Day 1: Depart Chicago
America the Beautiful…West tour members will meet the Tour Director in Chicago’s Union Station. Early afternoon we’ll board the Southwest Chief for the 3:00 p.m. departure. Relax in your reclining coach seat with leg rest. Roomettes and Bedrooms are available at an additional cost.
Once you are settled in, you will want to go to the Sightseer Lounge car to see the passing scenery. Enjoy dinner in the dining car this evening.
Day 2: En Route / Flagstaff
Today you will begin to relive the excitement of the Santa Fe Trail as we cross New Mexico and Arizona. The huge train windows offer a panoramic view of the spectacular scenery. You will have time for a trainside walk when we arrive in Albuquerque at mid afternoon. Our arrival into Flagstaff, AZ is scheduled for 8:51 p.m. Upon arrival we’ll transfer the short distance to the Comfort Inn.
Meal(s): B, L & D
Day 3: The Grand Canyon
Following a Continental breakfast, we’ll travel by deluxe motorcoach to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is one of the world’s outstanding spectacles. In form, size, flowing color and geological significance, it is unsurpassed.
We will view the Canyon from several observation areas. A knowledgeable guide will accompany our group and provide exceptional information on the Grand Canyon and its environs. Our first stop will be Watchtower where you will experience views of the River, the Canyon and Kaibab National Forest. We’ll return to our hotel by late afternoon.
Tonight we’re going to Black Bart’s, one of Flagstaff’s best and “liveliest” restaurants. In addition to the great food, the waiters will be singing familiar Broadway show tunes throughout the evening.
Meal(s): CB & D
Day 4: En Route / Las Vegas
Following a Continental breakfast in our hotel, we’ll board our motorcoach and travel northwest 250 miles to fabulous Las Vegas. Late this afternoon, our travelers will arrive among the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. Our home for the next two nights will be the centrally located Treasure Island Hotel. You’re free this evening to explore this magnificent oasis in the desert.
Day 5: Las Vegas
A full breakfast buffet at our hotel is included this morning. At mid morning we’ll embark on a tour of three spectacular hotel / casinos: New York New York, Excalibur and the Luxor. The breathtakingly beautiful Venetian is within walking distance of our hotel and has an extensive food court.
This evening you can transfer to original Las Vegas, now known as “downtown.” What this part of the city has done to compete with the strip hotels / casinos is phenomenal. They have constructed a huge roof that covers Fremont Street where you can view the “Fremont Street Experience”. It’s a ten-minute show in which over twelve million lights are utilized. There will be time to enjoy the many options of “downtown”.
Day 6: En Route / Merced
We leave Las Vegas on our motorcoach for Bakersfield, California. We will make a stop in Barstow, California for an “on-your-own” lunch around 1:00 p.m. We arrive in Bakersfield in time to catch a 3:45 p.m. San Joaquin to Merced. This modern, double-decker train arrives in Merced at 6:47 p.m. We’ll transfer to the Hampton Inn & Suites. Dinner tonight is included at the Branding Iron Restaurant.
Day 7: Yosemite National Park
Today will be one of the most memorable days of your life. This morning we will board our motorcoach for the 82-mile journey into Yosemite National Park. El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls and Half Dome are some of the most popular attractions. This afternoon we’ll take a two-hour narrated sightseeing tour into the park.
Later we’ll continue to Sacramento. A dinner stop will be made (included). Our arrival in California’s capital city is scheduled for mid evening. We will be staying at the attractive Embassy Suites for the next two nights.
Meal(s): CB & D
Day 8: Sacramento
This is a totally free day. The many attractions to see in historic Old Sacramento and a large shopping mall are within walking distance. A major optional attraction is the spectacular California State Railroad Museum. Within this three-story steel, brick and glass structure, you’ll find 21 restored locomotives and train cars.
Day 9: En Route / San Francisco
This morning we depart Sacramento on our motorcoach for San Francisco. We’ll arrive into the world-famous “City by the Bay” at noon. An “on-your-own” luncheon stop will be made en route.
This afternoon we’ll embark on a sightseeing tour of San Francisco, including Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, the Mission District, Telegraph Hill and the Presidio.
Our home for the next two nights is the Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf. There are excellent restaurants, markets, import houses and souvenir shops nearby.
Day 10: San Francisco
This morning we’re off to Muir Woods and Sausalito. We’ll cross the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County, then continue to Muir Woods for a leisurely stroll through this beautiful 550-acre National Monument to see 800-year-old trees that rise 250 feet or more. We’ll stop in the Mediterranean-like village of Sausalito and then return to our hotel, or you can stay and enjoy more of Sausalito and return to San Francisco on your own via ferry boat (the ferry is not included in the tour price).
You’re free the rest of the day to relax or explore.
Day 11: En Route / Elko, Nevada
This morning we’ll transfer to the Amtrak station in Emeryville for the departure of the California Zephyr. Lunch and dinner are optional in the dining car today. Lighter fare is available in the Sightseer Lounge car as we make our way from Emeryville to Elko, NV. A comfortable reclining coach seat with leg rest is included. You’ll want to spend time in the Sightseer Lounge.
As we travel eastward we leave the lush green landscape and palm trees of California and enter the rugged terrain dotted with pine trees of the high Sierra Nevada mountains. We will pass through the famous Donner Pass this afternoon.
We arrive in Elko at 9:31 p.m. and transfer to our hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton for the night.
Day 12: En Route / Price, Utah
Following breakfast at our hotel, we will board our comfortable motorcoach for the trip to Price, Utah. On the way we’ll enjoy a delightful tour of Salt Lake City. We’ll see the Mormon Temple, Tabernacle, Brigham Young’s Monument and private burial ground, Beehive House, Lion House, Eagle Gate, University of Utah, Fort Douglas and Trolley Square. There will be “on-your-own” lunch opportunities available.
We will arrive in Price, Utah, in the early evening where we will spend the night at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites.
Day 13: En Route / Colorado Rockies
We will transfer to the nearby Helper Amtrak station and board the California Zephyr for our trip to Chicago. The train departs at 6:37 a.m. A reclining coach seat with leg rest is included. Private Roomette and Bedrooms are available at an additional cost. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. Snacks, beverages and sandwiches are available in the lounge car throughout the day.
Make sure you take the opportunity to view the spectacular scenery from the Sightseer Lounge car as we make our way toward Denver. When we leave Glenwood Springs, we will begin to climb through the spectacular Rockies toward the Continental Divide. We’ll encounter the famous, 6.2-mile long Moffat Tunnel and go under the Continental Divide. The mountain vistas will continue throughout the afternoon. We’ll arrive in Denver at 6:38 p.m.
Meal(s): B, L & D
Day 14: En Route to Chicago
The California Zephyr will roll across Iowa and Illinois and arrive in Chicago at mid afternoon. Some tour members will change to trains bound for Midwest, Eastern and Southern home cities. Others will spend the night in Chicago and fly home tomorrow.
Meal(s): B & L