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LION at Shiduli Lodge in South Africa, Nov. 2010 - Mom and Vaughn ride a camel in Dubai, Feb 2009

2023 RECAP

VIETNAM, CAMBODIA and LAOS: In January we got to enjoy our postponed trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This is such a delightful trip. We started with a couple nights in Hanoi, followed by an overnight on a ship in Halong Bay, with its magical finger mountains. During our 3-night stay in Da Nang, we went out to the mountains to the Golden Hands Bridge and International Village. We did a day trip to Hoi An, and of course enjoyed the dragon bridge in Da Nang, breathing fire and water at the crowd each evening.

ENCHANTING EGYPT and LEGENDS of the NILE: My Aunt Jerry had expressed her life-long desire to see Egypt, so I arranged a tour for her and other family and friends. She could not believe she actually got there and exclaimed every day how delighted she was. We celebrated her 94th birthday in Luxor! We enjoyed a 5-day Nile River cruise, a trip to Abu Simbel, and 3 nights in Cairo.

JORDAN, DUABAI and ABU DHABI: A somewhat impromptu, last-minute trip with a small group to Jordan for Petra and Wadi Rum, followed by a visit to the highlights of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

ISINGS TRAVEL, VIRGINIA and WEST VIRGINIA: A lovely trip to two magnificent American Resorts with 3 nights in each place - the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia and the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Twenty of us enjoyed spring scenery, history, and the elegance of a bygone era.

MYSTICAL MACHU PICCHU and PERU HIGHLIGHTS: Finally our much-delayed tour to Peru is taking place with a nice group of 10 people. In addition to Machu Picchu, there are so many cultural and historical highlights of this amazing country.

ISINGS TRAVEL, CANYONLANDS of the SOUTHWEST: A signature western tour for Isings Travel with a little twist. This time we start with 2 nights at the Inn in Death Valley, then proceed to Zion, Bryce, Lake Powell, and Grand Canyon, before flying home from Phoenix.

ISINGS TRAVEL, PARIS and LONDON: A nice combination of a river cruise and a city stay. A group of 15 flew to Paris to join the riverboat, Viking Kari, for a one-week cruise on the Seine River out to Normandy and back to Paris, then on to London for a 3-night stay in the Hilton Waldorf!

SOUTH AFRICA: A graduation trip for nephew Elgin, along with Val & Craig and two friends from Switzerland, Anny and Renate. This is a different itinerary from past South Africa trips as we drive into the KwaZulu-Natal region and continue down the south coast.

ISINGS TRAVEL, MOUNTAINS and NATIVES of the NORTHERN ROCKIES: An Isings Travel tour for 20 guests, starting in the Black Hills and ending in Glacier National Park with a theme of spectacular mountains and Native American History and Culture.

ITALY with the MARTINS: Another trip with the three Martin sisters from Pennsylvania and the three outlaws that go with them! From Milan to Rome, the tour begins with a couple nights on Lake Como, before continuing to Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence & Tuscany, San Marino and Rome. As is custom with this family, there is never a dull moment!

FRANCE and SWITZERLAND: Three couples from Indiana explore Yoder family heritage, culture and nature in Alsace, France and Central Switzerland.

NORTHERN ROCKIES and NORTHWEST WASHINGTON: A somewhat unconventional itinerary, combining Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies with Northwestern Washington, but at the request of Lynn and Doris Harder, I put this trip together, starting in Great Falls, Montana and ending in Seattle.

The WAVE!! On June 1, we won permits for 6 people to go to the WAVE on the Utah/Arizona border between Kanab and Page end of September. It has become extremely difficult to get the limited permits as there is a huge demand, so 6 of us are very excited about getting there. We combined it with 4 nights in Kanab to explore a little more of the area.

SOUTH AFRICA: My annual trip to South Africa. This one starts with a trip to Victoria Falls and then continues on the traditional route with lots of animals and amazing landscapes.

ISINGS TRAVEL, SAN ANTONIO: Our Annual pre-Christmas tour for Isings Travel returns to San Antonio for a repeat of our very first pre-Christmas tour. 4 nights on the Hilton Palacio del Rio right on the River Walk. What a great atmosphere. The Alamo, missions, history, culture and a Sarah Brightman concert add to the celebration.

NEW YEAR'S IN DUBAI!!: What started out as a New Year's jaunt with a couple people, turned into a couple weeks. Vaughn and Valeta are just came for a few days over New Year's, but Kiko, Matt, Ruth, and Priscilla stayed for another week of touring in Dubai. It never gets old!

2022 RECAP

SOUTHERN UTAH: In January I was supposed to have a tour to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, but once again it had to be postponed. So, the natural thing to do is throw in another tour to Southern Utah! Just 3 gals from Indiana and 4 nights in Kanab. Perfect weather made for a perfect trip.

SOUTH AFRICA: The flight cancelations from South Africa in December due to omicron really hurt tourism there, so 4 of us decided to go to South Africa in January just for fun and to support our friends. My sisters Vaughn and Gaylene, and our friend Valeta, spent one night at Sleep Eezy Cottages near JNB, followed by five nights at Candlewood Lodge in Knysna. It was just the ticket!

FABULOUS DUBAI and ARABIAN NIGHTS: One of my favorite tours, but quite a different version. In the past this trip has involved a cruise, but this time it was just a land tour. We enjoyed 8 nights in the Hyatt Regency in Dubai, taking in all the sights of Dubai PLUS World Expo. We ended with two nights at the Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi.

SOUTH AFRICA, Isings Travel: One of my favorite destinations with 19 people for Isings Travel. Johannesburg/Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Addo Elephant Park, Kapama Private Game Reserve, and Kruger National Park. Landscapes, History, good food and beverage, and of course magnificent animals!

COLORADO-UTAH, ROCKY MOUNTAINEER, Isings Travel: A new twist on a great area. The Rocky Mountaineer, which runs service from Banff to Vancouver just started a 2-day service from Denver to Moab. So we spent 3 nights in Denver, 2 days on the train, and 3 nights in Moab.

CZECH, GERMANY, AUSTRIA and the PASSION PLAY at OBERAMMRGAU: Two short tours, back-to-back, to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau. The play was scheduled for 2020 but was postponed to 2022. The first tour included Prague, Salzburg and Munich. The second started in Munich and included Salzburg and Vienna.

SWITZERLAND: After two years of canceled trips, we finally got to spend two weeks in Switzerland. This is one of my most spectacular tours with mountains, lakes, waterfalls, suspension bridges, and beautiful cities. Ten people got to enjoy this magnificent country in style.

VOYAGE of the VIKINGS, Isings Travel: A delightful cruise on Holland America from Copenhagen to Norway, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada, ending in Boston. 23 of us enjoyed a great itinerary and I even got to go somewhere I haven't been - Greenland. Greenland exceeded all expectations with spectacular scenery and icebergs!

FRENCH RIVER CRUISE, Isings Travel: A lovely itinerary with a small group of 11 for Isings Travel. Four nights at the beautiful Val Vigne Hotel in Alsace, followed by a 7-night Viking River Cruise on the Rhone River from Lyon to Avignon.

SWITZERLAND, AUSTRIA and the PASSION PLAY, Isings Travel: Two tours postponed from 2020 and 2021, combined into a trip through Switzerland and Austria, culminating with the Passion Play at Oberammergau, Germany. We enjoyed spectacular mountains and picturesque towns, and of course the famous Passion Play at the end of the tour.

SOUTH AFRICA, two tours: Two tours to South Africa back to back with an optional extension to Victoria Falls in between. It's always great to be back in South Africa. Such an incredible combination of animals, landscapes, people and culture. Everyone should get to do this at least once in their lifetime!

NASHVILLE, Isings Travel: Our annual pre-Christmas tour for Isings Travel. This one was with 26 people to Nashville for 4 nights. Grand Ole Opry. Concerts with Amy Grant & Vince Gill, the Oak Ridge Boys, and the Cash Family. Music cruise on the General Jackson paddle wheeler. Country Music Hall of Fame. Belle Meade Plantation. Lots of music and lights. For me the highlight was definitely to concert with Amy Grant and Vince Gill. I've been a fan since 1977 and this was the first I've seen her live in concert.

BUILDING PROJECTS: And in between the hectic tour schedule I've actually been able to get work done on my building projects. This past year I changed plans and decided to take over the project of turning an old barn into a 'barndominium' and I will live there when it's finished. It's coming along. It has now been completely insulated with spray foam insulation (urethane) which means I can work on it inside even in the winter. It will be a great home for me when I move in there.

2021 RECAP



SOUTHERN UTAH: Since the Dubai trip was canceled, I decided to take a few friends to Southern Utah to do some exploring among the canyons around the Escalante. It is such a magnificent area and temps in late February are in the mid-50's - perfect for hiking and exploring!



SOUTHERN UTAH 2: The last few years, with all my international trips, I've felt like I didn't get to Utah enough, so now I'm taking advantage! In April I did a 12-day trip from Grand Junction to Las Vegas, with lots of the highlights of Southern Utah - Arches, Canyonlands, Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef, the Escalante, Bryce and Zion. I'll never get tired of taking people there.

ISINGS TRAVEL, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: My first Isings trip since Williamsburg before Christmas. This is a trip I designed to visit some of the lesser-known wonders of Northern California and Nevada. Napa Valley, Mendocino, the Redwoods, Eureka, Lake Shasta, Mt. Lassen Volcanic, Lake Tahoe, Carson City and Reno. A nice group of 12 people made it a special trip.

SOUTHERN UTAH 3: A duplicate of the April trip. It's great to be able to throw in a last-minute trip to Utah, when other tours cancel! We did this tour in June to replace my canceled Switzerland trip. It was pretty hot in places but we managed.


MULLET FAMILY REUNION - Glendive: Every two years, my Mother's side of the family gets together for visiting and reminiscing. This time we gathered at the Eastern Montana Bible Camp north of Glendive. Aunt Jerry is the last of Mom's siblings, so a highlight was an evening with her telling stoires.

CRATER LAKE, OREGON COAST and the REDWOODS: In July I took four people on a special trip to Southern Oregon and Northern California. The tour with Jan and Hal Drake, Mary Beth Mahler, and Ruth Mark, was designed at a slow easy pace to accomodate special needs. And it turned out to be a wonderful and very special trip.



ISINGS TRAVEL, YELLOWSTONE and TETONS: Jeanne Veldman, the owner of Isings Travel, was the official tour director for this trip, but she surprised them with a 'local guide'. I spent the whole trip with them, showing them my favorite parks.

SIBLING REUNION - Casper: It was a special weekend in Wyoming when all eight of us siblings got together at Merrill and Sharon's home. Nothing special organized - just enjoyed being together without a lot of distractions.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST - Dale Martin Group: I was in the Northwest several times this year. We had planned this trip several years ago but postponed it tiwce. We started in Seattle with Boeing, the Space Needle, and Pike Place Market. From there we did Olympic National Park, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens and drove out to the Oregon Coast for a few nights. We went as far south as the California Redwoods before returning to Oregon for Crater Lake National Park on a bright, sunny day.

ISINGS TRAVEL - NEW MEXICO and Balloon Fiesta: This is a great trip with lots of history, culture, and good food. Highlights were the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, Sandia Peak Tramway, the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad, and Santa Fe.

DUBAI: I needed to throw in an international trip in October to experience all the protocols and new experiences in the pandemic era, so I booked a quick trip to Dubai just for fun. Oh, and I needed a few more miles on Delta to maintain my Diamond status as well!

SOUTH AFRICA: Two trips to South Africa reduced to one in November, but I had enough people to run the tour and we had a great time. It was so good to be back and see so many good friends over there. Fantastic animal sightings, spectacular scenery and wonderful food completed the trip.

ISINGS TRAVEL - SEDONA: The annual pre-Christmas tour for Isings Travel this year was a lovely trip to Airizona. With 20 guests, we stayed one night in Phoenix, before continuing on to Sedona for 4 nights at the Amara Resort on Oak Creek. Lights, music, history, a train ride and a visit to the Grand Canyon made it a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

BUILDING PROJECTS: With all the extra time at home due to canceled tours, I have not been bored by any means! By early summer I had pretty much finished the corner cabin. That is the project with two cabins joined together with a sun room. For now I've rented it out to my friend Kathy and a friend of hers, but this is where I'll probably eventually live in a couple yeasr. With that project done, we are concentrating on turning my barn (behind the tri-plex) into a 'barndominium'! A young fellow, Mason, is doing most of the work and he plans to live in it then when it is done. It is going to be a beautiful place when it's done!

2020 RECAP

SOUTHEAST ASIA - THAILAND, MALAYSIA, and SINGAPORE: Southeast Asia has become another favorite part of the world to me in recent years. Bangkok and Singapore are both amazing cities. Three nights at Ao Nang Beach in Southern Thailand is a beautiful place to relax for 3 days. The Cameron Highlands of Malaysia is picturesque with tea plantations, strawberry and lavender farms, and magnificent hill scenery.

