Archive for » February 18th, 2012«

Enjoying a Hunting Ground surprise on Super Bowl Sunday

One of the most attractive aspects of living in western Colorado
is the numerous

places to visit on public land. For the average person with a
family, job and other responsibilities of modern life, it could
take an entire lifetime to visit all the places that are just a few
hours’ drive from Montrose.

The other day, I visited a place I have viewed from U.S. 50 many
times while traveling to and from Grand Junction. To locals it is
known as the “Hunting Ground.” The hunting ground is a narrow strip
of mostly public land between the Gunnison River and U.S. 50 from
the Bridgeport Road to Kannah Creek. The public land is managed by
the Bureau of Land Management and lies within the
Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area.

My grandson, Marcus, joined me on a Super Bowl Sunday visit to the
Hunting Ground with our mountain bikes in tow. The day was calm,
crisp and sunny. Riding friends of mine had given me directions to
the singletrack in the area. I had also printed out a copy of the
topographic map for the area. We parked, unloaded the bikes and
then headed out to explore a new trail.

The land adjacent to the highway is open and flat, inhabited by
desert grasses and shrubs, but as you travel west, the topography
becomes rugged and fractured. Shallow canyons dotted with stands of
piñon and juniper and open meadows are the norm.

Initially, the trail crossed a shallow canyon. It was narrow, dry
and rocky in places. Snow clung only in the deepest shadows. As we
dropped into a second, larger canyon, the trail crossed solid rock,
making route finding difficult. We explored the slickrock briefly
before finding the trail as it headed up canyon.

After the first canyon crossing, we couldn’t see or hear the
highway off to the east. A development of scattered homes could bee
seen to the north. Mt. Garfield, overlooking

Palisade, was visible on the distant horizon.

The trail weaved through open meadows and up mellow hillsides for
another mile. Several times it faded, so we stopped to do some
route finding. At the base of some low cliffs, the trail connected
with a jeep road. There was more snow on the ground due to the
cliffs and dense tree cover. We couldn’t find where the singletrack
continued, so we followed the jeep road.

The road contoured through a low gap in the ridgeline, and then
dropped into the

next canyon. We climbed through a series of open flats before
reaching the rim that looked down on the Gunnison River. The view
was spectacular.

A thousand feet below us, the Gunnison River shimmered lazily in
the afternoon sun. A horseshoe-shaped, rock-strewn basin lined with
several bands of cliffs spread out beneath us. We laid our bikes
down and stopped for lunch. Marcus wandered off to explore the
rocky ridge. After a few minutes, he called out that he had found a
nice place to sit down and eat.

As we nibbled on “cutie” oranges and trail mix, we looked around
for interesting features of our surroundings. The only sound was
the distant call of a raven. A golden eagle glided over the nearby
cliffs. Several bonsai-size junipers were growing out of solid
rock. The sandstone cliffs had eroded into craggy, irregular
patterns.

Marcus noticed two potholes filled with water and a thin layer of
ice. During warmer weather, those potholes will be brimming with
tadpole and fairy shrimp. Marcus has a strong interest in the
natural environment. He’s full of questions, as I am with
grandfatherly responses and advice.

After lunch, we cruised along the road that follows the rim to the
east and south. The Grand Mesa dominated the landscape to the east.
A rolling, rocky descent brought us back to the truck.

What surprised me about the Hunting Ground was the sense of
remoteness I experienced there. The network of canyons isn’t
apparent from the highway. We encountered no others on the trail,
although there were several vehicles with ATV trailers parked near
us. Impacts from off road use and trash weren’t too bad. Future
management will have a few more rules and restrictions, but
hopefully allow people to enjoy the Hunting Ground in a responsible
way.

To access the hunting ground, drive toward Grand Junction on U.S.
50. Turn left on the Bean Ranch Road just south of Kannah Creek.
Take the paved road south that soon turns to dirt. A parking area
and other roads signal you are on public land.

Bill Harris is a registered nurse
and author of “Bicycling the Uncompahgre Plateau.”

He has been exploring the backcountry of the Colorado Plateau since
1976.

