Welcome to biker town, U.S.A.

Western-style Georgia town welcomes motorcycle fans with parties and music

The Smart Traveler

May 14, 2006

PUNADILLA, GA. -- PEOPLE WHO ARE BORN TO BE wild, or at least those who enjoy raucous parties, cheap beer and rock bands, should feel right at home in a new south Georgia town that has arisen in a cow pasture.

Known as Angel City, the $2 million, Western-style town will cater to bikers, a group that often values freedom and tends to have more tattoos than taboos.

LET'S GO ROADTRIPPING USA: THE COMPLETE COAST-TO-COAST GUIDE TO AMERICA

St. Martin's Press / $24.99

This hefty volume (just over 1,000 pages) makes for an ideal companion. It discusses what to see on the road, not only in the United States but also in Canada and Mexico. It also addresses road etiquette, a growing concern in the era of road rage; road food, focusing on nonchain restaurants and regional treats; and road trip culture, including a list of essential fiction and nonfiction reads, movies to watch before you set off and music to listen to while on the road. The editors describe three essential road-trip personality types: the adventurer, outgoing and not afraid to deviate from the plan; the navigator, someone who knows how to read a map and ask for directions; and the optimist, who is fazed by nothing.

JUNE SAWYERS

CRUISING

Time to christen the big ship

A German shipyard has delivered the world's largest passenger ship, Freedom of the Seas, to Florida-based cruise operator Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The 160,000-ton cruise liner can carry about 4,000 passengers and offers several different pools, an ice skating rink and a climbing wall. It supplants the rival cruise line Cunard's Queen Mary 2, which weighs 151,400 tons. The liner is to sail mainly in the Caribbean from its home port in Miami.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

SPAS

Travel guide ranks top spots

Five stars were awarded to just two of the 125 spas visited by inspectors for the Mobil Travel Guide's 2006 edition. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan, and Spa Montage at Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, Calif., won the travel guide's top ratings. Last year, Spa Montage was the only spa to earn five stars from Mobil. In 2004, the first year Mobil began rating spas, no spa was deemed good enough for the top slot. Spas at Mandarin Oriental hotels in Washington, D.C., and Miami won four stars. To read Mobil's reviews on all the award-winning properties, visit mobiltravelguide.com.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

GEAR & GADGETS

Aero, makers of quick-inflate beds, has one especially for campers. The Comfort Camp Bag inflatable mattress comes with its own nylon sleeping bag, which has a pouch along the bottom that slips over the mattress, keeping the bag firmly in place. Then, unzip the bag and use it just like any other sleeping bag. There's even a built-in pillow. The Comfort Camp Bag comes with a rechargeable battery-operated pump that inflates the mattress in about one minute. The bed deflates in 30 seconds. Includes a stuff sack and repair kit. Comfort Camp Bag with Rechargeable Pump is $99.99 from Aero; 888-462-4468; thinkaero.com.

JUDI DASH

ON THE ROAD

RV rentals still going strong

Despite soaring gas prices, rentals for recreational vehicles are increasing. RV rental outlets are expecting a 20 percent jump in business this year compared with last year, according to preliminary results from a survey by the Recreational Vehicle Rental Association, an affiliate of the RV Dealers Association. RVs rent for an average of $150 a day during the summer including mileage, according to Cruise America RV Rentals, among the largest motor home rental firms. Mileage depends on the size of the motor home and the driving conditions. Drivers generally get seven to 13 miles a gallon.

NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

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