Elderhostel Notebook #96 November 24,  2001

Welcome to Elderhostel Notebook, the e-zine where hostelers
compare notes on elderhostel programs.

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To subscribe to the e-mail edition  and/or to submit reviews of
programs taken send an e-mail to the editor, Jim
Olson, at                      EHnotebook@aol.com

Please keep all correspondence in simple e-mail text format.

    From the Editor's Notebook

I have finally caught up with the review/report back log
and in the  editorial comment in the last issue I summarized most
of the comments about the changing nature of elderhosteling.
There were just too many to make my space limit and post them

There is an internet forum on Seniornet where some readers gather
to comment on general issues as well as report on specific

I have a link to it on the EHnotebook web page if you are
interested in using that forum to further discuss various issues.

The Notebook as an e-mail newsletter is over five years old now
and the mailing list has grown from about 30 to about 900
addresses. I use a Macintosh G3 with OS 9.1 with a Eudora Pro
mailer and send only in basic ASCII text.  This combination is
fairly immune to the viruses that search your hard disk and send
messages out to everyone on your address lists, so as a
subscriber you are relatively safe from that kind of intrusion.
But who knows the future of this new  increasingly sinsiter
internet world? Somewhere down the line I may just have to forgo
the e-mail version and just use the web site to communicate with
readers as I am not capable of all the complex firewalls and
other protections needed to cope with an increasingly hostile
internet world.

    Comments and Queries

                 (WALKING/HIKING 55693-0717 )
From: 	Jkoneil@cs.com
  Ireland will be our second eh trip.  Our first will be in Dec at
a 4-day Stephen Foster state park trip here in Florida. Our
biggie trip to ireland will be in july and aug in 2002. We need
some help and advice in order to prepare for the  ireland trip

Our plan is to go to ireland 3 or 4 days early,proberly the 13th
of July. We will be with our eh group from July 17 th.  Until the
1st of Aug then stay for 2 more weeks, all in the west of

Where to go, what to see in the area, we do not have a clue? We
do know that we do not want to check in and out of b  every
day. We will have a car or we can use public trans.

For the eh portion of our trip do we need walking poles? What
advice can you give us on the areas to be visited? How do we get
into a chat with people who have done it?

We are in outstanding physical condition, walk every day 3-4
miles. Bike ride 3-4 miles. Do strength training 3 days a week.
We want to make our visit fun and a really good experience can
you help by providing advice and information.

Subj: 	Yavapai College
From: 	WJKlenk@aol.com

Would like to ask if any of your readers have had experience with
Yavapai College houseboat Elderhostel either on Lake Mohave or
Lake Powell.  Please respond to Judy Klenk, e-mail
wjklenk@aol.com.  Many thanks.

    Program Reviews
        Natural History of the Maine Coast
        Birds of Ecuador
        St Louis: Gateway to the Arts
        South Africa Old and New
        Oregon - Wildlife Safari
        Geneva Bay Center, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
        Park City, Utah
        Two Geneaology Programs

Program Number: 19850-1014-01
October 14 to 19, 2001

Site: Trade Winds Motor Inn in Rockland, Maine standard ocean
front 'limited view' doubles

Group Coordinator: Joe Gray

Joe Gray is well organized and group sensitive. He does an
excellent job (with the help of his wife, Carolyn) of keeping
everything going according to the weather.

Staff: Joe Gray, Interpretive Naturalist
Captain Bob Pratt
Kris Parrish
Bruce Steadman
Bob Pratt and Kris Parrish were exceptional.

Meals: as advertised were healthy and nutritious. All meals with
two exceptions were served in the motor inn dining room.
Breakfast alternated between a cold and hot buffet. Lunches were
of the sandwich and soup or salad types. Dinners were served as a
set course: Yankee Pot Roast, Shrimp Scampi, Chicken with
Broccoli, broiled Haddock and for our Farewell Dinner - Lobster
and Mussels. There was a Chinese buffet all-you-can-eat lunch in
a restaurant in town. This was a popular meal. On Wednesday,
there was an excellent bag lunch, prepared by Carolyn Gray. This
was for the free afternoon.

