Friday, June 29, 2007

Trip Advisor's Top 10 Attractions

Some reporters and bloggers are whining about the Grand Canyon only being fourth on Trip Advisor’s latest list of “Top 10 U.S. Attractions.”

Personally, I’m surprised the Grand Canyon made the list at all. Hey, it says “Attractions” – man-made fun, get it? Here’s the complete list:

1. Orlando, Florida (Universal Studios, Sea World, Discovery Cove, and everything Disney)
2. Cirque du Soleil, Las Vegas, Nevada
3. Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii
4. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
5. Central Park, New York City
6. Alcatraz, San Francisco, California
7. Top of the Rock Observation Deck, New York,
8. Monterey Bay Aquarium, California
9. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas, Nevada
10. San Diego Zoo, California

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First Report: Camping Trailer Adventures

Before writing about our trip to Washington itself, let’s clear the air about the pop-up camping trailer. Basically, it was (is) a piece of shit. We purchased a Rockwood tent trailer from Bob Scott RV in Grand Junction, Colorado, and the unit totally failed to live up to expectations and what we were told. All systems died within the first two days – electrical, water, propane. We basically had the pleasure of towing an expensive tent for nearly two weeks from Colorado to Washington.

Upon our return, Bob Scott RV completely disregarded our request for a refund, instead offering to “fix” the trailer and “show us how it really worked.” We will never buy or recommend any type of RV from Rockwood and especially from Bob Scott RV.

Our attorney says that, unfortunately, there is no “lemon law” in Colorado for trailers and RVs. So buyer beware – only buy from a reputable dealer, or be like us and figure out how to cut your losses by getting the unit repaired and then selling it.

More about the good aspects of our Washington trip in the next few entries.

Oh Goody: A Hundred People to Help with Passports

The U.S. State Department is asking for up to "two groups of 50" diplomats with "consular experience" to volunteer to help at the National Passport Center in New Hampshire to help deal with the backlog of 3 million passport applications.

Any foreign service diplomats who qualify can spend their summer vacation (July and August) helping the government out of its own mess. Unless my math fails me, that works out to 500 applications per worker per day - including weekends - which means each person would need to process one application per minute.

Our wise government is offering these folks lodging, travel, and a per-diem. Sure seems like a bunch of folks would just jump at this wonderful opportunity. Although New Hampshire is awful pretty in summer.

Travellers, please don't expect your passport to show up any sooner.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

London 2012 Olympic Logo

Well, if it’s not political, it’s not the Olympics. While there are still two Games before it (Beijing Summer 2008 and Vancouver Winter 2010), the London Olympics is already feeling the heat of controversy.The new logo/brand has been revealed, and it seems nobody much likes it. It’s pretty blocky and rather boring to me, but what strikes me most is that it says nothing about London. The logo could be for any city, any place on the planet.

As a former marketing (and occasional branding) consultant, one thing I always stressed to destination or location clients (example) was to have their brand establish or reinforce a sense of their unique place in the world. The 2012 logo isn’t, to me, totally dreadful, but it simply neglects to tie itself to what is arguably the greatest city in the world.

See more on the official London 2012 Olympics website.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Passports for Travel Between U.S. and Canada

As with most things governmental, the recent passport requirements for travel between the U.S. and Canada are taking longer to implement than anticipated. The U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries issued the following statement on June 12.

"WASHINGTON – The U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security announced today that U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda who have applied for but not yet received passports can nevertheless temporarily enter and depart from the United States by air with a government issued photo identification and Department of State official proof of application for a passport through Sept. 30, 2007. The federal government is making this accommodation for air travel due to longer than expected processing times for passport applications in the face of record-breaking demand."

Some bloggers have mentioned a requirement for a birth certificate during this temporary period. We don't see this in the above statement.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Camping Trailer Adventures

We’re trying something new for us over the next two weeks. We’re towing a small pop-up (Francesca calls it the Pop Tart) camping tent trailer from Colorado to Washington. If we can get internet access in the woods of the northwest (unlikely where we’re going and with this trip’s agenda) we’ll post some news and photos. Otherwise, look for a report upon our return.