Desert Sands Springtime Featuring Tucson, Tombstone & Santa Fe
14 Days / 13 Nights
Departure Date: April 6-19
Tour Code: DSRT90
We’re on our way to open skies and endless sunny days as we make new friends on board the coach today. Our day of travels ends in Des Moines, IA at the Drury Inn.
DAY TWO — CB
Of all the worlds’ legendary characters, few have attracted world-wide fascination like the outlaw Jesse James. Some call him America’s Robin Hood while others see him as a cold-blooded killer. Perhaps he was all of these things. Some people say it was the cruel treatment from Union soldiers that turned Frank and Jesse to a life of crime during the Civil War. During the war years they learned to kill while riding with William Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson. Learn more about this time in history as you tour Jesse James Home & Museum. Tonight finds us in Wichita, KS at the Drury Broadview Hotel where we have free time to enjoy the hospitality of our hotel.
DAY THREE — CB, L
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing Kansas enroute to Oklahoma City. Here we pause at The Oklahoma Memorial & Museum which takes visitors on a chronological, self-guided tour through the story of April 19, 1995, and the days, weeks and months that followed the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is a place of quiet reflection which honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on that fateful day in history.
From a little diner to the annals of western folklore we experience lunch at the legendary Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, smack-dab in the middle of Oklahoma City’s Stockyards. Then take a journey through each of the eight states Route 66 passes through, from Illinois all the way to California at the National Route 66 Museum, in nearby Elk City. See quirky roadside attractions that lured people to stop, and get a feel for the experience of traveling down Route 66. Walk through displays of antique cars and see historical documents detailing the narrative of America’s highway. We rest our heads tonight right here in Elk City at the Hampton Inn.
DAY FOUR — CB
We continue motoring west as travels take us through Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle and into New Mexico. An unidentified flying object crashed on a ranch northwest of Roswell sometime during the first week of July 1947. Learn more about this event at the UFO Museum & Research Center which continues to provide information to the general public on all aspects of the UFO phenomena.
People from around the world travel to Roswell to see exhibits including information on the Roswell Incident, crop circles, UFO sightings, Area 51, ancient astronauts and abductions. The exhibits are designed not to convince anyone to believe one way or another about their subjects. It is sure to be a fun and enlightening stop whether you believe or not! Enjoy the hospitality of the Comfort Suites right here in Roswell for our overnight stay.
DAY FIVE — CB
Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Marvel at the great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand which engulf 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live there. Travels today culminate in the undisputed western icon of Tucson, Arizona. We’ll spend three nights at the Hotel McCoy so we can thoroughly explore the area and its amazing western history.
DAY SIX — CB, D
Enjoy breakfast then get back on board the coach with a local guide to learn everything you need to know about Tucson and the surrounding areas. Mountains and giant saguaro cactus surround us and skies are clear nearly every day of the year. The world’s largest collection of optical telescopes is located high above the Sonoran Desert under some of the finest night skies in the world.
We’ll learn more about the astronomical research done at the world-renowned Kitt Peak National Observatory. At an elevation of 6,875 feet above sea level we begin in the Visitor Center with a brief introductory discussion. The tour contains a wealth of information and stories about the observatory and how the telescope helps bring to life the night sky. Tonight, sit back and enjoy the Gaslight Theater, as we see the funny side of the west.
DAY SEVEN — CB
A big day is in store today, so put your best walking shoes on. In November 1974, two avid spelunkers were exploring the limestone hills at the eastern base of the Whetstone Mountains just south of Tombstone. They were looking “for a cave no one found yet” and found it! The two kept the cave a secret until February 1978 when they told the property owners, James and Lois Kartchner about their awesome discovery. Since unprotected caves can be seriously damaged by unregulated use, they knew the cave had to be protected and through long and arduous negotiations Kartchner Caverns State Park was open to the public in 1999.
We’ll tour this still living cave and discover the role that water plays in creating underground caverns. You’ll see the discoverers’ original trail, 45,000-year-old bat guano, delicate formations and Kubla Khan, the largest column formation in Arizona. Tombstone is our next stop. This western town is known for its stormy and storied past. Western legends like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday became household names after the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Walk the streets these and other legendary men and women of the American West walked. Absorb the experience that is unique to Tombstone. It is an encounter with history that you can only get in The Town Too Tough To Die.
DAY EIGHT — CB
Depart Tucson today as travels take us north into greater metropolitan Phoenix. As we motor in, our driver will be sure to make a stop to see the winter home of the Milwaukee Brewers.
We then continue through this desert city to Old Scottsdale where you can stroll the streets of downtown for shopping and a quick lunch on your own. See some of the finest galleries, specialty retail, cultural attractions and dining in the Valley of the Sun as you wander.
