Queer Travel Along Route 66

Author: , November 12th, 2016

Route 66The sign at the intersection of Adams Street and Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago that reads “Illinois US 66: Historic Route Begins” is small, unremarkable, and arguably an unworthy trumpeting of the road that is ahead. Indeed, not a single office drone pays it any mind on this gloomy fall morning as they rush from the city’s lumbering El trains to their designated steel and glass towers for the day. Nevertheless, Ryan and I stand in front of it with beaming smiles and angle our iPhones just right so that we can snap a selfie that will surely be the envy of all.

This is day one of an eight-day, turn-by-turn journey that will cover all 2,448 iconic miles of Route 66, the most famous highway in the United States. It was designated in 1926 and made famous by westward thrill seekers, Dust Bowl migrants, and the oft-covered song of the same name. During its six-decade span it was realigned several times, decommissioned in 1985 in favor of the Interstate Highway System, and brought back to life more recently by road trip enthusiasts, municipalities looking to bolster tourism, and folks wistful of a vanishing America.

Although the road is book ended by Chicago and Los Angeles and winds through the heart of several cities including St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Albuquerque, the highway is really a journey through numerous small towns to countless to name, some of which have survived and even thrived, off Route 66 nostalgia, and others which have all but rotted. To cross the country via interstate highway is to merely skim the continent, but to do it via painstakingly slow Route 66 is to discover an America that is undeniably friendly, often kitschy, and ultimately vanishing rapidly.

By Jason Heidemann – Full Story at Passport

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Buses

Author: , January 9th, 2016

travel auto

In the United States, there are basically only four ways to travel and that is by plane, train, automobile and buses. They all have their advantages as well as disadvantages. We prefer traveling by automobile since we have the luxury of time. Living in the center of the country, it only takes a couple of days or at the most 3 days to travel to either coast.

Plus we enjoy seeing the sights and sounds and meeting new and interesting people along the way. If you fly, you usually need to rent an automobile anyway. Plus when driving you can take more clothing with you and purchase more items to bring back home with you. Our theory is ‘getting to a destination can be half the fun’. However we fully understand if you do live on either coast or do not have a lot of time, you have no choice than to fly.

travel planeFor those who live in the upper Midwest or Northeast, they are forced to fly if they only have a week if they want to go to South Florida. Thousands of Gay men fly into Ft. Lauderdale during the winter months to get away from the frigid cold and snow. Fortunately in that town, the Gay resorts are close to the bars and shopping so an automobile is not always necessary. Otherwise one does need to rent an automobile.

With all of the hassles in flying, we just prefer not to fly.

travel trainAmtrak is another alternative however they scheduling is very ‘iffy’ to say the best. We took an Amtrak trip to California and back two years ago and although we were very lucky in not having any scheduling problems, Amtrak does present a lot of problems for travelers. Check out this website, http://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/amtrak.html to read some of the hundreds of complaints about what passengers have written about their experiences riding on Amtrak and then decide for yourself if you want to try Amtrak. We now only would take Amtrak for a short trip less than 300 miles.

travel busBuses are still around and although we have never taken one on a trip, there are those who really enjoy it. We have taken tour bus trips which is not to be confused with traveling across the country. With a tour bus trip you get on at one location and go directly to your destination and your luggage and accommodations are all taken care for you, whereas on a regular bus travel you have to book everything yourself. The bus terminals are usually downtown and sometimes right at the Amtrak station. On Amtrak they do have full restaurant services whereas on buses they do not.

Some websites to check out are, for buses, www.greyhound.com and for trains, www.amtrak.com There are several automobile rental companies and many have great specials from time to time so check those out.

Don and Ray

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Las Vegas Gay Travel Resources

Six Exciting New Amusement Park Rides

Author: , February 12th, 2015

Thunderbird-SizedAlong with April showers, May flowers, and non-bone-chilling temperatures, spring brings exciting new attractions to many amusement parks in the U.S. From a dizzying glow-in-the-dark funhouse roller coaster, to a beyond-vertical Batman, here are six new rides we’re looking forward to in 2015.

Best Steel-on-Wood Hybrid: Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain (California): The iconic Colossus, a behemoth wooden roller coaster, takes on a new steel track when it reopens as Twisted Colossus. Patrons will recognize the ride’s classic, white wood structure, but don’t expect the old same up-and-down circuit. Two trains will race each other on dueling tracks that twist around one another through multiple flips.

Most Dizzying: Laff Trakk at Hershey Park (Pennsylvania): A throwback to the park’s funhouses of yesteryear, Hershey Park will debut the first “indoor, spinning, glow-coaster” in the United States. Laff Trakk’s four-person cars spin horizontally along a curvy track, whizzing by neon characters and a hall of mirrors, set to the soundtrack of a cackling clown. Good luck stomaching this one.

