Posts tagged with "biking"

6 Choices to Make Your Mental & Physical Goals a Success in 2019

According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week in February. Why? Because dramatic and immediate changes are not sustainable long-term.

So this year, make 2019 not a year of resolutions or diets but one of incremental changes to instill habits that create real long-lasting results. Here are 6 tips:

Do What You Enjoy:

Commit to trying new things or even old things to remind yourself of what you enjoy. This is especially true for keeping active and fulfilling your body’s desire for movement and exercise. This can be taking frequent walks through nature, biking, dancing, hiking, or yoga. Start taking ballroom dancing lessons that you promised yourself you would try years ago. Take a barre method class where you can let your inner ballerina shine. Better yet, put that music on full blast while you are preparing dinner and dance like no one’s watching. It is not about perfection, it is about finding what you love to do and what brings a smile to your face, then it becomes fun and not something you want to do.

Add Things, Don’t Remove Them:

If your goal is to improve your nutrition to lose weight and improve your energy levels, try adding foods into your diet like vegetables. Find fun ways to prepare them to fit your taste buds. Often times if you start with a deprivation statement like, “I am going to stop eating all carbs,” then the only thing you will think about is carbs. When you introduce something new and start noticing the benefits of that change, then you are often inspired to move on to add the next change. Think addition not deprivation!

Stop Eating by 6pm:

If you want to encourage the body to burn fat for energy, stop eating by 6 or 7pm. This allows the body to put most of its energy into rejuvenating and restoring the body for the next day. It also gives the body all time it needs to use up all the sugar storage in the liver so then it can start burning the fat cells for needed energy.

Take 5 Minutes to Stop & Breathe:

If one of your goals is to start being more mindful or to simply start incorporating some relaxation techniques to help you react to stressful events with more ease then perhaps going from not meditating to promising to meditate every day for 45 minutes a day may be a bit overwhelming.

Try this simple strategy, wake up in the morning take a deep breath, record in a journal or on your phone one thing you are grateful for, appreciate or just makes you happy. Read it out loud and then follow with 5 slow breaths and really feel that joy. This way you are starting the habit and getting your body used to what relaxation and being in a state of gratitude feels like. During the day when things get hectic, pull out that book or play that recording and take 5 deep breaths. Fast, easy and often times very effective for decreasing the effects of those stress reactions.

Go to Bed 15 Minutes Earlier:

Work on getting a good night’s rest. A healthy amount of sleep helps you to be more alert, make better decisions, maintain a healthier weight and helps you to look and feel younger. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each week for a month so you total an hour more of sleep. Remove all electronic devices in the bedroom that gives off artificial light and creating a bedtime routine that signals the body that it is time for bed.

Spend Your Time with Like-Minded People:

Make an effort to spend more quality time reconnecting with family or friends.  Individuals who have social connections suffer less symptoms of depression and may live longer healthier, lives. Also, establishing a support group can help to stay on track with our goals. This may look like once every two weeks to a month spending some time with your girlfriends or skyping or face timing them to catch up.

Making these gradual changes can help you to create habits that will help to feel more energized, feel less stressed, think more clearly and make better choices for you. With each choice comes the opportunity to be the person you have always envisioned.

Eudene Harry MD is the medical director for Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, a wellness practice devoted to integrative holistic care. She is a veteran physician with over 20 years of experience. Dr. Harry earned her medical degree and performed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University.

Dr. Harry is the author of three books designed to empower the individual to get started on their path to optimal health. She has published extensively on the topics of reducing stress, healthy lifestyle choices, and regaining youthfulness. Her most recent book, Be Iconic: Healthy and Sexy at Any Ageis now available on Amazon.

FREDERICKSBURG

By Alexandria Baiz × Vaughn Lowery

Fredericksburg, Texas the destination of historical sites and culture welcomes us. With the hidden treasures of food, wine and goods the Texas Hill Country is a must-visit.

Beginning with a stay at the one and only Hanger Hotel. This hotel has a WWII hangar of the romantic 1940’s to it’s design with fine woods and custom carpets. Famous for the Observation Deck on the second floor with views adjacent to the airport to see the planes come and go from one end of the runway to the end.

Later a stop to the Pioneer Museum Complex preserved from the 19th century German Pioneer days. In the mid-1840s Germans faced every obstacle to come to Texas and create a unique German colony in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The Museum strives to preserve and tell this story. With a combination museum and historical site, it reaches over 3.5 acres on Main Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

Dinner at Das Peach Haus that houses delicious jams, jellies and sauces made by Fischer and Wieser Speciality Foods. The Historic roadside fruit stand offers gourmet products with unique flavor combinations. The Tasting Room offers tastings from two Texas wineries, which change out every two months. Vintage wines are paired with international assortment of cured meats and cheeses. Fischer and Wieser include more than 70-award-winning products, which each inspire culinary adventures around the world by being able to purchase online.

