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Sunshine Travel Club can't wait to get on the road again

Except for two glorious fall days in October, travel club has been parked due to COVID
2022-01-21 craftchick
Richard Craftchick is chairman of the board of directors of the Sunshine Travel Club.

On the road again,

Just can’t wait to get on the road again.

Willie Nelson’s classic song must be playing over and over in Richard Craftchick’s mind and in the minds of the legions of senior travellers in the Sunshine Travel Club.

The last full season of excursions for the popular club was in 2019.

“In 2020 we did manage one trip in February to Varadero Cuba,” said Craftchick, the club’s board chairman.

In March 2020, the Sunshine faithful met at Grand Gardens to socialize and plan excursions for the coming season.

Then COVID changed everything. 

The wheels of the bus came to a screeching halt. With the exception of two glorious days of fall foliage tours in October - when things on the COVID front were starting to look promising - there have been no tours.

“I am sure that everyone feels like the last twenty months have felt like an eternity. I sure do, and cannot help but think about all the wonderful tours that might have been during this period of time,” Craftchick wrote in the Sunshine Club newsletter, which has 3,500 subscribers. 

“This has been a real struggle for all of us who enjoy travel and the opportunity to visit new locations  and meet new friends along the way,” he said.

In October, 68 customers signed up for the one-day fall foliage tour. 

“Not wanting to disappoint anyone, we decided to run the tour again on Oct. 6, to ensure that everyone who showed an interest in this tour would be accommodated. The tour was incredible, with beautiful weather, spectacular colors, and the wonderful sounds of chatter and laughter on the coach,” wrote Craftchick.

It was an indication of how much the excursions were missed and how anxious people were to get out on the road.

“We could have had a bus to Blind River for a cup of coffee and we would have filled a bus," said Craftchick.

Like the rest of the world, Craftchick wishes he had a crystal ball that could tell him when things would get back to some sort of normal.

The constant closings and openings and closings again, make planning for travel next to impossible. It sets folks in the travel industry such as restaurants and hotels back on their heels.

Regardless, the Sunshine Club is planning for 2022. It looks like the excursion ideas will be confined to Canada for the time being.

He adds that as with the successful foliage tour in October, all safety precautions are adhered to on the trips. Masking and vaccinations are mandatory.

Sunshine travellers use AJ Busline services and Craftchick raves about the company’s new bus which has state-of-the-art air exchange and filtration which you can feel right away.

Craftchick says the travellers are more than willing to adhere to the rules because it makes them safer and feel more comfortable.

“At this time, we have no idea what the situation will be in March of 2022. The long range plan has some  pretty aggressive statements regarding the removing of certain health restrictions, however they are completely dependent on what the health situation looks like at that time,” he said.

Next year will mark the Sunshine Club’s 60th year.

Participants in the group are a unique breed where friendships are built and strengthened through travel.

While the years 2020 and 2021 will be marked with asterisks, one thing is certain. 

The bus will roll again and the laughter, friendship and memories will follow.