We always knew that our Scenic ‘Best of America’s National Parks' tour was going to be a special trip, but it has become part of an unforgettable event in our lives.
The tour began in Calgary, Canada on 5 August, finishing up in Las Vegas 22 days later. There would be so many wonderful places we would visit in that time, but our thoughts turned to the free time we had available on the final day in Las Vegas.
We realised – it was time for Mark and I to tie the knot! After 21 years together, we knew that a traditional white wedding was not for us. It was easy to make the arrangements from home, even applying for the marriage license.
Our journey began with the first group dinner meeting our fabulous Tour Director, Tara Ryan who along with our fantastic coach captain, Allen McDonald, would lead us and join in with us on our great adventure. Our travelling companions were a terrific, like-minded gang, keen to explore the great natural beauty of the National Parks of Canada and the United States.
Glacier National Park was a special day. To ride in the 1930s vintage Red Jammers as they drove us up the ‘Going-to-the-Sun Road’ and then stopping to let a black bear walk across the road in front of us, whilst overlooking huge valleys, mountains and waterfalls – just breathtaking.
We weren’t expecting the brilliant hues of red, pink, cream and white of the eroding Hoodoos that form Bryce Canyon, and the way the colours constantly change.
Monument Valley didn’t disappoint. Driving around the desert in Jeeps, looking up at the giant rock formations, we expected to see John Wayne riding on his horse at any moment.
Despite everything you know of the Grand Canyon, nothing prepares you for the majesty of the view before you, standing on the rim overlooking the enormity and ever-changing colours of this canyon.
After all this nature, we arrived in Las Vegas. The wedding day was here! We casually mentioned it to Tara at breakfast, and she was just as excited as we were.
She met us in the foyer of the wonderful Bellagio Hotel where we were staying. Tara took some lovely photos – me in my multi-coloured cocktail dress and Mark in his jeans and pink flamingo shirt, as we were picked up in a 1955 pink Cadillac and driven away.
First stop was to the Clark County Clerk Office to pick up our marriage license, and then on to the Drive Thru Window of our Wedding Chapel, where Elvis serenaded us throughout the ceremony.
We were going for the total cliché! It was so much fun and so special, we will remember it always.
That night at our farewell dinner, Tara announced it to our group and provided Mark and I with ‘Just Wed’ sashes to wear. Our travelling companions were full of congratulations for us and it was wonderful to share it with them.
We have always loved our Scenic journeys, and now we have an extra special memory for our last (but not last) trip.