If you're traveling to Alaska, get a copy of "The Milepost Guide." The best travel book I've seen on Alaska and the new edition has just been published. This is a mile-by-mile guide that takes you from Ketchikan to Anchorage and beyond. Tells about highways, railroads, air service, cruise routes, major attractions. Lots of useful information. Example: Cabins operated by U.S. Forest Service in the Tongass and Chugach national forests rent for $10 a night with room for up to six persons. Other information on camping, fishing, hiking, hostels, wildlife. (Takes in British Columbia and Alberta as well as Alaska.) Price: $12.95. The same people have published a second guide, "Northwest Mileposts," which features Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and southern Canada. Same price. Both books are available at major bookstores, or write to Alaska Northwest Publishing, 130 2nd Ave. South, Edmonds, Wash. 98020.
A letter from Australia: "My wife and I, both 48, intend to travel to the U.S.A. in October and hope to avoid the usual tourist hotels. We wonder if any of your readers would offer us private accommodations for a period of 5 to 10 days, either paying or free. In return, we are prepared to provide free accommodations and use of all facilities, car, etc., in Australia. We live about 20 minutes from the Queensland Gold Coast. I served with U.S. forces in Vietnam in 1969-70 and since that time have always wanted to visit the U.S.A. but have only now found time to do so." If you're interested, write to Reg Dennehy, 4 Heston St., Shallen Park, Brisbane, Australia 4128.
It's called Friends in London and it's operated by a couple of ex-Redondo Beach residents, Simon and Annie Tompkins. This is a greeting service for first-time and repeat visitors to Britain. The Tompkinses will meet you at Heathrow or Gatwick airports, take charge of your luggage, assist with the best exchange rate for your dollars. En route to your hotel (Rolls-Royce or Jaguar) they'll pour champagne and answer your questions. After checking you into your hotel, the couple will counsel you on how to avoid the "tourist traps," offer recommendations suited to your particular needs/interests. "If it's your first visit we'll tell you about the basics or if you've been to London before we'll give you the latest tips on what to see and do," say the Tompkinses. For a brochure, write to Friends in London, P.O. Box 163, London WC2N 4NJ, England.
Colorado is doing a bang-up job of promoting the Rocky Mountain State. The latest giveaway is an 84-page color guide. Lists hotels, resorts, dude ranches, B&Bs, restaurants. One section devoted to Denver tells of one-day trips from the capital to the Air Force Academy, Rocky Mountain National Park, gold-mining towns, Boulder, Breckenridge, Central City, Idaho Springs, Pikes Peak. The magazine-size guide contains five pages of maps. Other areas are described from Alamosa and Aspen to Summit County and Telluride where Butch Cassidy pulled his first bank robbery. Other details on river running, ballooning, horse-packing, Jeep tours, llama treks. Dozens of addresses and telephone numbers where prospective visitors may write or call for information on individual towns. For a free copy write to the Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau Dept. A, 225 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, Colo. 80202.
A new catalogue by Eagle Creek (the luggage manufacturer) describes several styles that convert to backpacks. "Don't be fooled into thinking this is only for trail hikers or hippies," says Eagle Creek. Passes as ordinary luggage, but can be switched in a jiffy when you hit the road. Eagle Creek manufactures a series of other travel aids. Rain ponchos/jackets, luggage locks, foam-padded camera cases, film shields (to protect your film from airport X-ray machines). One of their big items is an "undercover leg stash" for hiding your passport, money, travelers checks ($7.95). Get a free catalogue by writing to Eagle Creek, Box 651, Solano Beach, Calif. 92075. Telephone (619) 755-9399 or toll-free (800) 874-9925 outside the state.
Wagon Tours/German Style
In case you haven't let that nut Kadafi and his bullies scare you away from Europe this summer, here's an item for bargain hunters. A six-day tour by covered wagon for a thrifty $175 per person. Includes the tour, all meals, accommodations. Lunch is served on the road. Nights are spent in small, atmospheric hotels. Wagons follow paths of medieval carriages in the hill country of Kurhessen southwest of Kassel. If more than 12 persons book a trip, they put together a wagon train. For details write to Bauernhof Emstal, Herr Jurgen Appel, In der Lucke 4, 3570 Fritzlar-Wehren, Federal Republic of Germany. Or contact the German National Tourist Office, 444 S. Flower St., No. 2230, Los Angeles 90071, phone (213) 688-7332.