Clear River Pecan does things differently with hot-from-the-oven baked goods, homemade ice cream and house deli. Homemade ice cream with high-quality ingredients has been voted as the third best ice cream in Texas. For a bite to eat the deli and salad selection is notable with house favorites like the Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wrap. Fresh baked goods can satisfy any sweet tooth with an Apple Strudel, Peach Cobbler and everything in between.

Tour at the George H.W. Bush Gallery at The National Museum of the Pacific War dedicated exclusively to telling the story of the Pacific Theater in World War II. The Museum is noted for its historic materials with iconic elements of the Pacific War era. Guided tours debut the newly renovated Pacific Combat Zone, a realistic environment for a deep understanding of the momentous struggle between Allied Forces and Japanese forces.

For lunch we enjoy an Arts District Stroll through the Peach Tree Gift Gallery and Tea Room. With the Cottage style restaurant, you will find a combination of fresh, homemade breads, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. For over 39 years this family owned business has been a destination in Fredericksburg, because of the seasonal fruits and vegetables they use.

After lunch, we took an art tour through the streets of Fredericksburg to meet with the area’s top galleries. Insight Gallery represents the cities artists and sculptors that today work on landscape, figurative, impressionistic, still life, wildlife and western art. The Good ART Company is beautiful with a contemporary fusion in a restored 4,000+ square foot historical building with high ceilings and limestone walls. The gallery features an array of genres with some of the best regional, national, and international artists. Koch Gallery owned and operated by Bert E. Koch a trader/broker for traditional, contemporary and modern Native American Art. For over 30 years it continues its long tradition of providing important works of art from all major cultural regions in North America. Artisans Gallery makes your artistic dreams reality with unique pieces that come in every medium, size and price range. RS Hanna a jewel for fine arts with original works of acclaimed artists. Workings range from oil, watercolor, bronze and wood. Gallery 330 is the newest addition to the art scene representing contemporary established artists whose works include sculpture, painting and prints, serigraphs and watercolors.

The Holiday Wine Trail takes us to Texas’s countryside to travel along Wine Road 290 with visit to award winning wineries.

The trail begins at Stout’s Trattoria at Grape Creek Vineyards a 100-acre vineyard estate. With oaks and vines surrounding the tasting rooms there is a romantic Tuscan setting that is truly unforgettable. The Vineyards have won over 100 medals in the last two years for their wines.

In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, 4.0 Cellars offers a relaxing and elegant setting to discover the infamous Texas Wines. In a private tasting room we enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing. With four award-winning chocolate truffles from local chocolatier with four carefully selected dry red wines.

Dinner at August E’s, known for it’s organic produce and superb local suppliers. August E inspired by his Thai roots and years in various culinary pursuits throughout the world has created a Nouveau Texas Cuisine. Utilizing ingredients like: Niman ranch Natural Premium Aged Angus steaks and local farmers fruits and vegetables year round. Menu specials change seasonally based on the creative mood of Chef Leu like duck from Maple Leaf Farms and Sashimi Grade Fish.

A favorite in the Texas Hill, we enjoy dinner at Otto’s German Bistro. Menu changes weekly with the season so each visit is an exciting adventure. Dedicated to local, organic produce ingredients that are always fresh and the highest quality.

We enjoy breakfast at Java Ranch a locally owned coffee stop. The ranch serves the finest hot or iced coffee drinks anywhere including lattes, cappuccinos, Hill Country roasted brewed coffee, Americanos and mochas. To start the day off we dive in a breakfast taco or kolaches, house favorites.

We take a visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park for a “Texas style” morning. During his administration, Johnson signed more education bills into law than any other president. In respect to that we see his first school where he signed the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education act of 1965. Other stops include the family cemetery and the LBJ Ranch Show.

In the afternoon we endow in lunch and a beer tasting at Altstadt Brewery Fredericksburg’s newest brewery an authentic Bavarian brewery. Dedicated to creating the purest drinking beers the 120-acre old world destination features a fine dining restaurant, brewery tours and a beautiful venue. Brewery exclusives include traditional brews like Schwarzbier, a traditional German “Black Beer.”