WINTER in YELLOWSTONE: Magical! That's the best world to describe Yellowstone National Park in the winter. We stayed 3 nights in West Yellowstone and 3 nights in Gardiner. We chartered a snowcoach for a day trip into Old Faithful and the Gesyer Basins, and another full day to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Hayden Valley. From Gardiner we walked around Mammoth Hot Springs, bathed in Boiling River, and drove out to the Lamar Valley. Yellowstone is a special place anywhere, but in winter it is beyond belief.

SOUTH AFRICA with the MARTINS: Three 'young' couples (about my age!) went with me to South Africa and Victoria Falls for 2 weeks. Wow! Our day trip into Chobe National Park in Botswana was the most incredible I've done there. We saw hundreds of elephants, if not thousands! Also lots of buffalo, hippo, antelope, crocodiles, and all kinds of birds. From there we flew to Durban and did the St. Lucia Wetlands and Hluhluwe National Park. Down the Garden Route to Knysna and Oudtshoorn and on to Cape Town for 3 nights. We finished up with 3 spectacular days in Kruger National Park and Shiduli Lodge in the Karongwe Reserve. Let's go again!

NEW ZEALAND: Canceled!








WORK ON MY CABIN PROJECTS: So was I bored at all in the 5 months where all my tours were cancelled? Ha! I don't even know the meaning of the word! I demolished a 60-foot trailer by hand and then put two cabins on the site and joined them together with a beautiful sun room / breezeway. We dug a crawl space and built a foundation and it is turning into a beautiful spot. There never would have been time for this had I been on tours all summer!

ISINGS TRAVEL - MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN: Finally back on the road with a small group for Isings Travel. This was our first attempt at a tour since the craziness began. We were welcomed everywhere as VIP's and were made to feel very special as the first (and perhaps only) tour group of the season. The Grand Hotel was lovely and northern Michigan is surprisingly scenic. We all loved the trip.

ISINGS TRAVEL - TENNESSEE/KENTUCKY: This trip was postponed from April, and again, we did it with a small group. Restaurants opened just for us, mansions and plantations opened just for us and we really did feel special in addition to feeling quite safe with all the precautions Isings Travel put in place for the trip. Country Music, Plantations, Gracious Mansions, Horses, Churchill Downs, Cumberland Falls and Cumberland Gap! We ended with two nights in Pigeon Forge for a beautiful day in Smoky Mountains National Park.

ISINGS TRAVEL - RAILS & TRAILS - UTAH / COLORADO: Our postponed trip from May and I think it actually was much nicer in September. We had great weather and beautiful fall colors in the mountains and canyons. We had two nights everywhere - Salt Lake, Moab, Durango, Glenwood Springs, and Colorado Springs. The Pike's Peak Railroad is closed for construction so we drove to the top of the 14,115' peak in a Grayline Bus. We also had spectacular scenery in the Moab area and in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado. Mesa Verde National Park was a big hit as well.


SOUTH AFRICA - Two Tours in November: Canceled!

ISINGS TRAVEL - Pre-Christmas WILLIAMSBURG: A pre-Christmas tour for 16 people to Williamsburg, Virginia for 4 nights. Lots of Christmas activities as well as history and lights.

2019 RECAP

SOUTHEAST ASIA - BANGKOK, CAMBODIA, VIETNAM & LAOS: After an exploratory trip last February, there was enough interest to repeat this trip in January. It is truly a delightful region and these countries are relatively unknown. We started with 8 nights in Vietnam, which is making great strides economically and is enjoying increasing trade with the US. Cambodia and Laos are still much more backwards, but are so enjoyable. We could have spent much more time at our beautiful hotel in Luang Prabang, Laos! Also, prices in those two countries make for incredible bargains! I'll plan on another tour there in 2021.

FABULOUS DUBAI and ARABIAN NIGHTS: This has always been one of my favorite tours, but it just keeps getting better! In February, we started out with 3 nights at the 5-star Hyatt Regency in Executive Club rooms. Activities included a tour of ancient Dubai, a tour of modern Dubai, a Desert Safari with Bedouin dinner and camel rides, going up the tallest building in the world, the Palm Islands, High Tea at the Burj al Arab, and the fabulous Miracle Garden with 45 million flowers. On our 7-day cruise on Costa we had all balcony cabins and enjoyed calls in Muscat, Oman; Abu Dhabi; and Sir Bani Yas Island. Most of us continued on to Jordan for an optional extension to Petra and the Dead Sea. A great way to cap off an exciting trip. Next up in February 2021!

ISINGS TRAVEL - NEW ZEALAND: I 'loaned' Isings Travel my standard New Zealand itinerary and in March I took 14 people on a great trip to both the North and South Islands. The weather started out a bit mixed, but by the time it was over we had enjoyed fantastic views of mountains, glaciers, and rain forests. A night at the spectacular Hermitage Hotel Mt. Cook with perfect views of the mountain topped it off!

NEW ZEALAND: I was barely home a few days from the Isings Travel New Zealand tour when I turned around and headed right back to Auckland for a small-group tour of my own. Another great tour and we were again quite lucky with the weather. However, a huge storm had taken out a bridge on the only west coast road, so we had to do a really major detour to get where we needed to be. Still, it was a good trip and we came home with lots of good memories.

ISINGS TRAVEL - MONTREAL and QUEBEC: End of May I took a group to Quebec City, the Saguenay, and Montreal. It was a little chilly, but we enjoyed a marvelous part of North America. It's close to the US but feels very exotic. Quebec has such great character, and Montreal is an incredible cosmopolitan city.

ISINGS TRAVEL - NORTH CAPE / MIDNIGHT SUN: A cruise to the North Cape and the Fjords of Norway in June is always spectacular. The fjords are magnificent. The North Cape is magical. And of course, seeing it by cruise ship make everything easy.

SOUTH AFRICA - Graduation Trip for Elgin: My Nephew Elgin graduated from high school so I took him and his parents Val & Craig to South Africa. I wasn't sure about Cape Town in their winter, but we did fine there, and the weather everywhere else was sunny and warm. Unbelievable animals sightings (some of my best on any South Africa trip) and great cultural experiences as well. Elgin is ready to go back when he graduates from College!

ISINGS TRAVEL - CANADIAN ROCKIES: Banff and Jasper are two of the most scenic parts of North America. We enjoyed the national parks before boarding the Rocky Mountaineer Train in Lake Louise for a 2-day train trip to Vancouver. Delightful tour in every way.

SWITZERLAND: In August I took ten people to Switzerland for 2 weeks. Yes, just Switzerland. There is so much in this small country, even two weeks is not really enough. But it is enough to overwhelm people with the beauty and diversity. We included German-speaking, Italian-speaking, and French-speaking parts of the country, with lots of mountain railroads and cable cars. It's becoming a regular tour for me, and one of my all-time favorites.

ISINGS TRAVEL - CANYONLANDS: One of our most-repeated tours for Isings Travel is a trip through the great national parks of the US Southwest. We started in Phoenix and did a jeep ride in Sedona before arriving at the Grand Canyon for 2 nights. Then on to Lake Powell, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Bryce and Zion, before finishing up with a night in Las Vegas.

SOUTH AFRICA: In November I did only one tour to South Africa, and it was for a small group from Switzerland. It was another stunning tour and one of the tour members on her fourth South Africa trip with me said it was by far the best. I keep thinking after each tour I'll never be able to match it, but each tour turns out to be an amazing experience.

ISINGS TRAVEL - TUCSON pre-Christmas: In December our Isings Travel annual pre-Christmas tour took us to Tucson for 4 nights. The city really does it up right with lots of lights, festivities, and concerts. The Arizona Inn was a lovely, elegant home for the 4 nights and our activities also included Saguaro National Park and the Desert Museum.

PITTSBURGH: In December several of us went to Pittsburgh for a weekend to see my Grand-Nephew Josiah perform in the Nutcracker with the Pittsburgh Ballet. The performance was superb and we also had a good time together playing games and visiting.

2018 RECAP

ISINGS TRAVEL - ANTARCTICA!: When Jeanne from Isinsgs Travel asked if I'd do the Antarctica trip for Isings Travel I wasn't terribly excited, as I had been to Antarctica before. Then she said it's a 10-day cruise on the Silver Cloud from Silver Seas Cruise Line. "I'm in!" I still wasn't that excited, but it turned out to be a most fantastic trip. The mountains, glaciers, ice bergs, penguins and other birds, seals, whales, and historic artifacts left us all spellbound. It was truly an extraordinary trip. If it weren't so expensive, I'd offer it as one of my tours.

SOUTHEAST ASIA - BANGKOK, CAMBODIA, VIETNAM & LAOS: This was a small-group exploratory trip to southeast Asia. I've been to Bangkok numerous times, so we used that as a starting point. From there we went to Siem Reap, Cambodia to see the largest temple complex in the world at Angkor Wat. We loved Cambodia and it was incredibly cheap with good food and drinks! A short flight brought us to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), which was the most exciting city of the trip. Chinese New Year celebrations were in full swing, which meant lots of extra flowers and lights. During our 3-night stay in Danang we visited Hoi An and Hue, two historic cities. We spent one night in the Hanoi Hilton(!) and then a fabulous night on a cruise ship in Halong Bay. So spectacular. Our last 3 nights were in Luang Prabang, Laos which is called Temple City, due to the myriad of buddhist temples and monasteries there. Such a good tour - I'm going to have to do it again right away in 2019!

SOUTH AFRICA with Kathy Aaron and Family: An abbreviated South Africa tour over spring break for Kathy Aaron's family, including the 3 youngsters - Luke, Isabel, and Mikah. There was a heavy concentration on animals of course and we had amazing luck! In 2 days at Kapama (4 drives) we saw SIX (count 'em!) 6 Leopards! Our ranger could not believe it, and evidently that was a record for the reserve. Great kids to travel with too, by the way!

ISINGS TRAVEL, TENNESSEE and KENTUCKY: Music, Mansions, Horses, History and Beautiful Scenery are all part of this nine-day Isings Travel tour in April through Tennessee and Kentucky.

ISINGS TRAVEL, NEW MEXICO: A 9-day tour in May through Northern New Mexico, experiencing the rich culture, history, and natural areas of the Land of Enchantment. Two nights in Albuquerque with a trip out to Acoma Sky Pueblo, followed by 2 nights in Taos and 3 nights in Santa Fe. Truly the Land of Enchantment!

ISINGS TRAVEL, GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS of SWITZERLAND: I love this 2-week tour of just Switzerland. 18 people enjoyed trains, cable cars, cog railways, funiculars, boats, and mountain passes. There is an enormous diversity packed into this tiny country one third the size of Pennsylvania!

ISINGS TRAVEL, AMERICAN ROCKIES: Another delightful trip for Isings Travel with guests from various retirement communities. Beginning in Denver, climbing into Rocky Mountain National Park, and then heading up through Wyoming to the Black Hills for 3 nights. Mount Rushmore. Crazy Horse. Custer State Park. Back through Wyoming to Yellowstone, and ending with the spectacular Cooke City Highway over to Billings, Montana for our last night.

ALASKA and YUKON: The Great Land! Alaska and Yukon boast immense dimensions and there is much to see. Nine of us visit for 2 weeks, starting in Juneau and heading up through the Inside Passage to Skagway, before taking the White Pass Railroad and venturing into Canada's Yukon Territory. From there it's back to Alaska - Fairbanks, Denali, and Anchorage. Mountains, Glaciers, Animals, Open Spaces, Tundra, and Waterfalls. Wow.

ANCIENT MYSTERIES of CHINA: China is one of the most mysterious and ancient countries in the world. Our two-week trip begins with 3 nights in Beijing for the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace. The mysteries continue with the Terracotta Warriors of Xian, the Finger Mountains of Guilin and a 5-day Yangtze River Cruise. Three nights in the bustling metropolis of Shanghai caps off our incredible trip.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST with small group from SWITZERLAND: Two weeks from Vancouver to San Francisco with all the great sights on the way. But the big highlight happened after the tour when 4 of us extended for a few days in Yellowstone National Park. We had the incredible luck to watch a full-blown eruption of Steamboat Geyser, over 400 feet high! I could not believe our luck.

ISINGS TRAVEL, MEDITERRANEAN: A two-week trip for Isings Travel starting with a couple nights in Rome, followed by a cruise through the Mediterranean on the Holland America Koningsdam. Lots of history, culture, mountains and islands, and some nice cruising.

SOUTH AFRICA: 8 of us on my traditional South Africa tour, followed by an extension to Victoria Falls and Botswana. This is such a wonderful country!

ISINGS TRAVEL, Pre-CHRISTMAS in SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: A pre-Christmas tour to San Antonio, Texas for Isings Travel. 4 nights in the Hilton Palacio del Rio right on the River Walk. Lots of lights and sights for this delightful tour.

