Highlights of Route 66 - International Mother Road & Balloon Festivals Special Departure
This special departure includes Springfield's International Route 66 Festival with hot cars, cool trucks, vintage motorcycles, live entertainment and speciality foods.
Once the route of pioneers' wagons, America's historic and colourful Route 66 beckons on this mesmerising road trip. Starting in Chicago, you'll experience rugged deserts, cowboy towns and the thrills of Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon as you follow 'America's Main Street' to its end in Santa Monica.
Come join us on our special departure and be a part of the International Route 66 Festival in beautiful historic Springfield, where the streets come alive with the rumble of engines from hot cars, cool trucks, and vintage motorcycles. There is free live entertainment featuring R&B, Motown and your favourite tunes of the 50's and 60's. There are also exhibitors, vendors and dozens of speciality foods. Spend the day and evening in Springfield so you can be part of all the action.
In Albuquerque, you'll be part of the International Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta - the largest in the world! Enjoy the unforgettable Mass Ascension where hundreds of hot air balloons take off, turning the sky into a virtual rainbow of colours.
DAY 1: Depart UK.
Fly to Chicago where you will transfer to your hotel for two nights.
DAY 2: Chicago.
Known as the 'Windy City', Chicago is home to the legend of Al Capone and countless jazz and blues clubs. This morning's sightseeing takes you to the heart of this ebullient metropolis on the banks of Lake Michigan. This afternoon there is free time to further explore Chicago, perhaps by climbing the soaring Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), browsing the store-filled Magnificent Mile or strolling along the waterside in Grant Park?
DAY 3: Chicago - Springfield.
Today cross the farmlands of Illinois to Springfield, resting place of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US president. Upon arrival in Springfield, you'll visit the popular Route 66 Gas Station Museum, charting the fascinating history and sights of Route 66. Spend time exploring Lincoln's home as well as the new state-of-the-art Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The evening is yours to enjoy the International Route 66 Festival, where the streets come alive with the rumble of engines from hot cars, cool tracks and vintage motorcycles. There is free live entertainment featuring R & B, Motown and everyone's favourite tunes of the 50s and 60s. There are also various exhibitors, vendors, and dozens of speciality food stalls.
DAY 4: Springfield - St. Louis.
This morning cross the mighty Mississippi River and continue to St Louis, located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and dubbed the 'Gateway to the West'. On your morning tour, visit the towering Gateway Arch and ride to the top of the 630-foot-tall iconic structure for panoramic views of the city and river. The remainder of your day is at leisure.
DAY 5: St Louis - Branson.
Travel through Missouri, home to the Meramec Caverns, the hideout of notorious bank robber Jesse James, to Branson, one of America's biggest music centres. This evening, why not join our optional dinner and show?
DAY 6: Branson - Oklahoma City.
Today, we enter the cowboy country of Kansas before crossing into Oklahoma, once known as Indian Territory. After visiting the Will Rogers Memorial Museum with its artefacts from the life of this famous cowboy-movie star, you'll arrive in Oklahoma City where you might want to enjoy the attractions of Bricktown, the old warehouse district now transformed into a warren of lively shopping, restaurant and nightclub-filled streets.
DAY 7: Oklahoma City - Amarillo.
An intriguing morning's sightseeing around this old frontier town awaits, including visits to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum with its historic Native American and rodeo exhibits, and a recreation of a Wild West town. From here, travel to Clinton, Oklahoma where you will visit the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, home to vintage cars, neon signs, a 50s diner and drive-in theatre. Your adventure continues through rolling hill country into Texas, and on to Amarillo, the state's oil capital.
DAY 8: Amarillo - Tucumcari - Santa Rosa - Albuquerque.
Leaving Amarillo, watch for the Cadillac Ranch sculpture, crafted from real Cadillacs as we travel into New Mexico and reach Adrian, Route 66's halfway point. After passing through the old Indian town of Tucumcari, continue to Santa Rosa with its iconic Route 66 motels, drive-in grills and billboards, and call in at the quirky Route 66 Auto Museum with its 1950's fin-tailed vintage cars. Next, drive to Albuquerque, where we take a walking tour of this originally Spanish town, including a stroll around its quaint Old Town with its fine parish church and Hispanic-style plaza. Later, visit the city's original Route 66 section.
DAY 9: Albuquerque.
Today there is time to further explore this atmospheric city, so why not explore the plethora of shops, galleries and restaurants in the city's Old Town, visit the renowned Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, or seize the chance to ride the aerial tramway up nearby Sandia Peak Mountain and witness spine-tingling views of the desert floor, forests and canyons below.
