Escape the winter and journey south to explore Texas including South Padre Island. Our amazing journey begins in South Dakota and takes us through Nebraska, Kansas to Oklahoma. From Oklahoma City it’s time to change our mode of transport even though it’s just for a short time. You board the Amtrak train and enjoy the ‘Heartland Flyer’ through the Arbuckle Mountains.
Your driver will meet you at Gainesville, TX and continue the journey south to Houston. We have a full day to explore NASA’s ‘Mission Control’. From Houston we continue to South Padre Island and enjoy the beautiful beach together with visits to the Marine Life Park and Turtle Rescue Center. After our time on the island we head north to San Antonio where its time to visit the ‘Alamo’ and of course the famous River Walk district. From San Antonio we continue in a northerly direction with a stop in Austin at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Memorial & Museum before arriving at the Dallas Ft Worth Stockyards, where the West began. After time to explore we just have a short journey to our hotel in Gainesville. From Gainesville, our route takes us to Oklahoma City where we pay our respects at the Oklahoma City National Memorial before continuing to Independence, MO. Independence is where we explore the Harry S Truman Presidential Library and Museum. Continuing our journey north through St Joseph, Omaha and Sioux City we arrive at the WinnaVegas Casino and Resort near Sloan, Iowa. Win big!!! Alas it’s time to head back to the Black Hills of South Dakota.!!
Day 1 – Rapid City to Dakota Dunes, SD – 425 miles
Our journey today takes us east on I-90 to Sioux Falls and then south on I-29 to North Sioux City and Dakota Dunes.
Overnight Dakota Dunes. No meals included
Day 2 – Dakota Dunes to Oklahoma City, OK – 570 miles
After breakfast we continue in a southerly direction to Oklahoma City, OK. Regular comfort stops and meal breaks will be made in this full day drive.
Overnight Oklahoma City, OK – Breakfast & Supper Included
Day 3 – Oklahoma City to Gainesville by train (2h 25 minutes) continuing by road to Houston, TX
This morning we head to the train station to board the Heartland Flyer, once on board, sit back, relax and take in the scenery as you pass through the Arbuckle Mountains. Remember, your stop is Gainesville, TX where your driver will be waiting to continue the journey to Houston.
Overnight Houston, TX – Breakfast included
Day 4 – Dallas, TX – Houston, TX – Full day sightseeing – NASA Space Center
After a leisurely breakfast, it’s time to explore the ‘Johnson Space Center’ – Mission Control… ‘Houston, we have a problem’… There is always something new at Space Center Houston with an amazing array of traveling exhibits and astounding events. Space Center Houston has the world’s largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples for public view. Known around the world as the home of NASA Mission Control, International Space Station Mission Control and astronaut training, guests are taken behind the scenes to see NASA Johnson Space Center.
Overnight Houston, TX – Breakfast included
Day 5 – Houston to South Padre Island, TX – 360 miles
After breakfast our journey will take us to the southern tip of Texas where we find the tropical paradise of South Padre Island. This barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico offers time for relaxing, sightseeing and the opportunity to gaze at a magnificent sunset from the flats.
Overnight South Padre Island, TX – Breakfast & Supper Included
Day 6 – South Padre Island – Touring & Exploring
Our tours today include the Dolphin Research & Sea-life Nature Center followed by the Sea Turtle Recovery Center.