With over 150 specialty shops, shopping is one of the primary reasons visitors come to Fredericksburg. In store we see everything from clothing, upscale home accessories, to unique collectibles and more perfect items for holiday shopping. Blackchalk Home and Laundry originally an old laundromat had been transformed into an electric home goods store. The hip store features gifts, kitchen goods, and one of a kind rugs. The infamous Christmas Store open year round specializes in collectibles. For collectors, this store is paradise with Department 56 miniature villages and Christopher Radko blown glass ornaments. The Hill Country Outfitters and The Grasshopper offer products to fit the hill country lifestyle in downtown Fredericksburg. Brands like Ugg and The North Face are housed in the Outfitters. The Narrow Path Tasting Room inside is an intimate space with French cafe feelings in the air.

To continue the Holiday Wine Trail, a stop at Signor Vineyard in the rolling hills of Central Texas. Where the Pedernales River meets Grape Creek, established by a friendship spanning three generations of two Texas families. Their focus is growing premium varietal fruit with soulful wines reflective of the unique terroir.

Our stay is perfect timing for the Fredericksburg’s 61st Annual Holiday Home Tour. A self guided tour showcasing unique local homes decorated in their holiday finest. With more than 22 vendors each year selling personal gifts, homemade foods and holiday items.

For dinner we dine at Navajo Grill, which encompasses an unusual blend of Hill Country craftsman design. Enjoying Southern cuisine composed with old and New Mexican flavors with a touch of Creole & Caribbean influences. Specialties like the Sunday Chicken Fried Steak dinner are served with housemade sauces and dressings.

After dinner drinks at Elk Store Winery & Distillery. Since 1895 the business has carried a family tradition that pays homage to the spirit of realizing the American Dream. In the footsteps of their great grandfather Todd Smajstrla along with Scott Hladky, produced moonshine, gin, rum, and whiskey. Since then, the business serves Incredible wines from all over the world. Along with small batches of handmade liquors by the bottle or cocktails.

Dinner at Rathskeller a full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner spot in downtown Fredericksburg. The menu selection is extremely versatile featuring German dishes and daily specials. On Friday and Saturday nights enjoy live music that house the restaurant.

Nothing better than the taste of handmade tortillas for breakfast at Hilda’s Tortillas. Hilda’s is a small family owned and operated business. Specializing in authentic Mexican fare their breakfast tacos and burritos are a must try. Twice a week 300 or more pounds of tortilla chips are produced within the restaurant.

For some fresh air we bike the quiet country backroads with Jack and Adams Bicycles. At Jack and Adams you can rent out Road, Tri-bike, Cruisers and even kid bicycles and accessories from a variety of brands. The Hill Country scenes with its rolling hills and panoramic views, is considered the cycling capital of Texas.

In addition to the speciality shops we visited above there is a collection of shops specializing in different festive treats. Emma + Ollie bakeshop takes classic treats we grew up loving and elevated them. The shop prides themselves on using only fresh ingredients; no processed foods, no artificial sweeteners, just pure dessert. The founders Emma and Ollie wanted the shop to feel as if customers stepped into an upscaled version of their own grandma’s kitchen. Chocolat store creator, Lecia Duke, was the first to introduce European-Style, liquid centered chocolate in the U.S. The truffle chocolates are of course a house favorite as the delicate shell gives way to the pure liquid flavor casades in your mouth. In addition there is also colette’s, creams, silk fudges, nut clusters, barks, and caramels. Fredericksburg Pecan Company provides fine quality of pecan products grown in the Texas Hill Country. Owners are dedicated to providing excellent quality pecans available for online order at reasonable prices with the best customer service. Pecans are flavored and glossed in everything from pecan brittle to pecan coffee.

Rustlin Rob’s Texas Gourmet Food is not your ordinary gourmet food, not limited to people who cook but to “foodies” of all ages. The store is enjoyable because it caters to anyone who loves to eat. With over 350 gourmet foods we can sample from ranging from peanut butters, mustards, bread mixes, and some 5 Alarm hot sauces.

Fredericksburg Pie Company mission is to serve pie that is as good as, or better than your mothers or grandmothers made. In store pies are made from scratch and selections change daily with up to 20 kinds of pie. While here, we enjoy an option of coffee, milk, and more with our slice of pie and even a book selection. Sugar free pies are also available with a call in a day before.

Lunch at the Farm Haus Bistro in the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, with an American menu with French and Italian influences. Owners Dick and Rosemary Estenson take us on a tour of the B&B Cottages based upon the design of the early historic Fredericksburg “Sunday Houses. These houses are inspired by German settlers who built these small “city houses” to use on the weekends to buy provisions and attend Sunday church. We also visit the Nature Spa area dedicated to a truly unique relaxing experience.

