* From West Haverstraw and West Point, the 125-passenger Commander plies the Hudson on 90-minute and longer trips, depending on which city you depart
from. West Haverstraw is the boat's home port. Buses are available from New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal to West Point and West Haverstraw. Information: Hudson Highland Cruises & Tours, Box 265, Highland Falls, N.Y. 10928; phone 914-446-7171.
* From Poughkeepsie, Riverboat Tours operates three-hour sightseeing trips north past Hyde Park to Esopus Island and back. During October the cruises are on weekends only. Information: Riverboat Tours, 310 Mill St., Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 12601; phone 914-473-5211.
* From Kingston's Rondout Creek Landing, the M/V Rondout Belle goes on 1 3/ 4-hour trips to Kingston Point. Information: Hudson Rondout Cruises, One Rondout Landing, Kingston, N.Y. 12401; phone 914-338-6280.
* Also from Kingston's Rondout Creek Landing, the M/V Rip Van Winkle, makes 90-minute and longer cruises, including day-long trips to West Point. Information: Hudson River Cruises, Box 333, Riston, N.Y 12471; phone 914-255-6515 for a recording or 800-843-7472.
* From Albany, sightseeing cruises of two to four hours are offered by Dutch Apple Cruises, 1666 Julianne Dr., Castleton, N.Y. 12033; phone 518-463-0220. Sometimes the boat doesn't sail if there aren't at least 20 people, so call ahead.
* Two reference books:
* Hippocrene USA Guide to West Point and the Hudson Valley, by Ellen Heinbach and Gale Kohlhagen (1990). It includes appendices with seasonal events, sights, restaurants and hotels, as well as a bibliography.
* Watertrips: A Guide to East Coast Cruise Ships, Ferryboats and Island Excursions, by Theodore W. Scull (International Marine Publishing Co., Camden, Maine, 1987).
I'm trying to find information on Ely, Nev. Where can I learn about the copper mines, local history and so forth? M.W., Philadelphia
With 5,000 people, Ely is the largest city in eastern Nevada. It is located on U.S. 50, dubbed the "loneliest road in America" because of its dearth of services and attractions. Still, Ely has several worthwhile sights and is a center for outdoor activities.
Among destinations in and around Ely are the defunct Kennecott Copper mines, Great Basin National Park, Lehman Caves, White Pine Public Museum and Cave Lake State Recreation Area.
Ely also is home to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, which has a large collection of historic rail cars. It includes two of the heavy-duty locomotives that hauled copper to the smelter at nearby McGill.
For information about the museum and train rides, contact the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, Box 150040, East Ely, Nev. 89315; phone 702-289-2085.
Ely also is the jumping-off point for Great Basin National Park, dedicated in 1987. Phone: 702-234-7331.
Ely is in the section of Nevada called Pony Express Territory, whose tourist information number is 702-289-3720.
For other Nevada information, contact the Nevada Commission on Tourism, State Capitol Complex, Carson City, Nev. 89701; phone 800-237-0774.
I'm hoping to travel all over the Soviet Union next year, but now am confused as to what documents I'll need. Where can I get help? A.R., Mount Laurel
Visa requirments are likely to change as some republics gain independent status and establish their own visa requirements, but there's no need to panic. Lithuania, for instance, already is requiring its own visa, but visas are easily available at the border, through the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, or from a private visa service.
Visa companies are common in Washington and are often the first to know when a change is in the works. They charge fees but can save you time, especially if you have several visas to obtain. Among them are Travisa (202-463-6166) and Visa Services (202-387-0300).
Donald D. Groff welcomes questions from readers. Although he cannot reply to all of them individually, he will answer those of general interest in this column. Write to Donald D. Groff, Travel Department, The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101.