Any ladies out there interested in llama trekking? Or hiking, rafting, hot-air ballooning? These and other activities are being programmed for "women over 40" by Marion Stoddart of Massachusetts. Trips range from outings in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming to the Berkshires of New England. Singles and marrieds, divorcees, widows. Stoddart's only rule is that the vacationer be over 40. (She had one 81-year-old recently.) Stoddart has a trip coming up at Yellowstone Aug. 11-23 (hiking, rafting, fishing, camping). Other outings at Steamboat Springs in Colorado (rafting, hot-air ballooning, llama trekking). New England is the target of a July 23-27 adventure (picnics, a concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein, canoeing on the Housatonic River, lodging in a country inn). Stoddart is a conservationist who came up with the idea of vacations exclusively for women three years ago. You can reach her c/o Outdoor Vacations for Women Over 40, P.O. Box 200, Groton, Mass. 01450 or telephone (617) 448-3331.
Britain by Bus
Received a note from pen pal Tony Cole-Hamilton, an ex-Royal Navy officer who traded the helm of a ship for the chance to steer a mini-bus around Britain. Says business is awful. "At this moment I should be shepherding a party of four American ladies around the country, but they canceled their trip because of all the recent bad publicity." Cole is optimistic, though. "The word over here," he says, "is that some intrepid spirits from America are actually coming over, so perhaps all is not lost." Cole volunteers to take the traveler anywhere. Does all the cooking. (Buys farm-fresh produce.) There's a refrigerator on board, gas cooker, hot shower. Cole claims he has "all the amenities of an inn." Only he forgot to mention the rates. Last year he charged $150 a day for his chauffeured rig. Not a bad deal for a family or group of friends. His address: 56 Alleyn's Road, Stevenage, Herts SG1 3PP, England.
Dick Ramirez leads Sierra Club trips to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Has four scheduled for the summer/fall months. Coming up is a bus trip to Yosemite for hikers (Aug. 1-3). The tab figures out to $115 for transportation, lodging for two nights, brunch at the Awahnee Hotel in Yosemite and a Basque dinner in Bakersfield. Open to both members and non-members of the Sierra Club. Contact Ramirez for details: 26119 Bella Santa Drive, Valencia, Calif. 91355. His home phone number is (805) 254-0211.
Seems everyone is going to Expo. We've been getting dozens of calls. Best bet is to contact Tourism British Columbia, 3400 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 34, Los Angeles 90010. Or ring them up at (213) 380-9171. They have a travel kit for the province that's packed with information on Vancouver, Victoria. Contains ferry schedules, maps.
A free reservation service--hotels, condominiums, B&Bs--for Vancouver operates seven days a week. Provides information on location, rates and services. Their hot line (604) 685-6000, or write Access Hotel Reservations, Suite 419, 736 Granville St., Vancouver, British Coluimbia V6z 1G6. Also for hotel reservations, contact Res West in Vancouver at (604) 662-3300. Hours 7 a.m./11 p.m. Difficult to get through during the day due to busy lines. Best to call early morning or late evening. For B&B bookings call First Choice B&B, toll-free (800) 663-8286. Here's another contact for homes, condos, yachts: Home Stay '86, telephone toll-free (800) 663-8686. Prices $21 a day (U.S.) to $51.
A new company is doing day trips out of Seattle. Caters to small groups. Uses 15-passenger vans. There's an Olympic Peninsula tour that includes a ferry crossing of Puget Sound, visits to Indian and Norwegian villages. A lunch stop at Port Gamble (19th-Century buildings, gas lamps, an old-fashioned general store). Return is via the Washington State Ferry from Bainbridge Island. A whole day for $45. Other trips to Mt. Rainier ($40), Hood Canal, Olympic Mountains, etc. Details from Outdoor Adventures, 5354 Ruby Place N.E., Bainbridge Island, Wash. 98110. Telephone (206) 842-3189.
New Mexico is giving away a nifty new guide. Sections on the Bisti Badlands, farmers' markets, Indian events, arts/crafts, etc. Contains addresses/telephone numbers of more than 60 visitor bureaus throughout the state. Names 39 B&Bs (including one called the Laughing Horse Inn). Other information on youth hostels, state parks, RV campgrounds, river running, guest ranches/resorts, hot-air ballooning, boating. For a free copy of "New Mexico USA," write to the New Mexico Travel Division ED&TD, Room 751, Joseph M. Montoya Building, 1100 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, N.M. 87503 or call toll-free (800) 545-2040.