18 Day California and Oregon Coast
We begin our exciting journey west by traveling through Tennessee andacross the mighty Mississippi River into Arkansas. We are filled withexcitement of the days ahead. We will check into our hotel for the night in Conway, Arkansas.
Leaving Arkansas, our only diamond state, we head on west to Oklahoma, “The Sooner State”. We will visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum; a memorial in the United States that honors the victims, sur- vivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. We spend the night in Elk City, Oklahoma.
This morning we enter the Texas panhandle before entering New Mexico. We will see a big change in the land today before we reach Albuquerque making a brief stop in Old Town where Albuquerque began. You will seethe adobe type buildings which were first used when the Spanish arrived.Overnight accommodations await us in Albuquerque.
Today we continue into Arizona stopping at the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. The 93,493 acres of the Petrified Forest include the most spectacular display of petrified wood in the world. You are looking at treetrunks of solid stone that range in age up to 160 million years old. The Rainbow Forest Museum depicts the process in detail. We continue to Williams, Arizona for a two night stay.
The excitement begins at the historic 1908 Williams Depot. Before the train departs you can enjoy a wild west shootout featuring the Cataract Creek Gang in an outdoor theater, visit the free railroad museum or browse through the gift shops. On hearing the train whistle pierce the fresh morning air, we board the vintage streamliner to begin our journey. Uniformed coach attendants provide you with white-gloved courtesy and service. Aboard the train, enjoy the tunes of strolling musicians who conduct sing-a-longs, an old west train robbery and the antics of western characters as they recreate train travel as it was in the early 1900’s. The train arrives at the historic 1910 Grand Canyon Depot. It is among the three remaining log depots still in operation in the United States. On arrival at the Grand Canyon, we will take a narrated motorcoach rim tour to the most scenic overlooks of the canyon to enhance your visit. Guests are escorted to vistas like Mojave Point, Pima Point, The Abyss and Hermits Rest. A buffet lunch is included at Maswik Lodge. After our visit to the Grand Canyon we reboard the train for our return trip to Williams for our last night.
This morning we travel through Arizona into the Golden State of California, the third largest state by area after Alaska and Texas. We enter California at Needles, a city in eastern San Bernardino County on the western banks of the Colorado River in the Mohave Valley subregion of the Mojave Dessert, near the borders of Arizona and Nevada. After lunch at Ludlow we continue to Bakersfield, California for the night.
We continue to Carmel where we take the 17-Mile Drive, a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula, much of which hugs the Pacific coastline. It passes famous golf courses, mansions, and scenic attractions, including the Lone Cypress, Bird Rock, and the 5,300-acre Del Monte Forest of Monterey Cypress trees. San Francisco, a city surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, known for its hilly landscape, year-round fog, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and colorful Victorian houses. San Francisco is our destination for a two night stay.
From the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island to the far side of the Golden Gate Bridge, the most beautiful bridge in the world, our city tour this morning will see it all. One of the most photographed locations in San Francisco, Alamo Square’s famous “postcard row” at Hayes and Steiner Streets is indeed a visual treat. A tight, escalating formation of Victorian houses is back-dropped by downtown skyscrapers, providing a stunning contrast. Other sites on our tour are Union Square, Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, Nob Hill, Chinatown, Coit Tower and Grace Cathedral, Haight-Ashbury, the Presidio and more as time permits. Dinner is included this evening in the Fishermans Wharf area.
“I left my heart in San Francisco.” You’ll be singing and humming this song as we leave this fascinating city. Today we proceed north through redwood forests traveling the 33 miles of scenic “Avenue Of The Giants” on the way to Eureka. We make a picture stop at the Carson Mansion, former estate of pioneer lumberman William Carson. One of the most written about and photographed Victorian houses in California, and perhaps in the United States, the Carson Mansion epitomizes the range of possibilities for eclectic design expression that created this American style of architecture. California’s motto is “Eureka”, I foundit! We spend the night in Eureka, the port for the largest fishing fleetnorth of San Francisco Bay. Early dinner is included this evening at the historical Samoa Cookhouse. As the last surviving cookhouse of the west, all meals are still served “lumber camp” style. It is a short drive to Crescent City for the night.
