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Southwest Adventure with the Reeds

SW Adv 2017 (221)For Jim and Pearl Reed, by motorcoach is the only way to travel.

The Jamestown couple has traveled on a few Anderson Showcase Vacations in recent years. This spring, they were guests on our Southwest Adventure, hitting the highlights of the region and much more.

Jim, age 75, said they returned from the Anderson trip to the California Redwoods in the fall, went to the post office and picked up their mail, which had a new Anderson tour catalog in it. As Pearl started to look through the stack, Jim left the room.

“Pretty soon I heard her say ‘Jim! Come here! Here’s where we’re going next,’ ” Jim said.

“He said ‘We just came home!’ ” said Pearl, who is 66. “I said, ‘I don’t care. This is where we’re going next year.’”

So they did.

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Pearl and Jim Reed in Tombstone, AZ

The list of attractions included the Southwest Adventure tour is impressive and the Reeds took hundreds of photos along their journey. Pearl even bought a brand new cell phone a few days before the trip departed.

One of the tour’s first stops was the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which pays tribute to the 168 people who lost their lives in the tragic bombing on April 19, 1995.

Jim said he wasn’t even sure he wanted to go to the memorial. “I’m not sorry that we did.”

“It was just heart wrenching,” Pearl said, noting she was particularly moved by the empty chairs incorporated into the monument. She said the 19 little chairs represented the children who were killed.

Pearl braved her fear of heights to take a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway outside of Albuquerque. This time, Pearl made Jim take the pictures. “I’m hanging on!” she declared. The tram car operator, a young Navajo man who danced and sang for them, made the experience enjoyable, though, Pearl said.

The scenery from the longest aerial tram in the United States was just one of many striking vistas the group encountered on the road. Another was the colorful rocks of the Painted Desert.

“God did an amazing job,” Pearl said of the badlands. According to signs in the park, the Chinle Foundation — colorful rocks deposited more than 200 million years ago as Pangea broke apart —consists of sandstone and mudstone layers. All the colors are caused by the iron in the sediments.

The Painted Desert covers 7,500 square miles across northeastern Arizona with Petrified Forest National Park at its heart. The Reeds were also in awe of the Petrified Forest.

“That was gorgeous,” Pearl said. They took a ton of photos of the fossilized trees that are so old it’s hard to even wrap your brain around it.

They were also fascinated by the Meteor Crater Interactive Discovery Center in Winslow, AZ.

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“Fifty thousand years ago, this thing fell out of the sky! It was going so fast and it was burning up. It buried itself and blew everything out. Across the top is now 4 miles,” Jim explained.

Pearl said people who have looked at their photographs are amazed by it. “You just couldn’t believe it, it was that fantastic.”

The biggest surprise the Reeds encountered on the trip was just how awe-inspiring the Grand Canyon is in person.

“I’d heard people talk of it. But, pictures don’t do it justice. They don’t. It’s something you need to see for yourself,” Pearl said.

“You can’t describe it,” Jim said. “It’s just so awesome,” Pearl added.

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Pearl said she was also pleased by how beautiful the desert was. They thought it wouldn’t be that nice to look at, but “it was gorgeous.” Jim learned the names of a lot of the plants in the area and they were happy that things were flowering during their visit.

“We had such a fantastic trip,” said Pearl. “Jim dozed off on and off on the bus. But I stayed awake. I wanted to see things.”

You can see many of the same sights on our Southwest Balloon Fiesta in fall 2018.

The Reeds are both retired and have been married 35 years. Jim was the big winner of the Anderson 80th Anniversary Showcase Vacation contest and they plan to go on our next Alaska By Land tour.

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Anderson Coach & Travel has been providing Superior Travel Experiences since 1937. In celebration of our 80th Anniversary, college student McKenzie Caldwell will be traveling with Anderson. McKenzie, our tour directors and guests will share their stories from on the road here!

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