2017 RECAP

ISINGS TRAVEL - CUBA: This was a tour I jumped at when the opportunity came up. Isings Travel did a one-week cruise round trip Miami to Cuba as part of an educational / cultural experience. The ship was much better than we expected and the staff was great. What a great learning experience. We went to Santiago de Cuba, Cien Fuegos, and finished with 2 days in Havana. We were warmly received by the people, but it was sad to see the results of 50 years of dictatorship.

EGYPT & LEGENDS of the NILE: One of the great civilizations of the world offers so much to see and experience. We started with a 5-day Nile River cruise on a luxury 5-star ship. Ancient temples, the Valley of the Kings, a hot-air balloon ride over Luxor, Aswan Dam and Abu Simbel highlighted the first part of the trip. In Cairo we finished with the great Pyramids and the Sphinx as well as the Egypt Museum and the Library of Alexandria.

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND: Three couples from Pennsylvania enjoyed a tour with me Down Under. We started with a couple nights on the Gold Coast and then a couple nights in Sydney. From there we flew to Auckland for a couple nights and on to the thermal capital of New Zealand, Rotorua. But definitely the highlight of the trip was the South Island. From Christchurch over to the West Coast we were treated to stunning views of the Southern Alps and walks in lush Rain Forest. We had good weather for Fox Glacier and Franz Joseph Glacier, and also for our cruise on Milford Sound. We finished with a night at the Hermitage Hotel at Mt. Cook and the Tasman Glacier. Just a great trip.

MYSTICAL MACHU PICCHU & PERU Highlights: One of my more popular trips and I'm always finding that Peru has much more to offer. Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and the Floating Islands. We finished up with Machu Picchu and Cusco, the great achievements of the Incan Empire. So amazing. After the trip I took my sisters Vaughn and Twila, cousin Cindy, and friend Ruth to Bolivia for a few days. It was the last major country in South America I hadn't been to, so that was really the only reason we went. However, it was fantastic! We loved the city of La Paz and the surrounding Andes Mountains. The trip out to the Great Salt Desert and the Salt Palace Hotel was delightful. Hmmmm, I might have to go back to Bolivia!

Rails & Trails of UTAH and COLORADO: A 10-day trip for Isings Travel from Salt Lake to Colorado Springs, through some of the lesser known, but equally stunning areas of these two states. 34 elderly guests and a vary amiable group at that! We started in Salt Lake City for a couple nights and then headed down to one of my favorite areas, Moab. There we visited Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. On into Colorado to Glenwood Springs and through the Rockies to finish with a couple nights in Colorado Springs.

FAMILY CRUISE to ALASKA: In June I took over 40 family and friends on a one-week cruise to Alaska, round trip Seattle on the Holland America Osterdam. It was nice to have so many family together, but the trip was marred halfway through when my Aunt Lucille died suddenly on her way into dinner. Beyond that I don't seem to recall much else about the trip.

SWITZERLAND: The end of June I took four couples from the Elmer Martin family to Switzerland for two weeks. They had originally asked if there was enough to do for two weeks in just Switzerland, but they weren't asking that after the trip! What a glorious time we had in the mountains and towns and on the lakes and bridges of that marvelous small country.

ISINGS TRAVEL - PACIFIC NORTHWEST: Two weeks in the Pacific Northwest beginning with 3 nights in Seattle and a visit to Mt. Rainier. Then it was on to Victoria aboard the Clipper for Butchart Gardens and High Tea at the Empress. The tour headed back East to the North Cascades and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, before finishing up with 3 nights in Whitefish, Montana for Glacier National Park.

EUROPE - The Netherlands, Germany & Switzerland: Two weeks in Europe with 12 couples from mostly Pennsylvania. From Amsterdam and its canals, across to Germany and the castle region of the Rhine River, and on to Munich and the Romantic Road. And then 9 fabulous days in Switzerland with Zurich, Lucerne, Zermatt, the Bernese Oberland and the French-speaking part of the country, ending up in Geneva.

ALASKA / YUKON: Two weeks in the Great White North with 3 couples from Pennsylvania. Starting with 3 nights in Juneau, sailing through the Inside Passage to Skagway, and up through the Yukon. Back in Alaska we finish with Tok, Fairbanks, Denali, and the Anchorage area.

COUSINS HIKING TOUR in UTAH: A somewhat last-minute hiking tour for Cousins in the parks of southern Utah and Grand Canyon. We started in Las Vegas and headed up to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Then into some of the lesser known areas of the Escalante and up to Goblin Valley. No time for Moab on this trip, so we headed back down to Monument Valley and Lake Powell. Antelope Canyon is always a sensation. We hit the Grand Canyon South Rim on our way back to Las Vegas. Perfect weather and fantastic scenery!

ISINGS TRAVEL - UNCOMMON SOUTHWEST: Twelve days through lesser known areas of the Southwest from Las Vegas to San Diego. We have a number of Isings Travel clients who have been on quite a few tours with us, so we wanted something that wasn't on many itineraries. We started in Las Vegas and then spent a night in Death Valley. From there we headed southwest through the Mojave Preserve to Palm Springs, from where we visited Joshua Tree National Park and Indian Canyons. Before finishing with 3 nights in San Diego, we spent a night out at Huntington Beach to enjoy the coast.

SOUTH AFRICA: Since 2009 I've been doing two tours every November/December to South Africa, but this year I decided to just do one, to allow a little more time home in December. We had a spectacular tour with great animal sightings and good weather, and then several of us finished with 3 nights at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe. That is such a great way to top off a South Africa tour.

2016 RECAP

SOUTHEAST ASIA - This was a great trip and slightly different than my normal tour. We stayed in fabulous hotels and had enough time to actually enjoy them! 3 nights in Bangkok at the fantastic Shangri-La Hotel, 3 nights at Ao Nang Beach near Krabi, Thailand, 2 nights Penang Malaysia, 1 night in the Cameron Highlands, 1 night Malacca, and 3 nights at the Hilton in Singapore! We had a small group, and in addition to some delightful sightseeing, we had time for massage, reflexology treatments, swimming, and relaxed dining. If I can't cut down the number of tours I do, I just need to do more like this one!

SOUTHERN UTAH HIKING TOUR - Winter is actually a good time for hiking in southern Utah and Northern Arizona. I took Leon & Nancy Stauffer, Allen & Cindy Mast, and Orpha Newswanger on a short trip based out of Kanab, Utah. We were able to do a bunch of the 'secret' things in the area that you can't do on a bus trip, including getting into White Pocket. I'll probably have to do more trips like this as well.

FABULOUS DUBAI & ARABIAN NIGHTS - One of my all-time favorite tours. We began with 3 nights in the 5-star hotel Sheraton in Dubai and then went on a 7-night cruise roundtrip Dubai. We enjoyed a desert safari, tour of ancient Dubai and a tour of modern Dubai, high tea at the Burj al Arab, Dubai's Miracle Garden, and interesting tours in each of the ports of call. My 93-year-old mother went along for the third time! After the tour, ten of us continued to Jordan for an extension to Petra and the Dead Sea. The trip is so good I'll repeat it in 2018!

ISINGS TRAVEL - VIRGINIA. Virginia is one of the most beautiful states in the Eastern US, and our Isings Travel group of elderly guests enjoyed 3 nights at the beautiful Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville and two nights in Williamsburg. Plantations, mansions, gardens, presidential libraries and lots of history.

ISINGS TRAVEL - CANYONLANDS TOUR In May I flew to Florida and then flew a group of retirement community residents to Phoenix, where we started one of our most popular Isings tours through the southwest parks. From Phoenix we went to Sedona for a Pink Jeep ride; two nights at the Grand Canyon; one night in Monument Valley; two nights in Page, Arizona for Antelope Canyon and a boat ride on Lake Powell; two nights in Zion with a day visit to Bryce Canyon National Park; and a final night in Las Vegas.

CABIN WARMING at the Cabin Castle at White Cliffs Ranch In June I hosted a cabin-warming to celebrate my earth bag cabin. My sisters decided it should be combined with a 60th birthday celebration so over 50 people from all over the United States came for the day. The interior is finished and really looks like something that should be featured in a magazine. I never dreamed it would turn out so beautiful. Thank you to everyone who came to help celebrate!

ISINGS TRAVEL - SWITZERLAND TOUR Another of my favorite tours with Isings Travel and the weather cooperated beautifully as we admired the stunning mountains, charming towns, and a great variety of cultures during our two weeks in Switzerland. I would be happy to do this tour every year, but our next one will be in June of 2018.

ISINGS TRAVEL - ALASKA TOUR This started with a flight to Fairbanks and some touring in the interior, then on to Denali National Park and on to Seward. In Denali we were extremely fortunate to see Mt McKinley (Denali) completely clear in all its glory. There we boarded our Holland America ship and sailed to Vancouver, BC. We enjoyed amazing wildlife, especially whales and have a great trip over all.

WESTERN PARKS with a small Swiss Group Five of us started in Las Vegas and worked our way up through Southern Utah and Moab, before continuing north to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. What fantastic natural areas and national parks. Absolutely my favorite area in the world to take people on tour! We finished up with enough time in Bozeman to go out to my cabin.

ISINGS TRAVEL - IRELAND & QM2: This was a new itinerary for Isings Travel but it turned out to be a very nice trip. We had a great guide for the Ireland portion, Clodagh, and we had a great time in the Emerald Isle. We concluded the trip with a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 from Southampton to New York - the "only way to cross!"

ISINGS TRAVEL - WEST COAST: Highlights of the west coast from Portland to San Francisco. The rocky Oregon Coast, Oregon Dunes, Rogue River Jet Boat ride, the magnificent Redwoods of Northern California, and lovely Napa Valley.

CHINA: What a fantastic trip! This trip was a direct result of a request by Richard Mariano and I didn't even take it terribly serious at first. Without even advertising the trip I ended up with 18 people and the tour exceeded expectations by far. We started in Beijing for the Great Wall and Forbidden City etc., then on to Xian for the Terracotta Warriors. We enjoyed 4 days on a Yangtze River cruise and ended up with 3 days in Shanghai. Definitely planning on doing this again in September 2018, but hope to include the finger mountains of Guilin next time!

SOUTH AFRICA: Two tours back to back in South Africa, with 4 days at Victoria Falls in between. The first group was American and the second was a Swiss group. Most of the Swiss had been to South Africa with me before so we did a new itinerary that included much of the Durban/Natal area. It was a lot of fun exploring new areas and a highlight was driving Sani Pass up into the country of Lesotho. In 2017 I'm only doing one South Africa tour, but in 2018 I hope to do two tours back to back for one more year.

2015 RECAP

SWITZERLAND - Anny Gerber turned 80 this year, so of course I flew over for about 10 days to help celebrate. Visited other friends while there and also met with people to plan future tours. It's always good to be in Switzerland.

The WAVE - Ingrid Halaby, Alan Schuyler and I spent a little over a week in southern Utah and northern Arizona in January, exploring the lesser-known secrets of the region. Alan had never been, so everything was overwhelming for him. We got permits for the WAVE and spent a beautiful day climbing around and taking photos. This is a great area any time of the year.

FABULOUS DUBAI and ARABIAN NIGHTS - Another of my favorite tours. The first of February we flew to Dubai for 3 nights in a 5-star hotel in Dubai and a 7-night cruise roundtrip Dubai. We enjoyed a desert safari, tour of ancient Dubai and a tour of modern Dubai, high tea at the Burj al Arab, and interesting tours in each of the ports of call. After the tour, nine of us continued to Jordan for an extension to Petra and the Dead Sea. The trip is so good I'm going to do it again in 2016!

WONDERFUL SOUTH AFRICA - This tour that I do every November is getting so popular I had to offer an extra one in March. Three of my sisters and two cousins were along. We repeated some of our standard South Africa tour and added a few new things. Of course, we had to walk with the Lions!! Then at the end of the tour we flew up to Victoria Falls and stayed on the Zambia side for three nights. A full day tour into Botswana's Chobe National Park was a highlight, as was seeing the mighty falls - largest in the world. Getting home was another story, as our flight out of Vic Falls to Johannesburg was 4 1/2 hours late, causing everyone to miss their international flights home! It was a real chore getting tickets restored and getting people home!

MACHU PICCHU and PERU HIGHLIGHTS - Peru is such a fabulous destination with so much to offer. Of course, Machu Picchu is always expected to be the highlight, and is, but that is by no means the only highlight. Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco and Lima, all keep the tour exciting. This one I plan to repeat in 2017.

ISINGS TRAVEL - NEW MEXICO - Two back-to-back tours for Isings Travel in New Mexico proved interesting! The first one went fine, but weather problems caused flight cancellations on the second one that wreaked havoc with our schedule! I flew with the Florida group and got as far as Dallas on American Airlines, missed our connection there and got dumped in Dallas with no onward flights! We had to charter a bus and drive 10 hours to Albuquerque! The other group, flying from Philadelphia, had their flight cancelled and got to New Mexico two days later! We added 2 days on to the end of the trip for them, and when the Florida group went to the airport for their flights home, THEIR flight was cancelled and they had to overnight in Albuquerque! New Mexico is such a wonderful destination, it's too bad it was overshadowed by such bad luck with flights.

