See the West on a Harley Thinking of new ways to get...

TRAVEL SMARTS

January 09, 2000|By Tricia Eller

See the West on a Harley

Thinking of new ways to get together with the family this year? Ride America Motorcycle Tours has a suggestion: Rev up some Harley-Davidsons and hit the road. Three seven-day journeys follow some of America's most scenic and least traveled roads through Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, stopping along the way to take in the flavors of small-town life and linger beside national landmarks.

The Southwest Tour runs April through June with each excursion beginning Sunday morning in Phoenix, closing the first day at Sedona and continuing through the week to Payson, Pinetop, Safford, Bisbee and Tucson. Travelers check out Montezuma Castle National Monument, Fort Apache Indian Reservation and Coronado Trail.

The 1,200-mile Yellowstone Tour is available in July, September and October, and starts in Missoula, Mont. Guests head into the mountains through Reynold's Pass and into Yellowstone National Park, eventually landing in Cody, home of Buffalo Bill.

August is host to the Glacier Tour, a cruise highlighting Glacier National Park, the Rocky Mountains and Swan River.

Tour prices depend on which of eight Harley-Davidson models is selected for the ride: $1,995 for the Sportster and $2,495 for all other models. Companion riders pay $695. The prices include fuel, lodging, insurance and transportation from the airport. Guests must have valid motorcycle licenses and be 25 years or older to join the tours, which are limited to six bikes with two riders each. For information and reservations, go to www.rideamerica.com or call 888-781-RIDE.

Cunard planning largest cruise ship

Cunard Line, a cruise ship leader since 1839, has announced its plans for the world's largest passenger ship. Slated to debut in 2003, the still-unnamed vessel will have a hull spanning the length of more than three football fields and a stack towering 20 stories above the keel.

As impressive as the size may be the ship's promised opulence. Designers chose styles reminiscent of the recent "Titanic" movie with "grand staircases" and an "extravagant amount of space." Cunard's latest project -- billed Project Queen Mary -- will carry 2,500 guests and more than 1,000 staff members. Features include a maritime museum, a computer center and an onboard microbrewery. Also featured will be Cunard's characteristic spa and health center, which it introduced in 1911.

The top speed of the ship will hover around 30 knots (about 35 mph), just under the 32.5 knots of Cunard's flagship, the Queen Elizabeth 2 -- the fastest passenger ship and a lavish precursor to the Project Queen Mary. The new ship's ticket prices will be comparable to the QE2's, from $2,500 to $25,590 for a six-day trans-Atlantic voyage. For information, call 800-7-CUNARD or online at www.cunardline.com.

Floating over Las Vegas

It's official. You can now do just about anything in Las Vegas, including charter a blimp. Vegas.com, a sort-of catch-all compilation Web site of Vegas attractions, is sponsoring the Vegas.com Airship, the only blimp offering rides to the public, for a fee, of course. Monday through Thursday guests rent a space on the nine-passenger floating flier for $179, $199 Friday through Saturday, and $229 for the daily sunset champagne cruise. Each flight lasts about an hour, and travels about 45 miles an hour at a height of 1,000 feet. The dot-com-dirigible takes off nightly from the VisionAir Terminal at the North Las Vegas Airport. Transportation to and from your hotel is included in the ticket price. Call 877-LV-BLIMP or go to www.vegas.com/blimp/index.html to book a flight.

A site for college students

United Airlines recently launched its College Travel Network Web site aimed at students and recent graduates. The page promotes United travel by offering discounts, planners and bonuses. Users can search among fares from 500 airlines for the lowest or register for frequent flier miles, including a 10,000-mile bonus upon graduation. The site also offers a personalized planner for storing trip information or ideas gleaned from links to hostel listings, study-abroad programs and exchange rates. Go to www.collegetravelnetwork.com to test it out.

Mysteries around the world

If you have the winter itch to travel, but the holidays have left you short on cash, the Literate Traveller bookstore offers a wallet-friendly compromise complete with adventurous suspense. "Around the World in 80 Mysteries," a free catalog compiled by travel and mystery book specialists, suggests trips around the globe without having to leave the couch. Travel aboard the luxurious Orient Express from Istanbul to Calais with Agatha Christie's classic or spend an evening in the Judean desert searching for a holy relic in Lionel Davidson's "The Menorah Men." Other destinations range from Scotland to Egypt, each with its own enigma to unravel. To order the catalog or purchase one of the 80 books, call 800-850-2665 or go to www.literatetraveller.com.

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