Traveling at the End of the World: A Tour of Canada’s Gaspé Peninsula


It’s the Western Hemisphere’s original superhighway: Long before Route 66 or the Oregon Trail or even the Erie Canal — for that matter, before Henry Hudson ever sailed into New York Harbor French ships, trailing the wake of Indigenous peoples such as the Mi’kmaq and the Innu, were already navigating the St. Lawrence River to explore, exploit and settle the new world. To this day, the St. Lawrence moves more than 150 million tons of cargo a year. But it can also move people, in unexpected ways. Follow alongside, and it will take you through other countries. And realms. And even back in time.

The fleuve Saint-Laurent — a fleuve is a river that empties into the sea; others are merely rivières — flows northward from Lake Ontario for some 800 miles, but a good place to start shadowing it would be about a third of the way downstream, at the Plains of Abraham, in Québec City, where, in 1759, the British effectively secured their hegemony over the French in this part of the world for the next two centuries. Stand up there, on this elevated battleground, and gaze out — over the rooftops of the city that Samuel de Champlain founded 12 years before the Mayflower left England — at the fleuve, spreading out like a bay, and, to your right, two bridges that span it.

The last two.

You don’t have to go across; you could just remain on this side, where Champlain planted roots, and visit waterfalls, ski resorts, artsy towns. But that other side: It’s mysterious. Somewhere out there — around 500 miles of two-lane macadam away — is Rocher Percé (pierced rock), a striking offshore monolith, one of Canada’s great icons, and next door, Île Bonaventure, where cliffs rising hundreds of feet from the water teem with birds rarely spotted south of the border. Both merit the drive; but to do it straight in one day — rather than, as I did, over the course of several — would be like going to an épicerie, buying a Coffee Crisp bar (that cherished Canadian confection), framing the wrapper and throwing the candy away.

Cross over into the city of Lévis and pick up Quebec 132, the road that will take you all the way around the Gaspé peninsula. At first, suburban sprawl obscures the river; then, suddenly, you’re in the middle of lush farmland with open driver’s side views of the fleuve. This region is known as Chaudière-Appalaches, as in, the Appalachian Mountains. They’re up here, too, lurking somewhere off to your right.

You’ll pass many cyclists, their bicycles strapped with bulging saddle bags; the road here runs flat, and straight. The coast, though, does not, so while 132 goes right through some towns, others nestle off to its left. Detouring through one every five or 10 minutes is like unwrapping Christmas presents.

Though they all look like charming mashups of New England and old France, each is distinct from its neighbors. In Saint-Vallier, for instance, I stumbled upon an otherwise nondescript home, its front lawn festooned with more than a dozen elaborate scale models: houses, shops, a gazebo, a church. A neighbor who noticed me gawking walked over to explain, “They’re all buildings in town. The fellow who lives here used to make one a year. He’s 85 now and can’t do it anymore, but he still puts them out every June and takes them in come winter.”

The town of L’Islet has a splendid stone church with gleaming twin spires. Though the parking lot was empty when I passed through, a side door was unlocked; inside, a woman encouraged me to explore its capacious interior, warmer and sunnier than any ornate église I’d ever seen. “This is a patrimoniale church,” she beamed, meaning it’s landmarked, a designation that carries even more prestige here than it does in the States. “It was built in 1768, after the town outgrew two earlier ones.”

Follow the steeples. Churches here stand at the center of town; around them you’ll often find warm cafés, humble museums, public artwork, homemade chapels, placid riverfronts, little houses painted in bright colors. And sometimes — full disclosure — a potent whiff of cow manure. Fertile land, this.

At Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, past a sign welcoming you to the next region, Bas- (or lower) Saint-Laurent, a roadside shrine lists the town’s pioneers, going back to 1715. Others nearby were settled even earlier, like Kamouraska.

There are a few things that will stop you in Kamouraska. There’s that founding date, of course (1674); but there’s also its name — I’m told it’s Algonquin for “the place where rushes grow at the edge of the water” — which may well be the first thing you’ve seen on this whole drive to remind you that other people were living in these parts before the French sailed in.

But what will really stop you in Kamouraska is all the foot traffic, right along 132: people exploring historical sites, yes, but also plenty of boutiques, galleries, eateries. I asked the gentleman at the visitors bureau what drew people there in the first place, figuring the businesses had followed the tourists. “We’re known for having the second-most-beautiful sunsets in the world,” he said. Having heard tell of other Saint-Laurent towns with spectacular sunsets, I asked him where No. 1 was. “Hawaii,” he replied.

But for the silver-painted steeples and mansard roofs, this part of the drive, where the towns are now maybe 15 or 20 minutes apart, may remind you of the Low Countries — at least until Bic National Park begins, bumping smooth shoreline for rugged inlets and channels, peppered with little pine-topped islands, which evoke Norse country. Road and river reunite near Rimouski, population 50,000, by far the largest city this side of Lévis, almost 200 miles back. When I stopped at the tourism office there and asked where the historic district was, the woman behind the counter told me: “There isn’t one. The city burned down in 1950.”

Rimouski does have a pleasant elevated walkway along the shore, though the serenity you experience gazing out at the fleuve there may be tempered by a visit to the Empress of Ireland Museum, dedicated to a liner of that name that sank nearby in May 1914, taking more than a thousand people down with it in just 14 minutes. The museum has a fine film about the ship, how it sank and why it went down so quickly — despite having safety features inspired by the Titanic disaster just two years earlier — and displays hundreds of artifacts salvaged by wildcat divers: water heater, egg boiler, baby bottle, moose antlers. Only as I was walking back to my car did I realize the building itself is a Cubist rendition of the foundering ship, smokestacks and all.

