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Starr’s 72nd Birthday Bash – A blast!

What a trip! Our 72nd Birthday Bash Bus Trip was a resounding success! I think I can honestly say that everyone on the trip had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Me included!

I put together this list of highlights for you with a special treat at the end…

Sandy’s highlights – In no particular order:

Birthday dinner and private concert with the Lennon/Cathcart trio and a SURPRISE performance from Janet Lennon of The Lennon Sisters! As one of the most acclaimed, admired and longest performing female vocal groups in popular music, The Lennon Sisters are entertainment icons who have captivated audiences with their legendary harmonies throughout a dazzling 60 year career! Janet was nice enough to meet and greet with Starr tour guests after the show.

 

Lamberts Café, Home of the Throwed Rolls was not to be believed. Yes, they actually threw rolls at you when you asked for them. And the rolls were hot and delicious! The food was ridiculously plentiful. Did you try the Sorghum? This lunch stop was an unexpected surprise for sure!

 

 

 

 

Dogwood Canyon! So much to say about this beautiful place that I can guarantee you none of us would have known about if it wasn’t for our fabulous itinerary planners at Starr! Four terrific guides took us on trams that traveled throughout the park and even into Arkansas!! Cross another state off our bucket list! The animals were beautiful and we got to see them close up. What a special attraction in the heart of our country! Thank you Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, for this lovely experience!

 

Our last and final show, Clay Cooper’s Country Express was super! This is a wonderful extended family of performers that knocked our socks off. And our private talk back after the show was the icing on the cake. (Okay, icing on the cupcake as it were, since we were served cupcakes after the show!) Clay and Tina Cooper were most gracious hosts and they presented me with a special plaque commemorating this special visit to Branson.

 

 

Starr’s fabulous Tour Directors and Drivers were also a highlight! At least that’s the feedback I received from most everyone on the trip. Christine, Angie, and Karen were a great team and Malek, John, and Kenny did a fabulous job keeping everyone safe on our journey. We couldn’t have done this without them. Truly!

 

I can’t close without mentioning some of the other highlights of this trip like seeing the St. Louis Arch, experiencing a replica of the Titanic, having fun at The #1 Hits of the 60’s Show, seeing the Presley’s Country Jubilee Show and cruising Tablerock Lake while enjoying the Showboat Branson Belle. Wasn’t that comedian hilarious?!

In addition to my highlights, I want to share with you a video I made using some great photos from the trip! Were these your highlights too? Let me know.

We really had so much fun on this trip and we were so lucky to be able to experience so many special things offered to us only because Starr planned it! Thank you for putting your trust in us to plan such a fun and memorable bus trip!

Next year we’re staying close by but don’t think this bus trip won’t be any less fun! Lancaster and Hershey have so much to offer and we promise that you’ll see and do things you’ve never done or seen before! Click here to learn more about our 73rd Birthday Bash bus tour!

Thanks for traveling with Starr and sharing your memories with us!

Sandy Borowsky
3rd Generation Owner
Starr Bus Charter & Tours

 

 

Conquering The Arch

Conquering The Arch

As the Tour Director for the 26-day Cross Country By Bus tour, I have had the opportunity to experience the wonders of our great country along with our Starr guests and my partner, our Starr Driver.  At times, it was simply looking out the window of the coach and relishing in the sights of the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming, visiting the grandeur of the Hearst Castle in California, or standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon. However, none of these wonders, gave me the immeasurable thrill and anxiety like facing my fear of traveling 630 feet in a tiny tram car inside of a steel leg of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri!  

Arch-CDurling
I had planned to never go up there!

Construction on the Arch began on February 12, 1963 and it was dedicated in 1968 to “The pioneer spirit of the men and women who won the West and those of a latter day to strive on the frontier.” It is the tallest stainless steel monument in the Western Hemisphere and, at 630 feet, is taller than the Seattle Space needle (605′), the Washington Monument (555′), and the Great Pyramid of Giza (455′).  Visitors to the Arch can conquer that dizzying height by traveling up one steel leg and down the other in a tiny (5 feet in diameter) tram car or “pod” that is specially designed to rotate 155 degrees as it travels along the curve of the Arch.

So, here I was, the leader of our group, encouraging and coaxing our wonderful passengers to see the 30-mile views across the Mississippi River, the state of Illinois, and the city of St. Louis.  Yet, after showing them the History Channel’s video, “St. Louis Arch,” which documents the design and construction of the Arch by Finnish architect, Eero Saarinen, I was no closer to joining my group in their journey up to the observation area at the top, which is just 65 feet long and 7 feet wide at the apex.

My plan was simple – escort the group across the park, distribute the tickets, bid them bon voyage and wait for them in the gift shop, an area located safely on the ground beneath the arch.

My anxiety stayed in check until a National Park Service Ranger told me that one of our passengers couldn’t make the long walk to the Arch and decided to sit on a bench outside.  With the help of a guard who brought along a wheelchair, we located the passenger and started to wheel her back to the bus when she announced, “Hey, you are going the wrong way, I want to go up the Arch!”  So, off we went to Tram Car #1 where we waited for the door to open. The fiesty passenger stepped in to the empty, egg-shaped, capsule and just as I started to wish her well she said, “Well, aren’t you coming?”  Yikes, here I was facing the exact dilemma I was trying to avoid!  Sympathy for her riding the 4 minutes to the top by herself took a grip on me and tossed me into the car.  The door was shut and off we went swinging in the car with the “click click click” just like a ferris wheel, as described in the movie.  The view from inside the car was not a view at all but the inside of the stainless steel leg which we could see from window cutouts in the door, exposing brick and stairs.  Our small talk helped speed us to the top where the door automatically opened and we were instructed to walk up a few steps to the observation deck.

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The incredible view!

Then, there was the view—16 tiny windows worth! – for as far as we could see, just like the movie and brochures explained. I was grateful to not feel the allowance for the 18” sway in case of winds up to 150 mph! What I did feel was the embrace of my capsule seat mate who gave me a hug and thanked me for bringing her back to the Arch and riding to the top with her.  I returned the gesture and the gratitude. 

On the 3 minute ride down, I couldn’t help but think we were both pioneers— maybe not like the Westward Expansion pioneers, but pioneers just the same who conquered their fears and were rewarded with an experience of a lifetime.

Arch-inside-CDurling

 

Christine Durling, Starr Tour Director

 

 

 

 

 

Main Photo Credit Josh Hallett