How to See the 4 Most Exciting College Bowl Games This Year

“There are two things every man in America thinks he can do: work a grill and coach football.” -Greg Schiano

What makes football exciting? If you’ve got a team in the game, that’s a no brainer. Many fans, though, don’t care who’s playing as long as the game is exciting. Most of us would prefer a seat in the stands over a comfortable couch and a big screen, but how do you guarantee a shout-til-you’re-hoarse kind of game?
That’s an easy one.

When it comes to fun matchups, nothing beats a college bowl game. These games feature kids with lots of energy, lots of potential and the knowledge that this may be their last chance to try every crazy play they can think of. This is how football was meant to be–nearly professional but always surprising.

The Cross-Country Bowl Game Road Trip

This year, take your college bowl fever one step further. Why not take a cross-country road trip to the four most exciting college football bowl games this holiday season? Here’s what you will need: one Hertz rental car, extra roomy; two couples with football fever; four bowl games in three states; unlimited route planning with our Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile applications on your phones.

Now comes the hard part. ESPN is broadcasting 39 bowl games over three weeks. How do you know which will be the four most exciting games within driving distance of each other? Simple. All it takes is some serious number crunching.

This is a job for the keepers of the world’s most bizarre stats: Football Outsiders. One of their amazing tables of stats contains rankings of the college offensive lines for “Adjusted Pace,” which is a measure of how often they go off the rails with surprising plays. Then compare those tables with another collection of odd stats about college defensive lines. It’s called the “Havoc Rate,” combining totals of things like tackles for loss and forced fumbles. When “surprise” meets “havoc,” that sounds like the kind of game worth road-tripping for.

Most Exciting Matches for Surprise and Havoc

Punching in the numbers for the top teams at surprise and havoc, then adjusting for maximum miles per day between games, gives you:

BYU vs. Memphis at the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 22.

AmericanAthleticConf

NC State vs. UCF at the St. Petersburg Bowl on December 26.

UCF Knights

Ole Miss vs. TCU at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31.

CBS Sports

Michigan State (ranked 8th) vs. Baylor (ranked 5th) at the Cotton Bowl near Dallas on Jan. 1

CampusInsiders

That last turnaround may be a little tight but it is totally doable with plenty of sleep and four solid drivers. It’s just 960 miles straight west on US 20 all the way from Atlanta, GA, to Arlington, TX. Make sure you punch in AT&T Stadium in Arlington into your Hertz Neverlost, not the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, or you’ll be sitting in a lonely parking lot during the big game.

As an extra bonus, you can take a couple more weeks off work to hang out in Dallas. That way you can catch the Championship Game in the same stadium on Jan. 11.

AT&T Stadium

There you have it. Our fantasy college bowl road trip, traveling to the four most exciting football games in the nation this year.

Now, who’s ready to form a caravan?

Bowl Tour

Check out our Bowl Tour Sign up contest to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

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Driving and Skiing on the West Coast

It is better to go skiing and think of God, than go to church and think of sport.
Fridtjof Nansen

California: land of eternal sunshine. As it turns out, California is also the land of beautiful, snow-covered mountains. We had enough of the sun this winter, so we decided it was time to take a road trip and ski until our noses froze. We piled the family into a Hertz Rental Car and headed for the hills. In fact, our destination really was a group of big hills that make up the Sierra Nevada Mountains: Land of the Snows.

I don’t know how many ski resorts are in the Lake Tahoe area. I stopped counting at 15. We knew we couldn’t do more than three, so I got my phone and punched in the best route to hit three family-friendly ski resorts in the Tahoe area.

Here’s what my NeverLost Companion Mobile app found:

  1. Squaw Valley Resort, then 39.6 miles with plenty of stops to reach
  2. Heavenly Mountain Resort, then 182 twisting, turning mountain miles to arrive at
  3. Bear Valley Mountain Resort (not to be confused with Bear Mountain Resort, which is 477 miles southeast, near Los Angeles – make sure you enter the right one in your Hertz NeverLost or you will have quite a road trip on your hands!)

Resort Road Trip

Squaw Valley Resort – This is the big one we’ve heard so much about. The runs were wide, which was good because there were tons of people on each one. We liked that there were all levels of runs, from I’m not sure about this, to Can you believe I just did that! The other part that made us really happy was that the amount of activities for kids at the Squaw Kids Children’s Center, like a climbing wall, a pony tow and a magic carpet ride.

