A love of traveling inspired Jerry and Angie Varner, of Washburn, to start a motorcoach tour company in Barry County. Making Memories Tours is designed to serve vacationers from southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas.
"If you want to go on vacation and enjoy the experience of traveling stress free, give us a call," said Jerry. "With Making Memories Tours all you have to do is hold your spouse's hand or enjoy time with your family or friends. We will take care of you."
After spending a large amount of time traveling, Jerry decided to pursue his own vacation tour business last year. With the help of his mother-in-law, Diane Rose, who has many years of experience in the vacation industry, Jerry opened Making Memories Tours in January.
"We did a lot of groundwork," said Jerry. "We looked at the demographics of the areas we wanted to reach, and we talked to a lot of people to find out what types of vacations they were interested in. Then we started building trips."
Making Memories Tours' 2010 schedule includes seven vacation choices. The company's first trip, which is scheduled for April 16 through April 19, will take vacationers to San Antonio, Texas.
Other 2010 trips include: New York City and Washington, D.C.; Niagara Falls and Amish country; the Pacific Northwest, the Redwoods and Las Vegas, Nev.; Colorado train rides; Utah national parks and the Grand Canyon; New England; and the Smokey Mountains.
"During the Pacific Northwest trip we will visit Mt. Rushmore and Seattle, Wash.," said Jerry. "I am really excited about the Colorado train ride trip. We will be taking a different train ride each day. Some of the rides will be to Pike's Peak and the Royal Gorge."
During the Grand Canyon trip, vacationers will also visit Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks.
"I'm also looking forward to the Niagara Falls and Amish experience trip," said Jerry. "We will actually be visiting some Amish communities."
In the fall, Making Memories Tours's New England trip will take vacationers through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine.
"The trips include everything except noon and evening meals," said Jerry. "For instance, the Niagara Falls trip includes tickets to the Maid of the Mist ship.
"We will be staying at nice hotels that offer full breakfasts," said Jerry. "You couldn't take these trips for the prices that we are offering them. Economically, these trips are very good values."
In planning each of the Making Memories Tours trips, Jerry focused on providing quality accommodations for travelers with a variety of experience.
"We want the new traveler to be comfortable," said Jerry. "We haven't just designed these trips for retirees. We want these trips to be fun for young couples and mother-daughter vacations.
"It doesn't matter if you are 90 or 39, we want you to be comfortable," said Jerry, "and we hope that once you take a trip with us you will want to go again in the future."
Jerry plans to attend each of the seven trips being offered this year. He will help guide some of the tours and provide entertainment on the motorcoaches enroute to trip destinations.
"We don't want people to be sitting on long bus rides looking out the windshield and wondering how much longer it will be before they get there," said Jerry. "We want them to enjoy every part of the trip, so we will be there to tell them stories and share information with them on the way there and back.
"I love seeing others experience a trip or take in a new location for the first time," said Jerry. "We want them to enjoy those experiences with Making Memories Tours."
Jerry's traveling experience, which has taken him to many locations in the United States, as well as Vietnam, South America and other countries, helped inspire the name of the local motorcoach tour company.
"I've heard a lot of people say, 'We are making memories now,'" said Jerry. "That's what we want to do. We want people to see stuff they will never forget. These trips will not be just about the destinations. They will be about the experience.
"We don't want those on our trips to just be satisfied; we want them to be wowed," said Jerry. "If you want to take a trip and you don't want to hassel with reading road maps and finding place to stay, Making Memories Tours is for you."
The Making Memories Tours website is currently under construction. Kristen Crawford and Cheryl Hesse are helping with the website design.
"I have been tremendously fortunate to have good people with good ideas ready to help get this business started," said Jerry. "I also have my wife, Angie, to thank. If it wasn't for her, this wouldn't have been possible."
For more information on Making Memories Tours or any of the 2010 trips, call 1-888-845-9582 or 826-5671. Messages will be returned as soon as possible.