“RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS” presents:
ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN OVER THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST
May 15-22, 2012
FEATURING THE GRAND CANYON, METEOR CRATER, LOWELL OBSERVATORY, BRYCE CANYON AND ZION CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Our 39th solar eclipse expedition occurs over the Southwestern USA. Weather prospects are quite good for this expedition. The tour will be coordinated by Paul D. Maley of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society; however, it will be led by Dr. Jacques Guertin, a veteran of 24 solar eclipse expeditions (see TOUR RESOURCES tab for information on our escorts). The trip will be by motorcoach starting and ending in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although eclipse observation sites will be pre-determined, we reserve the right to modify the locations in real time in order to attempt to maximize the chance of successful eclipse observation due to local weather changes. In addition, due to unexpected road and traffic conditions, it is possible that the amount of time spent at a specific venue may be reduced due to factors beyond the control of our suppliers.
THIS TOUR MUST BE TAKEN IN ITS ENTIRETY. WE CANNOT ACCOMMODATE PERSONS WHO WANT TO VIEW ONLY THE ECLIPSE OR TAKE A SMALL PART OF THE TOUR.
BASIC TOUR ITINERARY
as of February 5, 2012
Some modifications may occur due to routing and schedule changes in the region prior to the time of the tour. Hotels are those currently known as of late 2010.Prices are those in effect as of the date above and may change due to currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges for ground transport caused by escalating oil prices or increases mandated by ground operators. RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS does its best to keep prices in line as far in advance as possible. Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended just in case you or a companion becomes ill or is forced by circumstance to miss the tour.
NOTE: IF YOU SIGN UP AFTER FEBRUARY 1, YOUR HOTEL FOR ONE NIGHT AT BRYCE CANYON WILL BE SEPARATE FROM THE MAIN GROUP SINCE THE PARKS ARE NOW FILLED. THIS WILL NOT PRESENT A PROBLEM. IT JUST MEANS THE GROUP WILL BE DIVIDED THAT ONE NIGHT.
May 15 (Tuesday) LAS VEGAS
Welcome to exciting Las Vegas, also known as ‘Sin City!’ Transfers from airport to hotel are included ONLY IF YOU HAVE PURCHASED AN AIR PACKAGE FROM FUTURE TRAVEL. Otherwise arrive at our hotel on your own. Enjoy time at leisure to relax or to do some independent exploring. Check-in time is 3:00pm. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening in the lobby to answer any questions. Overnight Harrah’s Hotel.
May 16 (Wednesday) LAS VEGAS to GRAND CANYON
Breakfast in the hotel. Board the bus where you will have a briefing by the tour director while on the road. Cross the desert and the old Mojave gold-strike country, passing through Williams, located on historic Route 66, and Kaibab National Forest, to arrive in the GRAND CANYON by mid-afternoon. Marvel at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World as you experience the breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon. There is plenty of free time to wander along the canyon rim. You will overnight in Grand Canyon National Park at the Yavapai East Grand Canyon Lodge. (B)
May 17 (Thursday) GRAND CANYON to LOWELL OBSERVATORY to METEOR CRATER to MONUMENT VALLEY
ROUTING UPDATE: The tour to Meteor Crater will precede the tour to Lowell Observatory as of Feb. 7, 2012.
If you miss the sunset over the canyon, sunrise is just as impressive! This morning proceed along a scenic drive to Flagstaff, where the group will have time at the famous LOWELL OBSERVATORY. Lowell Observatory (situated at 7,200 feet above sea level) is a private, non-profit research institution founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell. It is located one mile west of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona atop Mars Hill. Founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell, the Observatory is an active research institution and also has a long history of informing and educating the public about astronomy. The Observatory welcomes over 70,000 visitors annually. Lowell Observatory is perhaps best known as the place where the formerly designated planet Pluto was discovered.
