Day 1 – Joplin, Missouri – Our coach heads west through the farmlands of Indiana and Illinois. We cross the Mississippi River into Missouri to the great lands that make up the west. We overnight in Joplin.
Day 2 – National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum – Big Texan Steak Ranch – Amarillo,
Texas – Breakfast is included at the hotel. This will be
a beautiful day of touring the countryside as we make our way to Amarillo, Texas, the capital of the oil and gas industry of the Texas Panhandle region. En route we will stop at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. While there be sure to see the famous “End of the Trail” statue. Tonight’s dinner on our own will be at the Big Texan Steak Ranch, a landmark on the old Route 66. We overnight in Amarillo.
Day 3 – Cadillac Ranch – Palo Duro Canyon – Carlsbad, New Mexico – After an included breakfast, we depart our hotel and make a stop at the Cadillac Ranch, a most unusual art exhibit. The ten graffiti covered cars are half-buried, facing west “at the same angle as the Cheops Pyramid.” Next, we will have a beautiful drive through Palo Duro Canyon, known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas.” The nation’s second largest canyon, Palo Duro contains rock formations and canyon walls in a variety of vibrant colors. We overnight in Carlsbad.
Day 4 – Carlsbad Caverns – Roswell, New Mexico – Rise and shine, and enjoy an included breakfast before we depart for a tour of Carlsbad Caverns, one of the largest and most beautiful caves in the world. Walking is easy with its paved lighted pathways. Next, we continue to Roswell, New Mexico. In July 1947, something happened in Roswell, New Mexico Army Airfield during a severe thunderstorm. Was it a flying saucer? Was it a weather balloon? What happened? We will visit the Roswell UFO Museum, where you can examine the evidence and draw your own conclusions. We continue Albuquerque, New Mexico, the big city of many cultures – American Indian, Spanish, and Anglo, where we overnight.
Day 5 – Sandia Peak Tramway – Old Town Plaza – Santa Fe, New Mexico – After an included breakfast, we’ll board the Sandia Peak Tramway, taking in some incredible views. We’ll ride above the deep canyons, on the world’s longest aerial tramway, going to an elevation of 10,378 feet. Our next stop is at historic Old Town Plaza, the heart of the city’s heritage, offering a variety of arts, crafts, and delicacies in a multitude of shops and boutiques. The San Felipe de Neri Church in the center of the plaza dates from 1706. There will be time for lunch and shopping. Next, we depart for Santa Fe for a three night stay.
Day 6 – Santa Fe Trolley – Georgia O’Keeffe Museum – After an included breakfast, we start our day with a trolley tour of Santa Fe, learning about this fascinating town and its varied cultures. Our open air trolley takes us past the most important historical areas in the oldest capital city in the United States, originally named La Villa de Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis – the Royal City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi. This afternoon we’ll enjoy shopping and lunch on our own. Next, we visit the Georgia O’Keeffe museum in downtown Santa Fe. This art museum contains the largest collection of O’Keeffe’s works in the world. Overnight same hotel.
Day 7 – Taos Pueblo – Rio Grande Gorge Bridge – El Prado – After an included breakfast, we travel to Taos. The city of Taos is unique in the entire world for its perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history, and diverse culture. This morning we visit the Taos Pueblo belonging to the Native American Puebloan people. The adobe buildings are one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the nation and appear much as they did when the Spanish explorers arrived in the 1500’s. We will have time for lunch and shopping in Taos. On the way back to the hotel we will stop at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge for photos. Overnight same hotel.
Day 8 – Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad – After an included breakfast we travel to Chama and board the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad for a unforgettable adventure. The hand-fired steam locomotive takes you through some of the most spectacular Western scenery in New Mexico before our included lunch. Afterwards we will travel to La Junta, Colorado to overnight.
Day 9 – Shawnee Mission, Kansas – After an included breakfast, we depart the West and make our way to Shawnee Mission, Kansas to overnight.
Day 10 – Home – We continue our way back home, remembering always the culture we have experienced in enchanting New Mexico. Meals: 8B, 1L