Heavenly Mountain Resort – Online, everyone says that amateur skiers (like us) are much better off at Heavenly, and it turned out to be true. Heavenly felt more private because of all the trees. You’re probably thinking, Amateur skiers and trees? Is that a good idea? The answer is definitely. The runs are wide enough that trees don’t have to be dangerous and they add a certain natural “oomph” to the experience. The kids got the biggest kick out of the rope challenge courses at the Discovery Day Camp.

HeavenlyMtnResort

Bear Valley Mountain Resort – This is a family-friendly place, but we definitely felt like this was a place for more serious skiers. It’s an amazing place with lots of different types of terrain to investigate. The other skiers we met there raved about the mountain and the runs that they basically had to themselves. Overall, it’s beautiful resort. The kids’ activities were all about skiing so we got to have fun all together in the snow.

In the end, we accomplished our main goal: our noses did freeze. It was a wonderful winter road trip, without all the wrong turns and arguing about whose job it was to watch for signs. Skiing really makes you appreciate being alive, and I’m already mapping out our next mountain adventure.

Wild Wild West!

Share your favorite Pinterest photo of a Western ski trip to win a prize! http://bit.ly/12iBgrU

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Hassle-Free Skiing: No Plane Ticket? No Problem!

Cooking is like snow skiing: If you don’t fall at least 10 times, then you’re not skiing hard enough.

Guy Fieri

Anyone who skis knows the joy of a quiet morning on the slopes when the lines are short, the powder is new and deep, and you’re feeling refreshed and ready to take that first run. If you live on the East Coast, do you really need the additional expense of plane fare for the whole family? Not necessarily.

If you live between West Virginia and eastern Maine you’re just a few hours’ drive from a fun ski weekend or a longer ski vacation. And in a Hertz rental car, you’ll zip to your destination without getting lost. With a Hertz NeverLost, you’ll have the fun of an adventurous road trip without ending up on a road that’s been closed for the winter!

Leave Boston at 9 a.m. and you’ll be in the White Mountains of New Hampshire by lunchtime, where resorts like Waterville have downhill, cross-country and snowshoeing side by side. From Washington, D.C., you can make it to Wintergreen, Massanutten, or even Snowshoe and Canaan Valley in West Virginia before dark. These resorts have gentler runs, but plenty of challenges for the athlete in your traveling tribe.

Family Ski @ Okemo by Josh Malczyk

Snowboarders and skiers from New York City can leave after work and find hills that are open at night in the Catskills, and the Poconos and other resorts in New Jersey and Connecticut that are open for business and make snow, if needed, during the season. Even the non-skiers in the family can enjoy sledding and tubing in the evening or during the day.

For the experts, Killington, Vermont offers some killer runs. Nothing gets a skier better prepared to take on any mountain than skiing Vermont or New Hampshire after a freeze. Icy slopes can challenge even the best and most experienced skiers, and for some people, slippery slopes are the heart-stomping experience they’re looking for. Take that, Rocky Mountain powder hounds! Oh, you’ve never skied the East Coast? Maybe it’s time you tried! Use the Hertz NeverLost Mobile Companion to find great locations in these smaller towns.

 Killington

The natural beauty of the evergreens, frozen lakes and vistas that can only be seen from higher altitudes; the smell of pine, the wildlife and the quiet of the cross-country trails; the fun and active après-ski life for singles and couples; and the warmth of a fireplace in a family condo — these are all easily accessible to mid-Atlantic and other East Coast residents.

What’s your favorite East Coast ski destination? Send us a pic and you’ll be entered into our Pinterest contest. Check it out HERE!

EastCoastSlopes

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Pumpkin or Pecan Pie! Oh, my!

“What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?”
—John Greenleaf Whittier, The Pumpkin, 1844

Every pie lover is fully aware of the difficult task that lies before him on Thanksgiving Day. With so many mouth-watering options to choose from, picking just one slice of pie can be an almost impossible task. Fortunately, you have time to ponder this momentous decision as you travel to your Thanksgiving feast.  With the aid of a Hertz rental car, you will have plenty of time and mental energy to devote to your sugary thoughts. Your rental car will allow you to ride in comfort and style so you’re not distracted from your pie musings by a broken heater or busted radio. In addition, the Hertz NeverLost Companion Mobile application will guide you to your destination so you can travel safely over the mountain, through the woods, or across the city to your day of festivities.

These comforts and assurances give you the chance to weigh the pros and cons of choosing grandma’s pumpkin pie over your aunt’s pecan pie. You’ve finally made up your mind that pumpkin is definitely the way to go when your NeverLost app reminds you there’s a turn coming ahead. This recalls your attention to your journey and you notice the abundance of pecan trees lining the road. By the time you make your turn, you’ve decided that it would be a terrible shame to decline a warm slice of that homemade pecan heaven, and you find yourself leaning toward your aunt’s signature dessert instead.