There are also several other telescopes located at the site, including the historic Clark telescope. The Clark telescope was used by Dr. Slipher in 1912 to discovered first evidence that the universe is expanding and is now used for public observing sessions. The mausoleum of Percival Lowell is located next to the main telescope dome. Today, there are five telescopes on Mars Hill, two of which are used for the public. In addition, there are six telescopes used solely for scientific observation at Lowell Observatory’s dark-sky site southeast of Flagstaff. It is currently the home of the 24-inch Alvan Clark refractor with much larger telescopes that are located at some distance from the site.
Following time at the Observatory, the group will proceed to METEOR CRATER, located east of Flagstaff. Visit the best preserved meteorite impact site just minutes from Interstate 40 in Northern Arizona near Winslow. Meteor Crater is the breath-taking result of a collision between a piece of an asteroid traveling at 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth approximately 50,000 years ago.
Today, Meteor Crater is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep. It is an international tourist venue with outdoor observation trails, air conditioned indoor viewing, wide screen movie theater, interactive discovery center, unique gift and rock shop, and Astronaut Memorial Park at the modern Visitor Center located on the crater rim.
The group will have time at the Visitors Center, plus some of the view points before continuing on to MONUMENT VALLEY, where the weathering action of wind and water has carved the famous sandstone spires and towers that rise hundreds of feet above the valley floor. You will stay overnight at historic Gouldings Lodge with its panoramic views of the valley. Take a dip in the pool and admire the western sky, or explore the Gouldings Museum and Trading Post, part of the set built for the John Wayne film, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Monument Valley has been featured in scores of movies, from the John Ford film Stagecoach to Forest Gump. Take a walk back in time with this wonderful collection of movie memorabilia and Indian artifacts. Overnight at Kayenta Monument Valley Inn. (B)
Note: This is a long travel day, and the group will be arriving late afternoon / early evening in to Monument Valley. Not all viewpoints at Meteor Crater will be accessible to the group due to time and accessibility.
May 18 (Friday) MONUMENT VALLEY to LAKE POWELL to PAGE; SOLAR ECLIPSE BRIEFING
This morning, your FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE tour is a memorable way to experience Monument Valley. Then, head to Page and visit the GLEN CANYON DAM, holding back the waters of the Colorado River in Lake Powell, the second-largest man-made lake in the USA. This afternoon, consider an OPTIONAL Antelope Canyon cruise, which takes you onto the lake and into the tight, winding canyons. Around 6pm we will have a briefing on the solar eclipse. Overnight at Lake Powell Resort. (B)
May 19 (Saturday) PAGE to BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Our OPTIONAL early morning flight provides another unique perspective of Lake Powell. This beautiful sightseeing flight also includes Glen Canyon Dam, Wahweap Marina, Tower Butte, and Rainbow Bridge, the largest natural arch on earth. Then, travel into Utah along the Grand Staircase to BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK. Bryce is famous for its unique geology; erosion has created bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called ‘hoodoos.’ Tinted with numerous colors, these rocks create a wondrous landscape. Make sure to have your camera with you today! Overnight at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon (National Park Lodge). If you sign up after Feb.1 some rooms will be located at Best Western Ruby’s this nite only.(B)
May 20 (Sunday) BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK to ZION NATIONAL PARK; ECLIPSE DAY
Once a refuge for Mormon pioneers, ZION NATIONAL PARK has striking landscapes of steep canyons and stone towers carved out by rushing streams over millions of years that will mesmerize you. There is plenty of time to explore the park: take the park shuttle, see the Visitor Center and the museum, take a leisurely hike, bird watch, or join a Park Ranger to learn more about the animals, geology, plants, and human history. Settled 150 years ago by a Mormon who named the place Little Zion, the park features fortress walls in multicoloured Navajo sandstone, hanging gardens, a Virgin River [and don’t bother with the tubing unless you want to spend hours wrestling your tube over slippery rocks in freezing water], waterfalls, narrow canyons and a good selection of flora and fauna. Most trailheads can only be reached by [frequent] shuttle buses from April to October. The park is open all year but the best months are April, May, September, October – in other words out of the busy, hot season or the chilly months, though Zion winters are fairly mild.