 


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Picking Up Speed: Car Rental in a US Industry Market Research Report Now …

The tellurian retrogression put a brakes on a industry, yet a reconstruction in direct for atmosphere transport will kindle expansion again. Rising personal incomes and some-more inexhaustible corporate transport budgets will underpin expansion from this market; however, rising fuel prices and a analogous boost in sheet prices bluster that forecast. Still, a industry’s destiny will be brighter, as firms exercise new strategies and demeanour to thoroughness on float sharing, a flourishing use shred in a industry. For these reasons, attention investigate organisation IBISWorld has combined a news on a Car Rental attention to a flourishing attention news collection.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) Feb 18, 2012

The tellurian retrogression put a brakes on a Car Rental industry, yet let agencies have solemnly gotten behind into rigging as transport direct increased. Air travelers, a industry’s primary income source, were staying put amid a mercantile uncertainty, bad income growth, rising stagnation and tighter corporate transport budgets of new years. “In response,” says IBISWorld attention researcher Nima Samadi, “operators cut losses and searched for income expansion apart from airports.” Air transport usually began to redeem in 2010, and a industry’s destiny looks brighter than a evident past, yet rising gas prices might delayed a industry’s recovery.

Revenue is approaching to tumble from a arise of $31.0 billion in 2007 during a rate of 0.3% over a 5 years to 2012. Most of this decrease happened in 2009, when a industry’s pivotal outmost drivers (the series of atmosphere travelers, per capita disposable income and corporate profitability) all weakened. Reflecting a Car Rental industry’s struggles, user thoroughness has increasing over a past 5 years. This boost is attributable to partnership and merger activity by a industry’s vital companies. For example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car acquired Vanguard Car Rental (which operated National and Alamo) in mid-2007, and Hertz acquired Advantage Rent a Car in Apr 2009. Other vital companies in a attention embody Avis Budget Group and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.

These vast companies suffer poignant selling budgets and marketplace energy that extend inhabitant code recognition, relations with airlines and hotels and other advantages smaller companies can't match. However, even these vital players were forced to change in a face of a recession. “Car let companies blending to a formidable mercantile sourroundings by aggressively slicing losses and acid for new markets,” says Samadi. Operators reduced conduct counts, sealed unprofitable locations, decreased a distance of their let fleets and purchased fewer new cars in 2009. Some companies stretched into off-airport markets, including word deputy and automobile sharing, while others incited to acquisitions to dig marketplace segments such a convenience market, that is noticed by attention insiders as a shred with a many expansion potential.

Demand and income are approaching to boost as atmosphere transport rates continue to grow in 2012. This expansion is attributable to a arise in atmosphere travel, underpinned by rising personal income and some-more inexhaustible corporate transport budgets. However, rising fuel prices and a analogous boost in airfares bluster this forecast. For some-more information, revisit IBISWorld’s Car Rental report in a US attention page.

Follow IBISWorld on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/IBISWorld

Friend IBISWorld on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/IBISWorld/121347533189

IBISWorld attention Report Key Topics

Companies in this attention franchise or franchise newcomer cars to customers. Car rentals typically final a brief time (30 days or fewer) while leasing agreements are for longer (12 months or more). The attention excludes a let or leasing of cars with drivers.

Industry Performance

Executive Summary

Key External Drivers

Current Performance

Industry Outlook

Industry Life Cycle

Products Markets

Supply Chain

Products Services

Major Markets

Globalization Trade

Business Locations

Competitive Landscape

Market Share Concentration

Key Success Factors

Cost Structure Benchmarks

Barriers to Entry

Major Companies

Operating Conditions

Capital Intensity

Key Statistics

Industry Data

Annual Change

Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.

Recognized as a nation’s many devoted eccentric source of attention and marketplace research, IBISWorld offers a endless database of singular information and research on each US industry. With an endless online portfolio, valued for a abyss and scope, a association equips clients with a discernment required to make improved business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a operation of business, veteran use and supervision organizations by some-more than 10 locations worldwide. For some-more information, revisit http://www.ibisworld.com or call 1-800-330-3772.

###

For a strange chronicle on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/2/prweb9203913.htm


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The Splendor of India Awaits You With Insight Vacations Gold Journeys

TORONTO, Feb 17, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) –
Insight Vacations’ recently launched India program offers 12 itineraries to India, two of which are in their luxury Gold Series: the 11-day Splendors of the Taj Tiger and the 12-day Imperial Treasures of India. Both are available with added extensions. Insight Gold tours provide the ultimate deluxe experience, backed by accommodations in historic palaces, exotic resorts and many leading luxury hotels such as The Leela Palace, the award-winning Oberoi Hotels, The Imperial Hotel and historic Palaces of Taj Hotels. All are in outstanding locations, feature superb service and exceptional dining experiences.