Though your trip lasts just over three hours and you’ve traveled in toasty comfort (without putting all those extra miles on your own car), you still haven’t decided which Thanksgiving pie to choose. You navigate your Hertz rental car into the already crowded driveway of your destination and think of all the friends and loved ones gathered inside for a day of good food and great company. It’s then that you finally decide you’ll take a piece of whichever pie is offered to you first.

You press the automatic door lock on your Hertz key chain and start toward the house. A moment later you’re welcomed inside to a warm room buzzing with laughter and entertaining conversation. The tantalizing scent of pumpkin and pecan reach you before you can take another step, and your resolve waivers. Perhaps there’s room for more than just one piece of pie. Choosing between two perfect desserts seems wrong amid such gladsome celebration. Pumpkin and pecan shall each have their chance today. After all, Thanksgiving only comes once a year.

Driving home for Thanksgiving is only half the fun. Picking your favorite pie is the most important holiday decision. Click here to enter our new contest http://bit.ly/1zmls1X

Photo: Driving home for Thanksgiving is only half the fun.  Picking your favorite pie is the most important holiday decision. Click here to enter our new contest http://bit.ly/1zmls1X

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Winter on Ice

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinback

Winter Solstice is a month from tomorrow! With this time of the year, comes colder weather! Many people enjoy this season and look for winter festivities to take part in.

One of the most popular activities of the season, is to go ice skating!

Ice skating is actually one of my favorite wintertime traditions! See below for some pictures that I took from my freshman year in college (Winter 2009) when I went ice skating at Galleria Dallas:)

Now, just because we don’t always get winter weather across the great state of Texas, doesn’t mean that we don’t like a little wintertime adventure!

Check out some other popular Texas ice skating rinks!

ICE Dr Pepper StarCenter
Farmers Branch, TX
ICE Polar Ice House
Grapevine, TX
ICE Arctic Wolf Ice Center
College Station, TX
ICE Ice At The Park
Arlington, TX
ICE Space City Ice Station
Friendswood, TX
ICE Mcm Ice Rink
Odessa, TX
ICE Northwoods Ice Llc
Hill Country Village, TX
ICE Nytex Sports Centre
North Richland Hills, TX


To learn more about these, visit “
Ice Skating Rinks In Texas.”

Do you have a favorite ice skating rink? Share with us the best ice skating rink in your state or the best one you’ve visited elsewhere for the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Just add #ExploreAmerica to your photos on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Click the picture below for more details!

Have fun and enjoy the winter! Use Hertz NeverLost and the Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile travel application for iPhone and Android to guide you!
I can’t wait to go ice skating this season!
-Melissa Woodring :)
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Orlando Holiday Events

“May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Holidays are a time for celebration! People come together to catch up, relax, and have a great time!

One great place to partake in holiday festivities, is Orlando, Florida! Since Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was held this past Friday at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World has transformed into full holiday mode! Check out some great upcoming events!

“Frozen” characters

Characters from the very popular movie, “Frozen,” have now been incorporated into the Christmas celebrations at Magic Kingdom! “Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf (in his first-ever park appearance) ask the crowd to help the Queen of Arendelle frost the castle in thousands of shimmering lights.” The castle lighting show will take place twice per night, so make sure you get a peek!

“Oldies but goodies like the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and the Holiday Wishes fireworks show are back this year, but new additions make the event feel fresh for 2014.” Learn more about what’s offered by reading, “Frozen, Jack Skellington lead new festive fun in Mickey’s Very Merry Christmaas Party 2014 at Walt Disney World.” You can also check out other events by referencing our blog, “Holidays in Orlando” from 2013 too!

Macy’s Parade and more

Universal Studios Florida comes alive during the holidays with balloons and floats beyond your imagination, marching bands, Santa, and seasonal sing-alongs for the little ones.”  While the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a TV tradtion for most people, Universal Studios can provide a great replica of the occasion because many of the spectacular sights actually get sent to Florida so you can experience it for yourself!

Check out a video from last year!

There are many more events that you can find your way to, just by using Hertz NeverLost and the Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile application for iPhone and Android. Download the app and use download code ORLH in your NeverLost device. After you find your favorite, sign up to win a holiday treat from us! Just click below to enter!

Use some of these events as a chance to find joy this holiday season!

Best wishes!

-Melissa Woodring :)

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Small Town Charm

“Wouldn’t trade one single day here in small town USA.” – Justin Moore

Growing up in a small town, I learned first-hand what all of the perks are! For example, my hometown of Sweeny, Texas, has the best hometownstaple food! Every time I go back home, there are 3 places I have to visit – Taco Loco, Dairy Mart, and Simple Simon’s. Now, while I definitely look forward to eating well when I’m home, there are many other great aspects about my small hometown of Sweeny!

