One of the things that surprised us on the second tour we have done to the USA – our trip around New England, was just how elderly were many people on the tour. Apparently, young and active American people travel independently, while this tour, at least, seemed to be used by geriatrics to get away from home (or their nursing home).
We had 52 people on our Trafalgar tour, but these were some of the stand-outs:
One man that I called the Colonel (because he shared the first name of Colonel Harland Sanders) appeared to have just two lucid moments each day.
Floyd didn’t quite match up to his namesake ‘Pink Floyd’; Instead of having a pink appearance, he was quite grey around the gills for most of the time.
Orville (Casper) sat nearly all the time, just blankly staring ahead expressionless. I could tell that he was alive because every now and then his eyes would move slightly from side to side for a brief moment.
Hal was an ex automobile worker and he was a genuine guy. He used to laugh at my jokes about four minutes after I finished them.
There was one woman who I nicknamed ‘Morticia’, She sat through the whole trip with a scowl, harangued her daughter mercilessly and just looked glum all the time. She hardly spoke to anyone. It was if all her personality she been sucked from her by a vampire. Perhaps she was just missing Gomez!
Rosemary was a spunky lady of 72 years of age. She had a slight resemblance to Jill’s mother and complained that she was tired of dating men as none of them could keep up with her. I couldn’t let her leave the tour without giving her a hug!
Barbara was a little woman with dark hair and heavy black glasses. She looked just like Mrs Magoo. We sat next to her at dinner one night and she said not one word. Every time she left the bus, she would wrap a narrowly folded scarf over her head in a 10cm wide band. I don’t know whether it was designed to keep her ears warm, or perhaps to stop her head from falling off.
Mary was a dynamo. At 82, she told us that she had just been zip-lining and was painting the outside of her house from the top of a ladder.
Hardy was the name of our driver. He was a great guy, lots of fun and an aspiring usher. Every time we stopped, he would stand, raise his arms (palms up) in an upward gesture and point to the door of the bus. In one town, his parents stopped by to meet him for lunch. They were a lovely black couple and looked like they had just stepped out of the 1930’s.
One of the more normal people was Ron, who was a fellow Vietnam Veteran. We got on pretty well.
Al, our tour director from Georgia, had an engaging accent, sang with a lovely voice and did a superb job in his role. It seemed as though this role was perfect for him.
Overall, we had a great tour and saw all the autumn colours that we came to see. We were very glad for the two other Australian couples and one British couple that provided some sense of normality and reduced the average age of those on the bus down to about eighty years. It was just as well that we had recently been to Norfolk Island and were acclimatised to this age group.