Bert & Shari Frenz
If you've read their travel journals, you already know a lot about Bert and Shari. After selling a successful business, they retired at age 50 and hit the road in 1996 in their newly purchased RV. A delightful 7-month trip to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest convinced them to sell their Texas house and travel full-time. Having seen all 50 states and most of Canada, they set their sights on Mexico. Together as Tailgunners and Bert as a birding guide, they followed an RV caravan along the west coast of Mexico to San Blas and then visited the Copper Canyon on the return trip.
Many of their fellow travelers wanted to bird and to visit eastern Mexico and the Yucatan, and asked Bert and Shari to organize the trip and research the birding sites. So taking up the challenge they organized a 2001 trip to that part of Mexico and added a visit to Belize as well. In 2002 they were again Wagonmasters for a similar 65-day trip but with an improved itinerary and longer stay in Belize.
Only back from Mexico for a month, they headed north and lead a 70-day Alaska caravan, focusing on nature: the birds, mammals, flowers and geology of this magnificent state.
Back to Mexico again in 2003, they led a trip through the central mountains of Mexico, to the Pacific coast and then to Belize for an even longer stay. In 2004, it was the Yucatan peninsula, plus 18 days in Belize and Guatemala. In that spring they explored a new route through Manitoba. In 2005, they led birders through a new route in Central Mexico and included 21 days in Belize. Back for just a month they headed north and lead a birding caravan throughout Manitoba, including 6 days in Churchill.
In 2006 and 2007, they concentrated on Belize with an intense 49-day visit exploring every corner of the country, as part of another 65-day caravan starting from Texas. They followed in spring with a 70-day Alaska caravan. In 2008 they led a 79-day trip from Texas to Costa Rica, including Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Back for a month in Texas, they headed north and led spring, summer and fall caravans to British Columbia, Yukon Territory, Alaska and Northwest Territories. Central Mexico, Belize and the east coast of Mexico was the itinerary for their 2009 caravan. And that same year they lead two back-to-back caravans throughout the Canadian Maritimes. In 2010 they opened a new frontier for birding caravans, spending 6 months in Australia and New Zealand and leading birding groups in both countries. In 2011 they conducted their fourth trip to Manitoba and Churchill and found time in the fall to participate as guests on a one-month Mississippi River RV tour from its source in Minnesota to a fly-over the Gulf of Mexico south of New Orleans.
In 2012 they led an extended series of caravans to remote Alaska, visiting far flung places such as St. Paul Island in The Pribilofs, Dutch Harbor and the Aleutian Chain, Kodiak Island, Nome, and the Dalton Highway to Purdue Bay. They followed these with trips on the Dempster Highway to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, and then to Yellowknife, NWT.
They intended to spend the spring and summer of 2013 in Colorado, but were called to lead caravans to the Gaspé and Canadian Atlantic Provinces. The 30-day tour covered Québec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and immediately was followed by a 26-day tour of Newfoundland, Labrador and a return through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. After the tour they returned to Québec to reconnoiter the first part of the planned overland route to Labrador for 2014.
In spring 2014 a Birder's Reunion brought 60 past guests to the Lower Rio Grande Valley for 10 days of birding and socials. Next was a birding tour from the Mexico border to Louisiana, following the Texas coast during spring migration. In the summer of 2014, they were the first to lead an RV caravan along the Trans-Labrador Highway, starting from Quebec City, heading east along the north side of St. Lawrence seaway, then across eastern Quebec to Labrador and on to the Atlantic Ocean. They followed with a tour of Newfoundland island and then in fall 2014 they worked the Myrtle Beach Rally for past guests.
The summer and fall of 2015 was again a busy year, starting with a tour throughout Northwest Territories, including much of Alberta and Yukon Territory and parts of British Columbia. This was followed by a unique Alaska tour penned as Top-of-the-World because it toured Alaskan roads north of Fairbanks: Taylor, Chena, Steese, Elliott, and most spectacularly the Dalton Highway. In the fall they were hosts for a 10-day rally at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.
Now with 39 caravans under their belt, intermingled with extensive trips to Arizona, Florida, the Canadian maritime provinces, Scotland, Ireland and everything in between, they are anxious to lead three North American tours in 2016 and four tours through Australia and New Zealand in 2017.