In fact, each small town has it’s own charm! I missed mine so much when I was in college, that I skipped out on a spring break vacation so that I could go home for that week instead! Check out the pictures below for a bit of Sweeny scenery from 2010 :)

Now, share your favorite small town adventure with us for the chance to win a prize!

Click here for details on how to enter.

Click here for details on how to enter.

Check out some other great small towns that you should visit this year!

  • Chautauqua, New York
  • Healdsburg, California
  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Steamboat Springs, Colorado
  • Woods Hole, Massachusetts
  • Marietta, Ohio
  • Beaufort, South Carolina
  • Sedona, Arizona
  • Nebraska City, Nebraska
  • Lanesboro, Minnesota
  • Spring Green, Wisconsin
  • Havre de Grace, Maryland
  • Columbia, Pennsylvania
  • Mount Dora, Florida
  • Ketchum, Idaho
  • Montpelier, Vermont
  • Harrodsburg, Kentucky
  • Silver City, New Mexico
  • Decorah, Iowa
  • The Dalles, Oregon

Learn why these towns are so great by reading “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014.”

Photo credit: Smithsonian.com

Photo credit: Smithsonian.com

 

After you’ve chosen the ones you want to see for yourself, you can use Hertz NeverLost and the Hertz NeverLost Companion application for iPhone and Android to plan your trip and explore!

My coworker and I just used both products to visit McKinney, Texas, which was recently voted as #1 in MONEY’s “Best Places to Live in America.”

McKinney has a very charming and historic downtown and I was very pleased that I got the chance to see it!

McKinney

It was a beautiful day to explore! Click here to learn about things to do.

 

While I don’t live in a small town anymore, I love that I grew up in one and I’m always excited for a new small town adventure!

When you plan your next vacation, don’t overlook the small town charm!

Have a great weekend!

-Melissa Woodring :)

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Happy Halloween – 2014

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam; May luck be yours on Halloween. – Author Unknown

Halloween is tomorrow, October 31st, 2014! Some people have already been celebrating this occasion, while others are looking forward to tomorrow and a weekend full of festivities!

We want to know what your favorite Halloween activities are! Just share them with us in our Inspiation by Pinterest contest for the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Halloween_Final

Click here for details on how to enter!

Now, we would like to provide a few fun celebration ideas!

Check out some of 2014’s top attractions:

 

Check out “Travel’s Best Halloween Attractions 2014” to learn more about these! You can also watch a video about these attractions!

If you’ll be traveling to any of these locations, but sure to use Hertz NeverLost and the HertzNeverLost Companion mobile application in order to find your way! You can also discover more events and must-see attractions in those areas.

Now, if you’ll be hosting any of your own Halloween gatherings, check out this great video for tips on DIY Halloween Treats that you can make!

Enjoy the holiday! Happy Halloween :)

-Melissa Woodring

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2014 World Series

Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” – Bob Feller

The game of baseball is still often considered as America’s pasttime. The sport is well liked and for many reasons! Each game is different and each team has their own set of fans.

This year, the Kansas City Royals and the San Franciso Giants are facing off in the 2014 World Series, the annual championship games that are played by Major League Baseball teams.

Since it has been about 29 years since the Royals have made it to the World Series, and the Giants are often one of the teams rotating in and out of this championship, we’re going to focus a little bit on “new school” vs. “old school” and inform you on the cool things there are to do in these host cities! Keep up with the game schedule and learn a bit about the fun that can be had in both of these team’s towns!

2014 World Series Schedule

2014 World Series Schedule

Kansas City – “New School”

So, it’s not technically the 1st time that the Kansas City Royals have made it to the World Series, but it has been quite a while! Because of this, visiting fans might be a little unaware of how great this team’s city really is!

To start with, Kansas City has beautiful architecture (especially their fountains) and I’ve heard the BBQ is really good too!

According to the City of Fountains Foundation, the “flowing treasures” help define the city and also “honor and celebrate generations of Kansas Citians.”

There are a ton of outdoor sculptures that complement Kansas City and make for great tourist locations! Check out the video below for an overview of these treasures!

Now, on to the barbecue! According to the article, “Postcard from Kansas City: Blue, barbecue everywhere you turn,” the city is renowned for its barbecue! Apparently, the “most touristy place in town is Arthur Bryant’s.” However, “Bay Area foodies might want to check out Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ, acknowledged as the successor to the throne, according to the locals.”