Exploring Main Street is incredible when we can enjoy Eisban, an outdoor ice skating on real ice. Alongside Marketplace and the Christmas Pyramid. Afterwards a trip to Luckenbach, Texas made famous by Waylon Jennings’ and Willie Nelson’s 1976 classic country hit.

For our last destination Dinner and wine pairing at local Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant. Chef/Owner Ross Burtwell’s wish is to create a lasting impression of culinary craft where guest feel at home. Known for his speciality in preparing the freshest seafood, Certified Angus Beef, wild game and ranch fare. The wine selection is also superb with over 75 selections from around the State of Texas. Tripadvisor has ranked the restaurant Top 10 in the nation and we know why.

The good art company, gallery, art, Fredericksburg Texas,  360 MAGAZINE

August E's, 360 MAGAZINE,  Fredericksburg Texas

War museum, Fredericksburg Texas, 360 MAGAZINE,  Vaughn Lowery

Altstadt Brewery, Fredericksburg Texas, 360, 360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery

Chocolat, lecia Duke, 360 MAGAZINE, Fredericksburg, Vaughn Lowery

GRINGO IN GRANADA

Gringo in Granada

By Robert Grant

Parque Central is the perfect inception to your exploration of Granada on a summer day. To stand here is to truly be transported back in time. As one of the oldest European settled cities in the Americas, the remnants of the colonialist era endure here brushed in a palette that seemingly exploded from an artist’s wildest imagination. The square, encased by Spanish-style churches and government buildings is a busy place. Horse-drawn carriages line the perimeter awaiting tourists to hire them and vendors fill the center offering a bit of the place to take home.

Old meets new in Granada. A quick stroll down the avenues will expose you to the beautiful provincial architecture whose brilliance is not lost by the splash of color that the locals have introduced. The vibrance of the city is best experienced on foot and you’ll easily fall in love with this bike-friendly town.

Like most of Nicaragua, the city of Granada is surrounded by lakes and volcanoes offering a real treat for the adventurer in you. After grabbing a bite near the square (plenty of eateries nearby) take a tour using one of the local services. If you haven’t booked an itinerary beforehand, most restaurant and shop owners can point you in the direction of a tour agency. Leo Tours comes highly recommended and takes groups to Las Isletas de Granada (Islets of Granada) and the nearby volcano Mombacho. If you’re touring the volcano it’s advised to arrive early in the morning (around 5 am) as this is an option that consumes an entire day.

The trek to Las Isletas begins with a bike ride from the city to the nearby port from which you can board a motor boat or kayak to traverse the waters of Lake Nicaragua. Wear comfy shoes and be sure to pack a bathing suit as things are soon to get a little wet and wild. Leo tours offers both bilingual and Spanish guides -depending on your proficiency- who will help you navigate the lake and provide tons of historic information.

The best way to experience the beauty and tranquility of Las Isletas is to go via kayak. If you haven’t kayaked before be advised that this tour is not for the faint of heart. There are no rapids, but lake Nicaragua is a massive lake-the 2nd largest in Central America and 19th in the world- that reaches depths of 85 ft. The tour itself takes about 3 1/2 hours with 2 1/2 of that spent on the water.  Once underway you’ll sail past some of the most beautiful wildlife and flora you’ve ever seen. Formed by the eruption of nearby Mombacho thousands of years ago, the islets are numerous are very unique ecologically. Various species of birds and particularly monkeys can be seen here before arriving at the famous isla de mono (monkey island). The islets on the periphery of the lake are also home to many wealthy Nicaraguans. Former presidents, executives and foreign diplomats take residence in the many mansions that line the path.

A good guide will make this tour very memorable for you and take great photos while giving you lots of information. If you opt to take the tour later in the day (last leaves at 2:30 pm) it’s the ideal time to enjoy the sunset on the lake.

Your visit to Nicaragua is not complete without a stop in Granada, the crown jewel of this volcanic nation. A less known oasis is quickly becoming a well known tourist attraction. For a stop a that’s affordable and gringo friendly, look no further.

Sports Tours International Anticipates Banner Year for Amateur Cyclists

Cyclo sportives and Gran Fondos are lengthy, challenging, mass participation cycling events that follow the same routes conquered by professional racers. Participating in one provides the opportunity to ride on some of the most notable and legendary climbs and descents in competitive cycling history.

Sports Tours International (https://www.sportstoursinternational.co.uk/) offers travel and support packages to ride in a wide variety of the world’s finest cyclo sportive and Gran Fondo events. They secure entries for many annually over-subscribed events including perennial favorites such as La Marmotte, Maratona d les Dolomites and L’ Etape du Tour. These are also quite popular with North Americans looking to combine a cycling event with a European vacation.