The annular solar eclipse where the black disc of the moon is directly between the earth and sun causing a ring (annulus) of sunlight to be visible surrounding it. If you are not very close to the center of the ground track, the moon appears to be offset in symmetry from the sun. Also, depending on the type of solar filter you are using for photography, the sun can appear white, yellow, red or even another color.
The annular (ring) solar eclipse occurs late in the day close to sunset. We will be in position at our site to observe the dramatic event. The start of the partial eclipse occurs at 6.23pm local time. Then at 7.32pm the moon will be situated entirely inside the disc of the sun for 4 minutes 29 seconds during the period of central eclipse. At this time the sun/moon will be located a mere 11 degrees above the west northwest horizon. Eclipse viewing glasses will be provided since there is no part of the process that is safe to view without special filtering. After the eclipse, proceed to our hotel. You will stay overnight close to the Zion National Park border at Zion National Park Lodge.(B)
May 21 (Monday) ZION NATIONAL PARK to LAS VEGAS
This morning begins with an orientation tour of St. George, the most important Mormon community in southern Utah. Founded in 1861 it is named after a Latter Day Saints apostle George Smith. We continue to Las Vegas with a mid-afternoon arrival. Overnight at Harrah’s Hotel. (B)
May 22 (Tuesday) LAS VEGAS
The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport are included. You can extend your vacation with extra nights and explore Las Vegas further with a variety of exciting optional activities. (B)
Important note: We can arrange air to/from Las Vegas if you like. Contact Travel Leaders/Future Travel for this.
Credit card price USD$1663. (cash price $1599.) LAND only per person beginning in and ending in Las Vegas, Nevada USA, double occupancy. SORRY, NO CHILDREN UNDER 12.
BASIC TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
- accommodation as indicated in itinerary with private facilities
- all tour features as listed in the itinerary
- all touring by private chartered coach with experienced driver / guide
- breakfast daily (except for day of arrival)
- airport transfer on DAY OF TOUR DEPARTURE ONLY (unless you have booked an air package through Future Travel)
- entrance fees at attractions listed in the itinerary unless otherwise noted
- hotel porterage (bags on/off the bus into/out of hotel lobby only)
- bus transfers to/from solar eclipse site
- solar eclipse briefing
- beverages only where specified
- eclipse viewing glasses
BASIC TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- meals not stated, drinks, visas,and travel insurance
- room use outside of normal check-in/check-out times
- travel insurance (highly recommended)
- airport transfer ON DAY OF TOUR ARRIVAL ONLY (unless you have booked an air package through Future Travel)
- airfare to/from Las Vegas
- optional cost tours
- beverages unlesss specified
- tips and gratuities
- personal expenses and anything else not included in the ‘tour includes’ features list
PAYMENT SCHEDULE (per person)
BEFORE DECEMBER 1, 2011…………………………USD$525. DEPOSIT credit card price (cash price USD$500).
DECEMBER 1, 2011………………………………………BALANCE DUE. [total USD$1663 credit card price ($1599 cash price)]
CANCELLATION FEES (per person)
BEFORE DECEMBER 1, 2011…………………………USD$250. EXCEPT IF YOU FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR YOURSELF. THEN, NO PENALTY.
DECEMBER 1, 2011 AND AFTER……………………100% OF THE TOTAL TOUR COST
Travel Leaders/Future Travel recommends that each client purchase adequate trip cancellation insurance, medical, baggage, accident and other personal effects insurance. Trip cancellation insurance must be purchased at time of initial deposit. Clients should be aware that we cannot guarantee the weather for this astronomical event or any other. Contact Travel Leaders/Future Travel for details.
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