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2023

PANAM CANYONS TOUR
TO PEBBLE BEACH

AUGUST 6th to 21st 2023

Meet in Colorado Springs, the gateway to the Rockies, for a nine day drive through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, through canyons, across deserts, over mountains, through valleys to the Pacific Coast and Highway 1.

TOUR ITINERARY

Day One

Fly into Denver. Pick up your car and join the adventure.

DAY TWO - Colorado Springs to Taos

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After breakfast we head to the famous Pikes Peak hillclimb. We don’t need to be the fastest but enjoy the curves as we climb to a height of 11,000 feet. Take it easy and enjoy the view. We cruise at around 3,000 feet for the rest of the day. The first surprise is Victor - an imperfectly preserved cowboy and gold rush town. Once the 5th largest town in Colorado, the area has produced 22million ounces of gold!    


Leaving the ghosts of the mining bonanza behind us we climb the Rockies into the Big Country. Soon we are in ‘the backyards of America’ – randomly placed trailers which have grown into pre-fab style houses with more abandoned cars and trucks littered in their yards than you see on the road. Our destination is Taos, a reminder of the Mexican settlements with their adobe mud walled houses. Originally in Mexico it has a long history of conflict. Now though it’s a peaceful town where music echoes round from the bandstand in the main square most evenings. 

DAY THREE - Taos to Durango

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Image by Moriah Wolfe
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A few minutes out of Taos there is a remarkable view of the Rio Grande canyon. This deep gorge was almost impossible to cross in the early days of the Wild West. You can take a dawn balloon ride which will dip into the gorge and then rise to give you a birds-eye view of the stunning landscape. A few miles further on is an off-grid community of 139 ‘earthship’ houses build partially below ground and using solar power to provide power. 
 

Highlights of the day include the sweeping roads to the Navajo Dam, a true spectacle as you drop down the mountain to cross it. Here there is a houseboat community on the reservoir and bizarrely a dry dock up by the road.


Further on there is obviously an abundance of oil as well-heads are all around. We soon arrive at the town of Durango which has its place in cowboy history with a town centre sympathetically modernised but retaining its old time character.

A major attraction of the town is the Durango to Silverton steam railway which follows the million dollar highway to the gold mining town of Silverton. 

DAY FOUR - Durango to Moab

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Image by Donald Giannatti
Image by Rajiv Perera
Image by Jaime Florian
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A day of wonder as we start with lush green rolling hills which seem to effortlessly meld into some of the most spectacular canyons you will ever see. The San Miguel canyon is first up with its red rock towering walls. We follow the river at the base of the gorge, which seems impossibly narrow at times. We climb out of the canyon to 2,229 metres onto a wide open plain with one street towns slumbering in the heat. 

 

Dropping 700 metres we soon get to a viewpoint, or overlook, to the Hanging Flume, an open water wooden trough built along the Dolores River Canyon during the gold rush. Time has taken its toll and most of the wooden structure and boards have disappeared into the spectacular gorge below.

 

From here we go to Gateway and a fantastic classic car museum in the middle of a desert. Turning out of the museum we head to the John Brown Creek road, which is dirt until we reach the Bull Canyon overlook and Dinosaur track site. Here you are in the land of the giants. Its spectacular all the way to the Colorado River which we follow to within a couple of kilometres of Moab, our stop for the night.

DAY FIVE- Moab to Bryce Canyon

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Image by Mike van den Bos
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Image by Bob Walker

From Moab we quickly leave the canyons behind and head up onto the high country. In contrast to yesterday’s drive this area is almost totally bereft of vegetation. It’s big and open and rocky to the horizon. 

 

But the desert slowly greens as we approach the aptly named Green River. Then it’s back to the moon-like landscape. We meet up with and drive along the Freemont River at times, then cut through the Capitol Reef National Park. Towns that come and go are Torrey, Boulder and Escalante. We climb through unexpectedly forested areas and fabulously named locations such as Hell’s Kitchen. It seems to have its own micro climate, as one moment we see some rain then round the next corner its sunshine! Eventually we climb up to Bryce Canyon City, which is surprisingly busy compared to everywhere else we have been in the last few days.

 

The rally will stop here for a well deserved break and an opportunity to take a helicopter ride over the canyon to see the Hoodoos or take a 4x4 for a dirt trail day.

Day Six – Day off in Bryce Canyon

Day Seven - Bryce Canyon to Las Vegas

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Turning out of Bryce Canyon you immediately encounter the Red Rock Canyon – and very well named. It differs in having pine trees dotted through the canyon and some smaller examples of hoodoos. As if you hadn’t seen it all by now, our route takes us through Zion National Park with yet more variations on rocks and canyons. This time there’s an entry fee of $35, which they take from you most gracefully. To get through the park there’s a massive tunnel carved out of the rock, which becomes one-way when a large vehicle tries to traverse the park. Take your time and stop at the odd overlook to get your money’s worth.

