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March 27, 2017

Tales From the Heart of a Tour Manager

Mount Rushmore Tour

One of our wonderful Tour Managers recently had an incredibly emotional experience out on tour and felt compelled to share it with our travelers. We hear stories like hers pretty frequently because our Tour Mangers are so passionate and dedicated. Here's Phyl Perry's experience out on tour in America's Cowboy Country.

Last summer, I was at Mount Rushmore with my tour group, attending the Evening Lighting Ceremony when the tears started streaming down my face. I looked around, hoping and praying that none of my guests could see me at that moment. What was wrong with me? I am not a person who cries in public and I had seen this ceremony before! As I contemplated my emotions, I realized what was happening to me. After taking guests all over the country to National Parks and Monuments, I had become patriotic! This was a beautiful ceremony celebrating America and it had touched my heart.

As a Collette Travel Tour Guide, I have the joy of seeing America’s greatness all the time! On my tours, I get to go to some of the most beautiful places in this country and share the story of how they came to be. It’s not just a story about places, but a story about people too. Some of them are well known like George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt; but others were just “regular” people who through their bravery, curiosity, and tenacity helped to create many of the things we take for granted here in America.

My favorite heroes, however, are the ones who come on tour with me. Many of them are veterans; some have overcome huge obstacles; others have experienced sadness and are marking a new chapter in life with a trip; while some are just enjoying life while they can.

Together we visit monuments, memorials, national parks and so much more! At Mount Rushmore, the guests on tour who are veterans are actually part of the ceremony.

Beyond the beauty and fun of the places we visit, I love watching people become a community. During the tour, I see strangers become friends and even look after each other. They buy birthday cards to pass around the coach, push wheelchairs of people they hardly know, hold umbrellas over each other and grab someone’s arm if they think they are in danger of falling.

Quietly, I observe all of this and understand why I feel patriotic.

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