OldWestNewWest.com: History & Travel Magazine

Feb 25th
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Winnebago Industries, Inc. is re-introducing its iconic Winnebago Minnie Winnie name in a big way with the launch of a new value-priced Class C product line with a targeted MSRP starting around $60,000.

The Minnie Winnie debuted with the 31K at Winnebago Industries Dealer Open House event held Sept. 19, 2012 in Elkhart, Indiana.
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California's Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has launched Caltrans QuickMap, an online service that provides California motorists with real-time traffic and travel information that will allow them to make better decisions about how to reach their destination more rapidly.

To access Caltrans QuickMap, visit the Caltrans site at
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To encourage visitors to stay active while having fun, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah has developed a new get-healthy challenge called "Hike the Hoodoos!"

Part hike, part scavenger hunt, visitors must hike at least three miles on specially-marked trails and find "Hike the Hoodoos" benchmark survey markers along the way.
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The entire Bonita Canyon Campground at Chiricahua National Monument near Willcox, Ariz. has reopened following repairs due to mid-July damage from flash flooding and an easing of concerns over additional significant flash flooding during the monsoon.

The National Weather Service defines Sept. 30 as the official end to the monsoon; however, current conditions in the monument, including low soil moisture levels and low probability for precipitation, have allowed managers to reopen the campground.

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Despite unusually heavy winter rains and snow, the owner of the historic Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad said the line will open April 1, 2010 and begin its 44th year as one of northern California's favorite visitor attractions.

"We have had a lot of snow up there this year," said Max Stauffer, owner of the railroad. "One storm in particular dropped a lot of very wet, and as a result, heavy, snow. It brought a lot of trees down over the lines that we are now clearing up."
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The annual snow plowing of the Teton Park Road in Grand Teton National Park will begin on Monday, March 14, 2011 weather depending.

As plowing operations get underway, recreation on the snow-packed trail will cease for the 2010/11 winter season. Park visitors may continue to use other winter trails, or areas adjacent to the Teton Park Road, for skate skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing until snow conditions are no longer favorable for such activities.
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Taking a safe boating course does pay, especially for those who bring their boater education card or certificate to Lake Mead National Recreation Area during Memorial Day weekend.

The National Park Service is waiving lake use fees Saturday, May 28 through Monday, May 30, 2011 on Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, a savings of $16 per vessel, for boaters who show proof of completing an approved boating course.
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Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming has temporarily closed climbing routes along the northeast face of Devils Tower in order to protect Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) possible nesting sites.

The closure, which started April 26, 2012, is an annual event established under the monument's 1995 Climbing Management Plan with authority from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
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In response to increased complaints and collisions on local trails, the National Park Service (NPS) has teamed with the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclist Association (CORBA) to promote safe and courteous riding in the Santa Monica Mountains in Southern California.

"We're thrilled that there is great demand for the public to enjoy the beauty and public health benefits of our extensive trail system," said Melanie Turner, law enforcement ranger and mountain bike unit coordinator with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA)."For the benefit and safety of all users, we ask people to follow proper trail etiquette and observe the 15 mph speed limit."
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The West offers drivers a variety of winter conditions, from the ice and slush found in such cities as Denver, St. Louis and Minneapolis to the rain and mud that heavy storms bring throughout much of the Southwest.

With that in mind, OldWestNewWest.com Travel & History Magazine asked the experts at Tire Rack, America's largest independent tire tester and consumer-direct source for tires, to share some driving tips and tire information for our readers, starting with using tires dedicated for winter conditions.
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The Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service have combined forces to bring a special dinosaur exhibit from the Museum of Northern Arizona to the Carl Hayden Visitor Center at Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona.

Included is the free-standing skeleton of Nothronynchus graffami, a sickle-clawed and feathered dinosaur that was discovered near Big Water, Utah, about 16 miles from the dam and near the shores of Lake Powell. Only three of these have been found in North America. Most of this species have been discovered in Asia.
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Cycling in Montana's Flathead Valley is stunning in the autumn months. Highways are wide open and, with the summer visitor rush over, largely unoccupied by vehicles.

Autumn weekends spent in the Flathead Valley can be one of the most enjoyable times in Montana. The aspens and larch trees across the valley are bright with golden fall hues, and the temperatures are still warm during the sunlight hours and crisp during the evening.
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Union Pacific Railroad will continue its year-long sesquicentennial anniversary celebration with a huge, two-day signature event at California's Old Sacramento Sept. 29-30, 2012.

The free event will commemorate 150 years since President Abraham Lincoln created the original Union Pacific by signing the Pacific Railway Act of July 1, 1862.
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About 5 million visitors each year go see the wonders of Grand Canyon National Park, and many take the time to do some form of hiking.

Whether you're planning a day hike, or something more ambitious such as overnight hiking, the National Park Services encourages visitors to do some planning even before your feet touch the ground, and once you get started, use some common sense guidelines.
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Ever dream of being in an old Western, where you mosey into the saloon, holsters and chaps on, ready for the bartender to pour you a brew, and a table waiting for a round of fearless poker?

Well, walking down the boardwalk in Montana's Virginia City you can easily imagine just that. A short drive from the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park and the fine fishing burg of Ennis, Mont., Virginia City and neighboring Nevada City are two old mining towns that are mostly in tack as they were in the 1800s when the Montana gold rush was in full swing.
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Yellowstone National Park rangers have identified the woman who accidentally fell to her death on June 7, 2012 as 18-year old Maria "Masha" Sergeyevna Rumyantseva of Kaliningrad, Russia.

Rumyantseva was a Yellowstone concession employee on her first day in the park when the accident happened. She was hiking the canyon's North Rim Trail with three other acquaintances when she ventured out off trail onto a loose rock promontory. The rock quickly gave way underneath her, according to reports.
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From California's iconic coast to dramatic deserts and the magnificent High Sierra, the great California road trip is on just about everyone's bucket list. So what could be a better combination than pairing it with the California wine country?

With a little planning, you can include amazing wine regions in your adventures, from hidden gem off-the-beaten path regions like the Sierra Foothills and Temecula to the most well-traveled, such as Sonoma, Napa and Paso Robles.
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Saying it's a focus on the animals that visitors most want to see, San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay unveiled three new exhibits on April 4, 2009 featuring jellies, octopus - and what's this? Land animals?

"This marks the first time that Aquarium of the Bay has featured land animals," stated CEO John Frawley. "While our overall focus remains on the marine animals of the San Francisco Bay and nearby waters, we feel the addition of these new terrestrial species will spark visitors' awareness of the growing environmental challenges that are impacting all types of wildlife across the globe."
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Road trips are the perfect way to experience America and especially the wide open spaces of the West. But too often I find that when folks set out in their car, or even an RV, they don't plan for the trip in the same way they might if they were flying.

Road trips require the same amount of planning as flying and possibly more. First make sure the family car or RV is in good shape and serviced. Be sure and check tires and replace them if worn past recommended levels. It's a lot easier to get that tire replaced at your local tire shop than when you are stranded hundreds of miles from nowhere.
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To help mark 2010's National Trails Day on June 5, eight states in the West have had a total of 11 trails designated as National Recreation Trails by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

The new National Recreation Trails in the West, along with 20 additional National Recreation Trails announced on May 25 by Salazar, add more than 716 miles of trails to the National Trails System.

The eight Western states are Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Texas and Washington.
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