November 6-16, 2021
$1675 Double Occupancy (subject to change as of Jan 1, 2021)
$2175 Single Occupancy (subject to change as of Jan 1, 2021)
Includes shuttle service to Minneapolis MSP, round-trip flights from MSP-Phoenix PHX (with one carry on + personal item), deluxe motor coach service, attraction admissions, guide fees, 10 hotel nights, most gratuities, approximately 15 meals, and much more. A checked bag will require an additional fee of $30 each way.
W/ELS members are invited to join the MLC Alumni Association for an affordable, enjoyable, and educational tour of the Canyonlands of Arizona and Utah. Visits to several National Parks and scenic drives will be our focus. Tour Director Steve Balza will do his best to keep us comfortable, safe, and on schedule. WELS Pastor Steve Hein and MLC Professor Greg Diersen will be along to feed our souls with daily devotions and our minds with insights into the sights we see. Social Coordinator Pat Stern also has some fun activities planned to help you get to know your fellow travelers. We believe we’ve put together an itinerary that hits the highlights, includes some lesser-known gems, and allows some free time for you to relax and refresh.
Single occupancy (one person/room) cost is $2175 and double occupancy (two persons/room) is $1675 per person. If you are traveling solo but would prefer having a same-gender roommate to split costs, please note that on your registration form, and we will do our best to accommodate.
Discounts: Deduct $150 if you are making your own flight arrangements. $20 discounts are available to previous travelers, seniors 62+, those making full payment by June 1, and National Park pass holders.
Gratuities: Tips for our bus drivers, guides, and group meal servers are included in your cost. Tips for hotel housekeepers, non-included meal servers, etc., are your responsibility.
Payments: Confirmed passengers must submit a $500 payment by June 1. The remaining balance is due August 15. Once confirmed, cancellations will receive refunds according to the schedule below:
Cancel by August 15, 2021: Full Refund
August 16 – September 15, 2021: $300 fee
September 16 – October 15, 2021: $600 fee
After October 15, 2021: $1200 fee
In each case, the penalty will be cut in half if a replacement traveler is found.
The tour includes approximately 15 meals including breakfast each day and an additional 5 lunches or dinners. Remaining meals (about 15) will be on your own. Complimentary water and occasional bus snacks will be provided throughout the tour.
CONFIRMED PASSENGERS AND WAITLISTS
Registration is open. We will fill the confirmed spaces on a first-come-first-served basis. Remaining registrants will be placed on a waitlist. In the past, waitlist members who have been able to keep their schedule clear have frequently made it on board. Waitlisted registrants do not need to send any deposit or payment until they are confirmed passengers.
Those flying will need to have a valid government-issued photo ID. The TSA’s Real ID requirement has been moved back to October 1, 2021.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a high level of mobility required, we rate this tour as a 4. All passengers will need to get in and out of the bus (about four stairs) on a regular basis. All passengers will also be required to transport their bag between the bus and hotel rooms. Hikes to various vistas (especially in Antelope Canyon) may require a fair amount of walking. As always, we encourage travelers to know their limitations.
COVID/CANCELLATION CONCERNS AND TRIP INSURANCE
This trip was originally slated for Nov 7-17, 2020. If the trip were to cancel again due to COVID-19 or similar concerns, our plan is to either rebook for the identical dates in 2022 or cancel all together and fully refund all passengers. Trip insurance is not offered for this tour. If desired, individuals may purchase a policy through a provider of their choice.
Contact tour manager Steve Balza (firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-217-1731).
Our overnights will include a mix of typical chain hotels and unique privately owned properties. All except the Grand Canyon Motel are entirely non-smoking with complimentary WiFi (limited in some of the remote areas). All (except our final night at the Lake Powell Resort) include breakfast. All receive excellent reviews and should provide us with comfortable rest in beautiful settings. Click on the hotel names to read TripAdvisor reviews, or on the images to visit their official websites.
