POSTPONED: The REAL ID deadline is now MAY 7, 2025. (Enhanced driver's license/Real ID will be required to board a plane and can be used like a passport for travel to Mexico, Canada and U.S. Territories.)
PACIFIC NORTHWEST 2023
$35 pay at check in
CAIRN STONE LIMIT: 1 checked bag
(for each person the charter buses have room for 1 suitcase below and your day pack as carry on)
Baggage: Everyone is allowed 1 suitcase (checked bag), 1 under seat personal item and your daypack as carry-on. Bus storage is limited.
Also, you will carry your own bags to/from the bus and hotels..
Device Charging: Modern buses now have either USB ports and/or 110v outlets under your seat.
WIFI: The bus may have a hotspot onboard. However you can expect periods of no connection in remote wilderness areas.
Toilet onboard: Cairn Stone trips are planned for stops ever few hours and you are asked to use the onboard toilet as infrequently as possible.
Our hotels are always clean and comfortable. Coach Gunn endeavors to provide us an experience that doesn't break the bank and that includes the local flavor. He works hard to keep costs to a minimum.
Check-in: Typically, the bus driver unloads our luggage from the bus, you carry your own and meet Coach in the lobby where he will hand out keys. He will have informed us on the bus earlier of when and where to meet after we get settled into our rooms. If you have any difficulties or problems with your room inform Coach Gunn. Call him, if you don't reach him then return to the lobby.
Check out: It is important that everyone is on the bus on time. Coach Gunn will announce if different from itinerary.
International travel requires a current passport. Coach Gunn insists that for our purposes your passport must not expire within ONE YEAR of our return date. We had one couple miss our flight to Spain and had to stay in Chicago to renew her passport. They flew later and caught up with us. This cost them several hundred dollars and they missed the first three days of our itinerary.
ITINERARY USES LOCAL TIMES
All Coach Gunn itineraries use the local time zone as standard practice. Today your smartphone will update automatically, but it is your responsibility to stay aware as we change locations and not miss the bus or hold it up.
(Local time Example: We depart Niles Michigan time, we fly Chicago time and we land Nevada time.)
12 noon IN/MI
is 10AM UT
& is 9AM AZ
Communications: Coach Gunn uses your cell number for safety during hikes and for contact during our travel. We keep your information private but we do share it with your fellow travelers. (You must inform us if you do not want your phone number or email address shared with fellow travelers.)
A contact list with cell numbers and email addresses will go to everyone on a given trip prior to departure.
Many of our travelers want the contact information earlier during our training hikes as they get to know each other. [Contact: Thom@CairnStoneTours.com]
Basically this is a way to automatically route phone calls through a WiFi connection rather than through cell phone towers. It is free and fills in dead spots. Contact your provider.
You are responsible for your own meals, but, breakfast may be included at our hotel (see itinerary). Coach Gunn's hiking tours are always a culinary adventure as well as a hiking adventure. He explores the local restaurants during his scouting and setup trips and will often alert the group to the best places to go for a great evening meal or where not to go.
IT'S A BONUS: An additional reward beyond the sights you will see in the remote wilderness is your stamina after nine months of hard training. At the end of each hiking day, you will still have gas in the tank to enjoy an evening out with hiking buddies, to reminisce the day's events over a cold beverage with a hot meal, and to enjoy a breathtakingly brilliant desert sky.
Our shuttle drivers to/from the airport should be tipped appropriately for the travel experience and for handling our luggage (Usually $1 - $2/bag).
Our destination driver lives with us for over a week and often becomes part of our group. It is not unusual for them to go above and beyond to accommodate us. It is appropriate to tip them generously ($20 ea. suggested).
Cleaning staff: You may want to leave a tip for these hard-working folks.
Coach Gunn never asks or expects a tip; however, the consensus of our Cairn Stone vets is that he is very deserving. He makes no income from all he does for us and provides an extraordinary travel experience at actual cost. Consider a very generous tip in advance. It can be both a thank you gift for your experience as well as seed money for the next adventure. As a suggestion, $100 for his 9 months of hard work for us seems reasonable. Everyone is short of cash at the end of travel so please plan in advance. Include a note or card, your heartfelt comments will mean more to him than the money.
[These tip comments are NOT AUTHORIZED by Coach Gunn, I just hope he doesn't read this. Thom]
DAY PACK AS CARRY ON: Pack with a few days change of clothes and essential hiking gear. No knife or liquids over 3oz (see Carry On Restrictions). Pack or wear your hiking shoes on the plane. Consider all you will need to hike if your checked bag is delayed.
SUITCASE: Roll your clothes. Pack by days rather than grouping like clothing. Pack liquids, powders or gels in gallon zip lock bags in case of leakage. Bring bags for dirty clothes.
LAUNDRY: Bring laundry soap and dryer sheets - laundry is available at some hotels.
DEVICES: Phones, Smart Watches and Cameras will need to be charged.
On long hikes you may need to bring a battery pack and cable to charge on the move.
AIRPORT: Bring cable and cube to recharge your phone in the airport and you might need to recharge with your battery pack or during the flight.
ON THE BUS: The newer buses may have charging ports or electrical outlets under the seats. And the bus may have a hotspot, however this too may not work at times in remote areas.
The good stuff is off the grid.
[Airports, Hotels, Airplanes and Buses now have USB ports for charging. However, it's good to have a cube available to plug in to an 110v outlet.]
IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS: It's a good idea to make a couple copies of your ID, Covid card, Health Insurance and Credit Cards (front and back).
SPREAD THEM AROUND: Seal them in zip lock bags. Keep one in your day pack and another in your luggage.
Like a spare tire in your car, it's something you hope to never need but invaluable if you do.
ITINERARY & CONTACT LIST: Bring one full size and one pocket size to carry.
MAPS: Coach Gunn will send out maps of our hikes. Bring a copy of each map. (He will have a few copies to hand out, but only a few.)
Become familiar with the latest restrictions for items not allowed in your carryon luggage.
SECURITY INSPECTIONS: Pack your cables and charger, 3oz liquids, and makeup in clear zip lock bags for quick inspection. You will be delayed if they have to unload your day pack to find something you overlooked, if it's a knife you will lose it.
USE THE BUTTON BELOW FOR THE CURRENT TSA RULES (Scroll down to HIKING POLES)
Our 2021 Best of Utah and our Best of The West 2022 hiking tours ground transportation was provided very well by Windstar, and now again for our 2023 hiking tour.
We will be traveling comfortably in one of their 56 passenger luxury motor coaches (button below).
Our driver, Reggie, will stay with us serving our transport needs for the full 10 days. Often these drivers go above and beyond to accommodate our sometimes-unusual needs. Consider planning ahead for a generous tip ($20-$30 each) should our driver deserve it - it's easy to run low of cash by day 10.
Pack poles in your checked luggage.
You likely will have trouble getting this on the airplane as a carry-on item.
Thom's Tip: You should have your poles by now but if not, you can order now. If you need poles or want to upgrade I highly recommend these 7.6oz carbon fiber poles. Go to: HikerHunger.com
I have used these carbon fiber poles for years now as have several other Cairn Stone vets who also recommend these.