L’Étape du Tour 2018 on July 8 is the only cyclo sportive that allows amateur riders to test themselves on closed roads on the exact same route as a Tour de France stage. It is almost always in the Pyrenees or the Alps and often falls on a Tour rest day so it makes a great highlight in any trip to follow Tour de France’s mountain stages. L’Étape du Tour 2018 takes in stage 10 of the Tour de France, Annecy to Le Grand Bornand in the Alps. Riding out from Lake Annecy will be 15,000 cyclists on a 169km route that takes in Col de la Croix Fry, Col de Romme and an unusual gravel section. The finish is at Le Grand-Bornand, a resort in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France.

Riders and guests will enjoy a festival of cycling over the weekend in Annecy, an alpine town known for canals and cobbled streets. Sports Tours International’s L’Étape du Tour 2018 four-day/three-night tour package includes guaranteed entry. The company is one of only a handful of operators who can guarantee entry to the event. The package includes accommodations at a range of hotels, round trip airport transfers from Geneva, overland bike transfer, bike rental and storage, complimentary coach accommodations for traveling companions to witness the excitement, three breakfasts, and, depending on the hotel, three dinners, staff support along the race course and more. Per person, double occupancy rates begin at £549 and go up to £699 for four-star accommodations. Self-drive packages are also available. While guaranteed, an additional cost is the actual entry fee to L’Étape du Tour 2018. For non-riders, a free coach from Annecy to the finish in Le Grand Bornand is offered with return to Annecy later in the day. See: https://www.sportstoursinternational.co.uk/event-categories/etape-du-tour/

La Marmotte Gran Fondo (French) Alps also on July 8 is an extremely tough event for the 8,500 riders. This is a 170km alpine climbing bonanza between Bourg d’Oisans and Alpe d’Huez with 5,000m of climbing. The event does not take place on closed roads but there are rolling road closures. The Marmotte is a firm favorite for foreign riders with the field containing just 20% French riders. There are no cut off points enroute.  Packages similar to L’Étape du Tour 2018 are available. See: https://www.sportstoursinternational.co.uk/events/la-marmotte/

2018 Maratona dles Dolomites on July 1 exemplifies closed road Italian Gran Fondo riding at its very best. This event with 8,500 riders is one of the toughest cycling events around, tough not for distance (138km) but for the amount of climbing packed into the route. The climbs are steeper, in general, than both the Alps and Pyrenees! Participants and guests lodge in the Alta Badia area for seven or four nights. Most hotels are on a half board basis with breakfasts and dinners included. Some have spa and wellness facilities. Packages similar to L’Étape du Tour 2018 are available. See https://www.sportstoursinternational.co.uk/events/maratona-dles-dolomites/

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on July 29 forms part of the London 2012 Olympics legacy events for cycling. This is an opportunity to cycle on closed roads around London’s many landmarks and into the county of Surrey. Most importantly for cyclo sportive riders is riding a route that replicates much of the 2012 Olympics Road Race course. Some 20,000 riders are anticipated. The new Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46-mile distance event takes place on the same day as the 100, setting off after all the “100” riders have departed. This is ideal for those wanting the RideLondon experience, without the stress of riding 100 miles. Climbs on Leith Hill and Box Hill on this ride aren’t meant to replicate the exertion it takes to climb in the Alps. The race returns to Central London for a finish on The Mall. Later in the afternoon there will also be a Pro cycling event. Packages similar to L’Étape du Tour 2018 are available. See: https://www.sportstoursinternational.co.uk/events/ridelondon/.

For more information, available packages, space availability and reservations please visit online: www.sportstoursinternational.com, email: sales@sportstoursinternational.co.uk, or call: (+44) 161 703 8161.

Sports Tours International is Europe’s leading specialist in sports travel. Since inception in 1973 they have hosted thousands of participants and spectators at major sporting events worldwide. With the tagline, Fanatical about Sport, the company’s initial roots came from a devotion to running when founder Vince Regan began taking runners to the NYC Marathon. Since the early 2000s, the company now embraces international cycling events and triathlon competitions, sports training camps and corporate hospitality.

DISCOVER SOUTH AFRICA x TAX REFUND

It is that time of the year again, when Americans start preparing their tax returns, but there’s good news as most taxpayers can expect to receive an average refund of $2,895 according to the IRS. This year, South African Tourism is once again launching its Tax Refund campaign to encourage savvy travelers and adventure seekers to make the most of their refund with an out-of-this-world trip to South Africa. Partnering with the top US travel trade partners South African Tourism unveils six new exciting packages priced between $1,700-$3,200 to reflect the average tax refund. The packages offer a variety of experiences focusing on romance, adventure and culture throughout South Africa.