WESTERN USA - Las Vegas to Bozeman with a small group from Switzerland, and we took in lots of the national parks. It was great to spend 11 nights in Utah! Southern Utah, with the Escalante, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Lake Powell, and Moab is just magical. The Swiss were certainly enchanted. We worked our way up through Yellowstone, ending in Bozeman where we had a picnic at my cabin.

NORTHERN ROCKIES - I barely had any time at home before heading to Rapid City to join an MYW tour through the Black Hills, Yellowstone/Tetons, up to the Canadian Rockies and Glacier. Very hot weather met us in western Montana, but it cooled down and gave us showers in Banff.

MULLET FAMILY REUNION, BOZEMAN - I hurried home from the Rockies tour to catch the last two days of family reunion just outside of Bozeman. It was a big crowd and we had a good time visiting.

US SOUTHWEST - Right after reunion I flew to Las Vegas and picked up Ed & Diane Garrison, their daughter and son-in-law and two grandsons. We headed up into southern Utah and enjoyed an adventurous 10 days climbing, hiking, looking, and having fun. From horseback riding to jetboating, a good time was had by all!

ISINGS TRAVEL - MAINE & MARITIMES: I had two days at home to get ready for a tour for Isings Travel. We flew to Bangor, Maine and enjoyed 2 nights at the Bar Harbor Inn and Acadia National Park. Then it was up to Canada to New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, including Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail. A pastoral tour indeed.

ISINGS TRAVEL - YELLOWSTONE/TETONS & GLACIER PARK - There was only one day at home before I flew back to Florida to take a group out west. A nice leisurely itinerary with 3 nights in Jackson Hole, 3 nights at Old Faithful Inn, 1 night in Helena and 2 nights at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, where we finished up with a ride on the Red Buses up to Logan Pass in Glacier National Park.

ALASKA & YUKON - Five Swiss and two Americans when with me for two spectacular weeks in Alaska and Yukon. We started with a couple rainy days in Juneau, but still enjoyed seeing bears, hiking the rain forest, and taking a float plane to Taku Lodge for a salmon bake. Up the Inside Passage to Skagway for a rafting trip and the White Pass Railroad into B.C. From Whitehorse, Yukon we rented a van and continued to Dawson City for a fantastic day of fall color in the tundra. Back into Alaska to Tok and Fairbanks. A day in Denali treated us to lots of grizzly bear and moose, and we finished the trip with a glacier cruise out of Whittier. An exciting adventure!

MYW TOURS - PEAKS, PARKS & CANYONS - One of my favorite tours in the southwest national parks, but my LAST tour with Mennonite-Your-Way Tours. After 25 years of doing tours with MYW, this was the farewell tour. We enjoyed beautiful weather and spectacular scenery as we went through Colorado to Moab, Utah for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. We continued through Capitol Reef and the Escalante to Bryce and Zion, and then to North Rim Grand Canyon. Heading back east we hit Page, Arizona and Monument Valley before returning through Colorado. It's such a fantastic region and I will continue to take people there at the slightest opportunity!

ISINGS TRAVEL - ITALY & SICILY - A very nice trip to Italy with 30 elderly people, starting with Venice in the north and seeing Tuscany, Rome, and Sorrento on the way to Sicily. Beautiful hotels and restaurants and lots of great sites.

SOUTH AFRICA - Two tours back-to-back in South Africa, as is my norm in November. Both tours featured lots of incredible animal sightings, landscapes, and culture, but the second tour included an extension to Victoria Falls. We stayed in the historic Victoria Falls Hotel and enjoyed the world's largest waterfall, a sunset dinner cruise, as well as a dinner / cultural show.

QUITO, ECUADOR - I needed one more trip on Delta to maintain my Diamond status, so Kathy Aaron, Ruth Mark, and I flew to Quito for 4 days. It was pretty relaxed and we enjoyed the countryside, indigenous villages, and a cable car ride up a volcano. As it turns out, the trip also made Kathy diamond, and made Ruth a gold with Delta, so well worth it!

2014 RECAP

SWITZERLAND - January 9 I flew to Switzerland for a couple weeks. Started off by celebrating Anny Gerber's birthday and then spent the rest of the time visiting friends and past tour guests. This was my first visit since the death of Abraham Gerber back in June, so there was certainly a different tone to the visit, but it was good to be there.

SOUTHEAST ASIA - January 29 I flew to Bangkok, Thailand for a couple weeks of travel with my friend Rod from Maine. I'm not sure, but I think this is what people refer to as vacation! I'm not used to traveling just for fun, but we had a great time - 3 nights in Bangkok, 3 nights in the beach area of southwest Thailand, on to Penang, Malaysia, followed by a drive up through the beautiful Central Highlands of Malaysia, and ending up with 3 nights in Singapore. We also celebrated Rod's 60th birthday on the trip with a day on a boat out to the Hong Islands.

ISRAEL/PALESTINE/JORDAN - March 29 to April 14 I escorted a group of 34 people, mainly from our church in Bozeman, on an intense trip to the Middle East. It was like a 6-month seminary course, as we saw the sights and learned all about them. Our last 3 days in Jordan were a little easier, as we had a day at a resort on the Dead Sea before ending up with two nights at Petra. Petra is still one of my favorite destinations in the world and we enjoyed a full day down in the 'Red Rose City Half as Old as Time!" Even my 91-year-old Mother went along on this trip, and my sister Gaylene was along to help out.

WASHINGTON DC & WILLIAMSBURG - A trip for Isings Travel with 20 people from retirement communities was a lovely short trip to a historic area. We spent three nights in Washington to see the highlights of the monuments, the museums, and the Arlington Cemetery before driving down to Colonial Williamsburg for two nights. Lots of interesting history in that area, not to mention the spring flowers.

PERU AND MACHU PICCHU - Quick turnaround! I flew home Wednesday night after the DC trip and left the next morning at 6:00 for Lima, Peru! Eleven of us enjoyed an adventurous tour discovering the highlights of the history, culture, and geography of this extraordinarily significant country in South America. Of course Machu Picchu was a big highlight, but so was Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, and the Sacred Valley. I don't think anyone in the group was prepared to be as overwhelmed as they were! Elevation was an interesting factor as we stayed overnight above 11,000 feet numerous times and actually drove clear up above 16,000 feet above sea level! Wow! Overall a most fascinating and worthwhile trip!

CALIFORNIA - Another Isings Travel trip to the highlights of central California. A very elderly group created a few challenges but we had a good time and saw some amazing sights. Two nights in the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite and a couple nights in a motel right on the ocean were special treats.

EUROPE - Charlotte White, daughter & son-in-law Kyra & Jeff, and the 4 grandkids did a 2-week trip through Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Switzerland with me. What a great time we had. We went to a spa in the Black Forest, took a river cruise past the Castles of the Rhine, visited Dokkum where Charlotte's family came from, spent a couple days in Pars and a night in Strasbourg before ending up with 3 nights in a big chalet house in the Swiss Alps. Had some great hikes and lots of fun together!

ALASKA - The first 2 weeks of July I took Elmer & Ellen Martin, along with their 4 daughters and 4 sons-in-law through the highlights of Alaska and Yukon. What a time we had. We saw lots of moose and bear - quite close up at that! Saw Mt. McKinley in all its glory, took a float plane ride to Taku Lodge for a Salmon Bake, and enjoyed a cruise in Prince William Sound to see some magnificent glaciers. The family was lots of fun together!

WESTERN USA - Was barely home from Alaska when Hugo & Jolanda Gerber and their 4 children flew into Bozeman for a 3-week trip through the western National Parks, going from Bozeman to San Francisco. It was a full trip with lots of adventures and we kept the kids busy climbing and hiking!

KAUFFMAN REUNION - The trip with Gerbers ended Friday evening in San Francisco so I drove straight through back to Montana and made it to reunion near Bozeman by 4pm Saturday. Got in on a lot of good visiting and it was nice to see some of the cousins who have not been to many reunions in the past. We have a wonderful family.

SWITZERLAND - Another Isings Travel trip and we spent 2 weeks in just Switzerland. So often tours will spend a couple nights in Switzerland on a European trip but the country is definitely worth a whole trip itself. So I helped design a tour to lots of my favorite places. The weather cooperated and we had a most spectacular trip! Wow! (We said that a lot!).

NORTHERN ENGLAND - Who has ever heard of 12 days in Northern England without a drop of rain!? John and Sally Moores and family benefited from great weather as the 7 of us explored castles and quaint villages at a leisurely pace.

SWITZERLAND - Another 2 weeks in Switzerland, this time with Mennonite-Your-Way Tours. Well, we did spend 2 nights on Lake Como in Italy, but the rest was in Switzerland. We were treated to amazing sights in the Bernese Alps, the Lake District of Italy, and the Matterhorn Region. I think I need to do more tours in Switzerland!

SOUTH AFRICA - As usual, two tours to South Africa, but this year was a little different. The first trip was my standard small-group tour with similar itineraries to past years. There was one BIG exception however. We spent a night at the Protea Hotel Ranch Conservancy, and in the morning we WALKED with the LIONS! It was amazing. We actually went for a walk for about an hour out into the bush with 3 lions, accompanied by 4 rangers. We couldn't quite believe we were able to do it. The second tour was for a larger and more elderly group for Isings Travel. The itinerary was somewhat similar, but we added 2 nights at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe.

2013 RECAP

TEXAS - Mother was at my sister Pam's in Texas for about 6 weeks from mid-December until late January. I flew down January 18 for a long weekend there and then accompanied my Mother back to Bozeman.

SWITZERLAND - A week after returning from Texas I was back on a plane again for 10 days in Switzerland. It was part business, part pleasure, as Switzerland is an important client base for me, as well as being home to many good friends.

EGYPT and JORDAN - On Valentine's Day I took 25 people to Egypt for a most amazing trip. We flew into Cairo, and then the next morning continued on to Luxor, where we boarded the 5-star Royal Lotus Nile cruise ship. We visited the Valley of the Kings, Luxor and Karnak Temples, and proceeded south on the river clear to Aswan where we saw the high dam and Philae Temple. After a very early morning wake-up call we took a tour through the desert to Abu Simbel, some of the most impressive ruins of ancient Egypt. From Aswan we flew back to Cairo for 4 nights at the Mena House Hotel at the foot of the great pyramids in Giza. We had lots of time for the pyramids and sphinx, ancient Cairo, the Egyptian Museum, and a day-trip to Alexandria to see the famous library. Everywhere we went we were warmly received as Americans and nowhere was there any sign of the unrest we had heard so much about prior to the tour. This was a fantastic trip and one I will have to repeat soon! After the tour, 19 of us continued on to Jordan for 2 nights in Petra and 1 night at the Dead Sea. It was a perfect ending to a perfect tour!

SOUTHWEST - This was the "Welcome Back to Travel, Doris" tour! Just Doris Gnagey, Ruth Mark, and I doing a leisurely hiking tour in Southern Utah, joined by Kathy Aaron for a few days. Doris traveled extensively until she had a stroke in 2009, so this was her first trip since then. We hope she'll be doing more again now. From Palm Springs, California up into Southern Utah to the canyons of the Escalante and the Lake Powell region. I've seldom taken so many photos on a trip that I wanted everyone to see - what amazing country!

WORK ON MY CABIN - After the southwest trip I had several weeks to get things organized at home and work some on my cabin. Several people helped, including my sisters Val and Gaylene, and Ruth Mark. We got the back and side walls framed up, the roof on and done(!), and three of the windows installed. It's really beginning to look like a cabin.

ISINGS TRAVEL, CANYONLANDS TOUR - In May I flew to Florida and then flew a group of retirement community residents to Phoenix, where 26 of us did a nice tour through the southwest parks. From Phoenix we went to Sedona for a Pink Jeep ride; two nights at the Grand Canyon; one night in Monument Valley; two nights in Page, Arizona for Antelope Canyon and a boat ride on Lake Powell; two nights in Zion with a day visit to Bryce Canyon National Park; and a final night in Las Vegas.

ILLINOIS - Immediately after the southwest tour I flew to Illinois to attend the wedding of my Amish friend, Matthew Miller. What a wonderful occasion it was. It was very rewarding spending time with the Miller family and visiting with lots of other friends from the Arthur, Illinois community. It was my first Amish wedding and that was also quite an experience!

MYW - Yellowstone/Rockies - Our Mennonite-Your-Way tour to the Black Hills, Yellowstone/Tetons, Glacier and Canadian Rockies was again a big success. Good weather and a good group made for a very nice tour. Lots of good photos!

YELLOWSTONE/TETONS with Jim & Arlene Snavely Famly - 10 days in just the Yellowstone/Teton area. We started in Billings, went up over the Beartooth Highway and spent a couple nights in Cody. Then 4 nights in Yellowstone and 2 nights in the Tetons made for a full but leisurely tour.

