Just back from Fantasy’s 2019 America’s Civil War tour, George and Pam Raney are on the road again in their 34’ Tiffin Allegro motorhome, looking forward to even more Fantasy tours. They’ve got a lot more on their list – in fact, they’ve already completed 14 Fantasy events since joining the company in 2016.
When not on the road, the Raney’s reside in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After 30 years in the Air Force, George retired in 2010, while Pam continued to work for five more years as a clinic nurse for the Veterans Administration. “So, I became the cabana boy,” says George. But not for long. Within 36 hours of Pam’s retirement in 2015, the Raney’s were on the road headed to the Pacific Northwest. That same year, they took a Fantasy tour to Alaska. “We looked at each other and said we could do this,” says Pam. The following year they went to work for Fantasy.
This wasn’t their first rodeo. After retiring (and when he wasn’t carrying out his cabana boy duties) George became an active bicyclist. He joined several cycling clubs and was soon leading bicycle trips throughout the United States. As such, he had to make reservations for accommodations, develop trip logs and make sure his fellow cyclists were safe and happy. Transitioning to RV tours was easy. “We really appreciate all the office staff does in advance setting up the tours for us,” adds Pam. “With the bike tours, we had to make all the prior arrangements ourselves. The Fantasy crew does a great job.”
George is still riding, although not as much due to their Fantasy schedule. When they’re not on tour, he typically rides about 100 miles each week. He did find time this past winter to lead a 2-week Florida bike trip from Miami to Key West – 150 miles each way.
The Raney’s’ have joined Fantasy as guests on the Alaska tour and the Rose Parade Rally, then worked as Ambassadors on Rivers West: Path of Lewis & Clark, America’s Civil War and Rocky Mountains & Cheyenne Frontier Days, as well as the Calgary Stampede and Balloon Fiesta Rallies. They particularly like the history tours. George’s favorite? Lewis & Clark. “It was the first one we ran and by far the most complex and most fun.” Although she’s loved all of them, Pam’s choice is the 61-Day Ultimate Alaska Tour. “We went to Calgary first for a touch of the Stampede, then through the Canadian Rockies stopping in Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise. Then on through the Yukon to Alaska – everything was just so beautiful,” she says.
George and Pam relish the many new friends they’ve made during their Fantasy travels. “Every time we run a trip, we meet 48 new friends,” says Pam. “We just spent several days with friends we met in Alaska. This weekend we’re meeting up with some others. It’s great to stay in contact with so many people who enjoy traveling the way we do.”
The Raney’s are particularly excited about leading a brand-new tour this fall – Sensational Southwest, traveling from Sedona, Arizona to Santa Fe, their hometown. When they are home, they volunteer at the New Mexico Ghost Ranch, one of the stops on the tour. It’s a 20,000-acre retreat center where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted for 50 years. George leads landscape tours, showing the spots where O’Keeffe painted, while Pam conducts walking history tours.
“Anyone who’s been on a tour with George knows he likes to wear different hats,” says Pam. “He wears a different hat each day, depending on the tour activities – a top hat, a railroad hat, a Civil War hat….”
George and Pam have five children between them, most of whom reside in the Cincinnati area. “Last year, the longest period we stayed in one spot was with our son in northern Idaho – six whole days,” says George. They don’t “intentionally” travel with pets, although after one of their guests found a kitten, they did keep her for a few days.
Whatever the task, George and Pam are up for it. And they’re certainly having a great time doing it!
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