As Marc Kazlauskas, President of Insight Vacations, explains, “India is a captivating destination — one of the most diverse and culturally rich in the world, and we are thrilled to bring this colorful region to life in the style for which Insight is renowned. I can confidently say there is no finer way for travelers to experience India: the level of service, quality of accommodations, included sightseeing, private tours and experiential activities will make this a trip of a lifetime.”

Splendors of the Taj Tiger — 11 days. Beyond the potpourri of palaces and far pavilions, pink cities and painted elephants lies the “Jungle Book” realm of the Bengal Tiger. Take a rickshaw ride in Old Delhi through the lanes of Chandni Chowk bazaar; Raj Ghat; Jama Masjid; and Gandhi Smriti, the house where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life. Your hotel in Agra, is located only 600 meters from the Taj Mahal. Your resort is a confection of terraced lawns, pools, fountains and pavilions with rich interiors that take you back to the golden age of Emperors and Princes. This fabulously exotic guided journey also includes the dance drama spectacular ‘Mohabbat-the-Taj’; and a visit to Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted imperial city of the Mughal dynasty, dramatically abandoned a few years after it was built. Experience three game safaris in Ranthambhore by open Canter Truck with a naturalist in search of the Royal Bengal Tiger, a Jeep ride in Jaipur to visit the Amber Fort, and so much more! Priced from $6825 per person, land only, based on double occupancy. Optional Extension: Magnificent Nepal.

Imperial Treasures of India — 12 days. Experience the style, elegance, and luxury reminiscent of a glorious bygone age. Enjoy the finest traditions of Rajput hospitality and retire to magnificent royal palaces that echo with history. The luxury Gold hotels are stunning. Stay in sweeping traditional palaces in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and classic, contemporary, spacious properties in Delhi and Mumbai. The Oberoi Amarvilas is Agra’s finest hotel with guaranteed views of the Taj Mahal’s pearly dome from your bedroom window. In Delhi, take a rickshaw ride through the Chandni Chowk Bazaar, drive along the Rajpath, and see the India Gate and Parliament House. See Agra’s Taj Mahal and red sandstone Agra Fort. Visit Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted imperial city of the Mughals. Ascend by Jeep to Jaipur’s Amber Fort. In Jodhpur, enjoy a champagne heritage walk of your palace hotel. You will also cruise to Elephanta Island to visit the ancient cave temples. Priced from $7925 per person, land only, based on double occupancy. Optional Extension: Hidden Heritage

Insight guests enjoy more intimate groups, limited to just 40 passengers, the services of an experienced tour director and the assurance of staying in top selected hotels which are centrally or scenically located. Travel in style on Insight’s luxury reconfigured coaches with more legroom so the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.

Take advantage of the included sightseeing worth hundreds of dollars, ensuring your holiday budget goes further. With so many included meals, quality hotels and sightseeing experiences, you’ll be astounded at the value of an Insight Vacation.

Arnelle Kendall

Vice President of Public Relations

The Travel Corporation USA

110 East Atlantic Avenue Suite 325

Delray Beach, Florida 33444

Telephone: (561) 330-0850

Email: arnelle.kendall@travcorpusa.com

Insight Vacations has accumulated an international following by providing outstanding service and quality tour packages to the savvy traveler who seeks better accommodations, choices in dining, and smaller group sizes all while staying in the most desirable locations. For over 30 years, Insight Vacations has been the leader in premium escorted tours and cruises to Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

For more information and to book a vacation, call your favorite travel professional, call Insight Vacations at (800) 582-8380, or visit Insight Vacations’ website at
www.insightvacations.com

This information was brought to you by Cision

http://www.cisionwire.com

http://www.cisionwire.com/the-travel-corporation-usa/r/the-splendor-of-india-awaits-you-with-insight-vacations-gold-journeys ,c9222153

The following pictures are available for download:

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire,
www.globenewswire.com

SOURCE: Insight Vacations


          [Image]   Taj Mahal

(C) Copyright 2010 GlobeNewswire, Inc. All rights reserved.


