"Summertime, and the livin' is easy," say the words of an old-fashioned song. To the mind comes the image of an idle youth, leaning against a haystack, straw hat shading his eyes, unformed dreams floating in the air . . . or sitting beside a pond with fishing pole unbaited, so that no excitement will pierce the lazy afternoon.
A quaint scene, far removed from the energy of travelers who seek more than escape when vacation time rolls around. No longer content to gaze at passing clouds, more people than ever before want to fill their leisure hours with activity, with interesting sports, and with memory-producers that are new and different from vacations past.
They want places to go and things to see, and they are as interested in the mode of travel as they are in destinations.
Bicycle Detours has put together some outings for pedal enthusiasts. They take groups on itineraries in the southwestern United States, using lightweight, 15-speed, all-terrain mountain touring bicycles. The trips are set up for riders ranging from the novice to the experienced biker.
On this summer's agenda: two days of bicycling in the Tucson area, $250; seven days around southern Arizona, $789; six days in northern New Mexico, out of Santa Fe, $630; a week in the Four Corners area of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, $720; six days out of Durango, the Telluride Detour, $645.
Excursions are also offered by Bicycle Detours to Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. Their prices include lodging or camping, three meals a day, support van, bicycle and helmet. Groups are limited to 12 bikers.
A Little Cruise
To whet the appetite for cruising, or to introduce this mode of travel to first-timers, Princess Cruises offers a small sampling of the real thing this spring on a three-night mini-cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver, B.C., aboard the Sun Princess.
The "Love Boat Sampler Cruise" sails May 22 to 25. In addition to the three nights aboard ship, the little vacation includes overnight first-class hotel accommodations in Vancouver and air fare back to Los Angeles. Prices begin at $559.
Sailing and Scuba
Sailing and scuba diving off the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai, Molokini and Nihau are offered by Island Odysseys.
The firm uses the 82-foot schooner Machias with pullman bunks in air-conditioned cabins. Home-cooked meals often feature freshly caught fish and lobster. Nights are spent at anchor; days are filled with swimming, sunbathing and exploring in tropical waters with up to 200-foot visibility, caves, drop-offs, arches and coral gardens. Prices range from $495 for three-day voyages to $1,195 for seven days, plus air fare.
Island Odysseys has a special rate of $1,500 if you book before June 1 for 12-day voyages during August through December.
North America by Rail
For people who prefer to travel by train, rail tours to the Canadian Rockies, California, the American Southwest and Eastern Canada are offered by Four Winds Travel.
There are seven deluxe, escorted tours that range from 11 to 23 days, combining train travel with first-class accommodations along the way, including such places as the Banff Springs in Banff, the Empress in Victoria, the St. Francis in San Francisco and the Las Vegas Hilton.
The longest Four Winds itinerary includes stops in New York, Chicago, Salt Lake City, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone Park, Seattle, Victoria, Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise and return; prices begin at $3,748. The shortest itineraries start at $998 from Montreal.
Continuing with the "something for everyone" vacation wish list, Delta Queen Steamboat Co. offers three money-saving programs this summer.
On selected departures aboard the Mississippi Queen, between ports on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, a 15% saving for groups of four is available; listed fares begin at $230 for two nights. An 11-night departure of the Delta Queen, May 31, includes round-trip air fare and a three-night stay in New Orleans before embarking for St. Louis; fares begin at $2,035.
Selected round trips from St. Louis are available at 25% off the regular price; the discounted fares begin at $694 for five nights. Travel agents have details or phone Delta Queen for reservations.
Globus-Gateway has some new eight-day tours of Florida. They'll be making their overnight stops at resort hotels instead of downtown properties. This will mean, besides the usual sightseeing and dining, there'll be tennis and sailing, swimming and fishing, whirlpools and spas and other recreational facilities.
On the itinerary are the Marco Bay Resort at Anglers' Cove on Marco Island, the Bahia Mar Resort & Yachting Center on the southern edge of Fort Lauderdale Beach, the Quality Inn Oceanside in Daytona Beach and the Americana Dutch Resort in Orlando.
Excursions are to Epcot Center, Disney World, Cypress Gardens, Everglades National Park and the Ringling Estate. Departures are from St. Petersburg, Fla. Land cost is $698 including some meals.