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Got a place you hate? Let us know

Also: American rivers, London, Big Bear

September 20, 2009|Jason La and Rosemary McClure and Chris Erskine and Judi Dash

Travel can be like visiting your opinionated mother-in-law. You're hesitant about the trip but feel duty-bound to go. It may be a city known for its beauty and history that nonetheless evokes dread because of its crowds and cost. Or maybe it's a world-famous amusement park where the lines are long and the people are pushy. Tell us about a place you weren't thrilled about visiting but went to anyway. Did it live down to its potential? The best suggestions will appear in print Dec. 6, and all will be posted online. Go to /placesyouhate to submit your spot. Submission are accepted until Oct. 10.

-- Jason La

Looking for a rip-roaring river trip? California's Upper Kern River and the Rogue River in Oregon are among the nation's top rivers for rafting, according to National Geographic Adventure Magazine, which spotlights six wild and scenic rivers in its August-September issue. The magazine's wild bunch also includes the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, New Mexico's Rio Chama, the Wolf River in Wisconsin and the Chattooga River in Georgia and South Carolina. Most of the rivers are known for their white-water rapids, but the Rio Chama and the Wolf have areas that beginning paddlers can negotiate. Info: http://adventure /six-river-trips-text/1

Oh, the places to never go

Top river rides

-- Rosemary McClure

NFL abroad

Follow the NFL to London this fall, as the New England Patriots take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 25 at Wembley Stadium. Virgin Vacations, Virgin Atlantic's travel agency, is offering packages for football fans starting at $1,899 that include round-trip airfare (from New York), four nights' lodging, tickets to the game and round-trip transportation from Heathrow to your hotel. Departure from LAX would boost the cost $170. You can add nights to your stay. The packages are based on double occupancy and vary by dates, availability and departure city. Additional taxes, fees and charges may apply. Info: (888) 937-8474, .com/.

-- Chris Erskine

Big Bear, beer

If you can carry 15 steins of beer at one time or excel at log sawing, sausage eating, yodeling or dancing the limbo, Big Bear Lake has a festival for you: its annual Oktoberfest, which runs each weekend through Oct. 31. The event, at the Big Bear Lake Convention Center, is chock-full of odd entertainment. You can dance and cluck to the chicken dance, or watch professional cloggers, polka dancers or musicians. Among the whimsical contests is stein-carrying, in which contestants must pick up steins full of liquid and transport them 30 feet. Oktoberfest is open from noon to midnight Saturdays and noon to 5:30 Sundays. Ticket prices for Saturdays are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and $6 for children 3 to 12; on Sundays, tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for seniors. Children 12 and younger are admitted free on Sundays. Info: (800) 424-4232,

-- Rosemary McClure

Car seat boost

Pediatricians have raised the recommended age for keeping children in a rear-facing car seat to at least 2 years old, up from 12 months. Graco's MyRide 65 Convertible Car Seat keeps babies 5 to 40 pounds safely rear-facing (a higher weight capacity than most other models), then converts to a forward-facing seat for children up to 65 pounds. The car seat has a five-point harness with front adjustment, a removable infant insert, a toddler head pillow, and dual cup holders. MyRide 65 Convertible Car Seat is $159.99. Info: (888) 222-9787 or

-- Judi Dash

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