golfers Jim Ferrier, Bruce Crampton, Jack Newton and 3-time runner-up Greg Norman could only dream of, Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters Tournament this past Sunday and cast a renewed spotlight on golf Down Under.

For travelers looking to combine their love of faraway places with their love of the sport, Australia offers enticing options: golf courses spread across inland settings, some at really affordable prices. Among them is the recently opened Barnbougle Dunes resort. Located on Tasmania’s shores, the 200-acre resort offers all-day unlimited to its 36-hole course for around $130.

For a world-class golf experience, head to Royal Melbourne Golf Club, a 36-hole course near Melbourne that routinely makes US Golf Digest’s list of the world’s top golf courses. Since its founding in 1891, Royal Melbourne has gone on to become the oldest continually operating golf club in Australia — and if the media buzz is correct, Adam Scott will play at the club from Nov. 14-17 to defend the title he won last November at Kingston Heath.

This other premier golf club, located in Melbourne’s southeast suburbs, is the No. 2 course in Australia, and has hosted the Australian Golf Open 7 times. Several years ago, Kingston Heath also hosted the Australian Masters tournament. Looking to hit the green? Visiting golfers must be members of interstate or overseas golf clubs in order to arrange a booking.

For more memorable golf moments Down Under, head to Australia’s Dent Island. There you’ll find Hamilton Island Golf Club, home to the country’s only 18-hole championship course on an island. Designed by British Open championship golfer Peter Thompson, the par-71 course of broad fairways and steep valleys offers 360-degree views of the Coral Sea off Australia’s northeast coast.

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Photo by Reuters

Fans attending the Masters Tournament face 2 very big questions this weekend: Will this be the year of Tiger Woods’ return (do you think his relationship with Lindsey Vonn will last?), and where can we get some good food around here, anyway?

(Guess that was 3.)

With the 77th Masters in Augusta, GA, now in full swing, thousands of fans will find there’s plenty to do this weekend in addition to watching great golfers vie for the coveted green jacket — so long as you venture off the main strip of Washington Road, located just beyond the gates of Augusta National Golf Club.

Turns out, this is one fun town — for golf, of course, and so much more. Located along the Savannah River, Augusta is Georgia’s second-oldest (and second-largest) city, behind Atlanta. As home to nearly 200,000 people, Augusta offers visitors no shortage of attractions, from shopping and nightlife to sports and museums. I mean, you can hardly go wrong in a town where the godfather of soul, James Brown, once lived and where Hulk Hogan was born, right?

But first thing’s first: Getting a good burger. Once you leave the gates of Augusta National Golf Club, make it your personal mission this weekend to try something a little off the beaten path … it’ll be so worth the effort. Your first stop: Farmhaus Burger. This restaurant supports local farms, which means the burgers that come to your table are sourced from nearby Southeastern Angus beef.

If that doesn’t sate your appetite – or you’re ready for a binge weekend — there’s more eclectic farm-to-table fare to be had elsewhere: Head to Frog Hollow Tavern for a menu that features local and regionally-grown seasonal ingredients like savory greens in dishes such as grilled boneless quail. Another locally-minded kitchen, Rooster’s Beak also showcases regional ingredients and beers. Or for an interesting take on Spanish tapas, head to Bee’s Knees Tapas, a restaurant that puts an international spin on tapas with dishes like the “Sesame Leaf Roll.”

Speaking of eclectic, you’ll want to check out the James Brown Exhibit at the Augusta Museum of History. And don’t forget to celebrate what brought you to Augusta in the first place — the grand tradition of golf – at this museum, where you’ll also find life-size bronze statues of golf greats like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

Reaching the museum in downtown Augusta is easy – just take the Saturday trolley tour, which departs from the Augusta Visitor Center (that’s about a 7-minute ride from the Augusta Golf Club). Also worth checking out on Saturday – in case, for some reason, all the Masters action leaves you needing time to decompress — is the Augusta Market for local crafts and foods and a Moonlight Music Cruise along the Augusta Canal.

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