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VISIT THE 'FACTORY CAPITAL OF THE WORLD'

Pssst, buddy. Have I got a factory tour for you.

Every place with ambition needs something to hang its name on, and York County, Pa., has just staked its claim as the Factory Tour Capital of the World.

The county, about 100 miles southwest of Philadelphia, has adopted a suitable slogan as well: You've Got it Made in York County. The tourism campaign revolves around lots of free factory tours, including the county's top tourist attraction, the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. factory.

"Factory Tour Capital of the World is a big boast," said Dave VanArsdale, chairman of the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "But it's not an idle one. No other community has claimed the title. We have." Other businesses offering tours include pottery maker the Pfaltzgraff Co.; snack-food makers Snyder's of Hanover, Utz Quality Foods, Frito-Lay, and Herr Foods; Naylor Wine Cellars; Wolfgang Candy; Family Heirloom Weavers; Cross Mill; York Newspaper Co.; and York Barbell.

VanArsdale noted that York County also has more than 20 factory outlets, most of them located at their respective factories.

Tolls rise in the Big Apple

Driving into New York City is about to get more expensive.

Starting March 25, cash tolls will rise to $6 from $4 for passenger vehicles using the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and the George Washington and the Staten Island bridges between New Jersey and New York City. The toll increases were approved late last month by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which also raised the fare on the PATH trains to $1.50 from $1 one way. Motorists who use the E-ZPass program will pay $5 during peak hours, $4 at other times. Tolls on the tunnels and bridges are collected in only one direction -- going into New York.

Park Service to close Denali lodge

The Denali National Park Hotel, located a mile inside the huge Alaskan park's entrance, will be shuttered as a hotel in September and eventually converted by the National Park Service into a learning center. The 103-room lodging near the visitor center and Alaska Railroad is the only one in the 6-million-acre park that visitors can reach by car, although other hotels are located nearby just outside the park entrance and several lodge-style, bus-accessible accommodations are available about 95 miles farther into the park. Those include the Kantishna Roadhouse, two National Park Wilderness Centers, and the Denali Backcountry Lodge. Information on the Denali National Park Hotel: (800) 276-7234. National Park Web site: www.nps.gov/dena.

Lots of elbow room

The emptiest spots in the Lower 48 (with square miles), from the January/February issue of National Geographic Adventure magazine:

1. Black Rock Desert, Nevada, 17,698

2. River of No Return, Idaho, 16,535

3. Owyhee Desert, Idaho/Nevada, 15,253

4. Harney County, Oregon, 12,018

5. Escalante Monument Region, Utah, 10,814

6. Box Elder County, Utah, 7,917

7. Hot Creek Valley, Nevada, 7,812

8. Central Rockies, Wyoming, 7,289

9. Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana, 6,713

10. Great Divide Basin, Wyoming, 5,596

Kentucky plans tunnel murals

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky officials plan to interview more than a dozen artists who are interested in painting a mural inside an Interstate tunnel.

The murals will be painted inside the Interstate 64 tunnels at Louisville. They would be the first such tunnel art in Kentucky and perhaps the first in any major tunnel in the country, said Terri Giltner, spokeswoman for the state Transportation Cabinet, which conceived the idea.

The proposal has been the target of unfavorable newspaper editorials and has drawn its share of public criticism.

"Why would you want to do it?" asked Jacqueline Klein, who lives in a residential area near the tunnel. "People have enough trouble getting through the tunnel at 55 m.p.h. or 65 mph. Why create a distraction?"

Giltner said the murals will "enhance the driving experience."

The murals won't be designed so people have to slow down or turn around and see, Giltner said.

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