Royals fans gathered in the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City on Monday. (Photo: Al Saracevic/The Chronicle via SF Gate)

Royals fans gathered in the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City on Monday. (Photo: Al Saracevic/The Chronicle via SF Gate)

Whether you’re a local, or a visiting fan, check out Things to Do – Kansas City for information on entertainment, shopping, arts and culture, attractions, and more!

San Francisco – “Old School”

The Giants have played in the World Series 20 times, and 6 of those times were actually in the city! So, the people of San Francisco are no strangers to this celebration! However, visiting fans can always use a little more knowledge about what to do and where to go!

First of all, there’s always an option to partipate in classic activities like riding in cable cars and visiting Fisherman’s Wharf (San Francisco’s Historic Waterfront District)!

A couple of things to keep in mind about these activities:

  • “A ride on San Francisco’s cable cars may be the most iconic and memorable of your entire trip to California.”
  • “Whether planning a visit or seeking information, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge on how a historic era still influences the present-day culture, events, sights, sounds, and food of San Francisco’s most famous waterfront community.”

Check out San Francisco Cable Cars – The Guide and Fisherman’s Wharf – Plan a Visit, to learn more!

Check out the video below, “90 Seconds In: San Francisco” to learn about other fun things you can do!

Also, if you’re a Giants fan, or you’re visting the city during this time of year, read the article “27 Things Only San Francisco Giants Fans Understand” in order to show a better sense of support and undestanding for this city and their baseball team!

Baseball Battle

Now that you know a little bit about both of the 2014 World Series host cities, vote for your favorite for the chance to win a prize!

As these MLB teams battle it out, you’ll have the chance to win a prize! Just click the picture below for more details.

Also, you can use download codes in your Hertz NeverLost device to route you to the games!

  • World Series games in Kansas City – KRBA
  • World Series games in San Francisco – SFGB

Additionally, you can download the free Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile app on iPhone and Android to check out must-see events, tours, attractions, trendy restaurants, and more that exist in these cities! Just use our “city guides” feature and you’ll be ready to explore!

Enjoy the games!

-Melissa Woodring :)

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Follow the Foliage

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence

Fall is a great time of the year to take scenic road trips. But, how do you decide where to go?

Hertz NeverLost and the Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile application both offer an outlet for searching and discovering new places for autumn travel.

One popular route that you should consider taking for great fall foliage scenery, is actually celebrating its 100th anniversary this month! Learn more about it!

Mohawk Trail

“The Mohawk Trail celebrates 100 years of history this month. The scenic highway extends from Athol to Williamstown and is commonly known as Route 2. For many, driving along the Mohawk Trail is a long-time tradition.”

More Than a Trail…A Journey

This trail goes through the mountains, runs by historic towns, and is near five major rivers! This “highway of history” provides travelers with over 100 attractions throughout the gorgeous, 60-mile route. Visit http://www.mohawktrail.com/ to discover more!

 

Click here to read "Mohawk Trail Turns 100" and watch a quick video!

Click here to read “Mohawk Trail Turns 100″ and watch a quick video!

What’s even better about this trail, is that you can easily discover the attractions offered by using the “search” feature in the Companion app. While the application does provide guides for larger cities, what most people don’t know, is that the information is not limited – small towns are included too! Just type in the search bar which town you are looking for, and you can find hotels, parks, restaurants, tourist attractions, and more!

For example, if you search for “Shelburne Falls” – You’ll quickly find the Massachusetts town (which is on the Mohawk Trail) and then be able to search for various nearby attractions and destinations!

Shelburne Falls
One of the attractions listed in this search, was the Bridge of Flowers. This 400-foot-long attraction spans over the Deerfield River and displays wonderful seasonal sights! Once you find the attraction that interests you, you can get a download code to use in your NeverLost device, and be on your way!

Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls (photo credit: Reader's Digest)

Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls (photo credit: Reader’s Digest)

Other great spots that can be found on the Mohawk Trail, include:

  • Northfield Mountain
  • Turners Falls
  • Charlemont
  • Mohawk Trail State Forest
  • Whitcomb Summit
  • Hairpin Turn
  • Mt. Greylock
  • Williamstown

and more! Check out “Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts: View Stunning Fall Foliage,” for more infomation on these locations.

Now, if you have already seen great autumn sights or think you will by the end of this weekend, be sure to enter our photo contest! Click the below for details :)

FallFoliage-06
You can also read the article, “10 Best Fall Foliage Trips in the U.S” for more inspiration on where to go for your scenic road trip!

Follow the foliage and enjoy the ride!

-Melissa Woodring

 

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