18 Day Great Southwest California
We begin our enjoyable day by getting acquainted and talking over our plans for the days ahead on our trip. Our destination for the night is Conway, Arkansas. A co-educational state college is located here. Conway is located 25 miles north of Little Rock, the state capital and largest city in the state.
Leaving Arkansas, “The Land Of Opportunity”, we make our way to Oklahoma, “The Sooner State”. Our overnight stop will be Oklahoma City, where on a single day in 1889, it became a city of 10,000 people. We will visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Center—a national memorial to the men and women who pioneered the West. An extensive collection of Western art, historic artifacts and exhibits of American Indian and pioneer life in realistic settings is on display. We also visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial—a memorial in the United States that honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995.
Boarding our bus today, we head into New Mexico, also called the”Land of Enchantment” because of its beauty and rich history. Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, is our next overnight stop.
This morning we continue our tour traveling through Gallup and Holbrook.We will see the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. The 93,493 acres of the Petrified Forest include the most spectacular display of petrified wood in theworld! You are looking at tree trunks 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 the Grand Canyon—one of the world’s outstanding spectacles. In form, size, glowing color or geological significance, it is unsurpassed. Accommodations await us for the night in one of the lodges.
This morning we will view the spectacular sights of the West Rim of the Canyon via the park shuttle to the end of the West Rim at Hermit’s Rest. We depart the Grand Canyon and continue to the “city of wonders”, Las Vegas, Nevada, for a two night stay. Upon arrival in Las Vegas, you will see many large, beautiful hotels and you may want to try your luck at the “One Arm Bandits” . . . An Exciting and Not Soon Forgotten Experience! We enjoy a walking tour of all the fascinating hotels along the strip.
We depart Las Vegas this morning traveling to Mammoth Lakes, California for our next overnight. Mammoth Lakes is located at the east entrance to Yosemite National Park and Tioga Pass.
Today we enter Yosemite Park by way of Tioga Pass (if open). You will truly see the work of God as we see Giant Redwoods towering overhead,magnificent waterfalls that seem to start from nowhere, and sheer rockcliffs over 2,000 feet high –beauty that words can never describe. We can tell you that this place will forever be a pleasant memory. Overnight accommodations await us in Yosemite Park or Oakhurst area.
We leave this morning and drive to San Francisco, California, the “cityon a hill”, for a two-night stay. This description truly fits San Francisco,for no matter which way you look you seem to be looking “Up A Hill”. We hope to have time for shopping or relaxing upon arrival. Tomorrow on our guided tour of the city, we will see Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate State Park, Japanese Center and beautiful St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Today we leave the City by the Bay and travel south to Hollywood and Los Angeles. On the way we will have time to stop at the little Danish village of Solvang. The town was established by a group of Danish educatiors from the Midwest. After time for lunch and shopping we continue to Los Angeles for the night.
This morning a local guide will introduce us to Hollywood and Los Angeles. Experience the most comprehensive Los Angeles tour! Walk in the footsteps of some of Hollywood’s most renowned celebrities at Mann’s Chinese Theatre. Explore Santa Monica’s 3rd street Promenade with its many café’s and unique shops on the Santa Monica Pier. Tour includes: Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Sunset Strip, Farmers Market and The GROVE, Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue. Stops include: Hollywood Boulevard, Farmers Market, and The GROVE. See “Muscle” Venice Beach, Bel Air, La Brea Tar Pits/Miracle Mile, Dodger Stadium, Griffith Park and Observatory and other sights as time permits. After lunch at the Farmer’s Market, we have a short drive to San Juan Capistrano to see the mission that was founded by Father Junipero Serra. The mission is famous for the swallows that arrive every March. We continue to San Diego for the night.
Today finds us on our way to the resort city of Tucson, one of the old- est Spanish settlements in the West. Tucson has more sunshine than any other major city in the United States. The long, upward-reaching arms of the giant saguaro cactus may be the most readily recognized symbol of the Southwest. In minutes the road leaves the sprawl of Tucson and enters a magical forest of immense saguaro cactuses in Saguaro National Park. The saguaro grow only in southern Arizona, in California along the Colorado River and in northwestern Mexico. It can live more than 200 years attaining heights of 30 to 40 feet andweigh as much as 2,000 pounds. The magnificent Saguaro Cactus is the state flower of Arizona. We continue to Benson, Arizona for overnight.
We continue our journey today through Arizona and New Mexico arriving at Alamogordo (means “fat cottonwood”) for our next overnight. Surrounded by desert and the Organ and Sacramento Mountains,Alamogordo is the home of Holloman AFB, a tactical fighter base.We will visit the White Sands National Monument—source of white gypsum sand and dunes that rise 60 feet above the Tularosa Valley. We spend the night in Alamorgordo.
We depart Alamogordo for Carlsbad National Park, New Mexico, where you will see Carlsbad Caverns—the 8th Wonder of the World. We will tour the Caverns. Since the temperature underground is a constant 56°F, a sweater is recommended. After lunch we continue to Midland, Texas where accommodations await us for the night.
Today we continue through the Lone Star State of Texas stopping in Fort Worth for lunch (included) and a brief visit. Fort Worth is a warm and friendly western metropolis with working cowboys and a major cattle industry headquarters. The Stockyards District with cobbled, gaslit streets lined with shops, and Sundance Square, a restored Victorian business district ringed with gleaming highrises, best express the commercial veneer applied to the city’s past. In Dallas, we will visit JFK Memorial Plaza, the site of the Nov. 22, 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy. We continue to Sulphur Springs, Texas for the night.
A short drive this morning takes us in the state of Arkansas on our way to Memphis for our last night. Upon arrival we will visit the legend- ary Graceland mansion. see thousands of artifacts including gold and platinum album and singles representing the sale of over one billion records worldwide, more than any other entertainer or group in the his- tory of recorded voice. See Elvis’ dazzling costumes, cars, motorcycles, personal mementos, and awards.
Well, here we are on our way home. Do you think you can describe or ever forget the sights you have seen, the things you have done and the experiences you have had? We can say that we have had a KNOXVILLE- TOURIFIC TIME!