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November 01, 2009|Pete Thomas; Chris Erskine; Judi Dash

C'mon, give us your best shot

Share your favorite shot with the world, in the Travel section's year-end photo issue. The best dozen or so shots will be featured in a special photo issue Dec. 27, and the 100 top submissions will be posted on the website. This is the second year

The Times has saluted readers'

travel photography with a special section. The rules: Photos should be from travel during 2008 or 2009. Professional photographers are not eligible. Please include full name, city of residence, a couple of sentences describing the shot and your phone number, which will be used for verification only. Participants agree that The Times may reproduce photos in any format. Send unaltered files to yourscene-travel@latimes.com. Please put PHOTO ISSUE in the subject line. Photos that have been submitted to the weekly Your Scene feature do not need to be re-sent. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 22.

-- Travel staff

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Parks cutbacks

California state parks have announced cost-saving service reductions, which include weekday closures at some facilities and reduced hours. Here are a few examples:

* The visitor center at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

* Popular beach parks in Orange County will reduce by half the number of trash cans on the beach. Restroom and fire ring cleaning will be reduced by half. There will be no off-season chemical toilets. Trail upkeep and habitat restoration will be reduced by 50%. Educational and interpretive programs will be reduced by 25%. Irrigation will be reduced by 25%.

* Silver Strand State Beach in San Diego will experience 50% lifeguard reductions off-season (September through February). Trash cans and fire rings will be removed from the beach, and many restrooms will be closed.

-- Pete Thomas

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Deep Blues sea

Dampen your post-season Dodger blues with a seven-day cruise on the Mexican Riviera out of Long Beach. It will feature former first-baseman Steve Garvey, first-base coach and former infielder Mariano Duncan and broadcaster Steve Lyons. Interior staterooms start at $855 per person, but book soon: The cruise embarks Nov. 15. The trip, aboard Carnival Cruise lines, includes stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Also included are photo sessions, cocktail parties and Q&A sessions with the former ballplayers. The ship returns to Long Beach on Nov. 22. Info: www.dodgers.com/cruise.

-- Chris Erskine

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An easy sip

Contigo's Autoseal Hydration Bottle is a neat new take on the old canteen -- with a couple of clear advantages. The dishwasher-safe container is made of transparent, high-impact plastic, which lets you see what's inside. Better still, you can operate it one-handed. Instead of removing the screw-on lid to drink, you just push a button at the back of the cap, which opens the drink hole. Release the button, and the lid seals snug. A carabiner built into the lid clips to a belt strap or bag. The bottle is $12.99 in 24-ounce size, $14.99 in 32-ounce size at (888) 262-0622, www.gocontigo.com.

-- Judi Dash

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