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August 12, 2007|Joni Gray; Sam Byker; Hugo Martin; Valli Herman; Jane Engle

A week driven by elegant motoring

Launched more than 50 years ago as a social gathering for the upper echelons of auto collecting and racing, the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, Calif., has evolved into a "holy week" for the motoring faithful. The festivities, spread across the entire Monterey Peninsula, begin Tuesday and won't slow down until Aug. 19's pivotal event: the Concours d'Elegance, where Duesenbergs and Darracq/Talbot-Lagos take over the 18th hole of the famed Pebble Beach golf course from dawn until 4:30 p.m. Tickets start at $150; (831) 622-1700, www.pebblebeachconcours.net. Other notable events: Old Indy Roadsters square off Thursday to Aug. 19 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca ($45 to $125 per person; [805] 686-9292; www.montereyhistoric.com). For events and real-time action, go to latimes.com/pebble.

-- Joni Gray

Hit the river now

If you are planning on rolling on the river this summer -- specifically the Lower Kern near Kernville, Calif. -- you'd better act quickly, because rafting trips are expected to end Aug. 20. "Everyone's used to these seasons that run to the end of September, like last year and the year before," says Luther Stephens, general manager of Kern River Outfitters ([800] 323-4234; www.kernrafting.com). "But that's because we got humongous amounts of water. This year is a little below normal." Trips are still available until that date, Stephens says. For a list of rafting outfitters that travel the Lower Kern, go to www.kernvillechamber.org and click on "recreation guide."

-- Sam Byker

You, action hero

Next time you hit your favorite ski run, mountain-bike course or swimming hole, record your adventure with GoPro's digital wrist camera, the Hero 3, above. The small device straps to your wrist and operates with two buttons. With a two-gigabyte memory card, it can record up to 54 minutes of high-resolution action and comes in a watertight case. Price: $140. Visit www.goprocamera.com.

-- Hugo Martín

Surfing poolside

In July, the W in Westwood-Los Angeles became the first hotel on the West Coast to install hand-held computers that let guests order food, drinks and spa services or even surf websites about area attractions, directly from their poolside lounge chairs. When it's time for another piña colada, they order electronically rather than wave to a waiter. The water-resistant devices can be programmed with names and preferences of guests, said Julie Werbitt, chief executive of Tiare Technology of New Jersey, which created the system. For example, when it's time to order a cheeseburger, the program asks how it should be cooked and what kind of cheese it should have. And hold the fries; bikini season isn't over.

-- Valli Herman

Dry dock ahead?

Next year may bring the last dance of the Delta Queen, above, the 81-year-old doyenne of American paddle-wheelers. Its new owner says the boat's exemption under a 1968 law that bans wooden superstructures in some bigger passenger vessels expires in November 2008, and Congress is unlikely to extend it. The ship, on the National Register of Historic Places, will make its last scheduled Mississippi sailing from Memphis, Tenn., on Oct. 31, 2008. Then its future is unclear. Joe Ueberroth, president and chief executive of Ambassadors International in Newport Beach, which bought the boat last year, said it may see service abroad or become a floating hotel and museum. (800) 434-1232, www.majesticamericaline.com.

-- Jane Engle

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