Click this link to find out how you can make your own headlines in 2019.
You never know what kind of unique opportunities might happen on a MindStretch Travel Adventures trip. Here are four examples where we’ve made local headlines during some of our past journeys. Click each photo and check out the caption for each photo to get the back story.
Click this link to find out how you can make your own headlines in 2019.
This photo is from our 2016 Wyoming-Montana trip. We discovered a real phone booth at Colter Bay in the Grand Teton National Park. The boys in the foreground are attempting to hide the boys in the background who were attempting to see how many guys they could stuff into the booth. Now I’m not going to tell you whose idea this was, but definitely not mine! In any case, no park ranger came upon the scene at this moment and we quickly hightailed it out of there. In the meantime, we had a blast.
You never know what kind of fun we’ll have on one of our trips, but you won’t know if you’re not with us.
Click to find out about our 2019 adventures.
This time last year we had only one boy enrolled for our two domestic trips. Fast forward a year and we're up to the 85% full point...and that is exciting. We still have room, but only limited space on the Wyoming & Montana trip (maybe two openings). At this moment we have plenty of space on the West Virginia-Tennessee adventure.
I'm in the process of sending our printed material to folks on the mailing list and hope to get our fall online newsletter out within the next two weeks. But being a one-person shop (during this time of year), it's a slow process. But you don't have to wait.
Click to see the printed flyer that's going out.
And click this clink to see just some of the reasons why you might love a trip with MTA.
Of course, you don't have to read anything to sign up. Well, other than the application. Click here to access the online application to get a head start on your 2016 summer adventures.
These were some of our 2015 boys of summer, the crew that joined us for the Tennessee trip.
He's smiling because he's the first to sign up for our 2016 trip to Wyoming & Montana. Yes, that's 2016!
And his folks are smiling because they'll get a nice early sign-up discount. All boys signing up for either trip prior to August 1, 2015 will get the discount and you don't even pay a deposit until then.
It's a win-win.
To find out about our 8-day trip to the West Virginia & Tennessee Mountains and our 14-day trip to Wyoming & Montana...click the link below.
2016 MTA Trip Information
We had a wonderful 12-day trip out to Wyoming & Montana this past summer. Check out some scenes of our trip and think about joining us for one of two upcoming trips in 2013. We'll be going to the West Virginia mountains for a week in June and to Europe, traveling by Eurail, in July.
We had a great time out in Wyoming & Montana this past July. It was the first MTA experience for 60 percent of our group this summer and I think most would agree it was a fun time. The other 40 percent of the boys have been on two, three, four, and even five MTA trips before. They knew what they were getting into, but of course - every trip, every day is a different experience. It's just one of the things that differentiates these programs from a typical summer camp experience. The boys this summer hiked and explored in the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, rafted the Yellowstone River, took a horseback trail ride in Cody, visited a couple of museums, saw a rodeo, and of course - got glimpses of lots of wildlife including a mama bear with two cubs, bison, elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep. Click to see some photos from our most recent trip.
And we're always looking ahead...
Boys are already signing up for our 2013 trips. The first up (June 2013) is a seven-day experience in the West Virginia mountains. We'll base in the Greenbrier River Valley area which has plenty of great activities to keep us as busy as we want to be. We'll get to hike, explore, tube, take a train ride, visit America's best-kept secret, bike on the Greenbrier River Trail, and much more. The activities are suitable for all ages starting with boys who will have finished the third grade. Click for more info on West Virginia.
The Europe by Eurail expedition will be our major trip for 2013. This is our fourth adventure across the Atlantic. Can you imagine traveling across Europe by train getting to choose where you want to visit, how long you want to stay, what you want to see? This is exactly how we do it. We will have reservations for the first two or three and last two or three nights - then every day in-between is up to us. This trip already has a waiting list, but if you're interested in joining us there's always a chance. Most of the boys have been signed up since January or February and circumstances do change. So click to read more and let me know if you want to add your name to the roster. There's a chance we'll do another trip to Europe as soon as 2014 or 2015 since these trips have always had very strong demand.
Don't have time to read all the blogs from our great trip. Take a three-minute "View master" look back at our 12-day adventure to Wyoming & Montana. You should let the video load for a minute or so before hitting "play."
Visiting Firehole Falls in Yellowstone National Park
We’re all home, well kind of. One leader stayed out in the Tetons for another ten days, one leader is in Massachusetts for a family event, one boy went fly fishing on the Snake River in Idaho for a few days, and a few more are staying with grandparents or friends for another day or two. But most of us are home – albeit about ninety minutes late. Our flight was early leaving Jackson Hole Airport and arrived in Dallas-Ft. Worth a tad bit early. But our flight from there to Greenville-Spartanburg had a couple of delays for mechanical reasons. But we’re not going to let an hour and a half change the successes of our 12-day adventure. It’s all an adventure right?
It was a great trip. We did a lot and the boys and leaders learned a lot about living and working together in a big group. We had 20 boys and four leaders on this trip – the largest group I’ve ever taken. It was a group that got along amazingly well. We had three sets of brothers, also another first. And our group was complimented at least eight times and possibly as many as ten depending on who was counting. This has never happened. We usually average three or four compliments in a good year and zero in a bad year. Don’t get me wrong. We got zero compliments last year and I attributed that to our large group of seventeen boys and those guys last year were a great group of kids. But this year’s group proved the theory wrong that big groups couldn’t get compliments. Twenty boys this year and a mess of compliments and I am very proud. I’m sure I still owe them some treats! They didn’t ask for IOUs, but I’m sure those boys who come on a future trip will remember exactly how many treats they’re due.