By Jaymie Degaetano – Full Story at Shermans Travel

New Age, Gay Friendly US Destinations

Author: , January 2nd, 2015

Asheville - Apple Maps

In 1880, a wealthy man by the name of George Washington Vanderbilt II visited Asheville, North Carolina with his mother from New York. While on vacation near the Blue Ridge Mountain range, George had an unusual moment of clarity. He stared out into the woods and decided, at that precise moment, to build a second home. The Biltmore Estate, America’s largest privately owned estate and a top public attraction, is now internationally famous. Interestingly enough, his affluent friends found this quiet corner of Appalachia an odd choice over Upstate New York, which would have been much closer to home. To this day, locals swear it was the vortex and its metaphysical properties that swayed Vanderbilt. That vortex undoubtedly remains in Asheville, as tens of thousands of travelers are magically and mysteriously drawn to the quirky town each year as a place of calm, serenity, and “good energy.”

World-renowned psychic Cari Roy says that energy vortexes are what ancient cartographers called “lei lines” where certain intersections of higher energy cross. “If the globe has nerve centers,” she says, “these would be spiritual energy nerve centers. There’s some magnetic stuff behind lei lines so they literally have higher magnetism.”

Places like Asheville, North Carolina; Sedona, Arizona; and Santa Fe, New Mexico are all known to have vortexes, which may have fostered New Age communities. Dwellers who have lived around these destinations go as far back as Native Americans, who used them as healing spots. There was always a clear interest in these areas, from these earliest inhabitants to the much later rise of the New Age trend.

Full Story at Passport Magazine

Vote For The 2014 Best Of GayCities, Win A Free Trip For Two

Author: , December 17th, 2014

Gay Pride Flag

Don’t miss your chance to win a trip for two to any destination within the continental U.S. by voting for the 2014 Best of GayCities, courtesy of our friends at Hyatt.

Does San Francisco boast the best Singles Scene?

Does Austin host best Pride in a place lacking marriage equality?
Does Puerto Vallarta have the best Beach?

Which destination take the top honor: City of the Year?

Voting is easy. Just sign into your GayCities account and make your selections. You’ll automatically be entered into the prize sweepstakes.

Polls close January 5. You must be a US resident to win the prize.

Full Story at Queerty

Six Smaller Gay Friendly US Cities

Author: , June 28th, 2014

Las Vegas AerialLast week Lauren Conrad blew up her social media over a flap with a restaurant in Cabo San Lucas. Apparently they wouldn’t let same-sex couples to participate in some bar games that were going on. So Lauren took her bachelorette party and left. This got us in the office thinking about outside of the usual Miami, NY, and San Francisco, what are some of the best smaller cities to visit for the LGBT community? So here ya go:

Las Vegas, NV

You would probably expect the come-one-come all city to welcome the LGBT crowd with open arms, and you would be right. Nowadays, all of the resorts consider themselves gay-friendly and a few years back Rumor even opened as almost gay preferred, but they pull in a great mixed crowd. If you bring Fido, don’t miss their Yappy Hour event. Wynn and Encore now offer a Pride Concierge and same-sex couples massages at resorts are not even given a second thought. There is a decent smattering of gay bars, including the “Fruit Loop” – a gay section of town off of Paradise Rd with clubs and shops. If you are hanging down on Paradise head a little further down to Firefly* (ed. note – don’t go looking for the footnote; the asterisk is part of the name) for the best value on Tapas you will find in Vegas.

Providence, RI

Although there is no gayborhood in Providence, the LGBT community is found thoughout the community. Voted into Travel and Leisure’s Top Five Gay Cities as well as many other top lists of gay-friendly destinations, the eclectic art scene, great restaurants and a youthful downtown keep Providence moving. If you are going to do one thing in the summer, make it Waterfire, an “award-winning fire sculpture installation on the three rivers in downtown Providence.”

By Tom Bastek – Full Story at Travel Pulse | LOCATION Gay Travel Resources

New Age Travel Destinations

Author: , May 2nd, 2014

New Age ArtIn 1880, a wealthy man by the name of George Washington Vanderbilt II visited Asheville, North Carolina with his mother from New York. While on vacation near the Blue Ridge Mountain range, George had an unusual moment of clarity. He stared out into the woods and decided, at that precise moment, to build a second home. The Biltmore Estate, America’s largest privately owned estate and a top public attraction, is now internationally famous. Interestingly enough, his affluent friends found this quiet corner of Appalachia an odd choice over Upstate New York, which would have been much closer to home.