At some point, it will occur to you that you can no longer see the opposite bank, and you’ll come to understand why folks here refer to the river as la mer, the sea. At Sainte-Flavie, you enter the region of Gaspésie. The towns get noticeably smaller and even farther apart, the Christmas presents more surprising, including working phone booths and mechanical gas pumps.

More than 200 years have passed since Métis-sur-Mer was founded by a Scottish seigneur, but it’s still somewhat Anglophone. (It was “Métis Beach” until 2002.) It still has a Presbyterian church, too; in its graveyard, scattered among the marble and limestone, you’ll find a few wooden markers, long since weathered to illegibility. At Baie-des-Sables, while you stroll yet another waterside promenade sprinkled with comfortable chairs, it may occur to you that there is in these towns a tremendous sense of civic pride: Almost everything in them is tidy, well kept (even abandoned houses have mowed lawns) and, by the shore, inviting.

Past Matane, the coast starts to bulge and buckle with approaching mountains. Towns bear-hug the water, sometimes even spilling out over it, like Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, where I came upon a large quay, its surface covered with vehicles, its edges with anglers. These settlements were built on fishing, but people here apparently love it so much they do it in their spare time, too.

Soon thereafter, you will have crested the peninsula, your car’s compass having gradually spun from NNE to just E. It’s here, at the ceiling of Gaspésie, that the Appalachians finally end, and not with a whimper. They crash right into the water, forcing the road to accommodate them by rising and falling and contorting such that you may feel it’s trying to shake you off its back.

But, then: those views. Here analogy fails me; I know of none like them. If you’re the type of person who stares at far-flung places on maps and envisions what they must be like, this one will exceed your imagination. At one point, for instance, a sharp bend in the mountainside road suddenly reveals a vista of more mountains alternating like the teeth of an opening zipper; before them, the village of Mont-Saint-Pierre clings to the slender rim of a half-moon cove. Stand on its dark-gray-speckled-with-white beach, looking forward and back, and you’ll wonder how any thoroughfare — much less the modest one bedside you — can possibly make it around the promontories jutting into the sea.

Past each, other mountains inch back from the shore just enough to accommodate settlements, some only one house deep; a few are simply a handful of small dwellings huddling together against blue infinity. Others are a bit larger, like Madeleine-Centre, where the lighthouse — you’ll have passed many by now: wooden, stone, brick; white, red, white and red — has a small museum that illuminates the history of the area, the life of a lighthouse keeper, and the indispensability of such structures, quaint artifacts though they seem now: In just two decades, from 1856 to 1876, the St. Lawrence swallowed at least 674 ships.

This raw coast, compelling as it is today, was, for centuries, terribly forbidding. The hamlet of Pointe-à-la-Frégate — named for the British frigate HMS Penelope, which ran aground there on April 30, 1815; more than 200 on board either drowned or froze to death — has a pocket park commemorating that shipwreck, with informative kiosks, a couple of picnic tables shaped like (pink) Napoleonic-era warships, and a cannon. You may be tempted to pose behind the porthole for a picture, but I wouldn’t: It’s mounted at the edge of a cliff.

If you like local, Gaspésie’s northern fringe is the place. When I cheekily asked a server at a small restaurant what other kinds of dining options were in the vicinity, she grinned and said, “There’s A&W in Matane, and McDonald’s in Gaspé.” Matane was then 100 miles behind me; Gaspé still 100 miles ahead. Sparsely populated as the area is, though, it has a great deal of history, not all of it tragic. At Pointe-à-la-Renommée, Guglielmo Marconi opened his first North American maritime wireless station in 1904. It’s still there on the spot (next to yet another lighthouse) that Marconi chose precisely because it was so remote.

At the eastern tip of the peninsula, Forillon National Park leaps out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Nearly 100 square miles of conifers, beaches and capes, it was created in 1970, though not without tears: As kiosks at an anse, or cove, there explain, a great many families, some of whom had been there for centuries, were displaced in the process; their memories and lamentations grace other kiosks. (“We had lots of fun at Christmas.” “Families always got together for meals; it was a tradition.” “I know it’s been over 40 years but it still hurts. We’ll never forget.”) Some of their empty houses remain, as does William Hyman’s store, which provisioned generations of cod fishermen.

That cove is called L’Anse-aux-Amérindians (thankfully renamed from L’Anse-aux-Sauvages) to commemorate earlier generations of displaced residents. A trail that starts nearby leads to this eastern tip’s eastern tip, Land’s End. Its French name, Le Bout du Monde, seems more apt — the End of the World. And yet, somehow, inadequate: Ride a whale-watching boat around the Gulf and you’ll behold a land-and-seascape — indigo water waging an ancient war on ochre cliffs, more than you can count — best described as otherworldly.

Heading on, you’ll pass Fort Péninsule, a preserved coastal defense dating to World War II, when the Nazis sank some two dozen Allied ships in the St. Lawrence, before you come into the city of Gaspé, population 15,000. The town of Percé — where the sights include not only Rocher Percé and Île Bonaventure, but more souvenir and tchotchke stores than I care to recollect, not to mention the first paid parking lots I’d encountered in 500 miles — is still about 45 minutes away; but, again, don’t rush. Gaspé, one of the great natural harbors on the Atlantic — with its nearby beaches and surprisingly warm water, enticing restaurants and shops, fine regional museum and snug main street, Rue de la Reine, where the lampposts and parking-meter poles are outfitted with rainbow-striped knitted cozies — is as good a place as any I can think of to hunker down for a bit.

Jacques Cartier would agree. A tall stone cross on Gaspé’s waterfront marks the spot where the explorer planted a more modest wooden one in 1534, when he stopped by seeking shelter from a storm, and decided to do some trading with the locals. And, while he was there, invoke the papal Doctrine of Discovery (the one that decreed Christian nations like France could just assert ownership of territory already occupied by non-Christian Indigenous peoples) to claim the land for King François.

