A superb tour as we travel from South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains and Tennessee. We encompass legendary history with such places as the John Deer World Headquarters, Churchill Downs, Renfro Valley, the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, Nashville, TN and the 8000 acre Biltmore Estate. You will find scenic beauty which is hard to comprehend in the awesome Smoky Mountains followed by Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. There is entertainment galore including the Dixie Stampede and Country tonight. Let’s not forget a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, and a river cruise aboard the General Jackson…Lot’s to see and lot’s to do on this wonderful road trip.
AN AMAZING SMALL GROUP ROAD TRIP FROM THE BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA IN OUR 12 PASSENGER MERCEDES SPRINTER VEHICLE
Day 1: Rapid City to Dakota Dunes, SD – 430 miles
Today we leave the Black Hills and head for Sioux City, IA. Regular stops will be made for comfort stops and meal breaks.
Overnight Dakota Dunes, SD – No meals included
Day 2: Dakota Dunes, SD to Moline, IL – John Deere Headquarters - 360 miles (Watches forward 1 hour to Central Time Zone)
After breakfast we continue our journey to Moline, IL and later this afternoon we visit the World Headquarters of John Deere. It’s beautifully situated on a ravine with a lagoon and fountains, all nicely integrated. The grounds are impeccably maintained with (we assume) Deere equipment. The Headquarters were opened in 1964 and inside there’s a mezzanine that looks down on a display of Deere equipment from historic tractors to one of today’s half-million-dollar harvesters.
We continue to our hotel for overnight.
Overnight Moline, IL area – Breakfast and Supper included
Day 3: Moline, IL to Louisville, KY – 420 miles (Watches forward 1 hour to Eastern Time Zone)
Today we travel to Louisville, KY, home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby. After checking into our hotel it’s time for supper at a local restaurant.
Overnight Louisville, KY – Breakfast and Supper included.
Day 4: Louisville, KY – Kentucky Derby Museum – Renfro Valley, KY – 130 miles
After breakfast we leave for our tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum which is one of the premiere attractions in the Louisville region, celebrating the tradition, history, hospitality and pride of the world-renown event that is the Kentucky Derby. After our tour we take an early lunch at the ‘Derby Café’ before we head out to Renfro Valley, Kentucky’s Country Music Capital. After checking in at our hotel we have time to refresh before our supper after which we enjoy some good old traditional country and Bluegrass music plus a little comedy just for fun.
Overnight Renfro Valley area, KY – Breakfast & Supper included
Day 5: Renfro Valley, KY – Ashville, NC – Tour Biltmore Estate - 240 miles
After an early breakfast it’s time to leave for North Carolina and the amazing 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate Here we are inspired by the relaxed elegance of George and Edith Vanderbilt's 250-room family home and country retreat in Asheville, NC. Discover original art from masters such as Renoir, magnificent 16th-century tapestries, Napoleon's chess set, a library with 10,000 volumes, a Banquet Hall with a 70-foot ceiling, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, bowling alley, and priceless antiques. This French Renaissance Chateáu remains America's largest privately-owned home. Arrive back at our hotel around 5pm.
Overnight Ashville, NC – Breakfast Included
Day 6: Ashville, NC to Pigeon Forge, TN via the Great Smoky Mountains.
Enjoy the magnificent scenery as we travel through the Smoky Mountains. Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. Arriving into Pigeon Forge which is our home for the next two nights. This evening we enjoy a delicious supper followed by Country Tonite, the hottest, foot stompin’, knee slappin’ country show in the USA!
Overnight Pigeon Forge, TN – Breakfast & Supper included
Day 7: Pigeon Forge, TN and exploring Cades Cove.
Today we step back in time and explore Cades Cove. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271.
Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park. Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures. Afterwards we have time to explore the many shops & sights of Gatlinburg before enjoying the Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede supper & show. a four-course feast with friendly rivalry between the North and South at the Dixie Stampede dinner show.
Overnight Pigeon Forge, TN – Breakfast & Supper included
Day 8: Pigeon Forge, TN to Nashville, TN & The Grand Ole Opry – 210 miles
A bountiful breakfast this morning and then it’s time to head for Nashville... We will make appropriate stops for rest breaks and lunch. We arrive into Nashville early afternoon and check into our hotel. Tonight, it’s time for the Grand Ole Opry... Far and away the most venerated institution in all of country music, the WSM Grand Ole Opry is not only a cultural treasure, but a vital part of America's rich musical tapestry. In fact, recounting the story of the Grand Ole Opry is almost like telling the history of country music itself. After the show, we return to our hotel.
Overnight Opryland Area, TN – Breakfast included
Day 9: Nashville, TN – The General Jackson Showboat & Exploring Opryland.
Please be ready to depart the hotel at 10.30am for our short drive to the world's grandest showboat... a delicious lunch and world-class entertainment and, all while we’re cruising the majestic Cumberland River.
After the cruise we head to Opryland with time to explore this amazing facility.
Overnight Opryland Area, Nashville, TN – Breakfast and Lunch included
Day 10: Nashville, TN to St Louis, MO – Gateway Arch – to Bridgeton, MO - 320 miles
Today we say goodbye to Nashville and make our way to St Louis, MO making a stop at the famous Gateway Arch. The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot (192 m) monument in St. Louis in the state of Missouri. Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch it is the world's tallest arch the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States and dedicated to "the American people". We continue our journey to our hotel (25 miles west) for overnight.
Overnight Bridgeton, MO – Breakfast included
Day 11: Bridgeton, MO to Council Bluffs, IA – 443 miles
Continuing westwards, we head for Council Bluffs, IA. Our route takes us around Kansas City and then north to Council Bluffs and our overnight stay at one of the large casinos… win big!!!
Overnight Council Bluffs, IA – Breakfast included
Day 12: Council Bluffs, IA to Black Hills and Rapid City, SD – 529 miles
Our final day as we head back to Rapid City and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Comfort breaks and meal stops will be made as we travel I-29 and I-90 on our way home.
Starts: Tuesday May 14th 2019
Ends: Saturday May 25th 2019
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