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Fall foliage pops out in Las Vegas

Fall foliage in Las Vegas is not an oxymoron, thanks to the gardening wizards at Bellagio.

The sights, scents and sounds of autumn – with a bit of whimsy tossed in – can be enjoyed at the resort’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens  through the end of November. Pumpkins of various shapes and sizes and more than 8,000 seasonal flowers are just the beginning of the jaw-dropping display.

In the north garden, guests are greeted by a talking tree. With an animated face in the trunk, the branches of the 28-foot-tall tree provide a playground for a family of squirrels (also animated.)

At the center of the harvest display is a working 40-foot-tall mill that pumps water into the tranquil pond below. Nearby, two oversized bears frolic in a pumpkin patch beside two giant apples, each made from more than 1,200 red carnations.

A violinist will perform 4:30-5:15 p.m. and again 5:45-6:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, at the same times, a flute and harp duo will perform.

The...

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Passenger Shaming calls fliers out for behaving badly

When I read Caroline Costello’s "Smarter Travel" post "10 Signs You're the Worst Person on Your Flight," I started to get queasy.

But that was before I'd read the Passenger Shaming Facebook page, which left me nauseated.

In fact, Costello’s No. 8 -- “You're doing things that should only be done in private” -- is really what Passenger Shaming is all about.

“Use your imagination here," Costello wrote in her post in March. "This could include anything from picking at your bare feet to examining your split ends."

Passenger Shaming starts up where "Worst Person" leaves off.

The Facebook page, which a colleague brought to my attention, has more than 200,000 likes -- and I use the term loosely.

Here’s what the page says: “Photos taken by anonymous flight attendants & passengers from all over the world. Don't end up here.”

It’s a veritable cornucopia of bad behavior. People with bare feet sticking up over the seat. People who have trashed their seat area. People who have left dirty diapers in...

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Eastern Sierra: Chasing fall in quiet McGee Creek Canyon

As fall colors go, McGee Creek Canyon was just starting to turn. I had a look the last weekend in September after driving the steep, winding four miles to the trail head -- mostly on pavement, the end on gravel -- for a short hike up the canyon south of Mammoth Lakes.

Most of the good leaf-peeping at this time of year in the Eastern Sierra means leaving the main drag, Highway 395, and climbing on mountain roads to elevations around 8,500 feet and higher. McGee Creek Canyon in the Inyo National Forest sits a little lower than that, which means its colors will peak a week or so later.

But the remote location is what drew me. During the couple of hours I explored on foot, I saw only a handful of hikers, some toting tripods to record their fall finds.

Autumn colors appeared in uneven pockets; this canyon still had time to pop. Aspen trees that lined the creek showed lots of green leaves or yellow tops where leaves just started to change. Shrubby willows along the water's edge were turning...

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California: Few apples for picking in Julian in state's driest year

At this time of year, apple orchards in Julian should be booming with visitors who want to pick a basket or two. But in this driest year on record, most apple orchards in the mountain town northeast of San Diego are closed, and apples are in short supply.

"We're not even going to open," Colin Young, owner of the Calico Ranch Orchard, told KPCC-FM (89.3) on Monday. "The orchard is really parched."

Places such as Apple Starr Orchards, Rocking H Farms and other orchards have closed for the season because of the small and early harvest due to the drought. Apples ripened in late August at some orchards.

Apples and Arts Orchard is open to groups only. "We have a waiting list to make sure we have apples for those who have already signed up," Arlene Smith of Apples and Arts said by email. Volcan Valley Apple Farm is one of the few orchards that remains open to the public.

"It's sad because so many people want that apple-picking experience," said Krisie Morgan, office manager at the Julian...

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What cruise ship photobombed George Clooney's lavish Venice wedding?

The bride wasn't the only showstopper in George Clooney's spectacular wedding in Venice on Saturday evening. The flotilla of celebrity- and paparazzi-toting boats, water taxis and gondolas in the Grand Canal suddenly came to a halt when the Norwegian Jade sailed into port and blocked their path.

"Guests who snuck into the #GeorgeClooneyWedding? None other than #NorwegianJade. Congrats to the happy couple!" Norwegian Cruise Lines' @CruiseNorwegian tweeted Monday with a photo of the moment.

At least one news video showed the huge ship suddenly lumbering into the canal, temporarily delaying Clooney's water taxi. By media accounts, the Hollywood actor calmly waved and smiled as he waited to proceed to marry London-based attorney Amal Alamuddin.

The website MozarellaMama.com, which covered the wedding, described what happened to Clooney on his way to tying the knot.

"A gigantic cruise ship, towering higher than the city of Venice, blocked the way. George’s taxis screeched to a halt, or...

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Hurricane Odile: Airline set to fly L.A.-Los Cabos when airport reopens

Alaska Airlines plans to resume service from Los Angeles to Los Cabos' airport on Mexico's Baja Peninsula on the day the facility is expected to reopen next month.

Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) has been making repairs since Hurricane Odile slammed the resort area Sept. 14. The storm tore the roof off one terminal and damaged the ceiling of another, officials said.

Alaska Airlines said it will begin service with a single round-trip flight Oct. 8, provided the airport opens as scheduled. Flights are planned from Los Angeles at 10:10 a.m. and from Los Cabos at 2:25 p.m.

"In the following week, we will assess adding more service to Los Cabos from other cities and look forward to increasing our schedule gradually," Joe Sprague, senior vice president of communications and external relations for Alaska Airlines, said in an airline blog post.

Other airlines have halted service to and from the airport until mid-October.

Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways canceled flights through Oct...

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These eyeglasses are wearable tech that aim to help you see clearly

Here’s technology you wear on your face, and we’re not talking Google Glass.

Unlike the $1,500 Glass, which lets you see the world differently thanks to apps and photo and video capabilities, Adlens Ltd. is wearable technology that lets you see the world — literally — by allowing the wearer to adjust the correction.

Because they are relatively inexpensive, they can become your backup glasses when you're traveling. But they are not for everyone.

Adlens Adjustables and Adlens SunDials use a technology that lets one pair of glasses move from close-up to distance vision correction with the turn of tiny knobs on each arm of the frame.

Two wave-shaped plastic polycarbonate plates are in each lens.  One plate is fixed and the other moves to adjust vision. When you turn the knob, the movable plate shifts left or right to alter the power of that lens. Wearers can adjust the vision for reading, computer or distance.

The glasses are said to correct more than 90% of spherical errors (from -6D to...

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Las Vegas' KOA site moving from Circus Circus to spot near Sam's Town

Beginning Wednesday, Las Vegas’ Kampgrounds of America site is moving off the Strip. The RV park will be adjacent to Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, a neighborhood casino on the east side of town.

RVers will need another gallon or so of fuel to reach the new KOA Las Vegas’ site along Boulder Highway, about seven miles from the former site behind Circus Circus. The RV park had been just a couple of blocks west of Las Vegas Boulevard for 13 years.

MGM Resorts International, the resort’s owner, terminated the lease, effective Oct. 1, to make room for an outdoor concert venue called City of Rock. It will host the Rock in Rio music festival in May. 

“It was an attractive alternative [to staying in a Strip hotel],” Toby Hedges, KOA’s vice president of marketing, said of the former location.

Of the new suburban site, Hodges said that it too is a good fit for those with motor homes. The nearby Sam's Town, which already has an RV park, boasts various dining options, a 56-lane bowling alley...

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Kauai ATV tour takes you off the beaten track

Visitors to Kauai can now explore the spectacularly beautiful scenery of the island’s North Shore by getting well off the beaten path in an all-terrain vehicle.

Princeville Ranch, a working cattle ranch that also caters to tourists, doesn’t make tourists saddle up for its new Off-Road Adventure. They only need to put on helmets and fasten their seatbelts for a 4 1/2-hour tour that includes views of both the Pacific and the mountains.

Once you're settled into the five-passenger Polaris ATV, a guide takes you off the dirt tracks for a more intimate view of the Garden Isle. There is also an optional ride across two ziplines and a visit to a secluded waterfall. While guests splash in the pool beneath the waterfall, a picnic lunch is prepared.

The adventure begins at 10:15 a.m. Tickets cost $145 plus tax for adults and $99 plus tax for kids 5 to 11.

A 2 1/2-hour express trip that excludes the ziplines and lunch begins at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $99 per person.

Tours begin and end at the ranch...

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Hippo sculpture's stay on London's Thames is extended

The same artist who created the mondo rubber duck for the Port of Los Angeles in August has a similarly scaled-up hippo bobbing in London's Thames River.

Angelenos turned out in droves to see Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's six-story Rubber Duck that bobbed around L.A.'s port during the L.A. Tall Ships Festival in August. So many people attended that the duck's stay was extended.

And as it turns out, London's hippo will be sticking around a bit as well.

HippopoThames, as the sculpture is known, measures 72 feet long and 29 feet high. It's made of plywood, steel beams as well as bits of larch and other wood. This hippo with popping eyes and a rudder-like tail was created by Hofman as a commission piece for the Thames Festival Trust and Nine Elms on the South Bank.

The sculpture recently spent 28 days near the Battersea Power Station on the Thames and has been extended another 28 days at the riverside St Katharine Docks near the Tower of London.

To get there, the hippo took a little...

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Get ready for the next wave of looping wooden coasters

The next generation of looping wooden coasters promises to deliver a heart-pounding collection of near-vertical drops, over-banked turns and barrel roll inversions to theme parks around the world over the next few years.

The once-impossible pipe dream became a reality in 2013 with the introduction of a trio of rides in the United States that literally turned preconceived notions about wooden coasters upside down.

Now the next wave of looping wooden coasters is going global with rides planned for theme parks both big and small in Ireland, China, Sweden as well as the U.S.

This latest coaster trend is being driven by a pair of innovative American ride makers: Idaho’s Rocky Mountain Construction and Ohio’s Gravity Group.

The new hybrid rides blur the line between wood and steel coasters -- with the Frankenstein creations combining smooth steel tracks with traditional wooden structures. But regardless of the debate over how to classify the rides, there’s no denying the excitement level...

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San Diego plans to open $3-million public market at Liberty Station

San Diego is out to create a $3-million destination food hall -- like San Francisco's Ferry Building or Napa's Oxbow Public Market -- at Liberty Station in the city's Point Loma neighborhood.

Travelers and locals will be able to sample artisanal breads and homemade tortillas, craft cocktails and fine wines, fresh produce from a daily farmers market and seafood at what will be called Liberty Public Market, an announcement from co-creator Blue Bridge Hospitality of San Diego says.

The market is set to open June 2015 at the former naval base, which is now a commercial and residential development.

Like other big-city markets, the accent is on locally sourced food and goods. More than 30 small businesses will be housed in a 22,000-square-foot warehouse that was once a 1920s-era commissary at the naval training center. It also will include a large outdoor patio and eating area.

"The storied space ... will pay homage to its historic roots by housing a diverse mix of merchants, each...

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