What he claimed — about 35 years before Champlain was born — is what we now call Canada. Though Gaspé also sometimes refers to itself as the End of the World, it was, in fact, the beginning of a whole new one. And well worth traversing several to see.

Lodging: If you’re an R.V. person, there are campgrounds all along Route 132, some right on the water. If you’re not, there are large hotels in Rimouski and Matane, but you might also consider an auberge, or inn, in a Victorian-era house; there are a couple, for instance, in the village of Le Bic, which also has a very fine bakery, Folles Farines, and lovely views of Bic National Park. There are plenty of inns in lower Gaspésie, ranging from humble to much less humble, and small motels. Up on the peninsula’s ceiling, options range from pretty basic motels (which nonetheless usually look better in real life than they appear in pictures online), to small inns, to cabins. (Few will turn up in a hotel app search; better to just use Google Maps.) And in Gaspé, there are motels, inns and hotels; the Baker Hotel is upscale for this area, but not exorbitant. You deserve it after all that driving.

Dining: This area is, not surprisingly, known for its seafood, but there are also plenty of local specialties that don’t come from the water. You will find a number of more upscale dining options — though not as many as you would have before Canada started experiencing its own labor shortage; you can still get a good breakfast at many hotels and inns, and even motels, though dinner at these can be trickier these days — but the food at the roadside shacks (called cantines) is often outstanding, too, even when they’re the only option. The line at Cantine Ste-Flavie, for instance, just outside that town, can be very long, and there’s a good reason for that. Even on such an enticing menu, the poutine aux crevettes — a mountain of fresh local shrimp atop fries, cheese curds and gravy — stands out. (Be forewarned: They only take cash and certain debit cards.) La Banquise 102 de Gaspé offers a delicious Montreal smoked meat poutine; so does Brise Bise, a restaurant on Rue de la Reine. Cafe des Artistes and the bakery Oh Les Pains, both also on Rue de la Reine, are also very good, and the restaurant TÉTÛ at the Baker Hotel is a fine option. Just make sure these are open on the day you plan to go — again, that labor shortage. Finally, when you see the giant roadside strawberry in L’Isle Vert (about 45 minutes past Kamouraska, heading north/east), pull up to the little red shack — Potager Côte D’or — and get a sundae made with their fresh strawberries. You’re welcome.

Museums, etc.: There are many small museums and local historical sites all along the route; serendipity may well guide you to some you won’t forget. The Empress of Ireland Museum is part of a maritime heritage complex that includes a lighthouse and a Canadian submarine. In Gaspé, you might want to check out the nascent Site d’Interpretation Micmac de Gespeg, and the generous array of informative kiosks at a plaza down by the waterfront where Cartier planted his cross. But you definitely don’t want to skip the Musée de la Gaspésie, which has excellent permanent exhibits about the history and culture of the area, including millennia of Indigenous societies and centuries of Anglo-French intrigue and commercial fishing. There’s also a wondrous temporary one (running through fall 2023) called “Cher Léo,” about Léonard Lapierre (1928-2014), an ingenious area folk artist who made everything out of anything. (The exhibit’s name refers to the many fan letters Lapierre got from schoolchildren throughout Canada.)


Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places for a Changed World for 2022.





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Viral TikTok travel tip shows how to find the best places to stay


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Google Maps has long been a favorite tool for travelers, helping us navigate new cities, save locations of places we want to visit and see reviews of local businesses. While plenty of people use the tool to tailor their trips, one TikTok creator has racked up nearly 5 million views with a viral post detailing her unconventional planning strategy.

Instead of locking in a place to stay, then plotting a Google Map with what she wants to eat, see and do, Jessica Tsoi plots her wish list before booking her accommodations.

“It has come to my attention that not everyone plans a trip this way,” Tso says to start her video, captioned, “The best (practical) way to plan a trip!” “And ever since I started doing this, I can’t look back.”

Here’s her method: As soon as Tsoi decides on a place to visit, she creates a customizable map for the destination using Google My Maps, a tool that allows Google Maps users to save and share maps with additional functions like color-coding map points, organizing them in “layers,” drawing lines or adding directions.

Once she’s made her map, Tsoi inputs attractions she wants to see, restaurants she’d like to try and public transportation hubs, then does some internet research to find recommended areas to stay in the destination. She compares those recommendations with the neighborhoods that have the most of her saved map points, then picks where to stay.

“I usually have about two areas I’m deciding between,” Tsoi told The Washington Post. “And seeing all this laid out is really helpful for me to decide.”

The method ultimately helps Tsoi pick a place to stay based on her interests, not left finding attractions near a booking she picked based on deals or other reasons. Once she’s on her trip, Tsoi uses the map to plan her day, saving her precious vacation time and letting her dodge some stress.

If you want to give her method a try, here are some best practices.

The best times to find cheap flights, according to Google data

The first step to getting the most out of Google Maps is to create a Google account. Users can then have a customizable experience with Google Maps and try Google My Maps.

Note that while you can see a finished Google My Maps product on the Google Maps mobile app, you can’t create or edit one in the app. You can use a computer or a browser on a mobile device via mymaps.google.com (although it’s a little clunky to do on your phone).

“With Google My Maps, you need to plug everything in beforehand, so it’s more of an advanced planning tool,” says Gunnar Olson, flight deal analyst and travel reporter at Thrifty Traveler. “It’s most helpful in plotting out a trip weeks or months ahead of time than it is live in the moment.”

You asked: Why do I have to pay a pet fee when my dog is my carry-on?

You could skip the Google My Maps process and use Google Maps to get much of the same benefit, albeit with fewer frills. Instead of creating a map, Google can favorite certain spots or create a list of places to organize points of interest.

