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London, England: Tourists Had To Duck Out Of DUKW

For those of us who served in World War II, a recent incident with a DUKW brings back memories. A boatload of people had to jump into the Thames River after an engine of one of the vintage vehicles caught fire. Fortunately, there was no danger and, although wet, no one was hurt.

Several tourist transportation companies in England and elsewhere offer recreational DUKW rides in the military amphibian vehicles. The attraction is that the excursion takes customers on highways, city streets and into rivers on the same tour. Despite the recent problem in London, the DUKW safety record is at least as good as any bus or river craft.

DUKW was introduced in 1942 as a GMC utility vehicle with front-wheel drive and two powered rear axles. Some historians have insisted the letters formed an acronym, but are incorrect. However, because of the letters, the land/water troop carrier has been fondly called a duck for the past 71 years.

During WWII and the Korean War, thousands of DUKWs were used in invasions and river crossings by American GIs and Marines, as well as British, Canadian, Australian and Russian troops.

For more information, go to www.londonducktours.co.uk

 

Valletta, Malta: Europe’s Capital of Culture For 2018 PDF Print E-mail


The beautiful island is in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Tunisia in Africa. February temperatures on its sandy beaches and city streets average mid-60s days and mid-50s nights.

Valletta is known for its historic sites, including St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the 500-year-old site where the Knights of Malta were established. Remember the Bogart movie, "The Maltese Falcon"? It was just one artifact among thousands from the island's rich history

In addition to its medieval themes, the city also offers museums, comfy hotels, quaint cafés, international dining, gardens and a lively entertainment scene. For more info, go to cityofvalletta.org

 
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada: Just An Hour From Las Vegas PDF Print E-mail


Many senior tourists who visit Las Vegas choose the Grand Canyon for a side trip. However, it’s 270 miles away, requiring five hours to drive or expensive helicopter trip. You can see similar brilliant sights at the Valley of Fire, just an hour’s drive from Sin City.

Nevada’s largest state park, the Valley of Fire offers hiking, nature-sculpted brilliant rock art and desert wildlife. With the spring season starting just about now, you’ll be surrounded by miles and miles of colorful wildflowers in bloom. Be sure to be ready to record all the glory on your smartphone, camera or Baby Brownie.

 
Erie PA: Who Let The Cat Out Of The Bag? PDF Print E-mail


At the local airport, a TSA security inspector actually did let a cat out of a bag. The owners had packed her in a checked suitcase for a two-hour flight. Fortunately, the cat survived after treatment at a local SPCA.

A reminder of when you fly with a pet. Check with your airline first for instructions. Always keep your pet on a leash. The busy airport is often very busy with sudden noises that could cause the animal to panic and run away.

Carry your small pet through the metal detector or walk the larger one on a leash. If your pet triggers an alarm, an officer will require a closer look. Pets are not screened with the body scanners. If your pet is traveling in a portable kennel, a TSA inspector will screen it for prohibited items.

 
Las Vegas NV: Save Money While Gambling It Away PDF Print E-mail


In many Sin City casinos and elsewhere around the world, gamblers at tables and slot machines are served free booze, snacks and other goodies. Of course, it isn’t that the casino bosses are kindhearted. They figure the more plastered you get, the less you’ll be able to make sensible bets.

So, when you see servers wandering in your area, ask for the free drinks and other items they’re handing out. Figure that if you take advantage of the offers five or six times a day, you can save $50 or more. Be sure to tip a buck per drink.

 
Venice Beach CA: You Can Still Feel Jim Morrison's Doors Vibes PDF Print E-mail


The sunny, sandy beach town is the perfect place to spend some late winter days and nights. January temperatures are mid-60s days and mid-50s nights. Welcome springtime in February when it’s low-70s days and mid-60s nights. Great for walking the beach, splashing the surf and biking the venerable boardwalk.

The restaurant and hotel scenes are great, and the music fantastic. Venice Beach is where the rock band, the Doors, was born and created by Morrison 50 years ago. The town is just 20 minutes from the Los Angeles International Airport and 30 minutes from downtown.

 
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