USA branch FAQ
Replies: 279 - Last Post: Apr 16, 2013 10:54 PM Last Post By: nutraxfornerves
May 14, 2007 6:57 AM
Gas mileage isn’t as much of an issue as you think. Most used cars will get an average of 25 or so miles to the gallon. If you buy a Japanese compact, you might get closer to 30 mpg. That’s a difference of 65 gallons in 10,000 miles, which at today’s prices is about $225. If $225 is a crucial issue to you, then you can’t afford to buy a car to begin with.
...Says a man who spent $220/night to sleep in Prague.
May 14, 2007 11:05 PM
May 17, 2007 8:35 PM
208Websterella’s guide to NYC
Best walking guide book is this one
Free Central Park Walking tours
A comprehensive list of NYC Walking tours There’s something for everyone
1)MOMA – Free Fridays from 4:30 to closing
2)Jewish Museum – Free Saturdays
3)Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – Free on Tuesdays and from 12 to Noon on Saturdays
4)Metropolitan Museum Visitor fees are recommended, but if you gave what you could they’re happy with that.
5)Frick Collection - On Sundays, pay what you wish from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00
6)Whitney Museum of American Art – Friday 6–9 pm pay-what-you-wish admission
7)Bronx Zoo – Admission on Wednesdays is by donation (pay what you wish)
I'll probably add more to this.
Jun 14, 2007 6:37 PM
209Hotels in NYC don't have to mean staying Manhattan,
Try one of the Boroughs.
Jun 23, 2007 3:18 PM
210NYC Theater -
First off let me tell you that I have been going to Broadway productions since I was 7 or 8. My first production was Pirates of Penzance with Kevin Kline, and my first opera at 9 was La Boheme. I have tried to see something every year since and have seen everything from the magnificent Richard Kiely in Man of LaMancha to the real crap of this season's the Pirate Queen. I've stood in line for tickets at the Delacorte for Shakespeare in the Park and taken season seats at both the Met and NYC Operas. Theater... I love theater.
How to get tickets - I use Playbill.com and check out specials in the American Express Gold Card Events. Broadway.com is another reliable site. The TKTS booths sponsored by TDF are another excellent place to get same day tickets for shows.
How to choose a show -
1) Don't you dare see something that you don't like. If you don't like Musicals don't see one.
2) Read the reviews in Playbill.com, the NYTimes Theater section, and do a Google Search.
3) Ask about specific shows, don't ask "what should I see". How would someone who doesn't know you be able to recommend something?
4) See the classics. Believe it or not Phantom, Les Mis, Rent, Chicago... they're great shows.
And then stretch your mind and your internet searching fingers and try something unexpected ---
Opera will depend on the time of year.
NYC Opera which plays at the NY State Theater of Lincoln Center has a season that runs from September to early June
The MET Runs about the same. There are a few symposiums over the summer, but generally Opera in NYC moves outdoors for Summer
Choosing alternative venues for summer theater viewing is a great idea. If you have the patience to get up early and wait on line there is no better venue in the city than the Delacorte for outdoor theater.
River to River Festival showcases all sorts of theater, dance, Art and music at venues all over the city through September.
Most of all, if you're going to see something make it something you're passionate about. After going to a performance of one of the worst shows I've ever seen (thank god it closed) and watching people give a stand ovation where it clearly was not deserved I try to steer people to quality.
*Pay what it costs to see a really good production. Don't just go for any cheap seat so you can say "I went to a show on Broadway." Theater costs too much even for the cheap seats to see crap. *
Jul 11, 2007 5:19 PM
211NYC SUBWAY SYSTEM
How to deal with being a tourist on the subway.