Less than 2 hours from PHX airport lie the delightful cities of Prescott and Prescott Valley. Both our bus and our chaplain call this lovely area their home. We’ll spend a quiet first-night here enjoying dinner and a group mixer activity (complete with sangria and snacks). The hotel’s lovely lobby and gorgeous gardens will provide a wonderful welcome to the Grand Canyon state.
Located on a Navajo reservation between Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, this motel also boasts an extensive “trading post/gift shop” as well as a fine restaurant where we will enjoy dinner and breakfast. The property maintains a sunken garden and is set atop a gorge overlooking the Little Colorado River. Be sure to get out and snap some shots before we head out.
With a grocery store across the street, a kitchen in each room, and a dozen restaurants within a few blocks walk, comfort and convenience abound in this all-suite modern property. It will serve as our home base as we visit two national parks (Arches and Canyonlands) that are both within a 15-minute drive.
Just one mile from Capitol Reef, we’ll be spending one night in the modest motel portion of this property, our rooms will provide gorgeous views of the park. During the tourist season, they also offer luxury accommodations in Conestoga Wagons and TeePees. Weather permitting, we may be able to enjoy a bonfire or an evening under the stars in a hot tub!
Due to its remote location, lodging in the Bryce Canyon area is quite scarce. Our BW Grand is the newest and nicest accommodation around. Those looking to take home a special souvenir can head across the street to Ruby’s General Store.
With the red rocks of Zion National Park surrounding the city, Springdale is a small town tourist mecca. Our two-night stay at La Quinta will put us in an excellent location along the main drag exactly 1 mile from the park entrance. A dozen restaurants and many shops are located within 3 blocks.
Our final two nights will be spent overlooking Lake Powell from our lake view rooms at this lovely resort. The marina where we will board our scenic cruise is conveniently located on the property. The renowned Rainbow Room will provide a stunning setting for the one breakfast we will enjoy on the property. Our plan is to allow a few hours of free time for you to enjoy this fabulous place.
For those departing with us from New Ulm, our current plan has us departing fairly early (7:30 AM) and returning fairly late (11:00 PM). You’ll have the option to reserve a room the night before our departure (Friday, November 6) and/or the night of our return (Tuesday, November 17). A special rate of $100/room is available only when including it on your registration and paying as part of your package. The Best Western Plus includes a complimentary breakfast, has a delightful indoor pool, and the Green Mill restaurant/bar is attached.
Where else would we begin and end our Canyonlands journey than in the Grand Canyon State. Upon arrival in Phoenix, we’ll work our way north to Prescott, AZ where we’ll enjoy dinner in town and a reception/mixer at our Forest Villas hotel. The next morning, we’ll worship at Christ in Prescott Valley then head up to the Grand Canyon for an afternoon of exploring and a sunset. At 7000 feet above sea level, the air is clean and cool. We’ll overnight at the Cameron Trading Post before heading through Monument Valley into Utah. On our way back, we’ll spend our final two nights at Lake Powell Resort in Page, AZ. Your lake view room will put you steps away from some incredible scenery. In addition to a boat tour of Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon, we’ll stroll through a secret slot canyon, and have time for some fabulous photos at the renowned Horseshoe Bend.
Utah’s “Mighty Five”
Our time in the Beehive State will center around visits to five fabulous parks. Each features unique wonders that will lead us to marvel at God’s might and majesty. Our first two nights will be at the Mainstay Suites in Moab, a central spot for visits to Arches (home to over 2000 of its namesake feature) and Canyonlands. Our main street location will allow you to dine, shop, or just stroll the streets of this tourist town. From there, we’ll work our way west to Capitol Reef (one of the most underappreciated and least visited parks) and overnight at the Capitol Reef Resort. Your room at this remote motel will face the park with a private patio for viewing the stars or the sunrise. Spectacular Hwy 12 will take us through Grand Staircase Escalante and on to Bryce where we’ll settle in at the Best Western Grand. Take some time to visit Ruby’s General Store conveniently located across the street. The next morning we visit Bryce Canyon, beautifully arrayed in brightly-colored windows, fins, and spires called hoodoos. From there, we head to Springdale for two nights at the La Quinta Inn and Suites. Our Saturday in Zion will include views of iconic sites such as the Court of Patriarchs, The Temple of Sinawawa, and The Narrows. We’ll conclude our time in Utah with Sunday morning worship at Redemption in nearby St. George.
