The construction site at Cedar Point Amusement Park's newest attraction is filled with the makings of a record-breaker. After all the parts are assembled -- including 19,000 bolts, 1,100 feet of elevator cable and 6,595 feet of steel track -- the park in Sandusky, Ohio, will be home to Millennium Force, the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster.
The coaster will be 310 feet high -- five feet taller than the Statue of Liberty -- and its 92 mph top speed promises a wild, stomach-churning ride. The Millennium Force will boast the longest roller coaster drop (300 feet down at an 80-degree angle) and the steepest non-inversion banked turn (122 degrees).
The park, which has 13 other roller coasters, is to unveil the ride May 13, but you can test a virtual version now on the Internet at www.cedarpoint. com. For more information, call 419-627-2350.
SLEEPING CHEAPLY IN NORTH AMERICA
If the high price of lodging is getting you down, check out "Hostelling North America: The Official Guide to Hostels in Canada and the United States." The guide lists 212 places across the continent -- 134 in the United States and 78 in Canada -- where you can stay for less than $28 a night. Some rooms are as low as $7.
The no-frills alternatives to decor-conscious lodgings are often set up dormitory style with bunks and separate rooms for men and women, but they promise clean surroundings and the potential to make new friends.
Members of Hostelling International receive the guide free, along with discounts and other features, but nonmembers can buy it for $3 (or you could become a member for $25). Call 202-783-6161.
BWI's new flight guide covers all the transportation bases.
The free guide includes phone numbers for airlines, parking, car rental companies, airline services and clubs, as well as terminal maps and a complete schedule of direct flights listed by destination city.
The guide also lists MARC rail and Amtrak train schedules, estimated taxi and limousine rates to and from the airport and a Washington metro system map. To order, call 410-859-7196.
State Department warnings
Travelers hoping to keep tabs on the world's trouble spots can monitor the U.S. State Department's Web site.
Warnings and "consular information sheets" -- pages with facts about health conditions, locations of U.S. embassies, unusual regulations and descriptions of traffic safety and road conditions -- for every country in the world are there, along with links to other sites. Go to: www.travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html.
Cameras on the world
Can't get away this spring? Try a virtual vacation at EarthCam.com. The site links you to thousands of indoor and outdoor Internet cameras with live views of places such as Big Ben in London, Belfast's City Hall in Northern Ireland, the Los Angeles skyline, and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. And it's free -- not a bad deal for access to sights that are only as far away as the time it takes your modem to download them.