An item for campers who have no...


An item for campers who have no camping equipment or hate pitching a tent: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, 20 miles north of Santa Cruz, is opening new tent cabins ($29 a night). Two double beds, a wood-burning stove. The park will also rent you sheets, pillows, blankets. Big Basin provides summer campfire programs, miles of hiking/nature trails.

For reservations, call toll-free (800) 444-7275. Other details from the Department of Parks and Recreation, (916) 445-4624.

British Columbia

Tourism British Columbia has prepared a slick 66-page magazine, “Outdoor and Adventure Vacations.” Information on resorts, canoeing/kayaking, cycling, nature tours, river rafting, sailing, scuba diving, sport fishing, guest ranches, trail riding, trekking/mountaineering, golfing, parks.


Free copies by dialing toll-free (800) 663-6000.

Meanwhile, British Columbia Ferries will be welcoming vacationers again this summer. Big crowds on the 24-mile Vancouver/Victoria crossing between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. Other visitors cruise the Inside Passage aboard the fleet’s flagship, Queen of the North. This is a 15-hour trip between Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and Prince Rupert near the British Columbia/Alaska border.

Telephone Tourism British Columbia toll-free at (800) 663-6000 or write to BC Ferries, 1112 Fort St., Department L&L;, Victoria, B.C., Canada V8V 4V2.

The Gypsy Life

This summer you can take the reigns of a drive-yourself Gypsy wagon in Switzerland’s Jura Mountains. An adventure in serenity. A seven-day trip starting at the Old Abbey Inn at Lucelle in northwestern Switzerland. (Take the train from Basel.) The all-inclusive rate figures to about $930 per couple, including the covered wagon, picnic tables/chairs, coolers, barbecues, bed and breakfast at inns en route, stabling of the horse, insurance, maps.

Contact the Swiss National Tourist Office, 250 Stockton St., San Francisco 94108, or call (415) 362-2260.

Europe By Car

Renting a car in Europe can take a big bite out of your budget. But there is help. Europe By Car has economy-size rentals from $77 a week. The same company steers motorists to economy hotels in France for about $19 a night (accommodations for up to three guests). Breakfast, $2.95 extra.

Contact Europe By Car, 9000 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90069, or telephone toll free (800) 252-9401. If this line is busy, call (213) 272-0424.


Free Paperback

The British Tourist Authority is giving away copies of a 96-page paperback aimed at helping travelers make the dollar buy more. Tells about a $50 discount on Pan Am flights to London, hotels at fixed dollar rates, B&Bs;, guest houses, inns, farmhouse holidays. Other sections devoted to dining, shopping, car rentals, tour packages, two-for-one admissions to stately homes in England/Scotland. Information on free attractions (museums, galleries, national parks, crafts factories, breweries) and a monthly calendar of events for England/Scotland/Wales. A helpful little book that’s packed with excellent advice.

For a free copy of “Affordable Britain,” write to the British Tourist Authority, 350 S. Figueroa St., Suite 450, Los Angeles 90071. Call (213) 628-3525.

Riding the Rails

The Eurailpass people are issuing pocket-size timetables for trains operating between Europe’s major cities. Seventeen countries are included in this 160-page giveaway. Covers the period May 28, 1989, through May, 1990. Details on connections between airports/rail terminals, European time zones, accommodations. Maps pinpoint railroad stations in various cities. Some useful phrases in French, German, Italian, Spanish.

Copies from Eurailpass, P.O. Box 325, Old Greenwich, Conn. 06870-0325.

Inn on the River

Former Orange County resident Ruth Hutchings has opened a new inn on the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe. Five rooms plus a separate cottage with a hand-painted bed, wood stove, kitchenette. “Perfect for honeymooners,” the proprietress says. Five guest rooms in the main lodge. One with a fireplace and French doors that open onto the river, another with a canopied country French bed, wood stove, hearth, private bath. Upstairs the sleigh room features a couple of queen-size sleigh beds. Refreshments served on arrival. Breakfast on the patio, in the breakfast room or at the gazebo.

Blue House Inn, P.O. Box 10989, Truckee, Calif. 95737. Call toll-free (800) 548-6526 or (916) 582-8415. Rates $95/$225.

Europe on a Budget

One-way flights to Europe will be available this summer starting at $225. London, Paris, Frankfurt. Other destinations at slightly higher rates. The $225 fare also applies to Tahiti. Travel on all flights will be on a space-available basis. “Customers must be flexible to utilize the standby fares,” the operator tells us, which is a polite way of saying there’s a chance the plane will be full and you won’t get aboard.


Check with DIF Travel, 3317 N. Barham Blvd., Hollywood 90068. Telephone (213) 851-2572.

Study Vacations

Spanish language schools are popping up everywhere. One we keep getting good reports about is the Center for Bilingual Studies in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Tuition: $125 a week. Board and room with local families will cost you an extra $10/$15 a day. Contact the Center for Bilingual Studies, P.O. Box 1860, Los Angeles 90078. Telephone toll-free (800) 426-4660 or (213) 851-3403.

Centro de Idiomas S.A. provides four-hour lessons daily. Tuition: $280 the first week, $180 for each additional week, including home stays with Mexican families. Centro de Idiomas S.A., Belisario Dominguez 1908, Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.

In Puebla, a two-week session with Language Experience Programs will cost you $375, including room/board. Language Experience Programs, 1621 Orchard Hill, Hacienda Heights 91745. Call (818) 810-5521.

Reader Recommendations

California--Bruce Dingman, Westlake Village: “Just returned from a most delightful weekend at the Los Olivos Grand Hotel in Los Olivos (near Solvang), 2860 Grand Ave, Los Olivos, Calif. 93441. This is a quiet town with numerous art galleries, two wine-tasting rooms and that old ‘Mayberry RFD’ feel of the Andy Griffith/Don Knotts days. Rates: $165/$295. For reservations, call toll-free (800) 446-2455.”

Louisiana--Ron and Gerry Powers, San Gabriel: “Enjoyed a recent stay at 7 Oaks Plantation, 2600 Gay Lynn Drive, Kenner, La. 70065. Near New Orleans Airport. Spectacular plantation home. Two guest rooms, one overlooking Lake Pontchartrain. Rate: $85 includes a full Southern breakfast.”

Australia--Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Barker, Ventura: “Wish to recommend a great moderately priced motel with self-contained units for family vacations--The Hollywood Inn, 239 Sheridan St., Cairns, North Queensland, Australia 4870. Only $38 Australian when we were there in April.”


Hungary--Will Kern, Orange: “My wife and I went to a quaint cellar called the Arny Barny next door to the British Embassy in Budapest. Had cocktails, salad, entrees and enough lamb and goose liver for the entire Hungarian army, plus a full bottle of wine. The total tab including tip was $21.”