Written by Erlinda Bearman, Joan Maitre and Sue Houdyshell

This six-day tour to the Southwest was impeccably planned out with many small, yet important details that made it a pleasurable and easy tour. Our tour director and driver met us at the Phoenix airport and made the transition to the bus to Sedona, luggage included, a smooth one. A welcome letter that thoroughly described all events was handed out and explained to us. Also included were types of restaurants and small shops we could visit.

Our “home base” hotel in Sedona had appointed a liaison on whom we could call with any questions or problems we might have. This was a great asset as the liaison was able to identify us and, as tourists, we did not have to explain situations or problems over and over. We also had comps for many hotel amenities, such as discounts at the spa and at local restaurants.

As we became familiar with our tour director and driver through his interesting anecdotal stories and folklore, we became more and more confident that we were in knowledgeable and capable hands. This led to a level of comfort and camaraderie between all.

Each day was planned out meticulously, and our tour director kept us on schedule in several ways. He never failed to remind us of our meeting time and place and gave us information on breakfast. More importantly, he made sure that we were all there before we started our day’s activities.

Despite our busy schedule, the tour director found time to entertain and inform us with history of the locale, facts about the fauna and flora, and important and interesting details of the historical sites.

Our train excursions led us into unfamiliar territory, and the scenery, with its shrubs, gullies, flowering cacti, and wildlife was wonderful, relaxing, and breathtaking. On one of the trains there were outdoor cars where one could watch the scenery pass by in a lazy, almost surreal fashion, while enjoying a breeze and the fragrant air.

Specific dining and entertainment restaurants were included in the itinerary. The food was simple fare and delicious. There was always a choice of entrée, usually meat, fish, or fowl, but the needs of vegans on the trip were also addressed.

On this tour, we were treated each morning with a beautiful blue sky, scarce of clouds, birds singing, and the sun shining. In the evening one could sit outside one’s room or enjoy the evening air on the public patio with new-found friends. We found it to be a journey to remember.