Scottsdale is at the heart of the city’s art scene, with Contemporary and Western Art plus a wide variety of outdoor sculptures set amid lush green lawns and sparkling fountains. Scottsdale’s Arts District has a high concentration of galleries showcasing some of the best Western and Southwestern art in the country. Throughout “Old Town,” shopkeepers sell quality Native American crafts, offering everything from hand-woven Navajo rugs to Zuni silver jewelry.
After your free time we continue north into the Red Rock Country of Sedona. Imagine the amazing backdrop of some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. The picturesque city of Sedona is surrounded by red-rock monoliths named Coffeepot, Cathedral and Thunder Mountain. At the north end of the city is the stunning Oak Creek Canyon, a breathtaking chasm that is wildly wonderful.
In these fantastic surroundings we’ll overnight at the Best Western Arroyo Roble Hotel. Enjoy stunning views from your hotel and an indoor pool and whirlpool.
DAY NINE — CB
After breakfast let’s explore this beautiful area more in-depth. Our first stop will be Montezuma Castle National Monument which quickly became a destination for America’s first car-bound tourists. In 1933, a 45-50 room pueblo ruin was excavated, uncovering a wealth of artifacts which greatly enhanced our understanding of the native Sinagua people who inhabited this riparian ‘oasis’ along Beaver Creek for over 400 years. Learn how even 600 years after their departure, the legacy of the Sinagua people continues to inspire the imaginations of this and future generations.
Climbing ever higher into mountainous terrain, we visit a community known as the “most vertical city in America.” Located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) between Prescott and Flagstaff is the historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community. From its external appearances it hasn’t changed much in nearly 100 years. A number of the buildings have been restored and more are planned for restoration.
Enjoy time to check out the many unique shops here, or relax and have a bite to eat at one of many restaurants. There are also historic saloons and the Jerome Winery for a taste and maybe a bottle for back home. We return to Downtown Sedona for more great shopping and to soak in the glorious atmosphere of this wonderful part of Arizona. We overnight at the Holiday Inn Express.
DAY TEN — CB, L
We begin our trek eastward bound through Flagstaff enroute to New Mexico. Along the way we stop at the Petrified Forest State Park. Best known for its globally significant Late Triassic tree fossils, the park attracts many researchers and geologists who study the multi-hued Chinle Formation. Archeologists have researched over 13,000 years of history here and besides petrified trees, biologists have found some of the best remnants of native Arizona grassland found anywhere in the state.
Travels continue with an included luncheon along the way as we move through remotely beautiful terrain to colorful Santa Fe. Magical exuberant and colorful at any time of year Santa Fe’s history and culture will fascinate and inspire you. There are many art galleries and artisans to marvel at plus diverse visual arts span ancient traditional techniques to the most contemporary and edgy. You can also partake of world renowned cuisine if you are inclined because we will overnight here at the Comfort Suites Hotel.
DAY ELEVEN — CB
This morning a local guide joins us for a driving tour of Santa Fe and the surrounding area. One of the highlighted stops will be the Loretto Chapel completed in 1878. When finished there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above the main floor. Area carpenters all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small chapel.
Legend has it that to find a solution the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (even running an ad in the local paper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that it was St. Joseph himself in answer to the sisters’ prayers.
Later, enjoy the beautiful drive north to the artist community of Taos, NM. Known as the Land of Enchantment, Taos is seated on a high-desert mesa at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s rich with art and steeped in history. Home to Taos Pueblo, the Village of Taos Ski Valley and a colorful array of surrounding communities, your visit will include some spectacular sights and too many to count art galleries, restaurants and other unique shopping venues. Enjoy the remainder of your day here with an overnight at the Sagebrush Inn, Taos.
DAY TWELVE — B
Today we begin our traveling ascent to the Mile High City of Denver with our usual rest breaks. As we near Colorado Springs, we exit to view the Garden of the Gods Park, a registered National Natural Landmark. Imagine dramatic views with 300′ towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. Tonight finds us in Denver for our overnight at the Drury Inn & Suites. There’s time to rest and refresh after a long day of travels.
DAY THIRTEEN — CB, L
After a filling breakfast, we begin to see more familiar territory as the Midwestern states come into view. We’ll make our usual stops and meal breaks before ending our travel day in Omaha, NE at the Comfort Inn.
DAY FOURTEEN — CB
It’s time to start thinking about where your next trip will be as we make our way back into the Midwest with great
PER PERSON PRICING:
Deposit: $200 per person within 7 days of making reservation. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure. Luggage handling is included for one suitcase. RoamRight insurance is available and strongly recommended.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions and concerns.1-800-236-8687