Don’t forget to save your Google Map offline. You’ll save battery by having your phone on airplane mode (or keep your map working if you’re abroad without an international phone plan), while still being able to review your map and use navigation.

Don’t let your wish list decide the whole trip

Chris Hutchins, a travel expert and host of the podcast “All the Hacks,” likes to have at least half of his time in a new place unscheduled to leave room in his travels for spontaneity. Mapping some points of interest is not the same as planning every minute of your trip. Don’t feel beholden to hit every item on your map.

“I really worry in today’s day and age that travel is becoming checklist travel,” Hutchins says. “So the idea of starting with a map and plotting everything out … makes me worry about the type of travel that you might have.”

Tsoi says she saw some TikTok users post similar concerns in her video’s comment section.

“You could easily use it just as a way to take notes on cool places you’re considering visiting, maybe not things you must do,” she says. “It’s a suggested guide for you. There’s a lot of ways to use it.”

How to set price alerts to find the cheapest flights

Other Google travel tools to try

Google has other tools for every step of your trip. When you’re figuring out how to get to a destination, “Google Flights is the best flight search tool in the world,” Hutchins says.

Olson agrees. “There’s no better way to compare flight prices,” he says. “You can set flight alerts, you can get live data on when the best time is to book flights. … I don’t look anywhere else.”

Both experts also use Google Hotels. Thanks to a hotel button featured on Google Maps, users can compare hotels in the area they’d like to stay in based on prices and reviews.

Atlanta-based travel expert Jewels Rhode uses Google Sheets to organize her trip budget, accommodations and activities, particularly when she’s going somewhere with friends. The tool allows users to easily collaborate on the trip, and you can also upload your list into Google My Maps.

Rhode also swears by Google Translate to cut through language barriers. You can write down words to translate or speak them aloud into your phone, or take a photo of text to translate. Google Translate is a lifesaver for Rhode because she uses it to explain her severe nut allergy when ordering food abroad.





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On the 100th anniversary of Lufthansa's founding, Lockheed Super Star & JU 52 to go on exhibit – Breaking Travel News



On the 100th anniversary of Lufthansa’s founding, Lockheed Super Star & JU 52 to go on exhibit  Breaking Travel News



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Marietta woman killed in traffic accident | News, Sports, Jobs



MARIETTA — A Marietta woman was killed in a traffic accident Friday in Washington County, the Marietta Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Jean R. Pekach, 92, of Marietta, was killed in a collision with a 2010 Mazda 3 driven by Jimella J. Bigley, 51, of Ravenswood on Ohio 7 near milepost 27 in Marietta Township, the patrol said.

The investigation found Pekach, driving a 2001 Honda Accord, was attempting to pull out of a private drive when the collision occurred. Bigley was traveling north on Route 7, the patrol said.

Pekach was taken to Marietta Memorial Hospital by the Reno Volunteer Fire Department EMS where she was pronounced dead, the patrol said. Bigley sustained serious, but non-life-threatening injuries and also was taken to Marietta Memorial by the Fearing Township Volunteer Fire Department EMS, the patrol said.

The accident happened around 12:30 p.m. Friday, according to the patrol.

Alcohol is not suspected to be a factor in the crash and both drivers were wearing a seatbelt, the patrol said. The accident remains under investigation, the patrol said.

Responding agencies include the patrol, Fearing and Reno fire departments and Westfall Towing.



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BBB Tip: How to avoid purchasing fake tickets to events | Business


As another Texas summer with record-breaking heat ends and the beginning of the fall season approaches, many people will be looking to get out and enjoy themselves at various events across the state. Residents may be planning to watch their favorite sports team compete this season or attend a concert featuring a famous musician. With the prices of tickets to major events increasing and the ever-present threat of con artists capitalizing on marketplace trends, BBB recommends consumers exercise caution when searching for and purchasing tickets to their next event.

While most people know to be careful when purchasing tickets off a third-party website or reseller, recent reports to BBB Scam Tracker show a concerning trend of scammers disguising themselves as reputable ticket sellers when interacting with the victim. These schemes often leverage the credibility of companies such as Ticketmaster to convince victims to provide payment for tickets that are either fake, for the wrong event or priced significantly higher than the going rate. Some may also advertise discounted tickets for high-priced seats or sections, which turns out to be false once the tickets are received, or the purchaser arrives at the venue.

In many worst-case scenarios, a consumer who is provided a fake ticket plans an entire weekend around the event, including travel costs and a hotel room, only to be turned away at the entrance. Victims may also find that the credit or debit card used to pay for the tickets has a series of charges they do not recognize, resulting in them having to cancel the card and dispute those transactions with their bank to varying degrees of success.

To help prevent fraudulent sellers from interrupting your event plans, Better Business Bureau provides the following tips:

  • Purchase directly from the venue whenever possible. Many consumers automatically go to a secondary resale market to purchase tickets for an upcoming event before first checking with the venue. Going directly to the venue may not only save money but is also a way to ensure that a purchase is for a valid ticket. Venues also often include what secondary resale organization they are listing their tickets on, giving consumers an additional layer of protection from purchasing fake tickets.
  • Consider your source. There is a significant difference between purchasing a ticket from a professional ticket broker and a ticket scalper. While dealing with the latter may result in obtaining valid tickets, the risk of encountering a scammer is significantly greater. Always exercise caution when purchasing from sources that are not members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) or Better Business Bureau.
  • Research the seller/broker. Brokers who are members of NATB offer a 200% purchase guarantee on tickets, protecting consumers that use their services. Visit NATB.org to confirm you are interacting with a NATB-member resale company.
  • Check for website encryption. It is good practice to always check for the lock symbol in the website address, indicating a secured system is enabled on the site. BBB strongly recommends against giving any banking information to websites that are not secured.
  • Know the refund policy. Only purchase tickets from a ticket reseller that clearly details the purchase terms. Avoid sellers who do not disclose where the seats are located or where purchasers can pick up tickets. If the deal seems “too good to be true,” trust your instincts and thoroughly investigate the seller before purchasing tickets.
  • Use protected payment options. Debit or gift cards, mobile banking apps and cash transactions are risky due to difficulties recovering money if the tickets are fake. BBB recommends using credit cards for all online purchases due to the additional protections they offer consumers to obtain a refund.
  • Verify tickets. If you doubt the authenticity of a purchased ticket, present it to the “Will Call” or customer service center of the event venue. They will inform you if it is legitimate or explain how a legitimate ticket for their venue should look.