 

Today’s favorable exchange rate also guarantees US travelers’ hard-earned refund money goes further than ever in South Africa. South African Tourism is also excited to collaborate with TurboTax® this season on a blog post inspired by South Africa’s 10 most Instagrammable locations which will be live onwww.blog.turbotax.intuit.com/.

 

Whether a history buff, art and culture enthusiast, foodie, adventurer or nature lover, South Africa has something to offer every discerning traveler looking for an affordable vacation. This year’s exclusive deals include:

 

 

  • Gate 1 – 8 Day South Africa Tour with Game Drives & Flights — 8 days and 6 nights
Enjoy the best of Cape Town by exploring Table Mountain and then visit either the Winelands or Cape Peninsula. After a few days in the “Mother City,” head on to Johannesburg to transfer to the safari portion of your trip. You’ll be able to spot all kinds of wildlife while enjoying South Africa’s natural beauty. From US$1699/ Per Person Sharing (includes US $260pp savings with promo code SATD260).
This week, you’ll take a deep dive into exploring Cape Town’s gorgeous sites and vibrant culture. Whether biking through Cape Point, whale watching from the golden shores, or hiking Table Mountain, you’re sure to fall in love with Cape Town. From US $1,999* Per Person Sharing.
  • Great Safaris – Zululand Express Safari — 6 days and 4 nights
Explore the beautiful coastal town of Durban to see a different side of South Africa. Here, you’ll experience the historical melting pot of Indian and African cultures or spend a day relaxing on the beach. Afterwards, you’ll transfer to Thanda Safari Private Game Reserve to partake in game drives and learn about the Zulu tribe members that originally lived there. From US $2,195 Per Person Sharing.
  • Indus Travel – Super South Africa & Dubai — 13 Days and 9 nights
Guests can explore the vibrant city of Johannesburg and a guided tour to the Soweto Township, a cultural melting pot with a wealth of heritage sites that will fascinate any visitor. Visit Kruger National Park before continuing on to Stellenbosch in the heart of the Cape Winelands. Then Visit Cape Town, regularly voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From US$2,799* Per Person Sharing.
Enjoy scenic beauty, culture and world class restaurants in Cape Town. Marvel at spectacular views of the Atlantic seaboard from the top of Table Mountain. Explore the Cape Peninsula, on a full-day tour that offers dramatic scenery and endearing penguins. From US $2,999* Per Person Sharing.
Experience the perfect mix of safari and city with this trip to South Africa. After 3 nights of game drives in malaria-free Pilanesberg Game Reserve, couples can retreat to the beach suburb of Cape Town to relax. From US $3,199* Per Person Sharing.

 

 

“South Africa is blessed with breathtaking natural scenery, world-class safari experiences, and adrenaline pumping adventure activities; and with celebrations around the Nelson Mandela Centenary planned throughout 2018, now is the ideal time to visit,” said Bangu Masisi, President of South African Tourism, Americas. “These packages from our partners showcase the variety of exciting travel experiences that are made possible by using your tax refund”. To book these packages or view additional South Africa travel deals, please visit southafrica.net/deals. For more information on South Africa’s rich and diverse offerings visit www.southafrica.net, follow @SouthAfrica on Twitter and @VisitSouthAfrica on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

Western River Expeditions

Some of the best whitewater in North America froths deep within the canyons of Arizona and Utah on the Colorado and Green Rivers. People hopeful of river rafting here in the 2018 season are advised that the Grand Canyon portion of the river is nearly sold out for the season with space beginning to fill for 2019 trips as well.

However, comparable adventure options on the water and on land are still available if you follow the Colorado River north into Utah.

When active travelers seek experiences similar to the Grand Canyon that also combine spectacular scenery with wild white water, veteran tour operator Western River Expeditions suggests that a Cataract Canyon raft trip is as rewarding and remarkable in its own way.

“Utah’s Cataract Canyon, deep within Canyonlands National Park, is near enough in scale, appearance and proximity to Grand Canyon that it works the same kind of magic found in the Grand herself. Just one canyon upstream, above Lake Powell on the Colorado River System is hands down the best alternative to a Grand Canyon rafting vacation,” said Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions.