Classes: There was a good mixture of lectures, field trips,
slides and videos. The classes were held in a conference room in
the motor inn. The room was of appropriate size but the view of
the projection screen was sometimes difficult. Ample break time
was given and snacks were provided. Some topics were: Marine
Life, Wildlife of Forests, Fields and Wetlands, Fisheries Around
the World, Hypothermia. Fieldtrips on a school bus took us to
Tanglewood Park for an excellent interpretive walk through the
forest with Joe Gray, a visit with Kris Parrish to a pocket
beach, an emerging forest and the top of Mount Battie. We all had
a chance to sail with Captain Bob Pratt on his ketch, Morning in
Maine. This was a great experience being out in the Penobscot Bay
on a beautiful autumn morning. All of the videos were of
excellent quality and fit the theme of the program very well.

Evening programs: Videos and movies were shown in the conference
room each evening (except Wednesday which coincided with our free
afternoon) while the Get Together room was open for visiting and
sharing ideas and experiences. After the Farewell Dinner, the
Dream Weavers, a female Barbershop Quartet, performed. This was
an enjoyable experience especially since Carolyn Gray was one of
the performers.


Birds of Ecuador
Program # 40289-1007

We recently returned from the excellent two week birding program
in Ecuador.  It more than met our expectations when we saw over
350 species of beautiful tropical birds.

The core of the program was birdwatching and contact with natural
environments in three distinct regions:   Machalillia National
Park in the dry forests of coastal Ecuador, mountain-cloud forest
of the Mindo area, and the Amazon Basin.  In addition we had a
day-trip to Isla de la Plata, about 20 miles off  the coast by
boat.  Here we could get close to the nesting birds and their
chicks. A special place!

Our group of 11 started our adventure in Quito, the capitol city,
nestled in a green valley amidst the majestic Andes at 9,600
feet. The first day we toured the city, old and new, as well as
the  Equator monument and museum.   Our city hotel was used as a
base where we returned each time from the various regions of the

Our locations/accommodations outside Quito were carefully chosen.
Atamari Hosteria was a small comfortable lodge overlooking  the
Pacific coast.  Mindo Gardens in the cloud  forest is a well
known birder's lodge with hummingbird feeders around the dining

Sacha Lodge, a private reserve of primary forest  in the heart of
the Amazon Basin, was the highlight for us.   It  is a
comfortable facility (made of bamboo with thatch roof) in a
unique natural environment that attracts birders and other
natural history enthusiasts from around the world. The most
wonderous thing was observing the forest canopy from the 145 foot
high tower constructed around a giant kapok tree. We stayed in
the canopy for several hours after dawn, and again at dusk.
Many birds and other creatures  live their entire lives in the
canopy and can only be seen  from this unique perspective. Trips
into the rainforest were by canoe and on foot.  We were there
four nights immersed in this amazing rainforest/Amazonia

All three lodges had double-occupancy cabins, private bathrooms,
and hot water showers that usually ran "hot".  The meals were
well  prepared and included many local  foods, especially
fish/seafood and delicious fresh fruits.

Our expert Ecuadoran guide, Roberto Cedeno, was the best birding
guide we have ever had.  He was knowledgeable of all the bird's
names,  habits and habitats, and very quick to spot  them in the
dense foliage.  I have never seen anyone so adept at explaining
exactly where to look to see the  birds.   He carried a recorder
for calling in the birds, and a spotting scope which he would
very quickly set up so everyone could see.  He was very
enthusiastic and patient in making sure everyone of our group
could see. He also explained about  other flora and fauna, as
well as his country's history, geography,  people, culture  and
languages. We first met Roberto on the Mexican Elderhostel he was
guiding last March, and immediately signed up for this Ecuador
trip with him.   We also arranged with him (ahead of time) to
extend this trip an extra 10 days and visit three more locations.
  Roberto made all the arrangements for the extension through his
company, Kapok Expeditions. It was a continual pleasure to
explore his country  with him as our guide.

