Where’s Richie? Visiting the Grand Canyon on his cross-country trek

Where’s Richie? Join me on a cross country adventure as we travel the byways of America. Our first stop is at the Grand Canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world. We’re driving 3,000 miles from coast to shining coast.
The weather has been very nice at the canyon, except for a brief shower in the afternoon. We’ve heard practically every language on the trails, Chinese, French, German, Romanian and many we couldn’t even identify.
I also met a couple from my hometown of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, as well as a young man from Pasadena, a woman from Glascow, Scotland, and a family from Cambridge, England.
All are enjoying the huge national park, which offers so many activities and services. All manned by friendly rangers and staff who really seem to enjoy their work.
Check out my Touts at richirwinsgvn on Twitter. I thought I would give the minivideos a chance to show some of the splendor of the canyon as well as tips that will keep you safe.

La Quinta Resort offers special weekend rates

After its popular new 5 p.m. Sunday checkout, La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST have introduced an added special benefit for summer weekend travelers.

Between now and Aug. 25, the Palm Springs area resort is offering Friday and Saturday night rates starting at $129 for casita accommodations and $149 for poolside casita locations. The preferred rates currently are available for all weekends prior to Labor Day and present an exceptional opportunity for summer guests to experience the property’s 41 legendary swimming pools.

For details or room, spa or dining reservations at La Quinta Resort and PGA WEST, please visit http://www.laquintaresort.com or call 760 564 4111. All rates are based on availability. An added $27 daily resort fee for all reservations provides complimentary parking; daily newspaper;local, toll-free, and credit card calls (no access fee); high speed Internet access; golf bag storage; transfers to and from PGA WEST and driving range use.

Festival d’Opéra de Québec begins July 24

The third edition of the Festival d’Opéra de Québec will run from July 24 to August 5. This year’s program reflects the organizers’ desire to celebrate the lyrical arts with opera lovers and the general public through both traditional and more innovative activities.

Once again, the Opera Festival has succeeded in drawing a major international show. In association with Ex Machina, the Festival will present La Damnation de Faust, an opera that has had rave reviews in New York, Paris and Tokyo.

Produced by Robert Lepage and directed by Giuseppe Grazioli, this masterpiece will be held in the Louis-Fréchette auditorium at the Grand Théâtre de Québec on July 25 (8 p.m.), 27 (2 p.m.), and 29 and 31 (8 p.m.).

Jazz Jubilee swings into Mammoth this weekend

25th Annual Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee | July 10-14

Experience the spectacular Sierras to the sounds of some of the world’s finest jazz musicians from July 10-14 in Mammoth.  Cajun, big band, swing, 50s & 60s rock ‘n’ roll, Dixieland and straight ahead jazz – fun for all! Check out the website at Mammothmountain.com for schedules and the different venues.

Don’t miss a downbeat! Package your Jazz Jubilee badge with great lodging in accommodations near all the concert venues.  Discounted Jazz Jubilee lodging packages are available now to make to most of this exciting event!

More Info Lodging Deals


DoubleTree resorts offer special Fourth of July activities

Want to get away for the Fourth of July but don’t want to drive far? DoubleTree by Hilton is offering special activities, such as watching fireworks from the roof top.

Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort— Get the best seat in the house for the Fourth of July fireworks display over the beautiful Santa Barbara waterfront.   After the fireworks Thursday night, guests can continue to celebrate all weekend with activities such as cookie decorating, complimentary poolside crafts and a movie night under the stars.

Hotel Maya, A DoubleTree by Hilton – Fuego, the modern, Latin infused indoor-outdoor restaurant and lounge at Hotel Maya in Long Beach, puts a real spark in this Fourth of July holiday celebration with a tasty Independence Day Barbecue. Enjoy cool, live Latin fusion entertainment and sensational fireworks over Queensway Bay with spectacular views of the downtown skyline, Queen Mary and Pacific Ocean.

Rocky Mountaineer offers new coastal passage from Seattle


For the first time, Rocky Mountaineer brings the Canadian Rockies closer to Seattle with its new Coastal Passage route. Rocky Mountaineer is a Canadian luxury train travel company offering unique vacation opportunities through the Rocky Mountains by rail.

The Coastal Passage route offers three-day trips beginning in Seattle and journeying through western Canada, featuring stops in Vancouver, Kamloops, Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff.

Passengers can stretch their legs at each stop during adventurous sightseeing tours and activities including ice field and glacier excursions, gondola rides and helicopter tours.

The Rocky trains provide three different service levels. Passengers who travel via GoldLeaf service enjoy the sites from a bi-level glass-domed coach and dine from a gourmet menu. SilverLeaf Service passengers also enjoy hot entrée meals and complimentary luggage delivery to hotels along the way. RedLeaf passengers still receive luxury service and outdoor viewing between coaches. To view rail routes and vacation packages, visit Rocky Mounaineer online.

Royal Caribbean holds sale on cruises


Sail anywhere the sea can take you onboard ships with Royal Caribbean International. Through June 12, reserve any cruise departing from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, 2014 to enjoy up to $200 to spend onboard* plus a 50% reduced deposit*. Reserve your cruise now – choose your length of sailing below.


Cruise Length Onboard Credit Reduced Deposit
5 Nights or Less $50 per stateroom $50 USD/CAD
6 – 9 Nights $100 per stateroom $125 USD/CAD
10 Nights or Longer $200 per stateroom $225 USD/CAD

Point Reyes National Seashore to hold Trails Festival

On June 1, Point Reyes National Seashore will hold a Trails Festival from 10 AM - 4PM in the Bear Valley Picnic Area. The Trails Festival encourages visitors to spend time outdoors and improve their health while getting to know this beautiful park’s 150 miles of trails.

The festival features 25 booths with information on park programs and ways for the public to enjoy their park. Partners on site include REI, Marin Horse Council, KIND: Healthy Snacks, KWMR 90.5 FM, the Point Reyes Hostel, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, health and nutrition experts and more.

The day begins with a volunteer project on the Woodpecker Trail at 9:30 in the picnic area. The day also includes an outdoor concert from noon to 3:30 pm by the Easy Leaves Duo, a kids corner featuring outdoor games and art activities, trail snacks and more. A bilingual “Family Nature Walk” to Divide Meadow and back will start at 10:30 at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

Big Bear offering half off lodging this Memorial Day

Big Bear Lake Resort Association is offering 50 percent off lodging accommodations this Memorial Day Weekend for a three-night stay with check-in starting May 24.

The special offer requires a three-night stay, is valid for new reservations only, and must be mentioned at the time of booking. There is limited availability, participating lodges only, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply, and it cannot be used with any other specials or promotions.

The Memorial Day Weekend Special Offer is a one-time 72-hour sale that is available online at www.bigbear.com Monday, May 20, 2013 at 9 a.m. to Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9 a.m. or by phone at 800-424-4232 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (May 20-23).