As we travel north along the rugged Pacific coast we will make severalphoto stops. Stops will be made in Redwood National Park, where the redwood trees are so tall they actually block out the sun from the forestfloor. Redwood National Park encompasses 110,232 acres. Within itsboundaries are the 34,780 combined acres of Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek Redwoods state parks. In addition to dense forests of coast redwoods, the park embraces marshland, beaches, rugged coastline, rivers, streams, prairies and oak woodlands. Our destination today is Coos Bay, Oregon the international port that ranks among the world’s largest wood products exporting centers.
This morning we visit the Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreation Area where we get on a dune buggy for a thrilling ride over miles of sand. Call it America’s answer to the grand Sahara nestled betweenthe Oregon’s Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Well, not quite,but it does resemble the African wonder. We will stop in Lincoln City for lunch and continue to Tillamook to visit the Tillamook Creamery. In the Viewing Gallery, take a behind-the-scenes look at their cheese factory. Discover just how they turn high-quality milk into award- winning cheddar. Yep! That’s real future Tillamook cheese down there. Our destination for the night is Seaside, Oregon. Seaside’s 1.5-mile oceanfront Promenade and its famous automobile Turnaround at the beach are among Oregon’s most famous landmarks.
Crater Lake sits at 1,943 feet deep and is Oregon’s only national park in south-central Oregon in the western United States. It is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and one of the most pristine on earth. Weather permitting, you can see the entire lake from Rim Village. It is a short drive from Crater Lake to Klamath Falls, Oregon for our next overnight. Klamath Falls is known for its splendid bird watching and is thehome of the highest concentrations of bald eagles in the Pacific Northwest.
Our journey continues south from Oregon into Nevada through Reno to Lake Tahoe—a majestic alpine lake 6,225 feet above sea level ringed by the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and its’s Carson Range. The sparkling water, whose color varies from pale aquamarine near shore to deep sapphire, is so clear that you can see an object more than 75 feet down. Overnight in Stateline, Nevada near the shore of Lake Tahoe.
Today, we depart the Lake Tahoe area traveling along famous US-50 better known as “The Loneliness Road in America”, the scenic alternative to Interstate 80. Ely, Nevada is our home tonight Ely is the eastern end of the portion of US 50. Ely was founded as a stagecoach station along the Pony Express and Central Overland Route. In 1906 copper was discovered. Ely’s mining boom came later than the other towns along US 50.
We travel about 100 miles on lonely Highway 50 in Utah, until reaching Interstate 70 which takes us across the San Rafael Desert in Utah and into Colorado to Glenwood Springs for the night. Glenwood Springs is a resort city in Colorado known for its hot springs. It sits in the rugged Rocky Mountains, surrounded by the vast White River National Forest. Glenwood Canyon is rich with wildlife.
This morning we continue through Denver and into Kansas arrivng in Haysfor the night. Hays City was founded in August of 1867 as the Union PacificRailway Eastern Division worked its way west. The town was named after Fort Hays, the army’s military post located south of Big Creek. In the earlydays Hays was a wild and lawless town, filled with saloons and dancehalls. Wyatt Earp, James Butler, better known as “Wild Bill Hickok” and William B. “Bat” Masterson were three of the legendary lawmen who kept the peace in the rowdy frontier town of Hays City.
Today our travels take us into the “Show Me State” of Missouri. We will be stopping in the Kansas City or Independence area for lunch before continuing to the St. Louis area for our last night of the tour. In St. Louis, Missouri, the newly renovated Gateway Arch Museumis officially open to the public after over three years of construction.Totaling 45,000 square feet of new museum area, the original design by Eero Saarinen has been expanded into approximately 100,000 square feet of additional exhibition galleries, public education facilities, and visitor services.It was from this area that many of the early pioneers embarked on their journey into the unknown west.
We will leave for home today with many wonderful memories of our trip West. The California and Oregon Coast of the United States is a place of subtle beauty and constantly changing landscapes. Thank you for traveling with Knoxville Tours!