The Experiment in Living (EIL) coordinator who accompanied us
throughout the EH program was attentive in answering our numerous
questions, and caring for our needs.   The only "negative" was
the Hotel Chalet Suisse in Quito which was a last minute change.
This hotel has numerous shortcomings.  It was frustrating for
everyone, and I feel sure that EIL will not use it again.

This is an active outdoor program that requires fitness and
stamina. Before the trip we were a little concerned about health
and safety issues.   EH and EIL anticipated the concerns and
alleviated them through thoughtful preplanning and detailed
suggestions.  Our groups' problems were very  minor.  Everyone
had a  wonderfully  memorable experience.

We have been birding in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and various
Carribean locations.... and attended over 30 Elderhostels.  This
Ecuador program ranks at the top for location and quality of
program.  It is well planned and very well run by EIL.

We recommend this as The Best.   Go soon!   Ecuador's  tropical
birds are dazzling!

Carol and Dick Laursen - Eureka, CA


St Louis: Gateway to theArts
10/21-26, 2001

This Elderhostel studied today's St Louis performing and fine
arts offerings--via bus/walk tours and concerts, with pre-event
lecture insights from University faculty and local professionals.

UM at STL is a commuter campus, so EH'ers never got to see its
campus. Accommodations and most lectures were at Best Western
motel in STL county 10 mins from airport (free motel shuttle to
airport and to STL's Metrolink rail service connecting airport
and downtown STL). The motel isn't within easy walk of any shops,
but a 1/2 mile walk or drive due south will reach Westport
Plaza's upscale shops.

Except for pre-arranged EHer needs, all meals were nutritious and
delicious no-choices. Credit for "delicious" goes to BW
restaurant's excellent chef. Credit for "nutritious" goes to
UM-STL's EH hostess, who selected menu items in accordance with
earlier EHer's comments about seniors' tastes and stomachs.

Performances this week included STL Symphony Orchestra at Powell
Hall, a Native-American flute and folk/pop performance at Sheldon
Concert Hall, and a Black Repertory Theatre halloween-themed
musical play at STL Community College. Future EH program
performances will be chosen from among the best musical and stage
offerings then playing in St Louis.

Guided tours included MO Historical Society (and its temporary
"Miles Davis" jazz exhibit); STL Art Museum; MO Botanical (aka
Shaw's) Gardens; a "Riddles" dinner and evening shopping stroll
through University City's Delmar Loop; and a superb all-day
bus-with-stops tour led by an architect and historian to: Union
Station, Old Cathedral, Arch and its Museum of Western Expansion,
box lunch in Tower Grove Park, Laumeier Park's sculpture, New
Cathedral of St Louis, several recently restored neighborhoods
and "private places." Tour stops will include fewer outdoor parks
during winter months.

Most lectures were insights about our later tour stops or
performing groups. Other in-depth lectures described
out-of-season Opera Theatre of STL, Charles Lindbergh, and STL's
rich jazz history. Also, two "freetime" timeblocks gave EHers a
chance to shuttle to Metrolink to see more of individual interest
on their own; i.e., Forest Park, Grand Avenue, downtown, Galleria
(an enormous indoor shopping mall).

This busy week couldn't cover every corner of today's STL's
performing and fine arts. But it managed to cover most of the
best. Thanks to full-time coordinating efforts by U of MO's
EH-program hosts, Becky and Mary Kay, these many EH events ran
smoothly, on schedule, and without a grumble. And thanks to them,
and to an interesting and substantial agenda, good food and
lodgings, and most especially to a group of diverse but
compatible EH attendees, this EH was camaraderie-rich and great
fun for me.

-- Jim Fleming; Falls Church, VA.

South Africa Old and New
October 23 - November 8, 2001

 From the Uncollected Works of Gene S. Kuechmann

Our sojourn in the Rainbow Nation
Was definitely a revelation
		At least for me.
We toured the country with Ella to guide us
And Paul and Riaan to drive the bus.
		There was plenty to see.