GINGERICH FAMILY, Southwest - This was a really fun tour with an energetic and fun-loving family. We packed it in every day with lots of sightseeing and climbing! From Denver out through southern Utah with lots of parks and natural areas, then back to the train in Grand Junction.

ISINGS TRAVEL, CANADIAN ROCKIES - We flew to Calgary for 8 days in the spectacular Canadian Rockies - 3 nights in Banff, 3 nights in Jasper, and a night at Lake Louise. What a beautiful area and we were lucky with some good animal sightings as well!

SOUTHWEST HIKING TOUR - Small group tour through some of my favorite areas. Lots of hiking in the remote jewels of southern Utah. Breathtaking beauty! The more I explore this area, the more I want to go back!

MYW, CALIFORNIA - My last tour with Leon & Nancy Stauffer of MYW Tours, after more than 20 years of working together. A lovely itinerary had to be sharply altered due to the Government shutdown, but we made the best of it and the people had a good time and saw lots of wonderful sights.

SOUTHWEST, Swiss Group - Another really nice leisurely itinerary through the west, starting with a few days in Bozeman and working our way down to Utah. Here again the government shutdown kept us out of Yellowstone and Tetons, but everything was open by the time we got to Utah. Started off in the snow and continued into the bright sunshine. My back did cause some problems on this tour, but we made it through and my Swiss gals had a good time.

SOUTH AFRICA - My South Africa tours every year are always good, but the second one this year was even better than most. We had the most dramatic animal sightings of any tour I've done, including a lion tracking a leopard, hoping to kill it, and then seeing a baby leopard in a tree. Our coffee break and our evening sundowner break were both interrupted by animals (the coffee break by lions and the sundowners by a grump rhino!). The group was delightful and every day just seemed to be a highlight!

2012 RECAP

FLORIDA, for Ann Menges' 80th Birthday - My long-time friend from cruise ships, Ann Menges, and I have had a tradition on our "0" birthdays of giving each other that number of wrapped gifts. So, as Ann was turning 80 January 7, I flew to Florida to help celebrate and took along 80 small, individually wrapped gifts (with the help of my sister Gaylene!). As it turns out, it was to be our last birthday celebration together. In July she went into the hospital with breathing difficulties and in less than a month she passed away. I was able to get to Florida and see her before she died. She was already in a coma but definitely knew I was there. The END of an era!

SOUTH AMERICA - A new tour for me, I took 19 people on a tour/cruise to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. We flew into Sao Paulo, took a 7-day cruise to Uruguay and Argentina and landed back in Sao Paulo. We flew to Iguassu Falls for 2 nights and ended up in Rio de Janeiro on Copacabana Beach for 2 nights, including the highlights of the Sugar Loaf cablecar and the train up to Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer Statue. After the tour, Kermit Kauffman, Alan Schuyler, and I went to Peru for a few days to go to Cuzco and Machu Pichu. That was absolutely superb! Be sure to check out the blog under 'Tour Photos'.

DUBAI - My third tour to Dubai and the Gulf States and I can hardly wait to go back again in 2 years! What a fabulous trip. Again, we spent a couple nights in Dubai before boarding a 7-day cruise to Muscat, Oman; Fujairah, UAE; and Abu Dhabi. I always hate to leave that area. After the tour, five of us went to Jordan and spent 2 nights at Petra and 1 night at the Dead Sea. Perfect extension to the Dubai trip.

NEW ZEALAND - I barely had time to repack after the Dubai trip before flying to Auckland for a 2-week tour through the north and south islands of New Zealand with 6 gals from Oregon. What a trip. I had warned them to bring rain gear, as rain forests are there for a reason! However, we had gorgeous weather for 2 weeks and even experienced Milford Sound and Mt. Cook with perfect weather and clear views. Wow! After the group went home I flew to Australia and spent a couple days on the Gold Coast with my friends Dave Oakes and Vicki Scotts, then hopped out to Ayers Rock to see the giant red monolith. Now that I have visited Machu Pichu and Ayers Rock this year, I've been to all of what I consider the world's top-tier attractions! Now I can start on visiting the rest of the second-tier attractions (and the rest of the countries I haven't yet been to! :)

NASHVILLE - In April I flew to Ft. Lauderdale to take a group for Isings Travel up to Nashville for a few days. Three nights in the Grand Ole Opry Hotel was nice, but the hotel is way too big for the kind of group I had. With nearly 3,000 rooms, it was like running a marathon to get from their rooms to the breakfast cafe! We had a fun weekend though, visiting plantations and the Parthenon, taking a dinner cruise on the General Jackson Paddlewheeler, going to the Grand Ole Opry, and having a private event with John Carter Cash, son of Johnny Cash!

NORTHWEST, Columbia River Paddlewheeler - After a couple weeks of good work on my cabin (see blog on the home page) I did another trip for Isings Travel in mid-May, flying to Florida and taking 40 people to Spokane to cruise the Snake and Columbia Rivers on the Queen of the West Paddlewheeler. What a beautiful riverboat and what a lovely trip. In spite of a lot of rain, we had a delightful time sailing from the Idaho border clear down to the Pacific Ocean, following the trail of Lewis & Clark.

SOUTHWEST, with Swiss Group - Four of my favorite past tour guests from Switzerland joined me in Los Angeles end of May, for a tour through southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. As usual, near-perfect weather accompanies us through the region and we enjoyed the many spectacles of the desert southwest, canyons, and southern Rocky Mountains.

EUROPE, with Nieces and Nephews - Four years ago several of my nieces and nephews decided that when they graduate from high school, Uncle Kent would take them to Europe. So off we went. My sister Val and her husband Craig and their three children Josh, Hannah, and Elgin, went to Italy for a week first, and then my sister Vaughn, and nieces Tonya and Abby met up with them in Zurich. We spent a few fantastic days in the Swiss Alps - even visiting our friend Zossi - after which Val, Craig, and Elgin flew home, while the rest of us continued to Strasbourg, France; Munich, Germany; Salzburg, Austria; and the Fairytale Castles of the Bavarian Alps, before returning to Switzerland.

LYNN MILLER & FAMILY - The first week in July my Amish friends from Illinois came for a week. We spent a day putting adobe on my cabin walls, and then headed for Yellowstone, Tetons, and Salt Lake City. Always a fun group and we got some good work done on the cabin as well.

MYW NORTHWEST - A bus tour with Leon & Nancy Stauffer featuring the highlights of Washington, B.C., Oregon, and Northern California. Weather was perfect the whole time. The Olympic Peninsula, Victoria and Butchart Gardens, Vancouver and the Fraser River Valley, back down through Seattle, Mount St. Helens, Oregon's Willamette Valley, Oregon Dunes and coast, down as far as the Redwoods of California. We headed back up to Crater Lake for a picture perfect day and then up the east side of the Cascades back to Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.

MOM'S 90th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION! - On July 28 we invited people to come celebrate Mom's 90th birthday. Over 200 people were there for the celebration in Bozeman, and they came from Florida, Texas, Indiana, Connecticut, Minnesota, California, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington. Mom loved it and she so enjoyed the visiting.

ITALY, ISINGS TRAVEL, August - This was a big challenge, taking 30 very elderly people on a 2-week land tour through Italy. Nice itinerary - we spent 3 nights in the Lake District of the North, 3 nights in Florence, 3 nights in the Sorrento/Amalfi Coast area, and finished up with 2 nights in Rome. Unusually hot the whole time in Italy, but we survived and enjoyed great sights and lots of good food!

PEAKS, PARKS & CANYONS, MYW, September - One of my favorite tours that I do every two years for Mennonite-Your-Way. From the Colorado Rockies to the parks and canyons of Utah and northern Arizona. We always seem to have near perfect weather for pictures with deep blue sky!

RAILS & TRAILS of the WEST, October - A nice tour for Isings Travel to Utah and Colorado. We started with two nights in Salt Lake City, continued with 3 nights in Moab, Utah for Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, then spent 3 nights in Durango, Colorado for Mesa Verde National Park and the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Our flights were out of Albuquerque, so we threw in the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta at the end. Great trip - great photos.

SOUTHWEST, OKTOBER - Eine tolle Reise mit einem Ehepaar aus Meiringen, Schweiz. Yvonne und Hansruedi haben die Hoehepuenkt von Utah, Arizona, Nevada und Kalifornien genossen.

SOUTH AFRICA - The annual November tradition continues with two tours back-to-back. On both tours our animals sightings were nothing short of extraordinary. We were all overwhelmed with the numbers and the close proximity to so many different ones. On each tour we also saw the Big 5. Check out the South Africa blog using the link on the home page.

CARIBBEAN CHRISTMAS CRUISE - Isings Travel and 25 elderly guests! The Holland America Prinsendam was our home for 2 weeks as we spent the holidays sailing the Caribbean. It was not an easy tour, with numerous problems to deal with, and I even had to spend a night in a chair on deck due to Air Conditioning problems!! Maybe I'm getting to old to keep hosting these groups on 'relaxing' cruises!! A highlight for me though, was Christmas dinner in San Juan, Puerto Rico with friends. Ed & Diane Garrison from Virginia were visiting their daughter in San Juan for a few weeks and noticed our itinerary. When they saw I would be there on Christmas day, they extended an invitation. Lovely!

2011 RECAP

FLORIDA - I spent 5 days in the Ft. Lauderdale area visiting friends and also doing numerous promotions with Jeanne from Isings Travel for tours we are doing this year for retirement communities up and down the east coast.

SWITZERLAND - I pulled off a big surprise and went to Switzerland for a week and a half without telling people I was coming. It was fun showing up and seeing the shock as people tried to convince their brain of what their eyes were seeing!

QUEEN VICTORIA Cruise - In March I escorted a group of 45 people on a cruise to the Caribbean for Isings Travel. It was my first time on this Cunard Liner and it was delightful! My sister Gaylene was along as a companion to our friend Ann Menges and she helped out with the group as well. Caribbean ports aren't my favorites, but we had a good time exploring together anyway. Food, service, and entertainment on the Queen Vic were outstanding!

VIRGINIA - Beginning of May I took a senior group through Isings Travel to the gardens and plantations of Virginia. The flowers and trees were beautiful and we also enjoyed a day up on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Four nights at the fabulous Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville was a luxury!

SWITZERLAND - Abraham Gerber turned 80! The Gerbers have been my 'Swiss Family' for over 35 years, so I had to go over for a week to help celebrate. After the public celebration we spent a couple days in the Alps enjoying the wild narcissus meadows and the spectacular mountains.

WESTERN PARKS - For three weeks in May/June a small group from Switzerland traveled with me through the southwest and up to Yellowstone/Tetons, ending with a picnic on my land. It was a rather full trip with a lot of miles and lots of highlights. I put over 300 photos on my photo site (see Tour Photos)!! We had perfect weather all the way until we reached the north country and then had some rain and clouds in Yellowstone and Bozeman, but that didn't dampen our enjoyment. This was really a fantastic trip and the photos are definitely worth looking at.

MYW ROCKIES - The last two weeks of June I was again with MYW tours touring the parks from the Black Hills to Yellowstone/Tetons, Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park. We were scheduled to take the Red Buses in Glacier to the top of Logan Pass, but due to the record-breaking snowfall last winter/spring, we couldn't even get close to the top of the pass. We had a great trip though and it was fun to see the deep snow in the mountains.

ISINGS TRAVEL ROCKIES - A day after getting home from the MYW Tour I headed to Florida to pick up a group of seniors from various retirement communities. We did a similar tour, minus the Canada portion, and did it a little more leisurely. We spent two nights in the Black Hills, on to Cody, two nights in the Tetons, two nights in Yellowstone, a night in Helena and ended with two nights in Whitefish for a visit to Glacier. In Jackson Hole we took the tramway to the top of Rendezvous Mountain and it was stunning to see the amount of snow in mid-July. The Tetons had received over 700 inches of snow last winter! In Glacier we were a little luckier than my previous tour and made it to the top of the pass. However, the snow was so deep, the roof of the visitor center was just peeking out of the snowbanks!! We were there on July 18 and they had just opened the road!

ISINGS TRAVEL UK CRUISE - In August I escorted a group of 35 retirees on a lovely cruise aboard the Crown Princess around England, Ireland, and Scotland. It seemed it should have been a fairly easy trip, but we had plenty of complications to make it interesting! Right off the bat, one couple had their passports fall out of their hand luggage in the bus that brought us from Heathrow to the ship, and the bus headed back to the garage an hour away with the passports. We barely managed to get them back in time for the couple to board the ship (the captain actually held the ship a few minutes). I almost lost another woman in Belfast, another lady had a nice diabetic attack, and one of our gentleman took a hard fall. To top it all off, we had several people flying back to New York and Philadelphia right when the hurricane closed all the area airports! We got them home, but there was plenty of drama to go around.