Cataract Canyon begins downstream from Moab, UT at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Expanded in size and now fortified by the waters of the Green, the Colorado River carves a deep chasm through the red rock heart of Canyonlands National Park. During spring runoff, the ride can rival the most legendary whitewater anywhere in the world. The remainder of the year river rafters are treated to fun Class III-IV rapids interspersed with calm stretches ideal for a swim under spellbinding canyon walls and geologic formations. Ample time is allotted for side canyon hikes and exploration of ancient Native American sites. The adventure ends with a scenic flight over Canyonlands on the return to Moab’s Canyonlands Field Airport.

Western’s Cataract Canyon 4-day trip offers departures in May, June, July and August. A per person double rate for adults (ages 16+) is $1,520; and $1,130 for ages 10-15. The rate includes equipment and guides for rafting, hiking and camping, plus guide-prepared meals, transfers from Moab to the river and the return scenic flight over Canyonlands National Park and shuttle to Moab. A two-day program on this stretch of the river is also offered in May, June and July. See Western’s Cataract Canyon Express, https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-express.

Also on the Colorado River north of the Grand Canyon Western River Expeditions offers a four-day Westwater Canyon Rafting & Multisport Adventure combining rafting on Class III-V whitewater plus a Hummer Safari off-road adventure. Guests return evenings to Red Cliffs Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River for overnights and breakfasts. Westwater Canyon was named “The West’s Best Short Whitewater Trip” by National Geographic. This program is available June through September at $695 per adult (age 13+) and $670 for age 12 (minimum required).

Full and half-day rafting programs on the Colorado River out of Moab are also available from Western’s affiliate, the Moab Adventure Center. See: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-river-rafting

Looking further north on the Utah’s Green River, families will discover five days of rafting through Desolation Canyon featuring 60 playful rapids and captivating off-river hiking.  After a spectacular scenic flight from Moab to a dramatic desert plateau, the adventure begins through 40 million years of geological time. Think outlaw hideouts, ancient dinosaur habitats and Fremont Native American petroglyphs. The minimum age for this trip is 5, making it ideal for young families. The rate for adults (16+) is $1,645 and $1,025 for ages 5-15. Departures are May through August. See: https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon.

Western’s vacation consultants also suggest adding extra time in the area to explore the many national and state parks nearby. Guided adventures out of Moab, Utah, the undisputed adventure capital of the West encompass activities like rappelling, canyoneering, biking, hiking, flightseeing, and four-wheeling the surrounding landscape. For ideas and details see https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/. Some popular ideas:

• Tour Arches National Park

• Air Tours of Arches, Canyonlands and Monument Valley

• Hot Air Ballooning

• 4×4 Hummer Safari overlooking the Colorado River

• Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Colorado River

• Zipline, Canyoneering and Rock Climbing

• Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, Jeep Rentals

• Day rafting trips in Castle Valley or Westwater Canyon

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2018 catalog, and for questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the interactive website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

About Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for twelve consecutive years.

Dark Sky Movement

Once monthly from May through October Holiday River Expeditions (http://www.bikeraft.com/) shares the mystery and romance of the Dark Sky with star-struck guests who are participating in one of this veteran travel company’s 2018 Stargazing adventures.

“It’s easy to get excited about this special trip series. Seeing how it has deepened our guests’ understanding and our guides’ awareness of the night sky is reason enough to offer these trips,” said Lauren Wood, Holiday Trip Director. “The inexplicable boundlessness you feel staring up at the stars is just a bonus.”

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Cycling Across Ireland’s West Coast

Journey from Ireland’s Extreme South to Far North on NEW Cycling Adventure

Wilderness Ireland launches 400-mile Wild Atlantic Way trip for 2018

Wilderness Ireland, specialists in crafting outdoor adventure experiences, has launched a new 12-day bike tour covering over 400 miles along the The Wild Atlantic Way, travelling from Ireland’s extreme south to its northernmost point, through three National Parks and eight counties.

The epitome of an adventure challenge, this is the bike tour of a lifetime. Cycling the best of western Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, travelers will traverse wild mountain passes, find secret beaches, admire steep cliffs, and visit quaint villages while taking in the dramatic coastal scenery from one extreme of Ireland’s west coast to another.

This bucket list journey begins at Mizen Head, Ireland’s southernmost point, with a scenic ride past rocky coves and fishing villages following beautiful coastline. Cross the rugged peninsulas and mountain passes of Cork and Kerry and pass through the remote and suitably-named Black Valley (the last place in Ireland to get electricity) before exploring Killarney National Park. On a short break from the bikes, island hop to the famed Aran Islands, a final outpost of the Irish language.