If you have been a victim of a fake ticket scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Information provided could prevent another person from falling victim.

For more information about ticket scams, visit BBB.org.





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The good, the bad and the ugly of PFD airfare deals


Alaskans have grown up with the Permanent Fund dividend — and with the travel deals that accompany the annual payout.

This year is no different, other than the PFD checks are distributed a couple of weeks early.

The big bargains are coming from Alaska Airlines. But this year, for the first time, Delta is rolling out discounts from all three of its year-round Alaska gateways: Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Delta offers flights from Juneau only on Saturdays and Sundays through the winter.

Alaska Air, for its part, is offering sale prices from all of its jet ports, except Prudhoe Bay. In addition to offering bargains on flights to the Lower 48, Alaska is offering discounted fares for in-state travel. From Kotzebue to Anchorage is $126 one-way. From Fairbanks to Bethel is $164 one-way.

Delta is offering discounted fares to most, but not all, of its destinations in the Lower 48. From Rochester, New York, to Birmingham, Alabama to Duluth, Minnesota, Delta is offering a PFD fare.

Whether you’re flying on Delta or Alaska, you have to plan at least 21 days in advance. That’s really not an issue, though, since many of the destinations don’t have availability until early December.

Many travelers are ready for airfares to come down from the dizzying summertime prices. Checking on PFD fares from both carriers, there’s some good, some bad and some ugly features.

Good

Alaska Airlines is resuming its nonstop flights to Hawaii from Anchorage. The nonstop to Honolulu starts on Nov. 18, but prices are high until Jan. 9, 2023 when tickets are available for as little as $177 one-way.

Alaska’s Anchorage-Maui nonstop resumes in mid-December. But the deals roll out as Alaska Air introduces daily service on Jan. 9. The tickets are priced low: $159 each way.

Alaska Air also is flying nonstop every day from Anchorage to Kona between Jan. 9 and Mar. 16. The PFD special is $159 each way.

Delta’s twice-weekly flights between Juneau and Seattle this winter are enough to keep a damper on prices. The airline is charging $79 each way between Juneau and Seattle. But Juneau travelers can fly all the way to New York for $165 each way. Or to Phoenix for $140 each way.

Delta’s single daily flight between Fairbanks and Seattle also keeps prices down all winter in the Golden Heart City. Many fares, such as Fairbanks-Seattle for $99 each way, are the same as Anchorage rates. That’s a win for Fairbanks travelers, who are accustomed to paying much more for air travel. Another “common-rated” destination is San Jose del Cabo at the tip of Baja California. Whether you leave from Anchorage or Fairbanks on Alaska Airlines, the prices start at just $199 each way. The return flights cost more: from $249 one-way.

Alaska Airlines is bringing extra firepower to its PFD sale this year. The airline is giving away a couple of Holland America cruises (including airfare), as well as two sets of Alaska Air tickets in a PFD Sweepstakes. No purchase is necessary.

Delta resumed its two-bags-free offer for Alaska residents. To qualify, you have to be a SkyMiles member at least 24 hours prior to check-in.

With both Delta and Alaska offering PFD fares, there are good deals to lots of towns that aren’t normally on sale. This includes Alaska’s PFD offers to all its destinations in Alaska (except Prudhoe Bay and seasonal service to Gustavus). For Delta, it includes destinations like Des Moines, Iowa, Fargo, N.D., Memphis, Tennessee, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Charlotte, N.C.

Bad

When you’re searching for a good deal, be aware of the connection time. Airlines will display fares that have two stops, or include 8-hour layovers. For example, on Nov. 1, Delta offers a flight from Anchorage to L.A. for $158 one-way. Alaska offers the same fare, but there’s an eight-hour layover in Seattle.

All the prices quoted here are for “Saver” tickets of “Basic Economy” on Delta. That means you cannot change your ticket. Pre-assigned seats are very rare on Alaska Air and specifically not included with Delta. On Delta, you won’t earn SkyMiles credit with Basic flights. The upcharge to “Main Cabin” is between $30 and $60 each way.

Delta is not offering a PFD special to three of its most-popular hubs: Atlanta, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City. But Alaska is offering promo fares to those cities. Delta is offering a nice fare of $198 one-way between Anchorage and Detroit.

Ugly

Blackouts. You cannot find a PFD fare at Thanksgiving, Christmas or Spring Break. Those flights typically are full of schoolkids, their parents and their teachers.

Alaska Air’s blackout dates are comprehensive: Nov. 17-28 (Thanksgiving), Dec. 15-Jan. 8, 2023 (Christmas) and March 10-21, 2023 (Spring Break).

Delta’s list of blackout dates is more complicated: Nov. 18-29, Dec. 16-18, 20-24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 3, 2023. Feb. 16-17, 20. March 3-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27 and March 30-April 3. April 6-10, 13-16, 21-23.

There are other important facts about the PFD sale. All tickets must be purchased by Sept. 29. All travel must be completed by May 17, 2023 for Alaska Air destinations. Some Delta destinations end earlier than that, though. For example, travel on Delta to Memphis is available for $198 one-way and travel must be completed by March 8, 2023.