When the weather failed to cooperate,
Ella continued to operate
		With alternate plans.
Some days, so tired we thought we'd drop,
Still we liked to stop and shop
		And spend our rands.

We heard 'bout hist'ry and paleontology,
Racial problems and beastly biology
		In our talks.
We trod veldts high and low and saw scenery galore
And penguins and baboons by the score
		On our walks.

Night and day game drives were equally fun,
And seeing those antelope on the run!
		We took photos - and yet
The memories we'll most like to recall -
The most important ones of all -
		Are the people we met.

Afrikaners or Bushmen or Colored or Black,
All made us so welcome we'd like to come back
		If we could.
Whatever befalls us, wherever we go,
Meeting people like these again lets us know:
		Life is good.

Oregon - Wildlife Safari  (www.wildlifesafari.org)
Oct 8, 2001

Wildlife Safari is a drive-through wild animal park located at
Winston, OR just a few miles off of Interstate 5.  Elderhostelers
are housed in a comfortable motel that is located within a
quarter mile of the Wildlife Safari access road, but that road is
two miles long so you don't want to walk back and forth.  The
Safari staff does provide a van to take you up in the morning and
back again after dinner.  If you want more flexibility than that,
and perhaps a good place to store those extra layers of clothing
during the day, you will find it convenient to have a car at your

In addition to the drive through route which takes you through
the African, Asian and American section, there is a very
comfortable village where the Hostelers spent most their time.
This includes other animal displays, the usual children's zoo, an
auditorium, where most of our class sessions were held and, of
course, a restaurant.  Since the Elderhostel program is an "off
season" activity at the Safari, we had the facilities almost to

The food was not real exciting, but was plentiful and there was
always a good salad bar available and a good variety of beverages
available for the taking.  Where else can you eat while you watch
the gibbons cavort and maybe see ostriches and a rhinoceros
wandering in a nearby field?

All through the week, we kept meeting new and interesting staff
members.  They were all very dedicated, skilled and friendly.
They introduced us to a great variety of animals that they had
behind the scenes.  They told us how they enhance the lives of
the animals and how they train them.

We met the veterinarians that work to keep the animals healthy
and they told us about how they have to handle some of these
animals and also about the research projects they have been
working on.  For example, the bears build up a very high
cholesterol level before they go into their hibernation period,
but they don't suffer from heart attacks.  Why?  The
veterinarians also took us out in a field to try some target
practice with a variety of dart guns.

We walked through the cheetah compound a few at a time with the
keepers who had large canes to prod the animals away if they came
to close, an opportunity for close-up pictures with no bars or
moats between you.

We walked and fed the elephants.  We also put some treats out for
lions, but then we got back into the vans before the lions were
let out of the building where they are kept for the night.  We
heard the story of what happened when a hippopotamus got away one

After the first day, I thought that we had seen the whole park.
What were we going to do all week?  It turned out that there
weren't too many dull moments because there was lots to do and

Grace   Bob McAllester


  Geneva Bay Center, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
  October  29-Nov.1, 2001,
  Humor of our forefathers/music of George Gershwin

This was my 6th appearance at this site, so you can check the
past notebooks on specifics viz. Site, accommodations, food, etc.

The purpose of this review is to comment on the    short program
(my first one)        this short program was excellent (as were
the 5 previous traditional programs I attended here)       and, I
think that this short program concept has great potential,
especially in terms of cost (seems that more and more notebook
reviewers are sounding this---prices are getting so that a number
of seniors are eliminated from traditional Sunday to
Friday/Saturday programs).

This could be a possible solution, especially with a
director/coordinator like Toni Jooss, whose ability to put
together a worthwhile program, even if it is 2 days less.   Most
of the 38 participants in this group reacted very positively  to
what we experienced...And very justifiably  so. Elderhostelers
who still have not experienced this excellent site, should; it is
definitely one of the best in the country.

I'll be happy to answer any  of your questions.      Your
elderhostel junkie-----Leonard        lmjr34@yahoo.Com


Park City, Utah
Time: Nov.4-10,2001
Birds of the Great Basin, Photography, and Mt. Geology
via Hot Air Balloon!

