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June 10, 2007|Jane Engle; Mary E. Forgione

Rain damage on Cascade trails

Six months after 18 inches of rain fell in 36 hours on Washington's Mt. Rainier National Park, many trails, campgrounds, roadways and bridges remain closed or damaged -- putting a damper on the summer's backcountry season. The winter flooding also has taken its toll on Olympic National Park, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (above) and other parts of the Cascade mountain range. Hikers and backpackers can check out a storm damage map and database compiled by the Washington Trails Assn. at www.wta.org, or call (206) 625-1367. (Climbing access to Mt. Rainier is unaffected.)

-- Mary E. Forgione

LAX-UCLA link

The LAX FlyAway bus, which shuttles passengers from downtown L.A.'s Union Station and the Van Nuys Airport 'round the clock, will add a stop in Westwood starting Thursday. The FlyAway will run every 30 minutes from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily between LAX terminals and UCLA. Ride free to and from Westwood from Thursday to June 30. On July 1, adult fares, now $3 each way, will increase to $4. You also can get boarding passes and check up to two bags at a cost of $5 more per person. (866) 435-9529 or www.lawa.org/lawaGT.cfm.

-- Jane Engle

No batteries

It takes courage to try to lure airline passengers away from their iPods, laptops and electronic games -- especially with something as mundane as books. Colorado-based Banda Press has issued One Flight Fiction, books that can be read in an hour or two. Themes range from running ("Breaking Stride") to the Wild West ("Home to Wyoming"). We haven't read any of them, but the company promotes them as something you can finish in the air. $9.95 each; available at Amazon.com or www.bandapress.com.

-- M.E.F.

Pirate loot

How close does "Pirates of the Caribbean" star Johnny Depp come to looking like the real 18th century thing? Buckles, buttons and cufflinks recovered from the Whydah, a slave ship on the Africa-to-Caribbean route before it was taken over by pirates, are part of the recovered booty that will be on display in "Real Pirates" starting June 30 at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Muskets, cannons, swords, teapots and tableware were also recovered from the site of the 1717 wreck off Massachusetts. And visitors can view (and even touch) silver and gold coins. Tickets ($16.50 for adults, $10.50 for children 3 to 12) are on sale; call (513) 287-7001 or go to www.cincymuseum.org.

-- M.E.F.

Suite luxury

If you plan to attend the Napa Valley Vintners Wine Auction this week, consider the four-night package offered by Campton Place in San Francisco, above. You arrive by private jet from anywhere in the continental U.S., stay in the penthouse suite (the dining room seats eight), ride in a private luxury car and receive two passes to all auction events Thursday through Sunday. And of course there's more: safe transport of your purchases. Price tag: $150,000. The hotel is at 340 Stockton St.; (415) 781-5555, www.tajhotels.com. Or you could skip the pampering and drive yourself to Napa Valley events; passes range from $1,000 to $2,500. Call (707) 963-3388, or go to www.napavintners.com/home.

-- M.E.F.

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