Overnight South Padre Island, TX – Breakfast included
Day 7 – South Padre Island to San Antonio, TX – 300 miles - ALAMO
Today we head North to San Antonio, TX - Home to the Alamo. On February 23, 1836, the arrival of General Antonio López de Santa Anna's army outside San Antonio nearly caught them by surprise. Undaunted, the Texians and Tejanos prepared to defend the Alamo together. The defenders held out for 13 days against Santa Anna's army. William B. Travis, the commander of the Alamo sent forth couriers carrying pleas for help to communities in Texas. On the eighth day of the siege, a band of 32 volunteers from Gonzales arrived, bringing the number of defenders to nearly two hundred. Legend holds that with the possibility of additional help fading, Colonel Travis drew a line on the ground and asked any man willing to stay and fight to step over — all except one did. As the defenders saw it, the Alamo was the key to the defense of Texas, and they were ready to give their lives rather than surrender their position to General Santa Anna. Among the Alamo's garrison were Jim Bowie, renowned knife fighter, and David Crockett, famed frontiersman and former congressman from Tennessee. The final assault came before daybreak on the morning of March 6, 1836, as columns of Mexican soldiers emerged from the predawn darkness and headed for the Alamo's walls. Cannon and small arms fire from inside the Alamo beat back several attacks. Regrouping, the Mexicans scaled the walls and rushed into the compound. Once inside, they turned a captured cannon on the Long Barrack and church, blasting open the barricaded doors. The desperate struggle continued until the defenders were overwhelmed. By sunrise, the battle had ended and Santa Anna entered the Alamo compound to survey the scene of his victory.
Overnight San Antonio – Breakfast included
Day 8 – San Antonio – Full day River Walk and exploring at your leisure
Today it’s time for a narrated boat ride along the San Antonio River and then plenty of time to explore this delightful area known as ‘The River Walk’… explore the many shops and restaurants at your leisure.
Overnight San Antonio – Breakfast included
Day 9 – To Austin – 95 miles – LBJ Presidential Library with a brief stop at the State Capitol Building continuing to Ft Worth Stockyards and then Gainesville, TX
After breakfast we take the 2 hour drive to Austin which is home to the LBJ Presidential Library. Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, in central Texas, not far from Johnson City, which his family had helped settle. Growing up, he felt the sting of rural poverty, working his way through Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now known as Texas State University), and learning compassion for the poverty and discrimination of others when he taught students of Mexican descent in Cotulla, Texas. In 1937 he campaigned successfully for the House of Representatives on a New Deal platform, effectively aided by his wife, the former Claudia "Lady Bird" Taylor, whom he had married after a whirlwind courtship in 1934. During World War II, Lyndon Johnson served briefly in the Navy as a lieutenant commander, receiving a Silver Star in the South Pacific. After six terms in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 1948. In 1953, he became the youngest Minority Leader in Senate history, and the following year, when the Democrats won control, Majority Leader. With rare legislative skill he obtained passage of a number of measures during the Eisenhower Administration. He became, by many accounts, the most powerful Majority Leader of the twentieth century. In the 1960 campaign, Johnson, as John F. Kennedy's running mate, was elected Vice President. On November 22, 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Lyndon Baines Johnson became the 36th President. Learn more about the events of that fateful day in our exhibit, Tragedy and Transition. We continue our journey to Ft Worth Stockyards where the West began!!! From Ft Worth it’s just 70 miles to our hotel in Gainesville.
Overnight Gainesville, TX – Breakfast & Supper Included
Day 10 – Gainesville to Independence, MO – 505 miles
A good days drive will take us through Oklahoma City, here we make a short stop at the State Capitol Building and the Oklahoma City National Memorial which honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. We continue our journey to Independence, MO.
Overnight Independence, MO – Breakfast & Supper Included
Day 11 – Independence, MO to Sloan, IA – 281 miles
After breakfast we visit the Harry S Truman Presidential Library and Museum. The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO., holds a special place among the presidential libraries built so far: It was the first library of its kind created under a congressional act that encouraged future presidents to donate personal artifacts to start federally funded libraries in their name. After our visit we head north to the community of Sloan, IA.
Overnight Sloan, IA – Breakfast Included
Day 12 – Sloan, IA to Rapid City, SD – 452 miles
Our last travel day back to Rapid City with an estimated arrival time of around 4pm.
Starts: Wednesday February 28th 2018
Ends: Sunday March 11th 2018
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