ISINGS TRAVEL MAINE - Just a nice little trip to coastal Maine and there were only 12 people in the group. We stayed two nights in Kennebunkport and three nights at the lovely Bar Harbor Inn for Acadia National Park. Nothing spectacular, just a pleasant few days of touring and enjoying the coastline, harbors, and islands of Maine. Also had a nice whale watching trip to close it out.

EGYPT!! - Last spring 94-year-old Armina Marra from Florida asked me if I would take her to Egypt. You bet! We asked Ruth Mark from Indiana to join us and off we went. Armina had been to Egypt 40 years ago when they were planning the Aswan Dam and she wanted to see it now that it's complete. We did a 5-day Nile River cruise (lovely!) and ended in Aswan. She was thrilled to see the dam and all the irrigation because of it. From Aswan we went to Cairo for 3 nights in the Ramses Hilton, just off Tahrir Square, where the revolution took place last January. We were made to feel so welcome everywhere we went during the tour - what a great time to visit Egypt. We even got to witness a day of protests in the square, though there was nothing to be afraid of, but we did get to see a little bit of history in the making. Of course the pyramids, sphinx, temples, and the Alexandria library were all highlights as well. I'd go back in a heartbeat - anyone want to go??

MYW BALLOONS & CACTUS - In October we did a repeat of this tour with a fair bit of tweaking from the first trip. The itinerary seemed to flow much better the second time around and we all had a great time. After a night in the America's oldest capital city, Santa Fe, we were treated with balloons in Albuquerque. Many lesser know parks and monuments filled the itinerary from there to the Grand Canyon, from where we turned south through Sedona and Phoenix to Tucson for 2 nights. The Sonoran Desert is always fascinating. On the way back through New Mexico we enjoyed White Sands, Cloudcroft Lodge, and Carlsbad Caverns.

CABIN PROJECT - We had a few nice days end of October to work more on the cabin. The front wall, as well as the front halves of both side walls, are finished and roof-ready! We didn't have quite enough time to get the back wall finished but hopefully that will be accomplished in April. In the meantime it's covered up and put to bed for winter.

SOUTH AFRICA - Two tours back-to-back in November/December finished out my tour year. Fantastic. I love watching people's perceptions change as we go through the trips, in addition to the animals and sights we enjoy. This is truly an amazing country, and I'll be pleased to continue doing tours there every year as long as I'm able.

2010 RECAP

SWITZERLAND - Anny Gerber turned 75 on January 10, so I had to fly across the 'big pond' and help celebrate. I spent 2 weeks there and during that time also did more tour planning with a number of Swiss groups.

FABULOUS DUBAI AND ARABIAN NIGHTS 2 - An encore trip to Dubai and the Gulf States, but with a new ship, the Costa Luminosa. This was another great success and three people repeated the trip from last year. Actually my cousin Chloe had also booked to repeat, but broke her ankle and had to cancel. We stayed again in my favorite hotel downtown, the 5-star Radisson Deira Creek, and did our tours of modern Dubai and ancient Dubai, as well as the desert safari with dinner in a Bedouin Camp. We enjoyed the new ship and our ports of call were wonderful. Muscat, Oman is really one of my favorite places in the world. We had a young Omani man as our guide, Badar, and he gave great insight into their country, culture, and religion. The people in my group will certainly not be tempted to "lump all Arabs/Muslims into the same pot" anymore. In Bahrain, we were delighted to have our young Bahraini Lady, Nada, as our guide again. After the group flew home, Mother, Armina, Gaylene, Roger and I flew to Amman, Jordan, where we were joined by Kermit Kauffman for a few days visiting Petra and the Dead Sea. This was a terrific 3 days and Mother said the trip into Petra was one of the highlights of her life. Thanks to Armina for the Petra suggestion! I'll definitely offer that as an optional extension next year.... And yes, that does mean I have decided to offer "Dubai and Arabian Nights 3" next February 2011.

MAJOR REMODEL on Mother's House! - Thirty years ago when we bought our house in Bozeman, Mother wished the kitchen and dining room were reversed. We always thought it would be nice, but that it was way too big a project to attempt. When our friend Rachel Shureb heard about it a few months ago, she looked at it and just replied, "We can do that!" Now it's being done, but of course the project didn't stop there! The false ceilings came down in the living room, kitchen, and dining room. New lighting is being put in, new outlets and electricity, new cabinets, new flooring under old cabinets, new plumbing, and of course new sheetrocking, taping, and painting! Lest anyone think I had a vacation between Dubai and my first tour, just take a look at the photos for the project on the Tour Photos page!

VIRGINIA GARDENS & PLANTATIONS with a senior group - We started in Washington DC with a little touring of our nation's capital and then headed to Charlottesville, VA to the Boars Head Inn for 4 nights. What a great place that is. We toured some of the famous plantations, like Monticello etc, and drove up on Skyline drive in Shenandoah National Park. It was 34 degrees at the visitor center! It was a little early for spring flowers, but dogwoods and redbuds were beautiful.

SOUTHWEST - In May I did two small-group tours back to back in Utah, Colorado and Arizona. I never tire of going to the canyons and parks and wild places of southern Utah and surrounding areas. Great photos!

SOUTHWEST - In late May I did another tour for Isings Travel. Members of John Knox Village and Shell Point enjoyed nearly perfect weather in the canyons and mountains of the southwest, from Phoenix to Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Lake Powell, through Zion and Bryce to Las Vegas. This was also the first tour that our youngest member from John Knox joined us, Ingrid Haleby Halaby!

WASHINGTON DC - A week in DC with Bill & Charlotte White and their three grandchildren was a fun and learning experience.

MYW EUROPE - June 16 I flew to Europe to be both tour operator and tour director for 48 people. We started with 2 days of rain in Zurich but the weather improved for Strasbourg, Heidelberg, a Rhine River cruise, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, and Salzburg. One of the highlights of the tour was the Oberammergau Passion Play which takes place every 10 years. We ended up with 3 nights in the Swiss Alps and enjoyed hiking high in the mountains and exploring Emmental. I had been working on this tour for over 2 years so it was a great relief when it was finally over and went relatively well.

AMISH in UTAH & COLORADO - Barely home from Europe I met 9 Amish gals in Grand Junction and toured them through southeastern Utah, Monument Valley, Durango/Silverton and back to Colorado Springs via the Black Canyon and Royal Gorge.

KAUFFMAN REUNION - 65 Kauffmans came to Bozeman for our bi-annual family reunion. I organized this one again and fortunately had lots of help from my siblings and other family members. It's a lot of work, but those who came had a great time visiting and playing games.

NORTHERN ROCKIES - A few days after reunion I flew to Philadelphia and picked up people from six different retirement communities and we flew to Kalispell, Montana. We enjoyed a day in Glacier National Park with a tour to the top of Logan Pass on the red buses. From there we headed north into B.C. through Kootenay National Park to Lake Louise for a night at the Chateau. From there we continued up the Icefields Parkway for the Ice Explorer on the Athabasca Glacier and spent two nights in Jasper, enjoying Maligne Canyon and a boat ride on Maligne Lake. Back to Banff and Yoho, finishing with two nights in Banff Town before flying home from Calgary.

KUNZ-WESTERHOFF FAMILY - Barely home from that tour when Dominique, Armin, & Thomas from Switzerland arrived for 5 days in the Yellowstone/Teton area. I've seen a lot of animals over the years in the park, but I don't know if I've ever seen such a complete array of all the park animals as we enjoyed in those few days. Amazing.

MY CABIN PROJECT - Finally I took a break of a month so I could get started building a little cabin on my land an hour northwest of Bozeman. Click on the link on the homepage to see the blog of our progress. I don't really have a target date for completion - the project is the destination - but I'll probably get a roof on it by next August if I don't book my schedule too full!

MYW PEAKS, PARKS & CANYONS - One of my favorite tours every two years. Colorado, Utah and Arizona. I think I enjoyed this as much as any of these tours we've done before. Great photos!

ISINGS TRAVEL - BALLOON FIESTA AND SANTA FE - Just a short tour with a group of retirees from the east, but we enjoyed balloons, adobe architecture, art, culture, and Native American / Spanish history.

SOUTH AFRICA!! - I had a couple weeks at home before spending a month in South Africa, doing two tours back-to-back. I love this country and could easily live here. The people on the tours were not eager to go home when it was time either. We saw amazing animals in the east in the Lowfeld, fascinating cultures of Zulu, Xhosa, Boer and Anglo, gorgeous seascapes and landscapes on the Garden Route, and then ended with 3 spectacular days in Cape Town - the crown jewel of Africa! Our day on the Cape was stunning with the Twelve Apostles, Chapman's Peak (marine) Drive, Boulder's Beach for African Penguins, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, where we had great vistas in every direction. Our day in Stellenbosch Wine region was very different with the most delightful agricultural scenes and endless vineyards. We enjoyed a delicious Boerebraai (Afrikaans BBQ) at the Middelvlei Winery and they spoiled us with the best foods possible. Check out the blog or the photo site to see more of the trips.

2009 RECAP

As much as I enjoy world cruises, I must admit that it's rather nice having more flexibility in the winter, as opposed to being gone on a ship for several months. After a severe cold spell in December, January was fairly mild, but I headed down to Florida for a week anyway. Most of my time, though, was spent preparing for the biggest tour project I've ever undertaken - Dubai!

FABULOUS DUBAI AND ARABIAN NIGHTS! I organized a trip for 25 people in February to Dubai and the Persian Gulf. We stayed 2 nights in the 5-Star Radisson SAS in the middle of Dubai and then took a 7-night cruise on the Costa Classica to Muscat, Oman; Fujairah UAE; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Manama, Bahrain; and back to Dubai. It turned out to be a tremendous trip. In Dubai we started with a tour of ancient Dubai with the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, the excellent museum, the old town, crossing the 'creek' by abra, and the fascinating souks (markets). If you think of Dubai as just expensive luxury, don't believe it. Shopping is wonderful and cheap in the souks. In the afternoon we went on a desert safari in luxury jeeps, careening up and down and sideways on huge dunes. We ended up at a Bedouin Camp in the desert for camel rides, belly dancing, waterpipes, henna painting, and of course a delicious barbecue dinner of Arab specialties. The next morning we toured modern Dubai and saw the incredibe architecture for which they are justifiably famous. We marveled at the Burj Dubai - the tallest building in the world - and went to Dubai Land to see one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. Of course we saw the indoor downhill snow skiing(!) and the 7-star Burj al Arab Hotel, and also drove out on the Jumeirah Palm Islands to the Atlantis Hotel at the end to see that unbelievable project. Mother describes Dubai as "modern as tomorrow and ancient as Abraham!" So true.

We boarded the Costa Classica and sailed to Muscat, Oman for a delightful tour of the port, the city, grand mosque, royal palace, fort and then tea at the gorgeous Al Bustan Palace Hotel. The next day in Fujairah people went off on their own, but 10 of us ended up having lunch in a typical Arab restaurant and ordered all kinds of local appetizers. Best meal of the trip! In Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, we toured the Grand Mosque - one of the most amazing and beautiful buildings in the world. The rest of the city was great as well, but the mosque rather overshadowed everything else. In Bahrain we had a lovely local lady, Nada, as our guide. It was super to get the woman's perspective from her, and not just from the men. We loved her. Bahrain does not take a backseat to the Emirates when it comes to being progressive! They also have great architecture, fabulous mansions/palaces, an ancient fortress, and a huge camel farm. We also drove halfway out on the 25-mile causeway toward Saudi Arabia and took the elevator to the top of a tower for the view.

The ship returned to Dubai Saturday noon, but we didn't have to disembark until time to go to the airport Sunday night. That allowed us some free time to do more shopping, and 10 of the group enjoyed high tea at the Burj al Arab (only $115 per person!). One of the most impressive aspects of the trip was the warm welcome we received when people learned we were Americans. That made us honored guests and we were treated so well everywhere we went in every port. There were countless instances of hospitality that sent each one in our group home with a different perspective on the Arabs and on what they think of us! The tour was a tremendous amount of work over a 6-month period, but now that I've done the research and made such excellent contacts, I've decided to do it AGAIN NEXT FEBRUARY. So if you missed your chance this time, you get another next year! SEND ME AN EMAIL IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION!

