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Palm Springs art exhibit shows off the look and spirit of the West

How do you define the West? A new exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert comes close, through 45 works of art that capture the region's look and spirit.

"A Grand Adventure: American Art of the West," which opened Saturday, brings together pieces from private collections of artwork created in the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

The exhibition includes early landscapes by Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, Native American figures by Maynard Dixon and Bert Geer Philips, and California Impressionists.

"The West became synonymous with the American ideals of freedom and individuality," a museum release says. That theme flourished among Southwest and Southern Californian painters who created a whole new genre of Western art.

The show is at the Galen building at the Palm Springs Art Museum's location in Palm Desert. (The building and surrounding sculpture garden are named for benefactor Helene Galen whose $1-million gift created the...

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More for your money: Make Wi-Fi work for you while on the road

Internet connectivity on the road can be inconsistent at best. Parts of rural America have limited cellphone reception, and airport Wi-Fi speeds can be spotty, to say the least. Still, you don't have to spend hundreds on Wi-Fi hot spots if you have a few tricks up your sleeve.

• Shortly after my husband and I decided to sell the house and travel full time, we realized our old-model GPS wasn't able to find venues (Starbucks, McDonald's) known for offering free Wi-Fi to customers. Upgrading to a newer version allowed us to scope those out. It was a small investment for a large return.

• When you check into a hotel room that's offering free Wi-Fi, check the signal strength before you unpack. The built-in network finders on our smartphone and Kindle let us connect and check the signal strength in our hotel room before the first socks go in the drawers. If the connection is sluggish, we can request a room closer to the router.

• A hotel may have free Wi-Fi, but it sometimes...

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Readers' California mission projects crafted from cake, tiles

We asked you to send us photos of your mission projects so we could include a few on our California missions page. Your response was overwhelming.

We received images of missions made of cake, Legos and soap. Some of the projects you showed us are so old that they're historical pieces in themselves.

We liked what we saw, too, so we weren't surprised that some of the builders of these mission models have gone on to careers in architecture.

In many cases, the words that came along with the photos did as much to catch our attention. One family changed their holiday vacation plans so their daughter could prepare for her mission project.

A reader who had fond memories of her fourth-grade mission project now assigns the project to her own fourth-grade class.

Some projects are so prized that they remain on display at home years after they've been graded.

We received more photos than we could use initially, so we've selected additional images to share here. If you don't see yours in this round...

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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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New York City: 30 Rock's historic Rainbow Room set to reopen

Some of Gotham's glam will return Sunday when the Rainbow Room reopens after a five-year hiatus.

The Rainbow Room, which opened in 1934 on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, once hosted Elizabeth Taylor, Noel Coward, Cole Porter and city mayors.

Now it has been spiffed up and gained a new cocktail lounge called SixtyFive. The restaurant will be open to the public for Sunday brunch and Monday dinners.

It closed in 2009 after the Cipriani family, which had been operating the restaurant, lost their lease.

Real estate company Tishman Speyer, which controls Rockefeller Center, and executive chef Jonathan Wright take the reins in what's being called a "restaurant and event space," a news statement released Wednesday said.

That means aside from Sunday and Monday, the rest of the week will be open only for private events.

What's the same: The Art Deco crystal chandelier and wall sconces as well as original brass railings and other items remain at the dining spot, designated a New York...

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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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