DAY 10: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta - Gallup - Winslow - Flagstaff.
This morning stand in awe as you experience the pre-dawn opening ceremonies and the unforgettable Mass Ascension where hundreds of hot air balloons take off, turning the sky into a virtual rainbow of colours. What began as a gathering of thirteen balloons 35 years ago has since turned into the largest ballooning event in the world. Later we leave Albuquerque, cross the Continental Divide and arrive in Gallup, the setting for many famous Hollywood films before passing Holbrook's Wigwam Village. On to Winslow, with time to explore its historic downtown district, home to 'the Corner', immortalised by The Eagles in 'Take it Easy'. Continue on to Flagstaff beneath the San Francisco Mountains for an overnight stay. This evening why not visit the town's Museum Club roadhouse to kick up those boots to country and western music, Arizona style?
DAY 11: Flagstaff - Grand Canyon - Williams.
One of the highlights of today's journey is a visit to the spectacular Grand Canyon. Leaving Route 66, you'll have time to walk the canyon rim, soaking up the staggering vistas and watching the changing lights on the towering walls of what is one of the natural wonders of the world. To truly experience the Canyon's magnificence, join our optional helicopter 'flightseeing' tour and thrill at the aerial panoramas. Overnight in Williams.
DAY 12: Williams - Seligman - Las Vegas.
Returning to Route 66, you'll pass through historic Williams, viewing the legendary neon signs of its 1940s 'Motel Row'. Next on to Seligman, home to the rebirth of 66, before deviating from the Route for two nights in Las Vegas.
DAY 13: Las Vegas.
A day at your leisure to explore this eye-popping, glittering desert city, dubbed 'Sin City' for its myriad of casinos, themed hotels and lavish shows. Revel in the neon-gilded Las Vegas strip or ride the world's highest roller coaster. Don't miss the Fremont Street Experience, where a glass atrium enclosing five city blocks comes alive with dazzling sounds and lights. Alternatively, choose from our optional excursions including an exhilarating raft ride along the Colorado River's dramatic Black Canyon, or an exciting helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.
DAY 14: Las Vegas - Barstow - Santa Monica - Los Angeles.
This morning traverse desert landscapes and the San Bernardino Mountains to Barstow. After stopping at the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, head for Santa Monica, the end of Route 66. Continue on to Los Angeles for two nights.
DAY 15: Los Angeles.
Savour the exciting 'City of Angels' on our morning tour of glamorous Beverly Hills, the Sunset Strip, Hollywood and more legendary sights. The rest of the day is yours to shop for souvenirs, explore further or relax by the pool.
DAY 16: Los Angeles - UK.
Transfer to Los Angeles airport for your flight to the UK, or extend your stay in Los Angeles.
DAY 17: Home landing in the UK.
Maximum elevation on this tour is 6,905 ft.
Accommodation on Tour
Chicago: Essex Inn; Springfield: Hilton Springfield; St Louis: Drury Inn Union Station; Branson: Comfort Inn Thousand Hills; Oklahoma City: Best Western Saddleback Inn; Amarillo: Drury Inn & Suites; Albuquerque: Best Western Rio Grande Inn; Flagstaff: Drury Inn & Suites; Grand Canyon: Grand Canyon Park Lodges; Las Vegas: Harrah's Las Vegas Casino and Hotel; Los Angeles: Hyatt Regency Los Angeles.
Highlights of Route 66 - International Mother Road & Balloon Festivals Special Departure 17 days
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Highlights of Route 66 - International Mother Road & Balloon Festivals Special Departure
Price from £2271
Prices are per person
Book in advance and pay just the deposit, from £125pp
- Flights: UK - Chicago; Los Angeles - UK
- Accommodation on tour in twin room with private facilities
- Professional tour director on tour and local representative's assistance at other times
- Porterage at hotel during tour (for one suitcase per person)
- Transfers between overseas airports and hotels
- All local and airport taxes/service charges
- Single share option no supplement to pay
- Chicago City sightseeing
- Springfield Route 66 Museum, Abraham Lincoln's home and Presidential Museum
- St Louis City sightseeing including Gateway Arch
- Oklahoma City National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum
- Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
- Santa Rosa Route 66 Auto Museum
- Albuquerque City sightseeing
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Las Vegas
- Barstow Route 66 Mother Road Museum
- Los Angeles City sightseeing
- London Heathrow
- Thursdays - 2014
25 Sep 2014 to 25 Sep 2014