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TOURS & CRUISES

Relive the Pioneer Past in a Colorado Wagon Train

March 26, 2000|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bump along on an authentic wagon train vacation through the Pawnee National Grassland in northeastern Colorado, where James Michener's "Centennial" was filmed. Guests will arrive on a Sunday afternoon and spend the next three nights living like the pioneers and traveling by covered wagon. They will be entertained with songs around the campfire and stories by professional storyteller Jo Ann Conter.

Tourists also will visit the Overland Trail Museum in Sterling and see the tepee rings of Native Americans who camped there 150 years ago. Western-style food includes steaks, homemade biscuits, bacon and eggs, flapjacks and more, cooked daily on the trail. Guests are provided with cots, tents and sleeping bags. All ages are welcome, although the trip is not recommended for children younger than 6.

Cost: $550 for adults, $495 for children under 12, including transportation from Denver, supplies and all meals. Tours run every Sunday from June 4 through August. Transportation to Colorado is not included.

Contact: Sterling Travel, 130 N. 2nd St., Sterling, CO 80751; telephone (800) 284-0367.

Canada: Cycling

Historical Cycling International is offering six-night walking-cycling tours in Quebec province on May 28, July 3 and Sept. 18. The rendezvous is Montreal, where the group will discover a rich Jewish past and begin to explore the city's monuments by bike. In the eastern townships of Quebec, the group will ride on country roads past numerous orchards and farmlands through quaint villages, enjoying views of Massawippi Lake.

Cost: $1,890 per person, double occupancy, including luxury accommodations, most meals at fine restaurants, guide services, a 21-speed bicycle, route instructions, van support and baggage transfers. Air fare to Montreal is not included.

Contact: Historical Cycling International; tel. (310) 289-5099, Internet http://www.historical-cycling.com.

Greece: Cruise

Lido Travel of Newport Beach is offering a cruise tour to Istanbul, Turkey, and Greece with a focus on architecture, interior design, history and shopping. Guests depart for Istanbul on May 29 and will spend three days with designers, who will take the group on a private tour of the monuments and to sources for Oriental carpets.

Then passengers will board Orient Lines' Crown Odyssey for a seven-day cruise of the Greek Isles and the Turkish coast, including a visit to the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Ephesus. Interior designer Jon Jahr will explain the historical highlights with Q&A discussions on interior design.

Cost: from $2,375 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, cruise, most meals and guide services. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Margaret at Lido Travel; tel. (800) 843-6679.

Tahiti: Cruise

Wine lovers can learn about wines and winemaking on an Aug. 5 to 12 cruise through the Society Islands hosted by Tobin James Cellars of Paso Robles. Guests will attend several wine tastings and informational sessions on wine and food pairings. The cruise will visit the islands of Tahiti, Raiatea, Bora-Bora and Moorea. The trip price includes water sports from the ship's marina and wine at lunch and dinner.

Cost: from $2,989 per person, double occupancy, including the seven-night cruise, round-trip air from Los Angeles, port and handling charges, on-board gratuities, meals and entertainment on board, a tour of Papeete on Tahiti, and shipboard credits.

Contact: Just Travel, 2035 Dermanak Drive, Solvang, CA 93463; tel. (805) 688-0658 or (877) 251- 0497.

Death Valley: Photos

A spring photography and sightseeing tour of Death Valley is being offered by Image Quest Tours from April 7 to 9. Participants will tour Zabriskie Point, the sand dunes and Badwater. Instruction in landscape, wildflower and travel photography techniques is given at each site.

Cost: $270 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations at the Stovepipe Wells motel, Sunday brunch at Furnace Creek Inn and guide services. Transportation to Death Valley is not included.

Contact: Dave Wyman at Image Quest Tours, 1164 Alvira St., Los Angeles, CA 90035; tel. (323) 939-2819.

England: Cambridge

Sponsored by UC Irvine, a small study tour to Cambridge, England, from Sept. 10 to 17, offers a choice of two courses: "A Study in Espionage" and "The Art and Architecture of Cambridge." Both courses teach the history and culture of Britain. Spy buffs in the espionage course will learn about Cambridge-educated espionage agents. A Cambridge faculty member who worked on secret intelligence during World War II will give lectures.

Art enthusiasts will focus on the art and architecture accomplished during Cambridge University's 700-year history. Tours include many of the colleges and Ely and Peterborough cathedrals. Guests will stay at historic Pembroke College, where they will have three formal dinners in the 14th century library. They will take an excursion to the town of Saffron Walden to see its former royal palace and gardens. An evening of music or theater is also planned.

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