We drove from L.A. through the glorious red-rock country and
landed at Park City, where we registered at the very comfortable
Radisson Inn.  Room was large, TV and coffee maker, very
comfortable.  Only thing which made it affordable was only one
change of sheets if we requested it.

Our co-ordinators, Gary Neilsen and his wife Sandy, struck us as
rather young compared to others we had enjoyed (little did we
know!). Under the aegis of Utah Valley State College, we enjoyed
what felt like a double dose of everything...we had SIX great
instructors, a comfortable bus for the 12 of us, and when they
asked in the evaluation for our high point, we could only say
"every day!"

For our Photography course, we had an instructor the first day
who explained how to take color slides, then we were taken on a
trip to old barns, and to Main Street in the wonderful old mining
town of Park City where we completed a roll, had it developed,
and critiqued that night.  Next day a different teacher on the
subtelties of black-and-white.  Again, we were taken to an old
cemetery, an old mine, and back to town...completed our roll, and
critiqued that night.

Next day was a rainy morning, so we were on our own, taking the
free bus all around Park City and sightseeing more.  In the
afternoon we were taken to the Olympic site of the snowboarding,
bobsleigh and luge.  No snow yet, but the teams were already
there, practicing on the artificial iced runs. Saw film on the
Olympic sports, and the whole venue was fascinating.

After dinner we had a lecture on local geology by a terrific
teacher, John Peterson, who combines the brilliance of a Richard
Feynman with the showmanship of the guy who sells ice to Eskimos.
  Next morning dawned with clear skies, and we were picked up for
our adventure in hot-air ballooning..and it was totally awesome.
Spent almost an hour floating over the valley, comfortable and
quiet, and landed on a feather.  That afternoon we went with an
expert to several great scenic spots for bird-watching.

On Friday we bused into Salt Lake City to the Tracey Aviary,
where a personal friend of the resident birds took us on a tour
and introduced us.  In the afternoon (after, not a SACK lunch,
but actual ordered lunch in local eatery) we bused out to
Antelope Island in the midst of the Great Salt Lake, where we saw
(yes!) buffalo roaming and deer and antelope playing!

That night, for our Graduation, our dear hosts showed us a 30
min. videotape (with MUSIC) of our entire week, and promised to
send each one of us a copy.!  What greater love, what greater
memento?  And after all this, we discovered this was the first
time for this particular Elderhostel program.  I do hope they do
it again...if not, come see my videotape!

Terry Kirker    Gavian@aol.com

Two Geneaology Programs
Mount St. Mary College/Williams Lake, NY
East/Mt Snow VT.

My wife   I are amateur genealogists and like to combine our
genealogy pursuits with Elderhostel's. These Elderhostel's were
in New England where we wanted to do some searching and were
during the fall leaf season as well. We like history programs and
the NY program was supposed to be on the Erie Canal but was
canceled. The substitute was on the Hudson Valley and turned out
to be very  interesting.

We flew from OR to Albany NY on the 13th Oct. with only the
expected delays for security. We rented a car because these
Elderhostel's are in remote areas. We drove north and saw the
wonderful fall colors as well as Ft. Ticonderoga. Then we made it
south to Lake Williams for a week of "Gilded Age in the Hudson
Valley" and the ecology of the river. We sailed the river, waded
in it and visited places such as Hyde Park. The resort, meals and
the staff  were excellent. They were experienced with
Elderhosteling. We left having learned a lot about the Hudson

Between programs and on free days we visited  Kingston NY and
Litchfield Co. CN to do some genealogy. The program at Mt. Snow
was on the American Revolution. We were not far from Bennington,
VT where my wife wanted to do more genealogy.  The people
presenting the program, usually in costume, were experienced and
very knowledgeable on the northern campaigns of the War. The
evenings were occupied with period lore. They bused us to
Bennington and Saratoga and on our own time visited many grave
yards etc. looking for ancestors. The facilities and meals at the
resort were excellent. In all we had a fine two weeks.

Carol   Chester Stevenson  Eugene, OR