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Picking Up Speed: Car Rental in a US Industry Market Research Report Now …

IBISWorld Market Research

IBISWorld Market Research

A arise in atmosphere travel, due to expansion in income and corporate budgets, will expostulate demand

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) Feb 18, 2012

The tellurian retrogression put a brakes on a Car Rental industry, yet let agencies have solemnly gotten behind into rigging as transport direct increased. Air travelers, a industry’s primary income source, were staying put amid a mercantile uncertainty, bad income growth, rising stagnation and tighter corporate transport budgets of new years. “In response,” says IBISWorld attention researcher Nima Samadi, “operators cut losses and searched for income expansion apart from airports.” Air transport usually began to redeem in 2010, and a industry’s destiny looks brighter than a evident past, yet rising gas prices might delayed a industry’s recovery.

Revenue is approaching to tumble from a arise of $31.0 billion in 2007 during a rate of 0.3% over a 5 years to 2012. Most of this decrease happened in 2009, when a industry’s pivotal outmost drivers (the series of atmosphere travelers, per capita disposable income and corporate profitability) all weakened. Reflecting a Car Rental industry’s struggles, user thoroughness has increasing over a past 5 years. This boost is attributable to partnership and merger activity by a industry’s vital companies. For example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car acquired Vanguard Car Rental (which operated National and Alamo) in mid-2007, and Hertz acquired Advantage Rent a Car in Apr 2009. Other vital companies in a attention embody Avis Budget Group and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.

These vast companies suffer poignant selling budgets and marketplace energy that extend inhabitant code recognition, relations with airlines and hotels and other advantages smaller companies can't match. However, even these vital players were forced to change in a face of a recession. “Car let companies blending to a formidable mercantile sourroundings by aggressively slicing losses and acid for new markets,” says Samadi. Operators reduced conduct counts, sealed unprofitable locations, decreased a distance of their let fleets and purchased fewer new cars in 2009. Some companies stretched into off-airport markets, including word deputy and automobile sharing, while others incited to acquisitions to dig marketplace segments such a convenience market, that is noticed by attention insiders as a shred with a many expansion potential.

Demand and income are approaching to boost as atmosphere transport rates continue to grow in 2012. This expansion is attributable to a arise in atmosphere travel, underpinned by rising personal income and some-more inexhaustible corporate transport budgets. However, rising fuel prices and a analogous boost in airfares bluster this forecast. For some-more information, revisit IBISWorld’s Car Rental report in a US attention page.

Follow IBISWorld on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/IBISWorld

Friend IBISWorld on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/IBISWorld/121347533189

IBISWorld attention Report Key Topics

Companies in this attention franchise or franchise newcomer cars to customers. Car rentals typically final a brief time (30 days or fewer) while leasing agreements are for longer (12 months or more). The attention excludes a let or leasing of cars with drivers.

Industry Performance

Executive Summary

Key External Drivers

Current Performance

Industry Outlook

Industry Life Cycle

Products Markets

Supply Chain

Products Services

Major Markets

Globalization Trade

Business Locations

Competitive Landscape

Market Share Concentration

Key Success Factors

Cost Structure Benchmarks

Barriers to Entry

Major Companies

Operating Conditions

Capital Intensity

Key Statistics

Industry Data

Annual Change

Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.

Recognized as a nation’s many devoted eccentric source of attention and marketplace research, IBISWorld offers a endless database of singular information and research on each US industry. With an endless online portfolio, valued for a abyss and scope, a association equips clients with a discernment required to make improved business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a operation of business, veteran use and supervision organizations by some-more than 10 locations worldwide. For some-more information, revisit http://www.ibisworld.com or call 1-800-330-3772.

###


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Jurassic Park has nothing on this place

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

‘Then the ranger started punching the lion in the face. You could see she was desperate and shaking.’ Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Just minutes before, Lucien Oakley-Smith and his cousin had been joking about the “horrors” of Jurassic Park. But then, it all turned too terrifyingly real when a young male lion attacked their safari van during an afternoon outing at the Lion Park near Fourways.

The “aggressive” lion jumped into the van, packed with adults and children, including his toddler, and only gave up when a woman ranger, punched, pushed and pepper sprayed the lion.

Oakley-Smith, a Melville-based employment-equity manager, believes the lion was after his 18-month-old baby, Iman.

“It was very close to dangerous and scared the living c**p out of me. As a dad, I felt very useless. If that lion had come into the vehicle, I wouldn’t be able to protect my daughter,” he told the Saturday Star, of the incident, which happened two weeks ago.

“I live in Joburg and have been through life-and-death and police brutality but when we saw that lion’s face, we realised we were literally staring death in the face. It wasn’t there to play or investigate us, it was there on more sinister business,” he said.

