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Earliest opening in 20 years for Yosemite's Glacier Point Road

Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park, which provides access to the popular Glacier Point overlook, opened Saturday (yes, today) -- the earliest date in 20 years.

Winter snow usually closes the Yosemite National Park road until May, but this year the road and visitor services at the view point for Half Dome and Yosemite Valley were to open at 6 a.m.

The National Park Service also said that the Bridalveil Creek Campground would be opening in the next several weeks, a sure sign that spring has come early to Yosemite Valley.

The unusually early opening of Glacier Point Road is one more indication of California's serious and onging drought. The Sierra Nevada snowpack measured in March shows record or near-record lows, sending shock waves throughout the state and prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to propose a $1-billion drought plan.

To see the effect of the drought on Yosemite, check out these time-lapse photos of Half Dome taken in late March, from 2011 to the present. The snow recedes as...

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If you plan to boycott Indiana, here is some of what you won't see

A day after Indiana’s governor signed a hot-button business law, calls for travel boycotts began. The chief of tech giant said the San Francisco company will stop sending staff to meetings in Indianapolis with its locally based ExactTarget division. And Gen Con, a gamer convention, and the Disciples of Christ church group were considering pulling their conventions out of Indianapolis.

The measure could allow businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers in the name of "religious freedom."

As businesses worried about the impact on next’s week's Final Four tournament in Indianapolis, the Indiana and Indianapolis area chambers of commerce quickly decried passage of the law. Most businesses surveyed said they had no desire to discriminate against any of their customers, calls from the Chicago Tribune found.

What would travelers miss?

Indianapolis: Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Fort Wayne: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Bloomington: Indiana University

South Bend: Basilica...

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Restaurant at Big Island's Volcano House to reopen in stages after fire

The main restaurant at a historic Big Island hotel in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is expected to reopen in stages after a fire Tuesday that injured an employee.

The fire in the kitchen at Volcano House, the only lodge within the park, was confined to a large grill, general manager David MacIlwraith said in an email. He said there was no structural damage.

As the hotel awaits delivery of a replacement grill, the Rim restaurant, which overlooks the active Kilauea volcano, is scheduled to reopen Friday, but only for hotel guests. MacIlwraith said non-guests would be welcome as early as Tuesday.

Uncle George’s, an adjacent lounge that also serves food, is expected to reopen early next week, once the new grill is installed, he said.

The hotel’s maintenance manager, identified by a National Park Service spokeswoman as Tony Pothul, 42, suffered burns to his upper arms in the fire. He remains hospitalized and was listed in stable condition at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.


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Airfare: United, Delta offering $731 round trip to Dubai from LAX

Dubai, capital of the emirate of the same name, is a frequent layover for world travelers, but with a $731 round-trip airfare, including all taxes and fees, on United and Delta from LAX, it may be an irresistible destination.

The fare, subject to availability, requires a minimum seven-night stay; you may not stay longer than four months.

It is for travel from now through June 7 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31. Tickets must be purchased at least three days in advance.

Info: Delta, (800) 221-1212; United, (800) 864-8331.

Source: Airfarewatchdog

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Top Chef at Sea cruise will sail in November -- and into 2016

If you like watching chefs square off on Bravo's TV show "Top Chef," why not watch them duel at sea as well?

Celebrity Cruises announced Thursday that Top Chef at Sea cruises would continue into 2016 under an agreement with Bravo, which produces the show. The partnership began two years ago.

For the upcoming cruise, Celebrity picked six contestants to sail to the eastern Caribbean in November aboard the Celebrity Reflection.

Nina Compton, Tiffany Derry, Ash Fulk, Gregory GourdetDoug Adams and Chris Crary will be on board the seven-night sailing from Miami.

During the cruise, you can schmooze with the chefs, ask questions, take a cooking class and even have one of the chefs be your host while on shore. You can also reserve private cooking classes and dinners with the chefs too.

But mostly you can watch them compete in the kitchen with the audience as their judges. Passengers too will get a taste of what it's like to be in the hot seat. Quickfire Challenges onboard the ship judge teams...

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San Diego Zoo: Watch mama hippopotamus bond with her new baby

Get ready for a cuteness fest. A hippopotamus named Funani gave birth last Monday to a calf at the San Diego Zoo -- and the two have been bonding ever since.

Zoo staff shot a video of the baby (see above), whose sex isn't yet known. (Scientists apparently haven't gotten close enough to check.) The video's underwater footage shows Funani nudging and pushing the calf, sometimes into shallower waters, in her enclosure at the zoo.

Both hippos are now on display. The baby is expected to stay close to Funani for the next several weeks, the zoo says. Hippos nurse for about eight months.

Seeing the calf may require some patience too. Visitors may have to stick around awhile to wait for the little hippo to wake up and become active.

Funani is an experienced mom. She's 30 years old and has raised four other hippos while in captivity, the zoo says.

Hippos come from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and other parts of the sub-Saharan African continent. They've been hunted in the wild for meat...

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