Crawford Alumni Center
Golden Eagle Travel Blog
Tournament of Roses Parade: Dec. 30, 2022 - Jan. 4, 2023
Friday, December 30, 2022
Sixteen Tennessee Tech alumni and friends flew to Santa Ana, California, for a five-day tour culminating in what is a bucket list item for many: the Tournament of Roses Parade! We arrived in Santa Ana this afternoon and checked into our hotel, the Hilton Costa Mesa/Orange County. This evening we met our fellow travelers and our tour guide, Larry, at an alumni reception, followed by a welcome dinner.
Saturday, December 31, 2022
Today we spent the day in San Diego. We saw the USS Midway and enjoyed a harbor cruise. We had free time for lunch and shopping at Seaport Village, then explored Balboa Park and Old Town San Diego before heading back to the hotel to get ready for our New Year’s Eve dinner and party – a Monte Carlo-themed casino night with music, prizes and free “funny money” to gamble with.
Sunday, January 1, 2023
This morning we toured Mission San Juan Capistrano, the birthplace of Orange County and the seventh of 21 missions statewide. We had lunch in Laguna Beach, then drove along the beautiful Highway 1 (also known simply as the 1, the Pacific Coast Highway or PCH) to Newport Beach before heading back to the hotel to rest for the big day tomorrow.
Monday, January 2, 2023
Following the “never on a Sunday” rule instituted in 1893, since New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday in 2023, the Rose Parade was actually held on Monday this year. We departed the hotel early this morning for the one-hour drive to Pasadena. We had a great view of the Rose Parade from our reserved grandstand seats. Everyone loved seeing the floats, the beautiful flowers and the talented marching bands. Next, we enjoyed lunch at the famous Lawry’s Rib House, followed by a tour of Los Angeles and Hollywood where we saw Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, and more.
Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Today we got to do something that many of our travelers looked forward to as much as the parade itself: We went to Floatfest to see the parade floats up close! Every float must be completely covered in flowers, petals and other vegetable materials such as seeds, leaves and stems, and the detail was remarkable. Next, we had some free time for lunch, and some members of our group HAD to go to a California institution: In-N-Out Burger! (There were other restaurants nearby if one wasn’t a burger fan.) Our next stop was the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Yorba Linda, California, was Nixon’s birthplace and he remains (so far) the only president to have been born in California. Tonight, we enjoyed our final alumni reception and had a farewell dinner at The Rusty Pelican in Newport Beach. Many of our travelers said seeing the Rose Parade was a bucket list item, and we are so glad we were able to offer this trip!
Utah's Mighty National Parks: June 5 - 11, 2022
Sunday, June 5, 2022
Today’s the day! Twenty-three Tennessee Tech alumni and friends are on our way to Utah for the week. We flew into Grand Junction, Colorado, and our tour guide was at the airport to greet us. We had some free time to explore downtown Grand Junction, grab lunch from one of the local restaurants and browse the unique shops. Tonight, we enjoyed a welcome dinner at the hotel and met our tour guide, motor coach driver and fellow travelers. It’s going to be a great week with an awesome group of people!
Monday, June 6, 2022
We spent our first night in Grand Junction last night. Today we depart for Moab, Utah, for the remainder of the trip. But first – Colorado National Monument! Colorado National Monument features red rocks, deep canyons, sandstone towers and towering monoliths. It was also our first experience with the wildlife in the area. We saw several collared lizards and a couple of big horned sheep. The Visitor’s Center even had a preserved golden eagle! Artists Point (where early settlers often stopped at the panoramic overlook to paint the cliffs and canyons) and the Coke Ovens (a series of four rounded domes that resemble old charcoal ovens) provided unique photo stops. We had lunch in downtown Grand Junction then took Scenic Byway 128 to Moab. It’s referred to by locals as the River Road and is said to be one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in the country. Tonight, we went to dinner at Sunset Grill, a restaurant perched high on a hill with spectacular views of Moab and the surrounding area.
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Our first stop this morning was Canyonlands National Park, a park known for its dramatic desert landscape carved by the Colorado River. Next, we visited Dead Horse Point State Park and learned the sad story behind its name. As we left the park and made our way back to Moab, our tour guide told us he had a surprise for us: Potash Road Petroglyphs! Archeologists believe that most petroglyphs were done between 600 and 1300 A.D. This evening we had some free time in downtown Moab to shop or enjoy one of the local restaurants.
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
We enjoyed a full day in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park today, including lunch at Goulding’s Lodge (most people tried the traditional Navajo tacos on fry bread!) and a tour with a Navajo (or Dine) guide. The valley features fragile pinnacles of rock surrounded by miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs and trees and windblown sand. The tour included a stop at John Ford’s Point, the location of many classic Western films. Numerous movies have been filmed here including Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Forrest Gump, Back to the Future Part III, The Long Ranger, Mission: Impossible 2 and more.
Thursday, June 9, 2022
Today was a free day with an optional excursion to Capitol Reef National Park. Most travelers chose to go to Capitol Reef, and we picked up picnic items on the way to enjoy in the park. Capitol Reef is named for its white sandstone dome that looks like the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and is known for its Waterpocket Fold, a geologic wrinkle in the earth. We had a picnic lunch near Gifford House, which is known for its homemade pies and other bakery items.
Friday, June 10, 2022
Today’s the day most people had been waiting for: Arches National Park! We got up early to beat the crowds (and the heat!) and were pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t too busy. The park features more than 2,000 natural stone arches, pinnacles, rock fins and balanced rocks. We saw Balanced Rock, Delicate Arch, the Windows, Double Arch, the Organ, the Three Gossips and more. This afternoon, about half of our travelers participated in an optional Canyonlands Slickrock Hummer Tour where we weaved in and out – and up and down – sandstone hills. The tour included a stop at an overlook to view dinosaur tracks! Tonight, we enjoyed a farewell dinner and an evening cruise down the Colorado River.