Oakley-Smith explains that on the day of their ordeal, his cousin had visited South Africa for the first time in 20 years and wanted to see some wildlife.

Together with a large group of adults and children, many among them tourists, they hopped onto the park’s custom-built safari van.

“It’s caged on one side and has top bars with a canvas thing over it. I didn’t think a lion could fit through those gaps.

“The ranger started talking about something else and a lioness came from nowhere and flanked the safari van. Everybody said ‘look how clever she is’ and literally a second later the young male lion jumped straight up on top of the safari van,” he recalls.

“It started forcing its way through the bars where the baby was and got his head through… The lion got its right shoulder and then its left shoulder inside the truck. Everybody was screaming. I was just lying covering my baby. Then the ranger started punching the lion in the face. You could see she was desperate and shaking.

“A police reservist who was with his pregnant wife started hitting the lion with a plastic bottle. It didn’t respond and then the ranger pepper sprayed the thing.

“The worst part is that lions are super predators that work in packs and once the lion had been repelled all the lions formed up around the van.

“The ranger shouted at them and got us out of the camp. The children were so traumatised. The adults on the tour had to tell the ranger to please stop the tour. “

He praises the ranger for her heroism. “The worst thing would’ve been the lion falling in the cage because we would’ve been a group of adults and seven kids and a lion figuring out we’re chicken nuggets on the move.”

Earl Smith, the general manager of the Lion Park, says it regrets the incident: “It has never happened before that a lion jumped on top of one of our vehicles.”

It was unlikely, he believes, that the young lion was violent. “They are being hand-reared and are certainly not violent. They are playful and curious. I don’t believe it was going for the baby.

Oakley-Smith does not believe the park is negligent, but says he does not want to be patronised.

Smith says reinforcements have been added to their built-for-purpose safari vans.

He claims counselling had been offered, but Oakley-Smith says they have not been approached. – Saturday Star


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The Barbie-sized Bambis


By Barbara Marshall

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

I steeled my father for an hour of labyrinth around Big Pine Key, searching
for Key deer.

“If we don’t see any by then, we’ll STOP THE CAR,” we yelled.

There, by a side of a residential street, a Barbie-sized Bambi was saguinely
nibbling mangrove leaves, dumbfounded by a little throng collected by a side
of a road.

The sire continued feeding even while a small girl, about 7, focussed down subsequent to
the deer so her mom could constraint a impulse on her cellphone.

Crouching, a small girl’s conduct was a same tallness as a little doe’s.

Those deer channel signs in a Lower Keys should lift an additional
warning: cuteness alert.

Key deer are so little and ethereal they seem like something Disney baked up
for an animatronic Keys outpost of “It’s a Small World.” Does are
only about 2 feet high and about 65 pounds. Bucks are about 30 inches high,
topping out during 80 pounds.

No consternation people wish to cuddle them (which, by a way, is illegal. Feeding
them is a transgression underneath a Endangered Species Act.)

During a new Keys trip, we arrived in Big Pine, 30 miles from Key West,
about dual hours before nightfall and incited into a residential area at
Big Pine’s usually stoplight.

Almost immediately, we speckled deer entrance out of their thickets like cautious
cats out for a constitutional. Living in such tighten vicinity to humans and
tourists, many of a dun-colored deer have no fear of humans. In fact, they
readily proceed people who get out of their cars, accustomed to getting
snacks.

On another street, lined with 1960s’ epoch homes, we mark a deer couple. The doe
grazes in a disproportionate swale while a buck, with a full shelve of antlers,
stands a shaken guard.

After a few minutes, a sire lifted her conduct and nuzzled her mate, who lowered
his conduct opposite her neck in a gesticulate so nakedly sexual we feel guilty
for intruding.

So dear, these deer.

Key deer exist nowhere else in a universe solely on a dozen or so islands in
the Lower Keys. Biologists contend this class of white tail deer was trapped
there 12 centuries ago when melting glaciers incited a land overpass into an
archipelago of islands.

In 1957 when a National Key Deer Refuge was established, hunters and
speeding cars had slashed a flock to reduction than 50.

Since then, charge has been so successful that 600 to 800 Key deer now
roam openly on Big Pine and No Name Keys, with smaller herds on Sugarloaf
and Cudjoe Keys.

There are so many that residents mostly protest about deer nipping their
foliage and fruit trees. Development on a island is exceedingly limited
because of a deer’s stable status.

