This weekend: Visit the cow-chip-throwing capital of the world
The annual World Cow Chip Throwing Contest and Cimarron Territory Celebration is a big deal in Beaver, Okla. How big? The town's chamber of commerce proudly displays the cartoon character King Cow Chip on its website.
The contest, in which participants compete to see who can throw a cow chip—for those who don't know, that's dried cow dung—the furthest, doesn't occur until next weekend. Yet this weekend has plenty of pre-contest activities to tide you over. In addition to a chili cook-off and craft show on Saturday, there's a 200-mile "Poker Run" motorcycle race, where cyclists go to five checkpoints in order to make a winning poker hand. The whole community will celebrate during the week with store sales, and art show, and a horseshoe throwing contest, all leading up to the main event next weekend.
The longest throw recorded in 40 years happened in 2001, when Robby Deevers tossed the chip more than 185 feet. Thinking of trying your hand? There's still time to sign up—we suggest the Frisbee-throwing technique, a favorite among competitors.
The weeklong celebration recognizes early pioneers of the Beaver area, along Oklahoma's skinny strip between Kansas and Texas. Cow chips were a fantastic source of fuel for these settlers, who used them to make fires for food and warmth.
Call 580/625-4726 for more info. The event is free to watch; to participate in the contest, you must fill out an application and pay a $20 fee (winners receive an engraved trophy and eternal fame).
Gear: Flight 001 has a 30 percent off sale online and in store
Flight 001 is turning 10 next week, and to celebrate, the travel gear company is knocking 30 percent off all in-store and online purchases between Apr. 14 and 19. Use promo code BIRTHDAY to save on everything from luggage and toiletry bags to games and guidebooks. The discount applies to both regularly priced and sale items, but not cosmetics. Items include on-board amenity kits, games, luggage, noise-canceling earphones, and other stylish, streamlined goods to make traveling more bearable. Here are some sample deals: The Gorillapod, which one of our readers recently reviewed, is normally $25 and now costs $17.50 with this discount. The Go Games Checkers set, already marked down from $12 to $6, is $4.20. Bonus: If you stop by any of the seven U.S. stores from Apr. 14 to 19, you can also enter a raffle for prizes, which will include freebies from the company’s SpacePak and Go Clean lines. One drawing in each store takes place on Sunday April 19, except the New York City stores which will have drawings throughout that weekend. All you need to do is come in and sign up. No purchase necessary. No entry online, only in store.
Play ball! Baseball rivals unveil new stadiums
Yankees and Mets fans have something new to trade words over—who's got the better stadium? Next week, New York's subway series teams will host their first regular-season games at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. As the New York Times' architecture critic points out, each playing field suggests something about the team that built it. "Yankee Stadium is the kind of stoic, self-conscious monument to history that befits the most successful franchise in American sports. The new home of the Mets, meanwhile, is scrappier and more lighthearted. It plays with history fast and loose, as if it were just another form of entertainment." Judge for yourself by catching a game or by going behind the scenes at Yankee Stadium; tours start on May 4, $15 for adults, $8 for kids. (For a nostalgic look back at the Yankees' former stadium, check out our slide show, a tour of baseball's cathedral.) No tours are listed on Citi Field's site—yet. Grub Street, New York magazine's food blog, has posted a breakdown of where to eat at Citi Field, including an outpost of Danny Meyer's Shake Shack. The magazine published neighborhood food recommendations for each park back in summer 2007. The stadiums are just two more reasons to visit New York, where almost everything seems cheaper and more tourist-friendly these days. We've recently covered hotel deals from $129, how to see classical music for less, a new tourist info center, affordable souvenirs, and some tips for savvy dining, inspired by this season's Top Chef. RELATED MLB Parks You Shouldn't Miss
A few good links: Delta shuts many gates, Chicago's Olympics, and more
Delta Closes Up Gates. The airline will save tens of millions of dollars. [Gadling] Minibar: The Self-Serve Nightclub. A new Amsterdam hotspot does away with the bartender altogether. [psfk.com] Woman Arrested for Disrupting JetBlue Flight. It's a case of "air rage." [USA Today] Chicago Olympics Gets More Backing Cash. An additional $250 million is guaranteed for the 2016 games. [chicagoist] Hotel Bathrooms that are Part of the View. Exposed bathrooms are popping up in hotel designs from London to China. [New York Times] Sick Turtle Checks Self into Hospital. In this week's cute animal news, a Loggerhead swims right up to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Fla. [Treehugger] Twitter Advice for Budget Travelers. An easy tutorial on what the micro-blogging service is and how you can get tips from other travelers with it [eurocheapo]
Back from Rome, with a first report
Ciao! I'm back from Rome and eager to begin responding to the many comments you posted before I left. Look out for future blog posts and stories that will address common questions like alternative lodgings (apartments, convents), personal safety and security, finding reliable tour guides, and smart strategies for visiting major attractions. First off, congrats to reader Bruce Logan for completing the Rome marathon! I landed at Fiumicino airport early that sunny morning and joined the crowd at Piazza del Popolo just in time to watch the leaders speed by, as a brass band played and kids waved balloons. Lorraine's comment about eating a wonderful meal 20 years ago at Taverna Cinque intrigued me. She wondered if the restaurant was still open. I took up the challenge, roaming the blocks around the Colosseum, searching online, and asking some locals, but no luck. Sorry, Lorraine. I did make it to Da Augusto in Trastevere, however, and thank Peggy for the tip. It's a no-frills, perpetually jammed Roman trattoria, where we were greeted—or rather, brusquely acknowledged—by the owner, who motioned us back out to Piazza de Renzi to wait. Da Augusto doesn't take reservations, or even names. After waiting our turn for about 20 minutes, a waiter plunked down a brown-paper tablecloth (where our bill was eventually scrawled) and a laminated menu. It seemed only right to order something as traditionally Roman as the restaurant: rigatoni all'amatriciana, cooked al dente in a chunky, lightly spiced tomato sauce with pancetta for €6. Piazza de Renzi 15, 39-06/580-3798. That's all I sampled at Da Augusto because it was actually the second dinner of the evening. My husband Dilip and I stopped first for an aperitivo at nearby Freni e Frizioni. Once a car mechanic's workshop, the trendy bar (named "Brakes and Clutches") whips up creative cocktails—buy one, and help yourself, as we did, to multiple servings from the buffet. Via del Politeama 4-6, 39-06/5833-4210. I noticed that Dorie, Debbie M., and other readers asked about places where Romans eat. Freni e Frizioni is one of them! So is Felice in the mostly working-class neighborhood of Testaccio, where we enjoyed our favorite meal of the trip: a steaming bowl of tonnarelli cacio e pepe. The waiter mixed the thick spaghetti with potent cracked pepper and pecorino shavings for us tableside. No menus, and no English in earshot. Via Mastro Giorgio 29, 39-06/574-6800. PREVIOUSLY Questions for an editor going to Rome?