Between Alaska and most destinations in the Lower 48, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Prices and restrictions change without notice. They’ve already changed since they were introduced earlier this week. They are likely to change again before the sale ends on Sept. 29.





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Takeaways From Buffs At Air Force


BOULDER — After two games and two losses by an average of 28 points, Colorado Buffaloes coach Karl Dorrell didn’t mince words.

In his postgame press conference following Saturday’s 41-10 loss at Air Force, Dorrell said, “We have a tremendous amount of work to do … the coaches and myself, we all take responsibility for it.”

Saturday’s defeat at Falcon Stadium bore some similarity to Colorado’s season-opening 38-13 loss to TCU. Despite some early mistakes, the Buffs were in the game in the third quarter — and then they weren’t. CU failed to take advantage when opportunity knocked, and the Falcons were more than happy to slam the door.

Our takeaways from Week 2:

1. Inability to convert crucial short-yardage situations. Despite two early turnovers that put the Buffs in a 20-0 hole, Colorado had a chance to close the gap to 20-17 early in the third quarter and make it anyone’s ballgame.

But a first-and-goal at the Air Force 2-yard line produced a fumble on second down, an AFA recovery and an empty trip to the red zone. Colorado then failed to convert a fourth-and-2 in Air Force territory on its next possession — with the score still 20-10 — and later in the game came up short on fourth-and-3 when quarterback J.T. Shrout slid too early with the first down marker well within his reach.

Saturday was not a one-time aberration. The Buffs were 0-for-3 on fourth-down tries the previous week, including a try deep in TCU territory early in the game that would have given CU some terrific early momentum.

Granted, had the Buffs been able to convert at the goal line Saturday, there’s no guarantee the game would have turned out differently. But it no doubt would have been at least interesting to see how Colorado would have responded had the Buffs been able to narrow the deficit to three and apply a little more pressure to the Falcons.

2. Still no answer at quarterback. The Buffs went with Shrout the entire game Saturday, ending a streak of 13 consecutive starts for Brendon Lewis.

But the change didn’t inject much life into the CU offense. The Buffs had just one drive that went for longer than 26 yards, a 71-yard touchdown march in the second quarter when Colorado’s running game suddenly found life. After that, however, the Buffs never really established anything resembling a rhythm again.

By no means was the limited production all on the shoulders of Shrout. CU didn’t handle the wet conditions particularly well. Colorado receivers had their hands on a half-dozen passes that fell incomplete — with one tip leading to an interception. It also appeared that Shrout, who hadn’t had any extended playing time in roughly two years, is also still finding his touch in the short game.

“We’re going to have to find someone that can give us a spark,” Dorrell said. “We have to continue to develop that position. Maybe we need to look at some of these younger guys, too.”

That group included sophomore Drew Carter, who had a handful of snaps last year, true freshman Owen McCown and freshman transfer Maddox Kopp

(Historical side note here that means nothing more than the guy writing this is old: Thirty years ago — Sept. 19, 1992 —  the Buffs traveled to Minnesota and trailed 17-0 early in the third quarter. QB Kordell Stewart did not play because of an injury and backup Duke Tobin was struggling. CU completed just two passes in the first half and had minus-8 yards rushing. Buffs coach Bill McCartney then yanked the redshirt off true freshman Koy Detmer. The Texas prep product came in and rallied Colorado to a 21-20 victory, throwing a 49-yard touchdown pass to Michael Westbrook and a 24-yard TD pass to Charles E. Johnson for the game winner. Detmer finished 11-for-18 for 184 yards and two touchdowns, and was named the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Week. One other note from the game: Colorado’s wide receivers coach that night was Karl Dorrell.)

3. CU’s defense gave the Buffs a chance. Yes, the Falcons scored 41 points and rang up 435 yards rushing. But Colorado also forced three AFA turnovers and with 10:40 left in the third quarter, the Buffs were 2 yards away from making it a 20-17 ballgame.

Colorado’s defense also had a solid first half against TCU, shutting the Horned Frogs offense out for the first two quarters and giving the Buffs a chance to be in that game.

Linebacker Quinn Perry is quickly becoming a force. He finished with 17 tackles against AFA, including one for loss. Fellow LB Josh Chandler-Semedo had 10 stops and it’s likely that safety Trevor Woods would have finished in double digits had he not been ejected early in the third quarter for targeting. He finished with eight tackles, including one for loss, and had a big hit that produced an AFA fumble and led to a Colorado field goal.

Also promising was the play of second-year freshman defensive lineman Tyas Martin. The 6-4, 340-pounder finished with four tackles and gave CU some needed depth in the trenches.

4. Air Force is very experienced and very good. That was a veteran bunch the Buffaloes faced Saturday, with seniors up and down the starting lineup. Nobody is going to be surprised if the Falcons run the table in the Mountain West and put themselves in position for at least a New Year’s Day bowl.

5. The Buffaloes are young. Dorrell bristles at the thought of using this as an excuse, but truth is, the Buffs are wet behind the ears in plenty of places. CU has 90 underclassmen on the roster (60 freshmen and 30 sophomores).

It’s not an alibi for Colorado’s performance thus far. You play the hand you are dealt. 

But for two straight weeks, the Buffs have been in the game in the second half, then watched it quickly get out of hand. Young players have to learn how to play through adversity — and right now, the vast majority of CU’s roster is undergoing a very painful learning curve.

6. The schedule doesn’t get any easier. Next weekend, the Buffs travel to Minnesota, who has been receiving Top 25 votes. After that, it’s a home game with UCLA, which is spending its non-conference time tuning up against Bowling Green, Alabama State and South Alabama.