‘Say no to Nibblers’

But their biggest hazard stays a Overseas Highway, notwithstanding a nighttime
speed extent that drops to 35 mph on Big Pine.

Motorists on a highway and on Big Pine’s residential streets final year
killed 150 deer, a grave new record, pronounced Anne Morkill, a refuge’s manager.

She’s orchestrating a new “Say No to Nibblers” debate to remind
people not to feed a deer, that encourages them to graze nearby roadsides.
The retreat has also consecrated a internal cartoonist to pattern new comic
signs to remind motorists to delayed down during night.

“During a flattering season, we’ll have one that shows a sire pulling a
fawn in a baby carriage,” Morkill said.

As for where to see Key deer, she suggested several no-fail spots, provided
you go shortly after emergence or only before dusk.

Try a refuge’s Blue Hole, a former quarry, or a Watson inlet trail, she
said, adding, “At a north finish of Key Deer Boulevard is an open field
that becomes a deer pasture in a evening,” she said.

Or only expostulate – solemnly – around Big Pine streets.


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Robin Sewell Recommends: Joe’s Real BBQ in Gilbert, BC Jeep Tours in Wickenburg, the Bisbee Trolley.

Slide show: Robin Sewell Recommends

BC Jeep Tours

Hold onto your hat if you take a BC Jeep Tours off-road adventure. You’ll board a classic topless Willys Jeep for a ride through Box Canyon, where you will take in the beauty of the Hassayampa River. The real fun begins as the driver maneuvers through and around the stream. BC Ranch, 56558 Rancho Casitas Road, Wickenburg. The ride lasts 2½ to 3½ hours and costs $65 per person. Other routes are available.

Details: 928-684-7901, www.bcjeeptours.com.

Joe’s Real BBQ

Have you ever noticed that when you mention barbecue, everyone seems to have a strong opinion? Some prefer theirs Kansas City-style, while others argue that Carolina, Memphis or Texas styles are the best. Many Valley diners would add Gilbert-style to that list because Joe’s Real BBQ is the place with the good stuff. The meat falls off the bone; the sauce is made from orange juice, peppers and spices; pecan wood gives everything just the right smoky flavor. Be prepared to wait in line at this East Valley hot spot. Joe’s is at 301 N. Gilbert Road. Entrees, $7.99-$18.99.

Details: 480-503-3805, www.joesrealbbq.com.

Bisbee Trolley

Take a trip back in time through the town where copper still reigns as queen. The Bisbee Trolley tour is a one-hour narrated excursion through historic Old Bisbee and the nearby Warren neighborhood. The tour leaves from Copper Queen Plaza, 11 Howell Ave., every day but Wednesday and travels along the tracks of the original Warren-Bisbee Railway. $10, $7 for children.

Details: 520-432-7020, 520-220-4192.

Energy All-Star Challenge

Robin Sewell invites you to take the APS Energy All-Star Challenge. APS customers can enter to win a dream Arizona adventure and a chance to be featured on “Arizona Highways Television.”

Details: aps.com/energyallstar, www.facebook.com/energyallstar.

Robin Sewell hosts “Arizona Highways Television” on Channel 15 (KNXV) at 7 a.m. and 4:30 and 11 p.m. Sundays. E-mail her at info@azhighwaystv.com.


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A Rate Sleuth Making Rental Car Companies Squirm

We are distant from vital in that world, alas. In a final integrate of columns, we’ve called out automobile insurers that don’t tell we when you’re entitled to a 50 percent reward cut and created about a continued culture of obfuscation in automobile shopping.

But there is a spark of wish in carland, and it exists in a many doubtful place: automobile rentals, an attention famous mostly for pulling insurance and charging $9 a gallon for gasoline.

A small online engagement engine called AutoSlash, however, offers a following promise: Book giveaway on a site, and a integrate of times a day until your transport date it will hunt for coupons or reduce rates. If it succeeds, it rebooks we automatically. AutoSlash claims success 85 percent of a time, a statistic innate out by my possess knowledge regulating it for all of my possess rentals.

The greeting in some corners of a attention has been something like revulsion. Enterprise, that owns National and Alamo, won’t let AutoSlash uncover a cars and wouldn’t contend why. Avis, that owns Budget, also steers transparent and offering some handicapped logic that I’ll explain below.

Hertz and a association behind Dollar and Thrifty are still personification ball, however, along with discounters like Fox.