Jul 21, 2007 5:13 PM
212Alaska and Western Canada -- "The Milepost", www.themilepost.com. 2007 is its 59th Edition (800 pages). Detailed maps, text details sites at mileposts along the major highways in British Columbia, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, and Alaska. It shows alternate routes to the Alaska-Canada Highway, the Cassiar Highway, the Yellowhead Highway, the Dempster Highway, the Laird Highway, the Yellowknife and Mackenzie Highways, the Denali Highway, the Taylor and Rim-of-the-World Highways, the McCarthy Highway, and the Dalton Highway. It includes phone numbers and web addresses of motels, lodges, hotels, RV campgrounds, national parks and forests, stores, restaurants, gas stations, and visitor information centers. (the commercial sites pay to advertise, so not all may be listed) "The Milepost" is sold in most grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Club, and gas station stores in Alaska, and may be purchased by mail.Text*Text*
Jul 21, 2007 5:15 PM
213ALASKA and WESTERN CANADA -- "The Milepost", www.themilepost.com. 2007 is its 59th Edition (800 pages). Detailed maps, text details sites at mileposts along the major highways in British Columbia, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, and Alaska. It shows alternate routes to the Alaska-Canada Highway, the Cassiar Highway, the Yellowhead Highway, the Dempster Highway, the Laird Highway, the Yellowknife and Mackenzie Highways, the Denali Highway, the Taylor and Rim-of-the-World Highways, the McCarthy Highway, and the Dalton Highway. It includes phone numbers and web addresses of motels, lodges, hotels, RV campgrounds, national parks and forests, stores, restaurants, gas stations, and visitor information centers. (the commercial sites pay to advertise, so not all may be listed) "The Milepost" is sold in most grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Club, and gas station stores in Alaska, and may be purchased by mail.
Aug 18, 2007 7:22 PM
214Free Camping in the U.S.
It is permissible to camp for free on public lands all over the United States - on Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, and most popularly, on National Forest lands. I do it all the time out west, including California - you really only need a fire permit (free from a local ranger station, and usually good for one year), and then only if you have a stove or lantern (campfires are not a good idea outside of developed campgrounds). Rules are different in different areas, though - I suggest you figure out where you are going, then see what types of these public lands are on your route (lots of BLM land in Nevada, for example). For National Forests, simply go to the main website (National Forests), then to the specific Forest (El Dorado National Forest), then to the dispersed camping guidelines section, usually under "Recreational Activities" or some such - here is the section for El Dorado: Dispersed Camping. While you cannot simply camp whereever you want, there are extensive free opportunities, and many cheap developed places. Having a small (cartop) boat increases your access to some of the better free places. Please take everything with you, garbage included, when you go.
Aug 30, 2007 7:46 PM
215Here are the regulations in regards to carrying liquids, gels, and aerosals onto planes on your person. Generally they're saying if the items are at 3oz (90ml) or less then it should be OK but you want to make sure hence why I am posting this. See the below or click above for specifics as this is cut & pasted from the horse's mouth. Even if those of you originated from outside the USA and are transiting onto another international flight from the USA or domestic flight within the USA you will have to make sure that you are in compliance before boarding the next flight out especially if they didn't have such rules from your point of origin. For international arrivals, after clearing US Customs you come out into an 'unsecured area' and will have to get back into TSA screening lines to access your next flight out. For domestic arrivals you come out into the departure gates where there are other people waiting to get on. Rather you go back through security re-screening or not will depend on the particular airport layout and if such layout would require you to leave one 'secured' areas to get to another.
Air travelers may now carry liquids, gels and aerosols in their carry-on bag when going through security checkpoints.
Click here to download our
prohibited items brochure
The following rules apply to all liquids, gels, and aerosols carried through security checkpoints.
There are exceptions for baby formula, breast milk, and other essential liquids, gels, and aerosols, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Please keep in mind that these rules were developed after extensive research and understanding of current threats. They are intended to help air travelers bring essential toiletries and other liquids, gels and aerosols for short trips. If you need larger amounts of liquids, gels and aerosols such as toothpaste or shampoo, please place them in your luggage and check them with your airline.
To ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3 ounces of the following liquids, gels and aerosols are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary (all exceptions must be presented to the security officer in front of the checkpoint):
You are allowed reasonable amounts over 3 ounces of the items above in your carry-on baggage, but you will need to perform the following:
We have also taken steps to ensure the security of the boarding areas after you pass through our security checkpoints. Therefore, any liquid, gel or aerosol, such as coffee or soda, purchased in the secure area beyond the security checkpoint is allowed aboard your plane. Please note that if you have a layover and are re-screened at your connecting airport the current rules (see above) for carry-ons apply. For more details, get the 3-1-1 for carry-ons.
To effectively communicate important security information, we translated these changes into a variety of languages. Security Information In Other Languages
You are permitted to bring solid cosmetics and personal hygiene items as such lipstick, lip balm and similar solids.
We ask for your cooperation in the screening process by being prepared before you arrive. We also ask that you follow the guidelines above and try not to over-think these guidelines. Please pack liquids, gels, and aerosols in your checked baggage even if you do not normally check a bag.
In addition to liquids, gels, and aerosols numerous other potentially dangerous items are not permitted in carry-on baggage. We strongly encourage travelers to read more about previously prohibited items to avoid complications during screening.
To help you understand and navigate the new security measures, please click one of the links below for a table of specific items that can and cannot be brought onto a plane.
Sep 12, 2007 6:18 PM
216"Hostels that get good reports on thi sbranch: Green Tortoise described as "lively and fun" which mayor may not be what you want."
It can be, but then I'd say that's true of any place where a large number of young people are vacationing in one spot. The question is how much the spot is contributing to the good spirits they'll show up with. In the case of the Green Tortoise, I'd say "not much".
Bad Times on the Green Tortoise
As a past customer of theirs, I would say "don't do business with these people". Oh, and actually read the article linked to before forming an opinion about it, because their fan club seems rather fond of lying about the contents. A complaint that I wasn't being allowed to leave my meal station after being stuck at it for over two hours being turned into a complaint that I was expected to work at all; that kind of thing.
Sep 12, 2007 6:27 PM
217Oh, and if there are any other questions - here's my blog, named in honor of the bizarre experience that I linked to an account of, above.
The Green Tortoise and Other Travesties
A serious debate over whether or not breach of contract is wrong? Not just absurd, but absurd in a way that makes it a perfect symbol of so very much that goes on.
Sep 20, 2007 7:06 PM
Oct 16, 2007 11:09 PM
219I'm Visiting the U.S. in the Winter: Should I Rent a 4WD Vehicle?
A very experienced driver's common-sense tips on road safety
Should you spring for that $85/day 4WD SUV? Only if money's no object and you want to make a fashion statement. Safety-wise, a 4WD vehicle rarely gives you an advantage, even in winter driving. In fact, it could be a hindrance.
Let's start with an observation and some basic facts: The United States is a first-world nation with an extensive network of modern, paved roads. Maintenance standards on all but the most remote roads are generally high. In the winter, Interstates and secondary federal and state highways (i.e., U.S. 41 or Idaho Rte. 75) are patrolled and regularly plowed. It's rare for roads to be blocked by snow; when they are, there is usually quite a bit of advance warning.
Now, let's talk about 4WD drive vehicles, i.e., those that route the engine's power to all of the wheels rather than just two of them. 4WD offers marginal help in a couple of very specific situations: getting free from mud or snow, and driving in deep snow. However, did you read what I just wrote about American roads being modern, paved, maintained, and plowed? As someone who's driven 150,000 miles here, I can tell you that fewer than 500 of those miles have been traveled in the sort of snow in which a 4WD vehicle would provide assistance. I've owned some 4WD vehicles, and can think of only a couple of situations in which the 4WD helped me get unstuck. Even then, the difference was that I could do it without needing someone to push me.
Now, let's talk about the more common weather-related winter hazards. The main one is hard-packed snow or ice, the latter often being called "black ice" because it's invisible at night. Will 4WD help with that? Nope. Not one bit. If you're going to slide on ice, or hard snow, you'll slide now matter how many wheels are being powered. I know, because I had what was nearly a close encounter with a large granite rock in Massachusetts when I overestimated the usefulness of 4WD on an icy road.