WINTER IN YELLOWSTONE - Doris Gnagey and Willie Vogt were both along on the Dubai trip, but a mere 2 weeks later they came to Bozeman to experience winter in Yellowstone. We spent two days in the northern part of the park, staying overnight in Cooke City, Montana. It was cold, but we had bright sunshine. We saw countless antelope, mule deer, bison, elk, and coyotes. We also got to observe 6 wolves through the telescopes of other visitors (wolf watchers). We also walked around in the snow around the terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. The next morning in Cooke City a couple nice fellows from Iowa took Willie and Doris on rides on their snowmobiles and even let them drive them! On the way back through the park, believe it or not, we saw a grizzly that had come out of hibernation early. He walked across the road in front of us, then meandered out about 100 yards, before making a kill to get some nourishment after his long winter. After eating some of the rabbit, he started rolling in the snow and playing with it, swinging it back and forth like a stuffed animal. All the while, 2 coyotes sat on either side barking (not howling) at the bear. He ignored them. Great drama. Later we went hotpotting in Boiling River. Delightful. The next day we drove early to West Yellowstone and spent the day on a snowcoach, going in to Old Faithful. Again the sky was bright blue and the geyser put on a good show for us. We saw bison all day long, as well as 17 trumpeter swans. Sunday afternoon we drove west of Bozeman to the Madison River and Beartrap Canyon for a walk along the river. Warm but windy. The wind brought in a fierce blizzard Monday afternoon and delayed their flight out by 2 1/2 hours. Doris and Willie went back to California to warm up, but taking with them memories of a spectacular winter wonderland.

HONOLULU - This was unexpected. My cousin Ken Stanley, who had just been with us in Dubai, took a sudden turn for the worse after battling cancer for several years and died March 31. His sister Chloe was trying to deal with his estate, so I flew out for a few days to help her and to go to the funeral.

SWITZERLAND, GERMANY & HOLLAND - In April I took Abraham & Anny Gerber, and Anny Zoss on a trip through the castle region of Germany's Rhine River and into the Netherlands. The tulip and daffodil fields were in full bloom and we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful colors.

CANYONLANDS - May/June - A nice short trip through some of the highlights of the southwest with seniors from a number of ACTS retirement communities on the east coast. Starting in Phoenix, we headed up through Sedona to Grand Canyon, over to Monument Valley, back to Page and Lake Powell, then Zion and Bryce before ending up in Las Vegas.

CANADIAN ROCKIES - End of June I flew to Florida to pick up a group from 2 different retirement communities and we flew to Calgary. We started with 2 nights in Banff and continued with a night at Chateau Lake Louise and 2 nights in Jasper before boarding the Rocky Mountaineer for a 2-day train trip to Vancouver. On the tour we saw an exceptional amount of wildlife and very close up. We saw 5 bears, 2 big bull elk, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep among other animals.

OTTO KUNZ FAMILY - Otto Kunz from Switzerland brought 3 of his grandchildren (ages 14, 12, 10) for a tour through the Yellowstone region and California. We visited the Pryor Mountain Wildhorse Refuge in southern Montana and the children were thrilled to get to see wild mustangs close up. We continued through Yellowstone Park and Virginia City, before flying to California for a visit to Yosemite National Park, Monterey, and San Francisco. James, Victoria, and Steven were a delight to travel with and got along with each other exceptionally well, making it a pleasant trip for all.

MULLET REUNION - Over 100 people came to our Mullet Family Reunion here in Bozeman, which I spearheaded. It was a lot of work, but turned out to be a great weekend. What a wonderful family we have.

AUGUST - My sister Gaylene spearheaded a project to redo the siding on the back of Mother's house. It quickly turned into a much bigger endeavor, including insulating the walls, replacing windows, and eventually having the electric system for much of the house redone! And to think I was hoping to spend some time building out on my land!

SEPTEMBER - MYW ROCKIES - The Mennonite-Your-Way tour is normally in June, but a conflict moved it to September. We weren't sure about the weather that late in the season, but it turned out perfect! We had an enormously good trip from the Black Hills of South Dakota, through Yellowstone and Tetons, up through Western Montana to the Canadian Rockies. On the return we took the red buses to Logan Pass in Glacier Park before heading east, where I left the group in Glendive.

OCTOBER - COLORADO / NEW MEXICO - Another trip with my "Ladies in their Eighties" through some lesser-known areas. Unseasonably cold weather was felt particularly by this group from Florida, but in spite of that we enjoyed Colorado Springs, Great Sand Dunes NP, the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad, Santa Fe, Tent Rocks NM, Cloudcroft, White Sands NM, Carlsbad Caverns, and El Paso.

NOVEMBER - SOUTH AFRICA!! - Now this was a truly wonderful tour! 6 Swiss and 4 Americans spent 2 weeks of safaris, great landscapes and seascapes, flowers, vineyards, Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula. We saw amazing wildlife up close at Shiduli Lodge and also in Kruger Park. The Blyde River Canyon was spectacular, as was the Garden Route along the south coast. The last 3 days in Cape Town were packed full of great activities and sightseeing, including riding to the top of Table Mountain and hiking(!) down and driving out to the Cape of Good Hope. Don't miss my photos of this trip on my 'Tour Photos' page.

2008 RECAP

In the winter of 2008 I took another break from world cruising, not that world cruising is a chore, mind you, but I had a lot of projects to catch up on and the extra time for them was nice. Of course, a break from world cruising didn't mean staying in one place!

I've been traveling the world extensively for over 30 years and have often had occasion to take Mother on trips, but seldom the rest of the family. In February we convinced Pam to join us on a 4-day cruise out of Los Angeles. Mother, Pam, Uncle Bud, Cousin Bev, friends Doris Gnagey and Steve Wall, and I had a great time cruising to San Diego, Catalina Island, and Ensenada. Pam was hooked on cruising!

In March Northwest Airlines offered such a cheap fare to Europe it just couldn't go neglected. So I spent a week visiting Gerbers and other friends in Switzerland.

Toward the end of March, Doris Gnagey, Willie Vogt, and I took off through some of the lesser-known areas of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. We had a great time hiking in the late winter / early spring weather. We discovered Tent Rocks National Monument near Santa Fe - a real gem. Willie had never been to the WAVE so we allowed ourselves several days to try and land permits through the lottery, but we got them on the first try. It's always exciting to hike in through North Coyote Buttes to the WAVE and of course Willie was duly impressed!

April/May I repeated much of that tour with a small group from Switzerland. We had to begin in one of their favorites, Organ Pipe National Monument. We continued to Chiricahua National Monument for hiking in the rocks and then up over the Coronado Trail. The Catwalk, Gila Cliffs, White Sands, El Paso, Carlsbad Caverns, Cloudcroft and the Valley of Fires filled our itinerary to Santa Fe and Taos. Then a ride on the DSNGRR out of Durango, a visit to Monument Valley, Goblin Valley, Devils Garden, and the Escalante got us to Las Vegas where we finished with a day trip to Death Valley. Unusually cold temps much of the tour, but we had a great time!

The end of June I flew to Boston and visited Rod Hazard in Maine a couple days before picking up Abraham & Anny Gerber, Gerhard Rabe, Gerbers' grandson Raphael and his friend Lucky Luke for a diverse trip across the United States. We first spent the 4th of July with Rod and ate lobster, then took the train to Indiana to see Ron & Ruth Davidhizar. By van we drove to Tuscola, Illinois to the Amish community and spent time with Lynn Miller and family. What a welcome they gave us. After a whirlwind tour of Chicago we flew to Bozeman and toured Yellowstone Park. Our plans changed when Gerhard collapsed to the floor at Old Faithful Inn and was helicoptered to Idaho Falls. He ended up having major open heart surgery a few days later! The rest of us continued the tour, flying to San Francisco and heading up the coast to the Redwoods. We headed south to Sequoia National Park to investigate Abraham's little grove he planted in 1985. The trees are doing well. While there Raphael, Luke and I climbed Moro Rock and were struck by lightning! Fortunately no one was hurt.

From San Francisco Gerbers flew home and I flew to Portland, Oregon and drove to Salem for a Kauffman family reunion. It's always so enjoyable to get together.

There wasn't much time after that before flying to Florida to pick up my 'Ladies in their Eighties' and take them to New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada for a couple weeks. Acadia National Park, the Cabot Trail, and Prince Edward Island were highlights. On the last day we were all invited for lunch to the home of one of the ladies on the tour. We dined on 'lobstuh' rolls and coleslaw while taking in sweeping views of the ocean.

The end of August brought another challenging tour, this one to Switzerland and Eastern Europe. We had glorious weather in the Swiss Alps for a nice hike and then headed east to Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest, Cracow, and Prague. It was one of those tours that demand a great deal of energy while operating the trip, but in retrospect was a huge success.

After a couple weeks break to check on the new trees on my land, I rejoined Mennonite Your Way tours for our biennial Peaks, Parks & Canyons tour in the Southwest. It's never a problem getting up for this tour and this one proved to be as good as expectations. The aspen were probably as spectacular this year as I have ever seen them. Especially between Silverton and Ouray in Southwest Colorado the trees were just brilliant!

I had a whole day at home after that tour before flying to Boston to pick up Karl & Ursula Heese from Germany. We ate lobster with Rod, Betty, and Kate in Maine and spent three days exploring the brilliant fall colors in New Hampshire. We drove to the top of Mt Washington into ice, snow, cold and wind! We toured through Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains of New York, then dropped down to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to see Amish Country and Philadelphia. We continued further south to Skyline Drive in Virginia and colonial Williamsburg. We returned via the coast and Chincoteague Island (saw one pony) and back to Boston.

Normally I would go to Switzerland early November, but this year I was busy wrapping up details of our February 2009 Dubai trip, with a final payment deadline of November 15. So I waited until the end of November and stayed into December. I returned to Montana to a real winter with snow and very cold temperatures through the end of the year!

2007 RECAP

In 2007 I resumed my world cruising! I hosted the Virtuoso group on the Queen Mary 2 maiden world cruise - around the world in 80 days! It was just my type of itinerary, lots of sea days so I could play bridge! It is a stunning ship with remarkable food and service. Because the ship is world-famous, we had great receptions in most of the ports. Thousands of people turned out to see the ship. In Sydney, Australia it was an absolute madhouse, as the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2 were in port together. The traffic completely shut down the city. In the evening we were treated to spectacular fireworks over the harbor.

I was home just long enough in April to plant a few trees out on my land before heading to Switzerland for a couple weeks. Three friends from Illinois; Lynn, Leona, & Matt Miller, took the QM2 to Europe and then I toured them around Switzerland for 10 days. We had such good weather I'm afraid they'll think that's normal. The mountains were so clear and beautiful.

Back home for two days, then off to Seattle to pick up Kellers (from Switzerland) for a tour of the Northwest, the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone/Tetons and down to Salt Lake City. There again I had only a day before driving to Rapid City, South Dakota to greet another MYW tour group for a tour of the Black Hills, Yellowstone/Tetons, the Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park.

The weekend following the fourth of July we had our Mullet family reunion north of Glendive in Eastern Montana. It was already pretty brown around the state, but there it was wonderfully green and we delighted in the myriad of wildflowers during several walks through the badlands.

Shortly after that I flew to Ft Lauderdale to pick up my "Ladies in their Eighties" for a tour of the Northwest, roundtrip Seattle. It had been exceptionally hot in Seattle, but the day we got there it turned cool and cloudy and remained unseasonably so for the duration of our 11-day trip! We had a great time though. I really enjoy my annual trips with my groups from John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, Florida.

After taking them home to Florida, I finally got a much needed break. Nearly 3 weeks at home to 'get organized' and catch up on numerous projects that have been neglected. Of course it also means time to spend on my land, which I relish!

Toward the end of August it was time for another Alaska/Yukon tour. Four Swiss flew first to Bozeman to enjoy a day in Yellowstone and an evening picnic out at my land. Then off to Juneau where we were met by two others for a couple weeks in the North. After a few cloudy, cool days in Southeast, we enjoyed stunning fall weather for most of the rest of the trip. The tundra in Northern Yukon and in Denali National Park was blazing with fall colors. We saw more animals (bears, moose, goats, sheep, wolves, caribou, whales) than I've ever seen in Alaska and we enjoyed seeing thousands of geese and cranes in migration along with many bald eagles. A glacier cruise in Prince William Sound topped off a superb tour!

In September I took a small group on a hiking tour in Southern Utah. I just enjoy that area more than any other destination in the world! My MYW tour bus driver, Doug, brought his sister and two friends friends from Pennsylvania and our friend Doris from California joined us for ten fabulous days exploring some of the secret wonders of the 'Grand Circle' from Moab to Zion and the Escalante. We were thrilled to get permits for the WAVE on our third day trying and we were 'treated' to a rainstorm that suddenly turned the rocks and cliffs into a myriad of waterfalls and cascades and transformed dry washes into rivers. In spite of being wet and cold, it was a true marvel to behold. It also washed out our road so we had to detour 40 miles to get out of the area, but even that was part of the adventure.

Just a few days later, in October, I joined Mennonite Your Way for a new itinerary in the Enchanted Lands of New Mexico and Arizona. Near perfect weather accompanied us again on that trip, as we started off with the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque and continued with ancient civilizations, canyons, deserts and mountains before finishing off with Carlsbad Caverns and heading east again.

Then I had a whole week at home before flying to Switzerland in November for a few weeks. In addition to singing in the annual church concert I was able to spend time relaxing and get some work done on upcoming tours. I also went to Venice for a couple days to check out some things for an upcoming tour.

