April 13, 2122
Pebble Beach – Pike’s Peak
The Wild West
This tour represents a big step forward for Driving Adventures following our very successful European Tours as well as our popular tours of New Zealand, Tasmania and other shorter tours within Australia it is time to head to the motoring Mecca that is the United States of America. The tour is planned to follow immediately after The Pebble Beach Concours. We will take in the Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas, the incredible landscapes of the Utah canyon country and into the Rockies where we have a weekend in Aspen before driving to 14,100 ft on the legendary Pike’s Peak. We also visit Denver, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, the best of Route 66 and Joshua Tree on the way back to Los Angeles and a very special hotel right on the boardwalk at Hermosa Beach. This a Driving Adventure to remember.
As with all Driving Adventures tours, this trip is all about having a good time. Nice cars, good friends, brilliant roads in some of the most beautiful locations on earth in company with like-minded adventurers. The tour represents the highest standards of organisation, first-rate hotels and exquisite dining. I will be there as a guide to smooth the way and ensure that each guest has the best experience possible.
These are events organised as rallies, but without the restrictions and limitations of a competition event. There is no competition timing. Guests are given detailed road books as well as a Sat-Nav system that has the correct route as well as a short history of the areas travelled. Roads are selected for the driving enjoyment. Unlike competition events, guests will be free to set their own agenda for the day. You can choose between a sleep-in and a leisurely breakfast or an early start with stops along the way to more closely inspect the local colour, or you could shortcut the scheduled route and hurry to your destination for a swim or spa before dinner with the group. You can even arrange to skip a night or two to take in a special side trip. It is YOUR holiday. The tour package includes all hotels and breakfast each morning.
The tour is designed to follow directly after the Pebble Beach Concours and the Monterey Car Week. In the same vein as our European Tour follows the Goodwood Revival.
The Tour Schedule
Rush Creek, Yosemite
The idea for today is to take your time and travel from Monterey or wherever you are and meet for dinner at Rush Creek Lodge, a little north of the park gates for the Yosemite Valley.
Rush Creek, Yosemite
I have a scheduled an easy day to kick things off. If you have been to Pebble Beach you will appreciate a sleep in. In any case the Yosemite Valley is not to be missed and provides some awe-inspiring sights.
There is a choice of route today. If you would like to see more of the Yosemite Valley there is a shorter day that takes you back into the valley before taking you east over Tioga Pass to the shores of Lake Mono and then down the interstate between the Sierra Mountains and the desert to the western town of Lone Pine.
If you had a good look through Yosemite already there is a longer, spectacular drive through a deep gorge and onto Sonoma Pass that before heading south to Lake Mono and joining the shorter route.
This is a day you will remember. Leaving Lone Pine, we turn east into the desert and Death Valley which never ceases to amaze. The massive changes in altitude, the dunes, salt flats and the Artist Valley where the colours of the earth seem to constantly change. The starkness of the desert is then overwhelmed by the lights of Las Vegas. We stay at the Aria, right in the centre of The Strip. A bit of everything today.
Time to head into the wild west. First up is the Valley of Fire on the northern shores of Lake Mead and our first look at some of the amazing landscapes to come. The Interstate helps tuck away miles pretty quickly before we head into Zion National Park and the start of the amazing canyon country. The final miles into Bryce takes us through Red Canyon. A visit to Bryce Canyon as the sun sinks is something you will never forget.
The scenery really kicks in 10 minutes from Bryce and continues all day. We start in the canyons but soon head into the hills climbing to 9,600 ft before dropping back into the canyons as we approach Moab. Feted as the adrenalin capital of the USA, Moab is a happening place, lots of nice little restaurants and bars.
The Rockies are the highlight today with some amazing roads as we enter Colorado, 10,600 ft at one stage and a lot of lovely little towns with cafes. Aspen is a great town full of fun places and all with-in walking distance.
After a week on the road, you deserve a day off and Aspen is a great place to kick back, enjoy the sights and spoil yourself a little. Have fun.
As soon as we clear the Aspen town limits the road starts to climb as we head up Independence Pass all the way to 12,095 ft. Brilliant! Heading down the other side opened up what to me what was the biggest surprise of the tour, the high plains of Colorado which make for an easy cruise to Pike’s Peak, probably the most amazing piece of bitumen that I have driven. At 14,100 ft you really do feel on top of the world.
