LION at Shiduli Lodge in South Africa, Nov. 2010 -
Mom and Vaughn ride a camel in Dubai, Feb 2009
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.
SOUTHEAST ASIA - VIETNAM, CAMBODIA, and LAOS - CANCELED!
FABULOUS DUBAI and ARABIAN NIGHTS - CANCELED!
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!
NEW ZEALAND - CANCELED!
ISINGS TRAVEL, SOUTH AFRICA - CANCELED!
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.
SWITZERLAND - CANCELED!
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, CANADIAN ROCKIES - CANCELLED!
ISINGS TRAVEL, RIVER CRUISE in FRANCE - CANCELLED!
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!
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!
ISINGS TRAVEL - TENNESSEE/KENTUCKY:
MACHU PICCHU & PERU HIGHLIGHTS:
ISINGS TRAVEL - RAILS & TRAILS - UTAH / COLORADO:
ISINGS TRAVEL - EUROPE WITH OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY:
SMALL GROUP TOUR TO OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY:
ISINGS TRAVEL - VOYAGE OF THE VIKINGS CRUISE:
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.
ISINGS TRAVEL - PORTUGAL, DOURO RIVER CRUISE:
SOUTH AFRICA - Two Tours in November:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.