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Rundown for the week of May 8, 1999

The Maori
If you left from Los Angeles, it would take you about twelve hours and forty-five minutes to fly to New Zealand...not a place you'd choose for a short vacation. Which is why we sent The Savvy Traveler's Judie Fein there a few weeks ago...to find out if it was worth the trip. You may remember that among the beautiful scenery, a host of activities and the friendly people she met, we did, indeed, reach the conclusion that New Zealand is a place worth visiting. The magazine, Conde Naste Traveler seems to be backing us up on that...they feature New Zealand in their newest Hot List Global Guide for 1999...highlighting the host of outdoor adventure activities. But while Judie Fein was there she explored another part of New Zealand that has nothing to do with getting an adrenaline rush. She befriend an indigenous Maori family who took her on a special insider's tour for a window into their culture...their New Zealand. Judie takes us along for the ride.

Q&A I: Encounters with Nature
Rudy talks to listeners about the great outdoors.

For more information on Monarch butterflies and Angangueo, Mexico, visit:

Nebraska Monuments Interview
We're celebrating the 130th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. You may know that the last spike was driven at Promontory Point, Utah, forever linking our nation. But you might not know about the driving of an even bigger spike just a couple states away in Nebraska. The town of North Platte, will soon be the home of a 15-story Golden Spike. And 100 miles away in Kearney, Nebraska, they're building their own massive structure: the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, a bridge that will rise hundreds of feet above the interstate. From what we gather, when these monuments are built, they'll be competing for tourists who would usually speed by on I-80 without even noticing these towns. Rudy speaks with Mayor Jim Whitaker of North Platte and Mayor Pete Kotsiopulos of Kearney.

The Open Road: Promontory Point
A considerably smaller golden spike connects the Union and Central Pacific railiways at Promontory Point in Utah. You know, it's easy to take America's labyrinth of rail tracks for granted...last year 21 million passengers rode Amtrak trains 5 billion miles. But the story of connecting our nation by rail is an epic...being celebrated this coming week in Promontory, Utah. Hal Cannon of the Open Road takes us back to May 10, 1869 when dignitaries and railroad workers met here to celebrate the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

Deal of the Week
Many airlines offer bonus miles if you book tickets on their websites, but Northwest just announced the most generous deal of them all. Buy a ticket for $200 or more, online, and get a free companion ticket the next time you fly Northwest. That's right--two for the price of one just for clicking on nwa.com.

You've got to book between now and June 11th. Then Northwest will send you a special promotional code that will let you take a friend, lover, mother-in-law, whatever, on your next Northwest flight between September 8th and December 15th. Note that your twofer is good during the shoulder season, after the prime time of summer and before the December holiday madness heats up. So make sure the dates work before you go flying off to Northwest. Oh, and you'll also get 1,000 bonus miles for booking your ticket on line through the last day of June.

Q&A II: General Questions
Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel. He mentions:

Northern Lights in Alaska

  • In Fairbanks, the lights are visible 200 days a year.
  • While there visit Alaskaland, Fairbanks' theme park-style tribute to Alaskan history. Call 907-459-1087 for more information.
  • Fairbanks is home to Blue Babe, a 36,000-year-old bison that was found in the permafrost by local miners. She's located at the Otto William Geist Museum on the University of Alaska-Fairbanks campus.
  • The Fairbanks Princess Hotel is the newest andmost post place to stay. Call 800-426-0500 for reservations. For something more quaint and rustic, call the Fairbanks Association of Bed and Breakfasts, 800-327-5774.
  • Alaska isn't the only place to see the Northern Lights. You can try Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia or another northern destination.
  • Take a look at The Aurora information and Images web site (http://dac3.pfrr.alaska.edu/~pfrr/aurora) that regularly updates where you can see the Aurora.

Flying to Atlanta

  • AirTran serves the route between Chicago or Flint, MI and Atlanta. Costs: $178 between Flint and Atlanta, $208 between Chicago and Atlanta. Call 800-AIRTRAN to make a reservation.

Housing in Ireland

McCain Postcard
Sometimes travel can be the Great Equalizer. Doesn't matter if you're booked into first-class or coach, you're still powerless if your plane's overbooked or you're hit with bad weather. But if you're the type to look for silver linings, you'll find that, during these delays, you just might meet some interesting people. Take James Reston, for example. Bad weather in Washington D.C. tied up traffic, making him late for his flight to Israel. Jim sent us this postcard about the adventure that ensued as he made a mad dash for his flight.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
Next week you're going to have to hold on tight...if you like to live on the edge...or even if you just fantasize about living on the edge we're taking you along on a wild ride...especially when our Vagabond Traveler, Doug Lansky takes a driving lesson in Italy, of all places

"I fastened my seat belt. 'What are you doing?' Renato asked accusingly. You want to look like a tourist? No one in Napoli wears seatbelts. This was lesson Number One. I unbuckled."

I'll keep my seatbelt on, thanks. And we go back out onto the Open Road to tempt fate in Las Vegas.

"They're going to do what they're going to do. Dice have ears, dice have eyes, dice have no heart."

We explore the attraction of the game. And a monument to disaster becomes an attraction of a different sort...hear how the movie Titanic has brought a lot of tourism to a tiny place in Canada. That and more.find so come along for the ride during next week's edition of The Savvy Traveler.

For tapes of the show
If you want your very own copy of The Savvy Traveler, order an audio cassette. It's easy. Just call 303-823-8000. The price is $15.

The Savvy Traveler Newsletter
The Savvy Traveler newsletter is now available. For more information, call toll-free, 888-SAV-TRAV (888-728-8728), extension 3, or e-mail mail@savvytraveler.org.

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