It’s adequate to make AutoSlash my initial and usually stop for automobile let booking. Using a use feels most subversive, generally when airlines nickel and dime we for any series of services and imagination hotels wish $10 a day for Internet access.

But it’s a story behind AutoSlash’s presentation that is so revealing: an attention with primitive manners sets itself adult to have a third celebration bluster a firmness of a prices. And when it happens, a attention — automobile let companies and their partners — conflict by doing their pinnacle to keep consumers from removing a good deals.

AutoSlash competence not exist yet for a fact that automobile let companies mostly let we change or cancel reservations as most as we wish and decrease to reprove we if we don’t uncover adult to collect adult your car. And travelers don’t uncover adult in droves — 20 percent of a time, according to a longtime attention consultant, Neil Abrams.

So since don’t they change a rules? Mr. Abrams pronounced it was since executives in a attention lacked a correct resolve. “It is mind-boggling,” he said. “Even New York restaurants ask for a credit label when we make a reservation. It’s a freaking steak, as against to a $20,000 vehicle.”

Enter Jonathan Weinberg, AutoSlash’s 42-year-old co-founder. His father worked in record for United Airlines and once took him to Kennedy Airport in New York to lay wire underneath a general arrivals building.

The younger Weinberg’s career includes a army handling Radio Shacks and a near-death experience directly next a aeroplane impact section in a South Tower of a World Trade Center. He after got behind to transport while consulting for a association called Airfarewatchdog. The suspicion for AutoSlash came from his mom in Florida, who suspicion there was a business in all of a automobile let rate sleuthing he did before visiting her.

He bending adult with a partner, Mike Miller, and they built a site with usually $25,000, pulling behind a screen in 2010. AutoSlash earns income around commissions from Travelocity, that runs AutoSlash’s engagement engine in a credentials yet not a exclusive understanding sport software.

So far, AutoSlash has requisitioned some-more than 100,000 rentals. As for that 85 percent figure — a commission of time that users grasp some assets — roughly half a time a cost cut formula from AutoSlash requesting coupons that we could have found yourself. The beauty here, however, is that we don’t have to.

Total contingent assets after any and all cost cuts averages around 25 percent for people who have requisitioned during slightest a integrate of weeks forward of their transport date. Last-minute bookings give a association reduction time to find improved deals.

All of this creates let automobile companies and full-service online transport agencies flounder uncomfortably. When we asked Enterprise since it won’t let AutoSlash book reservations for a brands, it sent me an e-mail statement. “We make decisions about where to concentration a online selling efforts formed on a accumulation of criteria,” it read. “Currently, we do not feel that AutoSlash is a good fit for us.”

When we asked about a criteria and a fit, a association went radio silent.

Mr. Weinberg has had several such discussions with vital players, and one of them (he wouldn’t tell me who) simply told him indicate blank, “We don’t wish a patron to get a bonus for doing nothing.”

Avis Budget, as a association is now known, sent me a matter of a possess and called out AutoSlash for regulating banking codes that were ostensible to be usually for members of affinity groups like AAA or AARP. Mr. Weinberg admits to carrying finished this during a initial few weeks of a company’s life, yet pronounced that he fast stopped.


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Enjoy a safari in the outback

OUTBACK tour specialist Travel West is spreading its wings with new air safaris over Central Australia and the Kimberley.

Birdsville Hotel.

OUTBACK tour specialist Travel West is spreading its wings with new air safaris over Central Australia and the Kimberley.

Personally guided by owners Graham and Debbie Reid, the nine-day, eight-night safaris depart Brisbane to Kununurra, taking in the Birdsville Pub, Lake Eyre, Uluru, the Olgas, Bungle Bungles and more.

Guests will enjoy overnight motel accommodation in Longreach, Birdsville, Coober Pedy, Ayers Rock Resort and Alice Springs, as well as enjoying three nights based at Kununurra in the heart of the Kimberley.

The safaris represent an exciting new era for the Charleville-based Reids, who thrive on sharing their passion for the Australian outback with their guests.

Graham, who was born in Molong, NSW, and raised in Kojonup, WA, has spent years driving cattle trucks out west.

He has also worked as a tour bus driver throughout Europe, and enjoys guiding and providing commentary on each safari.

Dates for the Travel West Central Australia and Kimberley 2012 Air Safaris are 12 – 20 May and 16 – 24 June. Book early to avoid disappointment. Cost is $9870 a person twin-share. To book, phone 1800 654 541 or email info@travelwest.com.au

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