The gang at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming
To recap, we spent four nights in Jackson, Wyoming; four nights in Gardiner, Montana; two nights in Cody, Wyoming; and one night in Dubois, Wyoming. We hiked in the Grand Teton National Park and in Yellowstone National Park. We explored lots of geothermal features in Yellowstone and saw tons of wildlife including four bears, hundreds of bison, elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and more. We witnessed Old Faithful and eruptions of other smaller geysers. We rafted on the Yellowstone River, took a horseback trail ride in Cody, and attended a rodeo. We had a docent-guided program about Buffalo Bill at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and another docent program at the National Bighorn Sheep Center. We chowed down on a western chuck wagon dinner at the Bar J Ranch and were entertained by the resident singing (and joking) cowboy wranglers. We drove into Idaho to have a world-famous milkshake at the Victor Emporium and we explored all the small towns and cities where we were staying. We saw incredible views of mountains and rivers and valleys. We went swimming in our motel pools, folded our laundry at a Laundromat, found three geocaches, played miniature golf, and picked up enough souvenirs to help several local economies. We saw a cowboy shootout (re-enactment) and walked the dusty street of a recreated Western town. And we ate a lot – a whole lot.
Boys were able to see friends they hadn’t seen in a year and many boys made new friends. I personally feel that everyone experienced some personal growth during our adventure.
I want to thank my three adult leaders for all their help and friendship – Ray Thompson, Howard Yarborough, and Jeff Peisner were incredibly capable and willing to step in and do whatever was necessary to see that the trip ran smoothly and safely and that everyone was having a great time. I also want to thank my student counselors – Mark Gilbert, Stephen Baker, Jack Lozyniak, and Hunter Smith for again showing me how misunderstood older teens can be. These boys were absolutely wonderful. I would take them anywhere and actually, three of them already planning their next adventure with me for the summer of 2013.
Joining a friend in downtown Jackson Hole, Wyoming
And thanks also to my upcoming student counselors – Jack Eatherly, Ben Bryan, and Jon Bryan. They were also very helpful and stepped up to the plate many times to lend a hand.
Of course, thanks to the younger boys who made the trip so much fun – Jack Riley, Becker Andry, Avery Wall, Thomas May, Brooks Sullivan, Will Rasco, Robert Harlan, Wills Clarke, Jackson Woodard, Aidan Lamb, David Gilbert, Connor Hovendon, and Ras Andry. I don’t know where they get their non-stop energy, but it’s contagious. It keeps me young.
Each year boys usually ask how much longer I plan to run these trips and I tell them as long as “I’m” having a good time. And so, did I have a good time? You bet! I can’t wait to next year.
Thanks boys, thanks leaders, thanks parents.
And that’s a wrap. MindStretch Travel Adventures Wyoming & Montana 2012 is now history
Click to see some photos from our 2012 adventures.
Today's adventures started with a visit to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. We let the boys explore a little on their own before having a guided tour focusing on the life of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. We were divided into two groups for the tour and the kids were excellent. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is a world-class museum - actually five museums in one.
From Cody, Wyoming we drove to our night's destination in Dubois, Wyoming. It was a long trip but the scenery was absolutely worth it. We drove through the Wind River region of Wyoming along the Wind River Mountains and even passed through the Wind River Indian Reservation.
We got into Dubois just about the time most shops were closing which probably wasn't a bad thing, though most boys aren't quite shopped out and still have money left. We did have time for some swimming, hot tubbing, basketball, and walking the wooden sidewalks of Dubois and then walked a hundred feet to the Cowboy Cafe for dinner where amazingly the boys picked up their sixth and seventh sincere compliments. This is by far a record - and compared to last year's zero number of complements - nothing short of phenomenal.
We are heading into Jackson tomorrow morning for our final couple of days. Lots ahead.
Click to see photos from our trip.
Becker with his winning prize coupon at the Cody Nite Rodeo.
Several boys went to the Cody Nite Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming this evening. It was the first for most of the group that decided to go. Becker Andry made us proud as he was one of three of about a hundred kids 12 and under who got a ribbon off of a calf's tail. Okay, you had to be there to appreciate this part of the rodeo - which in Cody is king! Becker's prize - a free horseback ride on a ranch. So Andry parents...I guess you'll be planning a trip back out here soon because I think the prize expires in September. Becker's name and home city were announced over the PA system.
But not to worry, a large group of boys went horseback riding this morning up in the hills above Cody. it was just over a hour's ride and for most of them, that was just about all they wanted.
At the same time the one group of boys was out trail riding, the remaining kids visited the reconstructed Old Trail Town, which is made up of over two dozen authentic buildings brought to this settlement. It's quite an impressive collection including the cabin of Butch Cassidy. The guys also saw the grave site of John Johnston, AKA Jeremiah "Liver-Eaten" Johnson who was reburied on this property several years ago.
Another big activity today was LAUNDRY. So now if you if moms keep noticing your boys wearing the same clothes, it's not because they don't have clean clothes to wear. We do encourage them to change clothes and most comply, but they seem to think wearing the same clothes day after day is the cowboy way. It's hard to argue with their reasoning! Jeff Peisner and I got the laundry done and in the dryers and then the boys came to help finish off the process including sorting their clothes and folding them. I think that might have been a first for some of these boys - another MindStretch Travel Adventures life lesson.
There was also time today for swimming in the motel pool and for a round of miniature golf in the town park. A few groups went into downtown Cody for a little shopping. Our motel is actually in downtown so we can be in the city center in about a five-minutes walk.
So that wraps up another busy day. It was a whole lot of fun.
Click to see photos from our trip.
I never imagined that when I started taking kids on travel trips in 1978 that I would still be taking trips today! It has been a great ride and I'm looking forward to more.