On Monday, June 30, a group of 42 travelers from the local area as well as surrounding counties and states left Columbia for a trip west.
The group traveled through 11 states including Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, California and Nevada.
The first day, the travelers stopped in Little Rock, Ark. and spent the night just blocks from the Bill Clinton Presidential Library, a structure of steel and glass.
The next day, the group toured the Oklahoma City Memorial. This memorial serves as a reminder of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil before Sept. 11. As the group ventured down the road, a rest stop was made at the Cherokee Trading Post where many people purchased handmade Native American souvenirs. The group spent the night in Erick, Okla.
On Wednesday, the group moved on to Groom, Texas and visited the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. The cross weighs about 2 1/2 million pounds. Its concrete base is 20 feet deep and the structure was engineered to withstand 140-mph winds. After that, they drove on to Amarillo, Texas and took pictures of the "Cadillac Ranch," which is considered to be the hood ornament of Route 66. Ten Cadillac cars have been buried hood down in the dirt to make a sculpture that appears to be waving. The group spent the night in Gallup, N.M.
Thursday was a busy day for sightseeing. The travelers visited the Four Corners attraction, which is the only place in the United States where one can be in four states at one time. They toured the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest and then spent the next two nights in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Friday, July 4, was Grand Canyon Day. The group toured one of the seven natural wonders of the world. On the way back to the hotel, they stopped to watch the Grand Canyon IMAX presentation, which is the most viewed IMAX production in the U.S.
On Saturday, the group reboarded the coach and moved on through the Mojave Desert in California. The afternoon's destination was Las Vegas, Nev., where the travelers checked in at the Monte Carlo Hotel. They got settled in the Lance Burton Theater and watched the evening performance of Lance Burton, master magician. Burton has ties to Kentucky and Adair County. (His mother lives there.)
Sunday morning, the group traveled to Tucson, Ariz. and spent the night there. Those on the trip said they were amazed at the large cacti and yucca plants along the route. The landforms and scenery out west is different from the green trees and plants in Kentucky.
Carlsbad Caverns was the destination on Monday. The travelers drove through the Guadalupe Mountains where they could see all the way into Mexico from the top of the mountain. Along this route, they had to stop at a Border Patrol station to be sure that no illegal immigrants were on board and that everyone on the coach was a United States citizen.
On Tuesday, the group traveled through Texas. Along the route, they saw oilrigs pumping as well as the massive cattle operations. The group spent the night in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Wednesday's traveling brought the group back to Little Rock, Ark. and on Thursday, the group reboarded the coach and traveled through Tennessee and on to Columbia.
The group members were: Mildred Barnett, Eula Buck, Judy Burton, Randall Burton, Virginia Caffee, Janice Campbell, Jack Collins, Margie Collins, Dalton Coomer, Faye Coomer, J.B. Crawley, Paul Cottrell, Rose Cottrell, Judy Dickerson, Sue Ellen Ford, Bertha Goodin, Britney Green, Courtney Green, Tracy Green, Georgia Hatfield, Joyce Hubbard, Catherine Kearney, Ellen Keeling, Jesse Kendall, Lois Kendall, Laverne Kennon, Danny Moore, Phyllis Moore, Kim Perkins, Ludora Perkins (group leader), Louise Pottinger, Lucille St. Clair, Donna Shepherd, Teresa Smith, Maxine Walker, Stella Wallen, Charlene Warner, Chester Warner, Pat Webster, Betty Whitehouse, Danny Woodcox and Mary Woodcox.