USC earns Rose Bowl berth, capping dramatic turnaround

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Washington Monument to remain closed until 2019 for elevator repairs

If you want a bird’s-eye view of the nation’s capital from atop the Washington Monument, you’ll have to wait awhile.

Repairs to the elevator that takes tourists to the observation deck at 500 feet in elevation will keep the landmark closed until 2019, the National Park Service announced Friday.

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National park tips: Death Valley's castle is closed, but the inn will soon be open longer

Someday, when they get it open again, you’ll want to take a tour of Scotty's Castle in Death Valley National Park. In the meantime, big things are planned at Furnace Creek. 

First, about Scotty’s. The castle was hit in late 2015 by the most severe flooding since it was built in the 1920s.

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National park tips: Greet dawn on these dunes

Get to sunrise at Death Valley National Park’s Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Failing that, sunset.

These dunes, about two miles east of the Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel, aren't the tallest dunes in the park, but they're the easiest to reach from Furnace Creek, the park’s most popular overnight spot.

The highest dunes are about two miles' hike directly north of the parking lot.

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National park tips: This California valley gets you lower than the Grand Canyon

When you make that road trip to Death Valley National Park, don’t just drive to Badwater, which is famed for being the lowest point in North America.

Try to get there at sunrise or sunset, when the dramatic light all but transforms the landscape into a sci-fi set. Then hike a few hundred yards out onto the salty flats, then look up at the east canyon wall for the white sign about 282 feet above you.

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Ready for the snow? This weekend's Ski Dazzle is here to help

Ski Dazzle, L.A.’s annual pep rally for snow season, opens today at the Convention Center, offering four football fields’ worth of gear for enthusiasts feeling short-changed by the recent closing of dozens of sporting good stores across Southern California.

Good with gear?

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The South Pacific beckons with a $793 round-trip fare from LAX to Fiji

End the year with something to look forward to: a trip to Fiji for $793 round trip, including all taxes and fees, from LAX to Nadi on Fiji Airways.

You must buy your ticket, which is subject to availability, by Dec. 31. It is for travel any day between Feb. 1 and May 31.

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