Cyclists continue biking along Connemara’s rocky shoreline, offering some of the most impressive Atlantic panoramas, including the world-famous Sky Road. Visit two of Ireland’s three glacial fjords before covering the quiet back lanes of Yeats Country – Sligo’s stunning, windswept landscapes that have inspired much of the famous poet’s writing. Bike through the Bluestack Mountains of Donegal, exploring its rugged landscapes before ending at Malin Head, Ireland’s northernmost point, a rocky headland that feels so alien, it has been featured in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.

While expert guides interpret this wild place, travelers can focus on the challenge of biking the Wild Atlantic Way, ticking off classic Irish biking routes such as the Ring of Kerry, Corkscrew Hill, and Mamore Gap.

Wilderness Ireland’s new Wild Atlantic Way bike tour includes 11-nights’ accommodation in unique guesthouses, most meals, ride support, luggage transfers, admission and entrance fees. The trip runs July 28 – August 8 and August 18 – 29, 2018, from approx. USD$3,900.

For more information about Wilderness Ireland, visit www.wildernessireland.com.

Bike Messengers x The Red Bulletin

(Article Courtesy of The Red Bulletin)

Every year, bike messengers from all over the continent gather at the North American Cycle Courier Championships to compete, carouse and commiserate. This is their story.

Hunger pangs give way to an enthusiastic greeting as Nico Cabrera is among the last to arrive at a watering hole in Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhood. He’s welcomed by a cadre of misfits whose belligerence varies — one says he’s been drinking all day — each with unkempt hair. Most of the men and women haven’t seen the likes of a straight-edged razor in years. A guy wearing a Sponge Bob shirt has a mullet that looks straight out of “Boogie Nights” and another’s beard is so biblically long, there’s reason to question if it got caught in the wheels of the bicycle he rode to Good City Brewing, parked among some 200 others outside.

All are dressed like they just raided a Goodwill store, except Cabrera, who dons the onesy of an Olympic cyclist. There’s a reason for that: He just rode the 90 miles up to Milwaukee from Chicago, where he lives.

“Biking is more than just a job,” Cabrera says. “We race our bikes on the weekend or we go on long bike rides. We go bike camping. We just generally get around our daily lives on our bicycle. It’s a big deal when it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m taking the train today.’ ”

His shoulder-length hair, trim body and regular use of words like “rad” make him a better fit for a group of surfers on the left coast, though he was raised in suburban Chicago.

Cabrera is the most recognizable among the group. He’s here for the North American Cycle Courier Championships (NACCC, pronounced “Nack”), a conclave of the best messengers from around the world, who participate in a grueling, hours-long race that calls for competitors to have marathon-like athleticism and navigating knowhow. Cabrera is the NACCC’s reigning champion and is fresh off a third-place finish at the World Championships in Montreal.

Read the full article at The Red Bulletin

UnitedHealthcare California Challenge

More than 100 military veterans will ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles during the 2017 UnitedHealthcare California Challenge


Navy veteran Nathan DeWalt, left, rode a hand cycle through San Francisco Oct. 15 along with fellow veterans as part of the UnitedHealthcare California Challenge bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Riders will make the seven-day journey with hand cycles, recumbent cycles, adaptive bikes, traditional road bikes and custom tandems. The UnitedHealthcare California Challenge is a collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and Project Hero, a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans and first responders affected by injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives. (Photo Credit: Amy Sullivan)

 

More than 100 wounded military veterans, first responders and supporters began the 450-mile UnitedHealthcare California Challenge bike ride Oct. 15 from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center to the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Riders will make the seven-day journey with hand cycles, recumbent cycles, adaptive bikes, traditional road bikes and custom tandems. The UnitedHealthcare California Challenge is a collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and Project Hero, a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans and first responders affected by injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives. (Photo Credit: Amy Sullivan)

 

More than 100 wounded veterans gathered at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center Oct. 15 prior to the 450-mile UnitedHealthcare California Challenge bike ride from the San Francisco to Los Angeles. Riders will make the seven-day journey with hand cycles, recumbent cycles, adaptive bikes, traditional road bikes and custom tandems. The UnitedHealthcare California Challenge is a collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and Project Hero, a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans and first responders affected by injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives. (Photo Credit: Amy Sullivan)
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More than 100 wounded military veterans, first responders and supporters began the 450-mile UnitedHealthcare California Challenge bike ride Oct. 15 from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center to the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Riders will make the seven-day journey with hand cycles, recumbent cycles, adaptive bikes, traditional road bikes and custom tandems. The UnitedHealthcare California Challenge is a collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and Project Hero, a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans and first responders affected by injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives. (Full Video Credit: Espe Greenwood)