WORTH A TRIP: Mere mortals might be a tad nervous heading off on a death-defying adventure with a Kennedy, so RFK Jr. corrals some assorted celebs to raft Chile's Futaleufu River -- and tells the tale in the winter issue of Town & Country Travel. It's a rip-roaring quest with a cause: fighting to protect the pristine white-water river from being dammed. Tackling Class V rapids, Kennedy says, "Time seemed to slow . . . and I noticed little things of beauty. Cormorants and geese basked on sunlit rocks; a kingfisher undulated by with a trout still flapping in its beak." The beauty of somebody famous writing about celebrities is that they come off as almost normal. Julia Louis-Dreyfus survives multiple dunkings; Dan Aykroyd tells ghost stories; and John McEnroe, who has been pretty much everywhere but never slept in a tent before, proclaims it the most memorable trip of his life.
WORTH A FLIP: The November Men's Journal sends you to a watery grave, with a wreck diving trip in the Truk Lagoon, where "you're swimming through some else's nightmare . . . surrounded by thousands of ghosts." During World War II, allied pilots bombed 45 Japanese ships to the ocean floor here, making for fascinating yet eerie sites filled with such evocative objects as "sake bottles filled with seawater, and phonograph records as thick as pancakes" . . . It may be one of the most civilized bike rides around. Bicycling reports that the Giro D'Vino in Lodi, Calif., has rest stops set up at wineries -- and they'll shuttle any bottles you purchase right to the finish line, where you can toast your 65-mile accomplishment.
France magazine's jazzy redesign results in more enticing tidbits and info-intense coverage -- which, in this issue, includes a Paris guide that tips you to the capital's burgeoning B&B scene, the latest ethnic dining spots, upcoming blockbuster museum shows and more . . . Diddy had his posse to guide him through the New York City marathon, but if you're eyeing a big-city race, have a look at the insider guides in this month's Runner's World. They include detailed scoops, from where your pals should be posted to cheer you on to the best spot to grab a Gatorade without getting trampled.
Outside goes down under to present 10 odysseys in Oz, including a gallop down the beach with novelist Jane Smiley as she explores the wilds of Noosa, north of Brisbane, by noble steed. "Horse tragic" is the Aussie term for equine aficionados -- but Smiley comes off more of a hero, herding cows and testing her mettle on a champion endurance racer . . . The king of bling, Swarovski, may lay claim to the world's sparkliest museum, according to German Life. Swarovski's Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds), near Innsbruck, Austria, is "a walk through different facets of reality and reflection." You'll recognize it when you spy the face of a crystal-eyed giant with a waterfall spilling out of his mouth. It gets weirder. Imagine a huge crystal wall 36 feet high and 138 feet long, paved with more than 12 tons of gems. There are works by Salvador Dali, Keith Haring and a multi-media installation by Brian Eno. And -- you guessed it -- the world's largest kaleidoscope.
For a little sparkle closer to home, visit the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art near Orlando. National Geographic Traveler says it houses the "world's most comprehensive collection" of Louis Comfort Tiffany works, with everything from blown glass and pottery to furniture and a 1,000-pound chandelier.
WORTH A CLIP: Skiing names the top 25 ski resorts in North America and includes a handy one-page grid that lets you compare all the stats. So while Mount Baker, Wash., wins for snowfall, with 639 inches, you might prefer the fact that Heavenly, Calif., gives you access to 200-plus bars and eateries.
WORTH A CLICK: Clickmeisters, go crazy! Download free subway maps to your iPod at www.ipodsubwaymaps.com; score events tickets on www.fatlens.com, which searches major vendors, plus eBay and Craigslist; or go to www.yellowarrow.net to find out what's up with the 300,000 arrows tagging oddball sites around the world (all in Budget Travel) . . . Get the most out of flying with the aid of www.seatguru.com, www.flyertalk.com, www.webflyer.com and www.expertflyer.com/login.jsp (in Business 2.0).
WORTH A GAWK: She's sampled cat food, South African worms and barbecued dog, but Susan Hack can't choke down an eyeball taco served up in not some exotic byway, but Chicago. It seems the tacos-that-look-back-at-you have gained "a cult following on dozens of Web message boards" and are emblematic of how the Second City has snagged first place for ethnic foods, she reports in Conde Nast Traveler. What's next on the menu, little cat feet?
-- Gayle Keck