Scenic Drives, Mouthwatering Meals, and More
Although there will be plenty of photo-op turnouts and short hikes to various vistas, many of the top sites will be visible from the comfort of our coach bus. This region contains some of the top scenic drives in America including Hwy 163 through Monument Valley, Hwy 128, Hwy 12, and Hwy 9 through Utah and Hwy 89A in Arizona. We’ll drive them all while hitting the highlights of each incredible national park along the way.
Our plans also call for several tasty treats in special spots. You’ll get to try Navajo tacos, consider some western specialties (rattlesnake, anyone?), and enjoy daily breakfast buffets.
You have the option to take the group flight from Minneapolis (MSP) Terminal 2 to Phoenix (PHX) on November 6, with the return from PHX to MSP Terminal 2 on November 16, or you can make your own flight arrangements. Our new flight details (times current as of March 30, 2021) are noted below.
Saturday, November 6 Sun Country #605 MSP-PHX 3:55 PM-5:22 PM
Tuesday, November 16 Sun Country #604 PHX-MSP 12:25 PM-4:26 PM
Schedule changes between now and November are likely. We will update the times as soon as we are able.
Group flight passengers will enjoy complimentary parking and coach transportation departing from MLC in New Ulm or from Bloomington Lutheran Church, 9350 Portland Ave S, Bloomington. One round-trip checked bag (plus one “personal item” are included in your cost). See Sun Country’s website for size and weight limitations.
Upon arrival in Phoenix, we’ll travel on a deluxe motor coach with Master’s Touch. The coach is complete with air conditioning, every-seat outlets, DVD/AV system, reclining seats, and a restroom. Due to space limitations, each person is limited to one suitcase (rollers recommended) as well as a small carry-on or personal item that you will need to keep on the plane (under the seat) and on the bus with you. We will load and unload the luggage from the bus, but you will be responsible for transporting your luggage to and from your room.
Those making their own flight arrangements should plan to meet the group on November 6 at the PHX airport. Because schedule changes are likely, we recommend arriving a day early in case our flight time changes. Our intent is to drop off at PHX two hours before our flight on November 16. As of March 30, our plan is to arrive at 10:30 AM. Again, final details are TBD.
To register, complete the online form available at this link. You will need to submit your contact information, emergency contact name and phone number, preference for single or double occupancy, preference for the group flight, dietary restrictions, discounts you qualify for (62+ senior, previous tour attendees, full payment upon within 2 weeks of registration, National Parks pass holder), etc.
For this tour, we will fill the spots on a first-come-first-served basis. Once the tour is filled, if you are still interested in joining the tour, please register and you will be added to the waitlist. No deposits or payments are required to be on the waitlist. If and when an opportunity would arise, you would be contacted and offered the chance to accept or decline the spot. Those who are able to keep their calendar clear are often called and also receive an additional discount (beyond those offered during registration).
Confirmed passengers must submit a $500 payment within two weeks of registering. The remaining balance is due August 15, 2021. Once confirmed, cancellations will receive refunds according to the schedule below:
Cancel by August 15, 2021: Full Refund
August 16-September 15, 2021: $300 fee
September 16-October 15, 2021: $600 fee
After October 15, 2021: $1200 fee
In each case, the penalty will be cut in half if a replacement traveler is found.
Confirmed passengers will receive an emailed update in July or early August of 2021 that will include more details on the tour as well as an invoice showing the remainder (if any) that is due on August 15, 2021.