Which brings up another point, overconfidence. This is the hazard lurking if you rent a 4WD vehicle. These tend to be large pickups or SUVs with lots of glass and a high center of gravity. You sit higher than in a sedan, and you feel like the king of the road. Many an SUV driver, 4WD or 2WD, has learned otherwise. Not only are SUVs no better in dealing with slick conditions, but that high center of gravity makes them rollover risks on the highway. SUVs are starting to be equipped with electronic stability control to counteract the rollover risk, but it's far from universal and there's only so much you can do about gravity anyway.
Back to heavy snow. My other 4WD lesson was the time I thought I could push it straight through a 4-foot tall snowbank at the end of my driveway. For the next three hours, I laughed at myself as I shoveled it out. Yeah, they'll do better at getting unstuck, but 4WD is not any sort of miracle worker, even in heavy snow. Far from it.
Here's the secret to success in heavy snow. If you must be out there, or you can't help being out there, then find the nearest gas station and get yourself a set of tire chains. (If you can't afford them, then you're an idiot for being out there to begin with.) My experience with tire chains tells me that they are remarkable. Tire chains turned my old General Motors station wagon -- 2WD, rear-wheel no less -- into a mountain goat. On their worst day, tire chains are twice as effective as 4WD on its best day. Chains are cheap, easy to install, and widely available in snowy areas.
In mountain areas, such as the Sierra Nevada of California (think Yosemite and Sequoia N.P., Lake Tahoe) and other western roads, chains will be required in some areas at some times. There are gradations of chain requirements, in which case they'll let some 4WD vehicles through without chains, but you can't count on that. If there's a chain requirement and you don't have them, there will be a roadblock and you will be turned back.
Beyond what I've just mentioned, the most common winter driving hazard is reduced visibility due to heavy fog (not just limited to the winter, by the way) and occasionally heavy rain (obviously, more of a summer phenomenon), or heavy snow. If you encounter any of these conditions, which are more common in the mountains but by no means limited to those areas, SLOW DOWN and maintain a wide following distance. If you're being tailgated by the driver behind you, find the nearest exit and get off.
Hundreds of people are killed every year in massive accidents that occur during conditions of low visibility, especially heavy fog. Drivers don't take this danger anywhere close to as seriously as they should. Don't make that mistake. If we were to rank-order potential weather-related driving hazards, by far the most threatening is crashing during periods of low visibility. The error here is "get there itis," the urge to keep on going when it makes no sense.
Finally, use your common sense
Rental vehicles are very reliable, but nothing's perfect. If you break down, you'll be outside. Which means warm weather gear (coat, hat, gloves, sturdy footwear, heavy socks) in winter, and sun screen, sun glasses and a big white sheet if you're driving through the desert in the summer. Carry some extra food, just in case. In the desert, carry a couple of quarts of Gatorade, which replenishes not just water but essential salts and minerals. In the desert, carry some anti-freeze. Just in case.
Let someone know where you're going and how you'll get there. Carry a cellphone. And, if weather conditions (summer or winter) are potentially hazardous, stay off of truly remote tertiary roads. While it's true that American roads are generally modern and well-maintained, we do have some remote ones, especially (but not only) in the West. Don't be the kind of blind fools that these people were, for example. Pay attention to signs. Read the map, preferable the bible of the American road, The Rand McNally Road Atlas, available in thousands of gas stations. Listen to the radio and TV forecasts. The rules apply to you, too.
And, to repeat: the urge to keep going no matter what -- "get-there-itis" -- is truly insidious. Follow your instincts. In really hot or really cold places stick to Interstates and major two-lane roads, and know your limits. So welcome to the American Road. It's a great place to be. Use your common sense, and you'll have a great trip. In your safe, plain-vanilla, 2WD rental sedan.
Oct 16, 2007 11:29 PM
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