 

Once out of the park we are in a sandy rock area before jumping on the Veterans Memorial Highway which takes us all the way to Las Vegas. For a motorway it’s pretty spectacular. We take the ring road round Las Vegas to get to our hotel on the south side of The Strip and ensure a quick getaway the next day

Day Eight - Day Off in Las Vegas

Day Nine - Las Vegas to Yosemite

Image by Dave Herring
Image by Aniket Deole
Image by Trent Erwin

Leaving Las Vegas we are immediately in the desert with a hazy landscape of cactus and sand blowing across the road. We turn off onto the 266 and then onto the 168 and over the foothills into Big Pine. Here we turn parallel to the Sierra Nevadas into Bishop which has plenty of fuel and cafes for a break from the heat. 

 

It’s almost an Alpine landscape as we head for Yosemite. At the gate there is a charge of $15 from 6am to 4pm – after that it is free so there is usually a queue at the gate waiting for the clock to strike the hour. Once in, its easy to find somewhere to stop and let the crowds go by so you can enjoy the scenery more or less on your own

Day Ten - Yosemite to Auburn

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A short day in kilometres follows the longest day, but today we are on traditional Californian roads which are narrower and twistier than in the rest of the country. Out of Groveland we turn past the Around the Horn Brewing Company and we are straight into the hills. 

 

The road alternates for a short while between tarmac and dirt but nothing is rough. As we come out of the hills we are in Murphy (around 88kms), where there are plenty of great restaurants and coffee houses. Ideal for a stop.

 

Out of Murphy we have our first sight of vineyards before finding the Emigrant Road Trail which takes us deeper into the hills. Twisting our way we move from vineyards to fruit growing and Boa Vista where you can stop and get some fresh fruit, ice cream and refreshments.

 

Approaching Auburn we get a great view of one of the highest bridges in America, the Forest Hill Bridge at 730 feet. It’s the 4th highest in the USA and in the top 70 in the world. Not bad for a sleepy town.

Day Eleven - Auburn to Bodega Bay

Today you get the typical Californian white picket fence ranches with free range cattle and manicured grounds. As we move east the weather begins to cool from the heat we have experienced for the last few days. 

 

From Maxwell we begin to climb the hills again over the Sierra Nevada range to Clear Lake. On the way there are orchards as far as the eye can see. Our stop is Bodega Bay and when we pulled up at The Tides it was 14 degrees – a drop of 25 degrees on the day! 

Day Twelve - Bodega Bay to Monterey

Within minutes of leaving Bodega Bay we were again in a swirling sea mist, reminiscent of a Hitchcock movie!! But wait, a small diversion brings us to Bodega village with Saint Teresa of Avila Church and, yes, a familiar house. Here Hitchcock filmed one of his best known films, The Birds. Stop here for a photo opportunity before heading on down Route 1 to The Golden Gate bridge – surely the most iconic in the world. We continue down to Half Moon Bay and then on to Monetery.

Day Thirteen - Pebble Beach. Collect passes and enjoy the auction previews

Arriving in Monterey we head to the Pebble Beach Golf club to collect our passes. After that we have time to attend the auction viewing days.  The following day we are off to Laguna Seca raceway to see a full day of classics on this amazing track. 

Day Fourteen – Pebble Beach.
Laguna Seca Races and Auctions 

Arriving in Monterey we head to the Pebble Beach Golf club to collect our passes. After that we have time to attend the auction viewing days.  The following day we are off to Laguna Seca raceway to see a full day of classics on this amazing track. 

Day Fifteen – Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Sunday morning, get up early to see the Dawn Patrol as cars arrive for the Concours d’Elegance from around 6am. The results are out at around 15:00 and the winner is crowned at 16:30. It’s a truly amazing spectacle and is rightfully the greatest concours and car show on earth. It must be on your bucket list – right at the top.

Day Sixteen – Depart

WHAT'S INCLUDED

 

STANDARD INCLUSIONS

•    15 Nights accommodation- Breakfast every day

•    American Muscle Car Hire

•    5 Dinners including Welcome and Farewell Dinners (Drinks included
    in Welcome & Farewell Dinners)

•    Pikes Peak drive

•    Gateway Museum entry

•    Entry to Pebble Beach Concours

•    Entry to view the Auctions

•    Canyons and gorges

•    Zion National Park

•    Yosemite National Park

•    Bryce Canyon

•    Las Vegas

•    Carroll Shelby Museum Las Vegas

•    Dolores River Canyon

•    GPS Navigator with Full Route Planning

•    Classic Driving Tours Travel Pack

     

THE CARS

•    Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger or Mustang Coupe or exotics at additional cost.

•    Ask about tour discounts if you drive your own car.  

 

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

•    Return airfares to USA and airport transfers

•    Cost of meals and drinks and entry to places of interest other than those specifically  included in the final itinerary

•    Personal expenses

•    Fuel and Tolls

 

TOUR COST 

USD $8,450

Per Person based on two sharing a room     
and car hire.