From the monthly archives:

February 2010

Horsing Around: How You Can Ride Into History With Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

by Alan Rider

When I read that today was William “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s birthday, it made me wonder whether anyone out there was still putting on the kind of Old West extravaganzas this larger-than-life showman made famous in the waning days of the American frontier.  What I discovered will surprise city slickers and delight all those folks for whom cowboy skills are much more than just quaint historical relics.
You see, it turns out that Buffalo Bill’s Wild West is currently gearing up for its 39th season full of trick riders, fancy ropers, stagecoach robberies, Native American dancers and much more.  Modern-day impresario Montie Montana Jr. says he likes to think of this blend [...]

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There’s A Spell For That: How To Magically Transport Yourself To The Land of Harry Potter

by Alan Rider

Is it possible to wear out a DVD?  The question came to mind this past weekend as my son watched Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix for what seems like the millionth time since he opened the package on Christmas morning.  Add his new-found habit of walking around the house practicing his “spells” with a home-made magic wand and I think it’s safe to say we have a die-hard Harry Potter fan in the family.
Which is why I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at the ensuing excitement when I casually mentioned the fact that the Universal Orlando theme park was opening a huge new attraction called “The [...]

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Blown Up: Indoor Skydiving Offers A Much Saner Alternative To The Real Deal

by Alan Rider

As I look around this tubular chamber, a random thought occurs to me:  Aren’t rooms with padded walls usually reserved for crazy people?  Before I have a chance to consider what lying spread-eagled on the wire mesh floor of a two-story padded room says about my mental health, the gentle breeze generated by the giant fan beneath me quickly builds to hurricane force.  And suddenly I find myself flying.
Granted, the concept of “indoor skydiving” may seem a bit loony in its own right.  But the fact is this is about as close to the exhilaration of free fall as a relatively sane person—herein defined as anyone with more sense than [...]

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The Wildest Ride At The Winter Olympics

by Alan Rider

Let’s say you find yourself watching the opening rounds of the Olympic bobsled competition this weekend and thinking “Man, that looks like fun!” Well, here’s the cautionary tale of how you can experience this wild ride for yourself—and why you may not want to.
You see, I had the same thought when I visited Park City’s Utah Olympic Park last August.  When their PR person offered me the chance to try their Comet bobsled ride, well, I couldn’t say “Yes!” fast enough.
The park offers these rides year-round, though the number of public runs is limited during the winter months when dozens of world-class athletes use the mile-long track for training.  The [...]

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Matadors, Machine Guns, Monster Trucks & More: 4 Politically Incorrect Adventures

by Alan Rider

Come on, admit it: There’s something you’ve always wanted to do, some extraordinary experience you’ve always wanted to have, that you just don’t talk about for fear of what people might think.  Well, you’ll find no judgments here.  Provided it’s not illegal or immoral, I say go for it.
If you’re one of those rare folks who don’t harbor such secret fantasies, allow me to put a few outrageous ideas into your head. Here are four thoroughly un-PC adventures that promise to be so unforgettable you’ll have a hard time keeping them to yourself:
Fight A Bull
There’s just something about squaring off with a quarter-ton of bad-tempered bovine that’s bound to make [...]

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Amazing Astronomy: Three Extraordinary Stargazing Experiences

by Alan Rider

While wandering around aimlessly online last night, I discovered that today is the 446th birthday of Galileo Galilei, the guy widely considered to be the father of modern astronomy.  Which got me to thinking about some of the amazing stargazing experiences I’ve had over the years.
My all-time favorite has to be the weekend we spent at Benson, Arizona’s Astronomers Inn.  This four-room bed-and-breakfast located an hour southeast of Tucson isn’t much to look at.  But its amenities—including an in-house observatory where your own personal astronomer will roll back the roof and take you on an eye-opening tour of the galaxy using one of their eight telescopes—made for one of [...]

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Mardi Gras Mentoring: How To Kill Time Between Parades

by Alan Rider

If you’re headed to New Orleans for Mardi Gras weekend, you’re in for a real treat.  I can tell you from personal experience that I sincerely doubt there’s a friendlier place or happier time on the face of the planet.
By this point you probably already know the two dozen parades that roll through the city’s streets between now and Fat Tuesday are the big attraction here (if you need parade info, check out my friend Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide).  What you might be wondering, however, is what to do with yourself in the hours before or after all those floats roll by.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share [...]

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