Our hotel in Colorado Springs is only 15 minutes from the base of Pikes Peak
Today is a pretty easy cruise through the old west. We take in the high plains, ghost towns, travel over Monarch Pass. Quray is an amazing little town nestled in the Rockies.
A nice short but very enjoyable drive today we head back into the Rockies to the old cowboy towns of Silverton and Durango, not that they look like cowboy towns these days. At Cortez about 150 miles into the day we take to some back roads to give you a taste of life on the edge of the desert.
Home tonight is wonderfully named Desert Rose Inn.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
A fantastic day today, the most photogenic day of the tour. Soon after the start you start to see the rock formations of Monument Valley, then the closer we get the more awe inspiring it becomes. After so many movie scenes set here, you are still not prepared for how grand the scenery is. Take lots of photos and take the time to double back through the main section of the valley as it amazing how the light changes on the rocks.
There is then a desert cruise, past dinosaur tracks but not much else before you start to get your first glimpse of the Grand Canyon. If you haven’t seen it before, all the hype is justified, a true wonder of the world. Home tonight is the Hotel Grand, a great place to swap stories.
Twenty-nine Palms, California
A very big day today, but with a fair percentage of Interstate to ease your way and a number of short cuts if you have had enough driving. The reason for the extra miles is that we try and re-trace a fair proportion of the legendary Route 66. We travel close to 150 miles of the Mother Road from Speiglman through Kingman and the famous Dr Z’s Café to the old west town of Oatman where mules roam the main street. This drive has bit of everything. Route 66 pretty much disappears once we hit California, but we still find stretches before we hit Roy’s in Amboy and the turn off to Twenty-nine Palms.
Hermosa Beach, California
Today kicks off with a run through the amazing Joshua Tree National Park. This unique landscape seems like a fitting farewell for what has been a road trip of much of the best landscapes that America has to offer. Once out of the park it is a relatively easy run on the interstate back to Los Angeles where I have booked into a lovely hotel right on the beach in Hermosa Beach. It is located 50 metres from the pier and the plaza which has a great range of restaurants and bars. Perfect for shaking off some of that desert dust.
Driving Adventures is David Thomas. David has been passionate about driving since he was old enough to hold a steering wheel. He has driven from London to Sydney, through the Andes and much of South and Central America, across deserts and deep into rainforests. He has won rally stages in the Himalayas. Raced successfully at Bathurst and taught thousands of people advanced driving skills through his own school and as head of the NSW Police Driver Training School. He has driven in movies and videos and has been organising and conducting tours since 1990. If anyone can show you how to have a good time in a car, it is David.
There is an amazing array of cars readily available for hire in the USA. The last few visits I have chosen a Mustang GT which has proven ideal, reasonably priced, it goes and handles well, is comfortable and has plenty of luggage space. If you are not so keen on Mustangs then there are Corvettes, Camaros, Chargers and anything else you can think of. Give me a call and I will discuss what will suit you best.
One of the keys to the flexibility of the tour is a system that allows you to explore all the amazing back roads at your own pace and with the confidence that you will find your way to the next hotel or lunch stop. I have put in place a 2 stage system that will ensure you will not have any problems finding your way. First, every car will be supplied with a Sat-Nav unit that has our route programmed into it. Just select the day of tour and it will take you through every turn along the way. You will also receive a comprehensive roadbook that not only details every turn along the way but also gives you an over-sight of each day’s drive and a list of hotel and emergency numbers that ensure that you are always in touch.
Per Car – 2 People
The tour, which includes all accommodation, a cooked breakfast each morning, a comprehensive roadbook, a pre-programmed Garmin Sat-Nav with our route loaded in and myself to lead and smooth the way for you is priced at $20,000 per car, max 2 people.
Every effort will be made to maintain the advertised pricing but any large movement with the exchange rate may require an adjustment.
There are limited places available for this tour. Places on the tour will be allocated on a first in basis. To secure a place you will need to provide an initial non-refundable deposit of $5,000. Further non-refundable deposits will be required on the lead up to the tour. Usually 6 months and then 3 months prior to the tour.