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The Mature Traveler

Bus Tours on Weekend Get Variable Response

July 13, 1986|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 25-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks.

How do you figure? The four-day escorted tour to the Garlic Festival and Monterey is a sell-out success but the three-day tour to the Artichoke Festival and Monterey had to be canceled because of lack of interest.

Who knows? Maybe mature travelers prefer garlic to artichokes. In any event, it's one of the few motor-coach trips operated by Calico Tours that's failed to fill up.

Calico Tours is a young (almost three years old) but growing operation that specializes exclusively in motor-coach tours for the mature traveler, although to Calico, 40 years and up is mature.

The Los Angeles-based company offers a year-round program of tours of one-day, one- and two-nighters, with several longer four- to 10-day tours included each year.

Many trips are centered around holidays such as Thanksgiving in Tucson and a New Year's Eve party at the Lawrence Welk Village with an overnight in Escondido.

Tour Goes to Hearst Castle

Typical of the weekend trips offered by Calico is the Labor Day tour to Hearst Castle at San Simeon and the Pinedorado Festival in Cambria Aug. 30 to Sept. 1. In addition to two nights at the Green Tree Inn at San Simeon, a tour of the castle (a choice of four tours), a group dinner and two continental breakfasts are included in the tour price of $190 per person on a share basis.

A second Labor Day holiday trip, (Aug. 29 to Sept. 1), is to San Francisco and the wine country of Napa Valley. The escorted motor-coach tour includes two nights at the Fisherman's Wharf Ramada Inn and dinner at a top restaurant with plenty of free time for visiting the city. Then one tours Sonoma County and the Napa Valley area with an overnight at the Clarion Inn Napa Valley. In addition to winery tours, there's a picnic lunch. This tour is priced at $315 per person, share basis.

Calico Tours offers its tours to all, but those joining its optional Calico Travel Club, which now has almost 300 members, get a 10% discount on all tours in addition to a bimonthly newsletter and travel bag.

Membership is $30 for one person, $40 per couple or two people at the same address, each valid for one year.

Deluxe Tour Buses

"All our tours are by deluxe, air-conditioned motor coaches with restrooms," says Peggy J. Kronenberger, president and tour coordinator of Calico Tours.

"We make stops every 2 1/2 hours, start off with juice, coffee and doughnuts in the morning and observe a no-smoking rule on the buses," she adds. "And, of course, we're insured."

Among the many one-day excursions offered are a day trip to Long Beach, the Queen Mary and Spruce Goose (Aug. 3); a six-hour boat cruise around Anacapa Island (Aug. 2), plus others in the fall that include apple picking in Tehachapi, Danish Days at Solvang, the Juliana Apple Festival near San Diego and many others.

Still in the final planning stages are a Sept. 24-28 tour of California's Gold Country, an Oct. 9-13 trip to Utah featuring Bryce and Zion national parks and Lake Powell and the Nov. 26-30 Thanksgiving tour to Tucson.

Calico Tours has four pickup points--two in West Los Angeles at the Federal Building and at Ralph's at Wilshire and Barrington, another in Glendale and also at the Valley Hilton in Sherman Oaks.

For more information and a listing of all trips, write Calico Tours Inc., 2265 Westwood Blvd., Box 247, Los Angeles 90064. Phone (213) 478-5865.

On the local scene, the Marina International Hotel at Marina del Rey offers senior groups of 20 or more a popular brunch cruise at $14.65 per person, tax and tip included.

In addition to a brunch in the hotel's garden patio, complete with complimentary champagne, seniors get a 40-minute narrated cruise of the marina aboard either the Marina Belle or Showboat, both replicas of old-fashioned Mississippi River boats.

Before or after the cruise, seniors may enjoy a shopping or sightseeing stroll in picturesque Fisherman's Village.

The special brunch cruise package for mature travelers is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations or more information are available by calling Teresa Whitworth, catering coordinator, at (213) 301-2000, ext. 2005.

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