Again, it’s the hand Dorrell’s team has been dealt. You won’t hear any excuses coming from the UCHealth Champions Center.

But the Buffs have to figure out a way to finish some of those critical early drives and take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

“When we had a chance to capitalize, we didn’t follow through,” Dorrell said. “We didn’t finish. We have work to do.”

 





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Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 review – Full-Suspension – Mountain Bikes


Canyon’s previous-generation Torque was one of a dying breed of long-travel 650b-wheeled bikes.

It’s been reworked substantially this year, with new frame details, revised geometry and bigger 29in wheels at each end.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 frame and suspension

Canyon relies on its familiar four-bar suspension design on the new Torque.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

In common with other new Canyons, the Torque’s low-slung frame has good standover clearance, rocks some pretty slick lines and is better finished than ever.

Out back, there’s the tried-and-tested four-bar suspension design we’ve come to expect from the German brand, plus a SRAM universal derailleur hanger, which will be easier to replace if you damage it hucking off cliffs away from home.

The new Torque is also available in carbon fibre, with adjustable geometry (via a flip chip at the tip of the seatstays, which isn’t on the alloy version) and 29in, 650b or mixed (MX) wheel sizes.

Cables are routed into the chunky aluminium frame.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

This, however, is the seriously robust-looking aluminium chassis, with big, beaded welds on the compact front triangle.

The old shock yoke is gone, with the air-sprung Fox Float X2 damper now attaching directly to the seatstay tip, and the smooth-edged rocker link wrapping around the curved seat tube to meet the stays further down.

There’s (finally) room for a water bottle on the curvy down tube. The pivot hardware uses steel inserts for durability, but the frame is still said to be 200g lighter than the previous generation.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 geometry

Geometry is pretty standard for a bike of this type, with the effective seat tube angle 78 degrees.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

This aluminium Torque lacks the geometry-adjust feature found on the carbon version.

Instead, Canyon has split the difference, giving the AL version the head angle from the slack setting (63.5 degrees) and the effective seat tube angle of the steeper setting (78 degrees) as found on the carbon frame, along with the 30mm bottom bracket (BB) drop.

These angles are pretty normal for a ‘bike park’ machine nowadays, and Canyon has stretched the latest Torque’s (carbon and aluminium frames) sizing so it’s in line with many contemporaries.

The large frame tested here has a 485mm reach (the key indicator of distance from hands to feet). While this sounds roomy, it’s actually 5mm shorter than the reach on the carbon 29er and doesn’t leave the frame feeling massive.

This is something to be aware of, because loads of rival mountain bikes with marginally shorter claimed reaches on paper feel bigger than this.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 specifications

Fizik’s Gravita Alpaca X5 sits on an own-brand dropper post.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

It’ll be no surprise to hear that Canyon has nailed the component choices.

As one of the biggest brands, it’s at the front of the line for the best parts in times of supply issues, and by selling direct to the customer and delivering in a cardboard box, its prices are roughly 25 per cent better value than shop-bought rivals.

Highlights include stiff and strong DT Swiss freeride FR 2070 wheels with 30mm-wide (internal) FR 560 rims that are hard to dent and damage. These are shod with arguably the best Maxxis tyre combination – a 3C MaxxGrip-compound Assegai up front and faster-rolling MaxxTerra Minion DHR II at the rear, with EXO+ and DD casings, respectively.

The choice of Maxxis front and rear tyres is spot-on.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

The trade-off for the strong wheels is more weight to lug uphill, and the workhorse drivetrain and brakes weigh marginally more than pricier kit, too.

However, Shimano’s SLX kit is perfectly sorted and reliable, providing wide-range gearing to winch up the steeps and powerful enough four-piston calipers and Ice-Tech brake pads that really bite on fast descents.

While the Performance-level Fox 38 fork and Float X2 shock have reduced adjustment and a slightly less refined ride quality than the brand’s priciest Elite and Factory kit, you can still add low-speed rebound and compression damping at both ends, via countable-click dials and a sweeping compression knob on top of the oversized fork leg.

Canyon’s own bar, stem and dropper seatpost are well-finished, a sensible shape and function well, plus the bike comes with a bottle cage installed to save you some money.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 ride impressions.

Climbing performance

This is not a bike designed primarily for climbing.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

With a frame construction rated ‘Cat 5’ by Canyon, the Torque shares the same bombproof build quality as the Sender DH rig raced at World Cups, which gives you a clue as to the major intentions here. Basically, this thing isn’t designed to win any climbing competitions.

That said, it pedals fine, with minimal bob (no matter which sprocket you’re in on the cassette), smooth turnover and a good seated position, which places your hips over the cranks and never tips your weight too far back, even on the steepest pitches.

Being built like a DH tank, the limiting factor to climbing speed is the Torque AL’s weight. At over 16.5kg, it’s a noticeable chunk of bike to lug uphill for extended periods.

Add to this the designed-to-last wheels being heavy and the sticky/grippy front tyre being painfully slow-rolling on tarmac and smooth fireroads, and climbing can be a bit of a drag. Don’t expect to get anywhere particularly fast uphill or over undulating ground.

This is all typical for the category, although there are a few bikes – such as Propain’s Spindrift – that defy expectations of how sprightly and frisky a super-long-travel enduro mountain bike can pedal and climb. Those bikes are way faster under power and quicker to accelerate than the new Torque.

Descending performance

Point the Torque 29 AL 6 downhill and it really comes into its own.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

With 29in wheels and 170mm of travel, you’d expect Canyon’s rig to thrive downhill with minimal drama and maximum speed, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Pretty much nothing unsettles the wheels on the ground or scrubs the edge off its pace, and the suspension at both ends feels deep and fluid enough to iron out creases on seriously rocky and rooty terrain.

