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Tours & Cruises

Retracing Hoof Steps of the Pony Express

March 12, 1995|KARIN DOMINELLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Seek out Nevada treasures on a six-day prospecting tour May 14 visiting historic sites and scenic areas that retrace the footsteps of Pony Express riders in Nevada's heartland. Participants visit Stateline and Ely, and ride the "Ghost Train Old Ely." From a base in Wendover, Utah, the group will enter the Great Basin National Park and tour the Lehman Caves. Also seen: Bonneville Salt Flats, the area famous for land speed records.

Cost: $525 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, round-trip motor-coach transportation from Los Angeles, four meals, attractions and gratuities. Contact: Main Street Tours, 1751 W. Torrance Blvd., Suite N, Torrance, CA 90501; telephone (800) 300-6246.

Let It Rain Forest

Join a professional biologist to the rain forests of Sumatra on three 14-day tours that leave July 1, Aug. 1 and Sept. 1. The Indonesian archipelago is home to the Sumatran tiger, sun bear and the Sumatran rhinoceros. The tour starts with two days of rest on the island of Bali. In Sumatra, participants will sail to the village of Kaur Gading where the trek begins. Over the next 10 days, the group will hike through deep rain forests, witness traditional dances and explore white sand beaches. At the Elephant Training Center, everyone learns to ride and care for their own elephant. Group size is limited to 12.

Cost: $2,595 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, travel within Indonesia, most meals and guide. Not included: air fare to Indonesia. Contact: Natrabu Travel, 433 California St., Suite 630, San Francisco, CA 94104; tel. (800) 628-7228.

Black Forest Cycling

Cycle through the scenic wine regions of France and Germany Aug. 12 for nine days. Daily cycling distances of 38 or 50 miles along the Route du Vin in Alsace, France, which winds through medieval villages and vineyard-covered hillsides. On the German side of the border, the Badische Weinstrasse connects storybook villages along the historic trail of cuckoo-clock traders through the Black Forest. This is the land of the Black Forest cake and famous smoked ham. Two nights will be at the Relais & Chateaux Wehrle Hotel in Triberg. Hemingway stayed at this 17th-Century inn when he came to fish in the Black Forest in 1922.

Cost: $1,850 per person, including hotels, meals and a support vehicle. Not included: international air fare. Group size is limited to 20. Contact: Gerhard's Bicycle Odysseys, P.O. Box 757, Portland, OR 97207; tel. (503) 223-2402.

Good Greece

Two tours to Greece depart May 2 and Oct. 1. The May tour, called Pegasus, is 24 days and includes rarely visited sites, such as the villages of Zagorohoria, King Nestor's Palace at Pylos, Monemvasia at the southernmost tip of the mainland, plus several days on the islands of Crete, Rhodes and Symi. The Oct. 1 trip is a 20-day tour called Alexander, which explores the northern Greece province of Macedonia. All the sites associated with Alexander the Great are visited: Thessaloniki, Pella and Delphi. In addition, visits are made to Sparta and Byzantine Mystras and conclude with a four-day Aegean islands cruise.

Cost: $4,580 per person, double occupancy, for Pegasus, including round-trip air fare from New York, hotels, some meals and sightseeing. Cost for the Alexander tour starts at $4,390 with air from New York. Contact: Opa Tours, 9345 Glory Ave., Tujunga, CA 91042; tel. (800) 672-7155.

Treasure Hunt

Discover California treasures (architectural, cultural, culinary, historic and scenic) during an 11-day motor-coach tour to San Francisco, the Napa Valley, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Mother Lode country and Yosemite National Park. Departing May 20, the "Golden State Treasure Trail" includes tickets to the Monet exhibit at the M.H. de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, the brand-new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and opening-day festivities of the 22nd annual Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. Unique dining experiences include an early California cuisine served in a 137-year-old San Juan Bautista adobe home, a Chinese banquet on Grant Avenue in San Francisco, an Italian feast, a traditional English-pub-style lunch, the "Forrest Buffet" atop Harrah's Lake Tahoe and a Basque dinner in Bakersfield. Guided tours with wine-tasting have been arranged at five Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries also noted for their art, architecture or history collections. In Sacramento, tour-goers will visit the State Capitol and Governor's Mansion, in addition to attending a choice of concerts by 100 jazz bands. Memorial Day will be spent traveling the '49ers trail from Placerville to Mariposa with free time for gold panning at Columbia State Historic Park. A two-hour tram tour is planned through Yosemite Valley to see waterfalls and blossoming dogwoods.

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