* THE 1994 WASHINGTON STATE FIELD GUIDE is available free by calling 1-800-544-1800, ext. 101. You will also receive a free Washington State Lodging and Travel Guide. The field guide focuses on harvest and farm tours, special events and discount packages to some of the state's most intriguing fall destinations. It also has information on outdoor recreation, museums, interpretive centers and suggested scenic drives. The seasonal calendar of events highlights fall harvest festivals.
For example, it suggests places to see Mount St. Helens. A viewpoint on Windy Ridge is accessible by a paved U.S. Forest Service road due south from Randle. The viewpoint is only 41/2 miles from the crater and you'll see thousands of acres of big timber blown down or snapped off by the force of the volcano's eruption. Summer and fall are the best times to visit the ridge. Snow closes the road in winter. On the west side of Mount St. Helens, Spirit Lake Memorial Highway (an extension to Highway 504 from Castle Rock (exit 49 from I-5) leads to the Coldwater Ridge visitor center. Overlooking Coldwater Lake, the center offers you a panoramic view of the mountain only six miles away. The landscape is recovering from the devastation unleashed by the volcano in May 1980. 1 (206) 750-3900.
Other suggestions from the Field Guide:
- There are a number of scenic drives in the Cascade Mountains northwest of Seattle. One alternative is to take State Route 9 north from Snohomish, head east on State Route 92 and enjoy fall colors along the Mountain Loop National Scenic Byway from Granite Falls to Darrington. There are old-growth forests, relics of early mining activity, a ghost town, U.S. Forest Service campgrounds and Ice Caves National Recreation Trail below Big Four Mountain. For a free Mountain Loop Magic visitor guide, call the Darrington Chamber of Commerce at 1 (206) 436-1177.
- Yakima Valley is agriculturally rich. A drive through the valley is a lesson in farming. Spring Creek Ranch, which recently opened, features walking tours of flower and vegetable gardens, visits to the pioneer Yamika Homestead, plus farm animals and wild ducks. You can pick your own produce on the farm and attend classes in the old barn. Guided tours of Thompson Farm in Naches give you a look at a 45-acre orchard, cider plant, a jam and jelly operation and a blacksmith shop. For a free visitor guide to Yakima Valley, stop at the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau, at 10 N. 8th St., open seven days a week, or call 1-800-221-0751. The valley is on a direct route from Salt Lake City to Seattle on I-82.
- The Sherman Pass National Scenic Byway is a 37-mile stretch of State Route 20 between Kettle Falls and Republic near Washington's northeast corner. At 5,575 feet above sea level, the pass is the state's highest. Aspen, cottonwood, alder and larch trees put on a great autumn show. In Republic you'll find the Stonerose Interpretive Center and digging site where the oldest known fir, spruce and cedar fossils in the world were found. For $2.50 plus tax you can rent your own hammer and chisel and dig your own fossils. Stonerose is open Tuesday through Saturday until Oct. 31.
* BORDER CROSSING BETWEEN ISRAEL, JORDAN. A new border crossing only for tourists recently opened between Eilat, Israel and Aqaba, Jordan. Both are resort cities on the Red Sea. Tourists (third-country nationals) will be able to cross in both directions (from Israel to Jordan and from Jordan to Israel). Both countries will recognize the stamp of the other in passports and visas. That means tourists who have had their passports stamped in Israel won't have trouble crossing into Jordan. However, tourists who want to visit Arab countries other than Jordan and Egypt should ask that the Israeli stamp be affixed to a separate sheet of paper in order not to be refused entry. The new border crossing point is called Arava and is only four kilometers north of Eilat. That location is considered temporary, however. Tourists will cross on foot, passing all the security, border police and customs officers. If you arrive at the Israeli side in an Israeli car, you can take the car only to the crossing. You must pick up a Jordanian car on the other side. If you're driving a private car registered in a third country, you may take it across the border. The crossing point will be open five days a week - Sunday through Thursday - all year except for Yom Kippur. Hours of operation are currently 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. This border crossing is only for tourists who intend to spend at least one night in Aqaba. The Jordanian government will not allow tourists coming from Eilat to cross for only a day visit.
KISSIMMEE-ST. CLOUD, FLA., visitors can take advantage of nearly 100 discounts to central Florida accommodations and attractions by obtaining the 1994 Kissimmee-St.Cloud Vacation Guide. It is available free by calling 1-800-526-5477. You must request the booklet by Dec. 31, 1994. The discounts are valid through March 31, 1995. The 79-page guidebook has information on more than 29,000 accommodations in the area. To book hotel reservations through the area's convention & visitors bureau, call 1-800-333-5477. Examples of accommodations discounts offered in the booklet (keep in mind that some restrictions may apply):
Best Western Maingate: $14.95 plus tax per person, per night, includes breakfast buffet
Days Inn: $29 plus tax per night, 1-4 people
Ramada Resort Maingate: $33 plus tax per night, 1-4 people
Radisson Inn Maingate: $45 plus tax per night, 1-4 people
Hyatt Orlando: $55 plus tax per night, 1-4 people
Holiday Inn Maingate East: $59 plus tax, 1-4 people
Examples of attraction discounts:
15 percent off regular admission for up to six people to Walt Disney World Resorts
Universal Studios Florida, $2.50 off daily gate admission, up to six people
PARIS FOR LESS. Entertainment Publications new Paris '95 book has significant discounts for fine dining establishments, cafes, bistros and hotels throughout France. All of the restaurants offer 25 percent discounts for one- to- four people per coupon. There are also a number of two-for-one offers. The book has 50 percent discount coupons for 200 hotels and inns through France. The book costs $48. To order using a Visa or MasterCard call 1-800-445-4137.
* ACCORDING TO THE BOAT OWNERS ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES, a.k.a. Boat/U.S., the British Virgin Islands is the most popular destination of charter boat vacationers. The Boat/U.S. Travel & Yacht Charters department, which arranges charter vacations for the association's 500,000 members, kept a record of the most-requested destinations for the past year. The 10 most popular destinations are:
1. British Virgin Islands
3. Florida Keys
4. St. Maarten/St. Lucia
6. Chesapeake Bay
7. Greek islands
9. Pacific Northwest