The large size has stacks of stability and a calm ride. It trucks on down everything from raw, loamy enduro tracks littered with natural obstructions and blown-out holes, to faster baked-hard, big-bermed DH or bike-park style terrain.

The suspension is well tuned and not so numbing or isolating that you can’t get a sense of the terrain under the wheels, but if you want to turn off your brain, stand tall, look ahead and let the Torque do its thing, you’ll fire out the exit of tracks of practically any steepness and severity unfazed.

One area where this 29er seriously differs from its predecessor (and, to an extent, from the MX CF Torque) is that it’s definitely not as manoeuvrable or as responsive to sudden inputs of body language – for example, when initiating a lean angle to cut through turns.

It also feels as though the suspension sweet spot keeps your centre of gravity marginally higher than on the old 650b-wheeled Torque.

Both these factors mean it sits marginally higher through turns and flat corners, and it isn’t as easy to load the chassis in the mid-stroke to switch direction, pump hollows or bounce back off the rear end for extra acceleration in the apex of turns.

Smooth arcs, rather than acute angles, are the way to maintain speed, then, and the whole bike feels soft, forgiving and smooth rather than taut and springy.

Testing the latest carbon Torque earlier in the year, the frame felt absolutely bombproof, but transmitted a lot of terrain feedback through hands and feet. This isn’t the case here.

This may be a consequence of the alloy frame being better-damped, the bigger rear wheel, or the different shock and fork feeling slightly less supportive – it’s hard to say.

The Fox Float X2 damper now attaches directly to the seatstay tip.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

What is clear, though, is that there’s less of the harshness and sense of a slightly fatiguing, rattly, vibration-laden ride apparent on the beefier carbon chassis.

Instead, the AL rides silently, even through the roughest sections and with puncture-defying higher tyre pressures, despite its lower-tier suspension.

This might make it the better latest-generation Torque to take somewhere such as the Alps or your local bike park for non-stop, hand-wrecking, arm pump-inducing uplift laps.

How does the Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 compare to rivals?

Canyon is right on the money with the new Torque when it comes to pricing and spec.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

As a 650b-wheeled bike-park rig, Canyon’s previous-generation Torque had a unique, distinct set of attributes that saw it rule on jumps and man-made features, fizzing over with energy and tautness.

This new model is totally sorted, but being smooth and composed, rather than super-agile, it fails to transcend the crowded marketplace of similarly capable long-travel enduro rigs.

It’s still a sorted package, though, and you can’t argue with the price or spec here.

It’s unlike two long-travel chameleons in this category that balance super-enduro capability with a taut, responsive ride quality; Propain’s Spindrift and the Evil Wreckoning – the German bike blending high-speed enduro smoothness with corner-slicing attitude, and the latter popping and hopping off every trail feature more like the previous-generation Torque.

Canyon Torque 29 Al 6 bottom line

Solid is very much the defining word for the Torque 29 AL 6.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

A solid package in every sense of the word, Canyon’s Torque AL 6 has got your back in the gnarliest terrain, pedals well and has great kit.

It’s a tad heavy and doesn’t quite have the taut, responsive attitude of the MX CF version, though, or that bike’s ability to encourage flicking off every little rise, lip and berm.



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Professional packer’s 10 tips for car trips – including a bin and toy cushion


Nicola Lewis – who runs the thisgirlcanorganise Instagram page – has a passion for fitting things ergonomically into the back of cars and likes to help others do the same

Portrait of a smiling family with two children at beach in the car
Fitting everyone in the car can be difficult

A specialist car packing expert has shard her top tips for squeezing everything into a motor.

As anyone with a sizeable family, large dogs or a passion for car boot sales knows, fitting everything you need into a car is difficult.

That problem becomes even more pronounced when heading off on a holiday that requires luggage.

To offer a helping hand to those struggling to make all of life’s objects fit, renowned organisation expert Nicola Lewis – who runs the thisgirlcanorganise Instagram page – has provided her top tips for those travelling to near and far destinations in their cars over the summer months.






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Image:

Shared Content Unit)

Nicola’s handy hacks and hints for savvy space-saving packing include:

  • Clip a hook on the back of the front seats to hang your bag.
  • Introduce a car bin to keep the car tidy – The lining is also waterproof so can be cleaned easily.
  • If you have little ones, then a hanging car organiser is very useful for storing the kids’ toys.
  • Fill a cushion with your kid’s comforters or cuddly toys. It also acts as a cosy pillow for long car journeys.
  • Plastic wallets are great for storing small essential items like copies of your driver’s licence, insurance details, receipts, notepad, and pen. Store them inside your glove compartment along with your logbook.
  • Store a small coin purse in the side panel of your car to use when at the supermarket or car parks.
  • Pack a ‘just in case’ bag filled with tissues, eco wipes and sick bags should there be a spillage or accident enroute. Store the bag under the front passenger seat.

Earlier this year flight attendants from Emirates s hared some similarly sage wisdom, but for those heading off on a plane rather than in the car.

They advised:

Making a list

Make a checklist of everything you need. Not only will this help you save time packing, but it can also reduce the risk of forgetting essentials you need for your travels.

Rolling your clothes rather than folding

Try tightly rolling your clothes. Not only does this mean they’ll be more compact and leave you with extra space, but this method can also help to cut down on creases!

Packing versatile items

Opt for clothes that are flexible enough to cover a variety of situations, such as jeans or plain T-shirts. This is a simple yet effective way to reduce the amount you’re taking, and leave yourself plenty of room for all of the other essentials you need. (Or even for a holiday souvenir or two!).

Always leaving extra space

You may not plan to pick up any souvenirs, but you never know; if something catches your eye or you find yourself doing some unexpected shopping, you won’t need to worry about fitting everything in a suitcase that was already full.





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