To this day, locals swear it was the vortex and its metaphysical properties that swayed Vanderbilt. That vortex undoubtedly remains in Asheville, as tens of thousands of travelers are magically and mysteriously drawn to the quirky town each year as a place of calm, serenity, and “good energy.”

World-renowned psychic Cari Roy says that energy vortexes are what ancient cartographers called “lei lines” where certain intersections of higher energy cross. “If the globe has nerve centers,” she says, “these would be spiritual energy nerve centers. There’s some magnetic stuff behind lei lines so they literally have higher magnetism.”

via Passport | LOCATION Gay Travel Resources

Four Getaways for Crafty Travelers

Author: , March 13th, 2014

arts and craftsFor the artsy traveler, what better way to get acquainted with a destination’s culture than to learn a local craft? Participating in a workshop can be a daylong venture or even a weeklong retreat. Plus, whether you’re making moccasins or birch boxes or farmstead cheese, you’ll end up with a handmade souvenir to take home. Here, four immersive programs that let you do just that:

Life in the Adirondacks, in the past, was characterized by farming and logging. Get a glimpse of how people adapted to their surroundings and took advantage of the vast natural surroundings at Adironack Folk School, which offers more than 250 courses in Lake Lucerne, NY. Here, transform a gourd into a stylish purse ($95), make a pair of leather moccasins that keep your feet warm and dry in the winter ($95), or learn 19th century tinsmithing basics as you create a candle stick and wall sconce ($100). Through spring and summer, the school also hosts free evening programs like spinning, forging, and other lectures and demos.

The North House Folk School in the harbor town of Grand Marais is all about preserving Minnesota’s Scandinavian culture. Classes cover everything from the Norwegian painting technique known as rosemaling, to crafting Scandinavian/Russian birch bark boxes, to woodworking and furniture craft. Sample early-bird tuition rates: $45 for a half-day, $150 for two days, and $195 for three days of instruction, excluding material fees. Of course, this varies by class – metalsmithing, jewelry making, and others that involve special equipment or materials tend to be pricier.

Authored By Christine Wei – See the Full Story at Shermans Travel

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All About the TSA’s Preclearance Program

Author: , January 30th, 2014

TSA PreThere’s been a bit of a stir this week concerning a new U.S. Customs facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which is now offering preclearance for all U.S. citizens heading directly to the United States from Abu Dhabi. That means that U.S. citizens can pass through American customs before they arrive on American soil.

Though the UAE boasts one of the world’s most progressive economies, the new service has raised eyebrows among American pilots and certain members of Congress who believe that the new facility gives an unfair competitive advantage to Etihad Airways, which operates the only route between Abu Dhabi and the U.S.. Politics aside, preclearance is popular among American travelers, and for good reason. It helps them skip lengthy customs lines at home. And though it’s still only available at a few airports worldwide, here are the nuts and bolts of the program and how it can help you when you’re flying back home.

What is Preclearance? The CBP Preclearance program essentially inserts a cadre of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents inside an international airport. Once a U.S. citizen passes through that country’s own security lines, they are then allowed to pass through an additional security line — one manned by American agents. This procedure mimics the procedure used in U.S. airports, and allows the passenger to clear both security and customs before ever landing on U.S. soil. It requires an extra 10 to 20 minutes prior to take-off, but it allows flyers to skip massive immigration lines once they return home.

Authored By Darren Murph – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

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USA: Enjoy Our Great National Treasures

Author: , January 19th, 2014

Utah National ParkA recent road trip with my gal-pal Ms. Scarlett, a brassy broad and long-time resident of Scottsdale who never lost her Long Island accent, reminded me of how intimate and romantic our National Parks can be in winter.

Our nearly 800 mile excursion, dubbed A Very Thelma and Louise Christmas, was similar to past adventures shared with lovers and significant others. Although I dearly love Ms. Scarlett and we travel well together, alas, there was nobody to snuggle under the covers. But if you and your snuggle-bunny enjoy historic hotels, majestic views, exceptional dining and snowflakes dusting your eyelashes, then you might want to pack your bags for a National Park winter getaway.

Our adventure through the American Southwest began at Sky Harbor Airport and we quickly exchanged Ms. Scarlett’s Mercedes-Benz 420 convertible for a rented Toyota RAV 4. We were headed for higher elevations and nasty weather and needed a vehicle with all-wheel drive. If we got caught in a blizzard, then we wanted to be prepared and stocked the vehicle with warm clothes, wine, vodka and honey-liqueur.

Authored By Lance Ryder – See the Full Story at LGBT Weekly

Click here for gay travel resources.