You may pay more than one deposit/payment on a single check if you wish. Please note the name/s of the passenger/s the payment is for in the lower-left blank. We are unable to accept credit cards. All payments should be made by check payable to MLC Alumni Association. Please send all payments to:
MLC Alumni Tour
c/o Steve Balza
1995 Luther Ct
New Ulm, MN 56073
RELEASE OF LIABILITY:
By registering for this tour you affirm that you are fit to participate in this tour and accept all risks to your safety and health. All travel involves risks, and travel may mean a heightened risk to your health and safety, including risks from terrorism, criminal acts, and illness. You understand and freely accept these risks, and you generally and specifically release and hold harmless MLC Alumni Association and their officers, agents and employees from any liability and any claims for (i) any physical, mental, emotional or other injuries whatsoever that you may sustain related to this tour; (ii) delays, damages, illness, injuries or death, or for the loss of or damage to property, from any cause (including negligence) and however occurring; and (iii) any accident, illness, injury, damage, sickness, loss of personal property, delay, or other Injury or claim of any kind related to or arising from strikes, armed conflicts, social or labor unrest or strikes/work stoppages, war or acts of war, terrorism or terrorist acts, acts of God, mechanical or construction failures or difficulties, diseases, local laws or acts of local or government authorities, criminal acts, weather or climatic conditions, volcanic eruption, earthquake, disruption of advertised schedules, refusal of visas, or any other causes beyond their direct control.
ENROLLMENT IN AND PAYMENT FOR THE TOUR CONSTITUTES YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE CONDITIONS AND STATEMENT OF RESPONSIBILITY.
YouTube Videos. Click on this link to view videos pertaining to the 2020 MLC Alumni O Canyonlands tour. We will occasionally add or subtract from the content of the playlist as the itinerary is finalized.
TripAdvisor reviews. Click on the links below to learn more about the various attractions we plan to visit. A final itinerary may or may not include all of the sites listed below.
As with most “highlights tours”, we’ll cover as many of the top sites as we can. Each park has plenty. The old adage “getting there is half the fun” will likely prove true as we traverse some of the continent’s most scenic drives.
Tripadvisor reviews of our hotels are linked from the Accommodations tab on this site.
- Watson Lake
- Historic Downtown Prescott
- Grand Canyon South Rim
- Grand Canyon Rim Trail
- Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower
- Grand Canyon Visitor Center
- Cameron Trading Post
- Goulding’s Trading Post
- Monument Valley
- Scenic Hwy 163
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Canyonlands Island in the Sky
- Canyonlands Grand View Point
- Canyonlands Mesa Arch (optional hike)
- Arches National Park
- Arches Scenic Drive
- Arches Double Arch Trail
- Arches Windows Trail
- Arches Visitor Center
- Scenic Hwy 128
- Goblin Valley State Park
- Capitol Reef Park
- Capitol Reef Hickman Bridge (optional trail)
- Capitol Reef Grand Wash
- Capitol Reef Gifford Homestead
- Capitol Reef Visitor Center
- Scenic Hwy 12
- Grand Staircase Escalante
- Bryce Canyon Park
- Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive
- Bryce Canyon Visitor Center
- Bryce Canyon Rim Trail
- Bryce Canyon Sunset Point
- Bryce Canyon Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden (optional trail)
- Bryce Canyon Wall Street (optional trail)
- Bryce Canyon Sunrise Point
- Bryce Canyon Inspiration Point
- Scenic Hwy 9
- Zion Canyon Park
- Zion-Mt Carmel Tunnel
- Zion Narrows
- Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
- Zion Court of the Patriarchs
- Antelope Canyon Boat Tour
- Lake Powell
- Glen Canyon Dam Tour/Visitor Center
- Horseshoe Bend
- Secret Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Tour
- Antelope Canyon
- Scenic Hwy 89A
- Oak Creek Canyon
- Oak Creek Vista Overlook
- Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross
- Scenic Hwy 179
Click on the images below to view a gallery of pictures from past adventures.
Martin Luther College
1995 Luther Court
New Ulm, MN 56073
1 (507) 354-8221
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