In December I took 12 members of the White Family (from Wyoming, Florida & Montana) to Italy for 11 days over Christmas. We started with a couple nights in Venice, proceeded to Florence and Tuscany, and ended up with 4 nights in Rome over Christmas. We were fortunate with the weather, the 4 children were a delight to travel with, and nobody got mugged or 'lost' their money or passport. It turned out to be a great tour!

2006 RECAP

The winter of 2005/06 I took a break from world cruising. I devoted most of my time getting Mother's book published. Back in the 1960's, while she was raising nine children, she interviewed over 160 pioneers who had settled Eastern Montana. The interviews were published in the local newspaper, but were never stored on computer. I typed stories and Mother and I edited, proofread, and organized. "As I Remember, Volume I" came out mid-June and the reception has been phenomenal! Volume II arrived October 31. Mom has become quite a celebrity and is a bit overwhelmed at all the attention. Interviews, book signings, radio and TV talk shows have kept her really busy, but it is definitely gratifying! Check out our website for more on this exciting project as well as information on how to order:

In May my tour season got underway with a flurry. I took two people I know from cruises on a tour through Utah and Colorado. Mary Beach, Bob Fray and I 'suffered' through perfect weather and fine dining for our tour. I was only home a day before flying to Seattle for an Alaska cruise on Holland America's Westerdam. A bunch of family and cousins enjoyed a mini family reunion for a week. Gorgeous scenery. Again, no break, and I was off with my 'ladies in their eighties' for a tour through Utah and Colorado with 10 ladies from John Knox Village in Florida. Lots of fun. Then I was off to Switzerland to take 37 Swiss around their own country for a few days. The Alps were spectacular and the alpine flowers better than I have ever seen them! Most of July and part of August was spent promoting Volume I and working on Volume II. I had to clear my tour schedule for about 5 weeks to concentrate on the book. August 21 I flew to Anchorage and took Karl & Ursula Heese from Germany on a nearly-3-week tour through Alaska and the Yukon. Pouring rain the first day gave way to mostly good weather the rest of the trip. One of the clearest days I've ever seen in Alaska treated us to stunning views of Mt McKinley and Denali National Park!

After getting "As I Remember, Volume II" to the printer September 20, I had a bus tour in the western parks with MYW tours (fantastic weather!) and then a New England / Canada Fall Foliage tour with a small Swiss group. Colors weren't great, but we had a good time anyway. November and December were busy with promotions, book signings, and interviews for "As I Remember" Volume I & II. Sales of the books leading up to Christmas ran at a feverish pace. Now we have to concentrate more on long-term sales. However, I am taking a 3-month break and going on the Queen Mary 2 full world cruise, roundtrip Ft. Lauderdale, starting January 10!

2005 RECAP

2005 was a full year! Through the end of April I was at sea again, doing the World Cruise on the RSSC Voyager. You can read my chronicles of the journey, as well as stories of previous cruises on the Cruise Chronicles page.

My summer tour season got off to a fast start with two 2-week tours in May in the Southwest. That is such a fascinating area. The first tour was with my Amish friend Lynn Miller and his family. My mother also joined us for a good part of that tour. Highlights included Antelope Canyon and the Wave. Immediately following that tour I did a similar one for Peter, Hedy, Pierrette and Otto from Switzerland. There we included the southern Arizona deserts. It was hot!

The end of June meant another MYW Tour in northern Rockies, starting in the Black Hills of South Dakota, on up through Yellowstone/Tetons and up to Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies. I left the tour in Glendive just in time to catch the last night of our Mullet family reunion.

The morning after getting home from reunion I flew to Zurich for a week with just two people from New Hampshire. Then I got to stay a week and visit in Switzerland.

One of my favorite tours in a long time was with a small Swiss group the first two weeks in August. We started in Bozeman and worked our way down through the parks ending in Las Vegas. We had a great group and we enjoyed lots of my favorite places. I repeated almost the same tour the first two weeks of September with another small group and then it was off to the Northwest for another MYW tour. Finally, I finished up a busy tour season in New Mexico, Arizona and California with my seniors from John Knox Village in Florida.

In November I made my annual trip to Switzerland and, other than a few small trips, have been enjoying a winter at home.

2004 RECAP

2004 was another busy year! Last January through April I enjoyed the World Cruise on the RSSC Voyager as host for the Virtuoso Group. What a great way to spend the winter. Read more about it on the page titled '2004 World Cruise' and there are photos under the same name on the Tour Photos Page

In May I took 5 Swiss on a tour of Southern California and Arizona . We enjoyed San Diego and Palm Springs, before heading into the wilds of SW Arizona. Organ Pipe National Monument was a surprising highlight. Desert, mountains, giant trees and coast made a delightful tour.

In June I ventured into new territory with Karl & Ursula Heese from Germany. We started in Boston and went to the Canadian Maritimes . Newfoundland was by far the best with fantastic icebergs in the northern coves. The extreme tides of the Bay of Fundy were fascinating as well.

Right after that I took 3 cousins, a sister and a friend to southern Utah to explore more secrets of the southwest. We had a great trip with lots of fantastic photos. The WAVE was the culmination of a colorful trip.

In July we had a Kauffman family reunion in Idaho and enjoyed seeing Dad's side of the family again. Shortly after I went to Maine for a couple weeks to help my friend Rod with camp laundry. It was nice to be able to relax with some hard physical work again!

August took me back to Alaska with a small group. I've never seen so much good weather in Alaska. We had a little rain at the beginning and a little at the end, but other than that had incredible weather. In the interior there was thick smoke from many forest fires, but it was a great trip.

In September I had a short trip with 6 Swiss through New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. It was a good chance to refresh my French and enjoy some of my favorite places in style!

Also in September I guided the MYW Peaks Parks and Canyons tour to some of the most popular parks. A really spectacular with great weather, except for a few wild storms that added variety!

Right after that tour I flew to Florida to escort 15 seniors from John Knox Village to the west coast for a 2-week tour. We got to Yosemite just after a freak early snowstorm and we had a spectacular visit.

In November I made my annual sojourn to Switzerland for a few weeks, but made it home for Thanksgiving. Then it was off on one more tour before Christmas, another 2-week tour with Karl & Ursula Heese from Germany, spent mostly in Arizona and southern Utah.

2003 RECAP

In 2003 I had a good summer with some great tours. One of my all-time highlights was a hiking tour to Southern Utah in October with 5 friends. It has been my dream for some time to get into the Wave and we finally made it. It has the most remarkable colors, waves, swirls, and shapes you can ever imagine in stone. Don't miss the photo page (main menu, left) with 6 hilite photos from the Wave. See photos of the whole trip on the favorite links page, under Secret Southwest.

Prior to that I had a perfect-weather trip through the western parks with a Swiss family (Glarner). I used my digital camera heavily on that trip and used some of the photos to update my slideshow page .

In August I had another tour with 30 seniors from John Knox Village. We managed to get the only clear day between smoke in Glacier Park, then went on to Yellowstone/Tetons and the Black Hills.

In July I took 6 23-year-old Amish gals on a tour of the Canadian Rockies and the Northwest. We covered some miles but saw great scenery, ending out at the coast.

In June I guided for Mennonite-Your-Way tours through the Black Hills, Yellowstone/Tetons, Glacier and the Canadian Rockies.
This past spring I went to Europe twice and had some good work time around home to get garden and yard in order. My tomatoes are doing great this year!

Jan 7 to Feb 21, 2003 my home was the Radisson Seven Seas Mariner. We sailed from Ft Lauderdale through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles. From there we continued to the South Pacific and Australia. See my 'World Cruise 2003' page for more details.

2002 RECAP

I was home for the Christmas Holidays 2002 before taking off for the ship. I also took a quick trip to Florida in December and one to Maine. In November i spent 3 weeks in Switzerland, relaxing after summer tours!

I was really busy with tours through the summer and into fall 2002. My last tour of several back to back (too many in a row, actually - i'll have to space them better next year!) was in New England and Quebec with 8 Swiss. Fall colors, hiking, great cities, the coast of Maine - all added up to a full 2 weeks.

The end of September i did the guiding for 50 passengers on a Mennonite-Your-Way tour through the southwest Peaks, Parks, & Canyons. This was really a fun group and a great itinerary. I enjoy that area of the southwest more everytime i go there.

The first part of September i had 20 seniors from a Florida retirement community through the southwest parks. That tour had special challenges and was much more difficult than my average trip, but the group seemed to thoroughly enjoy the grandeur of nature in that area.

Prior to that i toured Karl & Ursula Heese from Germany around the northern Rockies for 2 weeks. We often will do a trip together - just the 3 of us. They like the personal attention and flexibility and i enjoy showing them new wonders.

Probably my most unusual task of the year was in July. I did a short tour of Switzerland for 40 SWISS!! Yes, an American had to go over to Switzerland to show the Swiss their own country. The weather wasn't the best, but we had a good group and we had lots of fun in spite of the clouds.

The beginning of July i took time out for a family reunion in Makoshika Park near Glendive. Mom turned 80 August 6th, so we used the reunion to celebrate a little in advance. We surprised Mom with a potluck supper for friends and relatives at the church. We also had lots of fun climbing the rocks and hills of Makoshika.

In June 2002 i took 6 Swiss around Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. After one gorgeous day in Glacier Park we were snowed out the next (they ended up getting 4 feet of snow!). We crossed a very wet Montana to Glendive where we just made it into the Lions Camp in Makoshika where we were then 'rained in'. We couldn't drive anywhere the next day, but we enjoyed the scenery and solitude (solitude is an unknown concept to Swiss!). The weather improved for the Black Hills and was perfect for Yellowstone/Tetons at the end.

In May i guided a west coast tour for Mennonite-Your-Way and mother (despite a broken wrist) was able to go along as well. We enjoyed highlights from Seattle to San Francisco and had a great time.

February 20 to April 22 i spent two months on the Seabourn Sun's final World Cruise and had a wonderful time! Svein Johnsen and I joined in Hong Kong as escorts for a Virtuoso group of about 100 passengers. We were originally scheduled to join March 20 for the final month, but end of January we were asked to go for two months. I had to do some scrambling to rearrange schedules, but finally agreed (it's tough, but somebody has to do it, right!?). I took a very brief trip to Switzerland in mid-February, came home for just one day, then flew to Hong Kong!

Prior to the cruise i enjoyed being around home some for the winter. Especially since the MSU Bobcats were really on a roll, winning basketball games left and right! They ended up winning the conference with a 12-2 record, but unfortunately, they fell apart in the Big Sky Conference tournament, when i wasn't there to cheer them on.

I had a quick trip to Washington DC and Florida to start off the year 2002 visiting friends. It was nice to be home over Christmas and enjoy family and friends. Not much snow, really nice winter weather. From December 11-22 I enjoyed a wonderful cruise on the QE2 as escort for a Virtuoso group. We had a cocktail party and a full day tour in Funchal, Madeira, but other than that, my friend Kathy Aaron and I reveled in 12 glorious days on QE2. It was great to be back.

2001 RECAP

The rest of this page goes back to highlight various events of 2001.

I kept busy with tours the first half of 2001. However, I started out in January escorting a group on a cruise in the south Pacific for 3 weeks. It was a delightful cruise aboard the Seabourn Sun and co-escort Svein Johnson and I enjoyed ourselves immensely and still managed to keep our 'charges' happy!

My biggest task this year was organizing a 2-week tour in the southwest for 25 Swiss. We started in Phoenix and covered several lesser-known areas of Arizona and New Mexico. We also dropped down to El Paso, Texas for one night and skirted through southern Utah on the way to our final destination, Las Vegas.

In May I enjoyed 10 days in Switzerland helping to celebrate the 70th birthday of long-time friend, Abraham Gerber. A good time was had by all!!

In June/July I spent 3 weeks with Mennonite-Your-Way tours on a big trek through the northwest US and western Canada. They drove out from the east coast, but I joined them in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We continued to Yellowstone/Tetons and out through Washington to the Olympic Peninusula and across into Victoria, BC. We spent 3 days in Banff and Jasper National Parks before dropping back down into Montana's Glacier National Park and heading east.

The last 2 weeks of July I was with a small Swiss group in Alaska. For anyone who has never been to Alaska, it should be a priority destination. The grandeur of the state defies description. Stunning mountains, countless glaciers, bears fishing for salmon, whales, caribou and moose, endless daylight, rain forests, and the general vastness of it all make Alaska unforgettable.

However, in August and September I took somewhat of a sabbatical! Tours and organizing tours have kept me so busy the last few years I haven't had time to get much done around home. So for a couple months (believe it or not) I tackled projects here and concentrated on my Pre-Paid Legal business. It was nice to finally stay put and catch up!

Unfortunately the 2 months flew by and by October I was busy again. Gerbers from Switzerland came for 2 weeks and we put them to work cutting firewood for the winter! We did a few fun things as well, of course.

A few days later I flew to Nice, France to join the Seabourn Sun for 3 weeks in the Med and across to Florida. I was escorting a group again and had a super time. After 5 days at home I took off for Switzerland for a couple weeks.