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February 22, 2009|Mary Forgione; Jen Leo; Jane Engle

Anza-Borrego is in bloom

Wildflowers already? Anza-Borrego Desert State Park northeast of San Diego reports blooms of sand verbena, popcorn flower, desert lily and other plants along roadsides after the recent rains. Right now at the park, sand verbena is blooming along Henderson Canyon and desert apricot in Plum Canyon. Flowers also seem to be popping in the lower elevations of the park, including the Carrizo Badlands, Sweeney Pass, Bow Willow Campground and Indian Valley. Michael Rodrigues, the park's visitor center manager, thinks flowers at Anza-Borrego will peak between the third week of this month and the second week of March. Death Valley National Park also reports flowers blooming, including desert gold, brown-eyed evening primrose and sand verbena along the roadside in the southern and northern ends of the park. Peak bloom is predicted there from mid-March to early April. Info: Anza-Borrego, (760) 767-4684), www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638; Death Valley, www.nps.gov/deva/ Also see the March 1 Travel section for more on Anza-Borrego and the Antelope Valley.

-- Mary Forgione

Yapta atwitter

Yapta.com, best known for finding you rebates after you buy your plane ticket, also tracks airfare prices to let you know when they drop, tells you when frequent-flier award seats become available and now sends you fare alerts via Twitter. Here's how it works: Go to "Yapta settings" in the upper right side of the home page, sign in and scroll down to "Twitter Settings." Sign up or log in with your user name and then select whether you want "tweets" to come by e-mail or direct message. Info: www.yapta.com

-- Jen Leo

Happier trails

It's not all doom and gloom for fliers these days, and we're not just talking bargain fares. Passengers are arriving on time more often, losing fewer bags and filing fewer complaints, the government says. U.S. airlines in November flew nearly 13% fewer passengers than in the previous November, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported recently. Nearly a quarter of seats on an average flight went unclaimed, or 2.4% more than in November 2007. Also, more than 76% of flights by major airlines arrived on time last year, the best performance in three years, and the odds that your bag would get lost, stolen, delayed or damaged dropped by a quarter last year on major airlines, based on DOT figures.

-- Jane Engle

Yoko slept here

If you want to make history John and Yoko style, you can fly to Montreal and rent the hotel suite where the couple held their bed-in 40 years ago to protest the Vietnam War. The suite is No. 1742 at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel and goes for $599 per night (available from March 1 through June 21). This is the same room where John Lennon wrote and instantly recorded "Give Peace a Chance." The Imagine Package, as the hotel calls it, includes a one-night stay, a CD featuring the song, a copy of the lyrics and, of course, breakfast in bed -- or at the hotel's restaurant. The package is good for other rooms at the hotel starting at $199. After breakfast, swing by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts ( www.mmfa.qc.ca) for a free exhibit "Imagine: The Peace Ballad of John and Yoko," which runs April 2 to June 21. Info: (514) 861-3511, www.fairmont.com/queenelizabeth

-- Mary Forgione

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