Sandy Hamer announces 2020 season of bus trips

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by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (March 1, 2020) – “I can be very honest and say, the last three, four years I have filled the buses,” said Lansing resident Sandy Hamer. She’s been organizing day trips for the past 10 years, and their popularity has grown through church bulletin announcements and word of mouth. The trips range from five hours to twelve hours, and they involve historical tours, music and comedy shows, boat rides, shopping excursions, theater experiences, and always a hearty meal at a well known establishment.

Hamer volunteers her time to organize the trips, and she keeps the cost as low as possible. This year’s trips all cost between $75 and $115, and that price includes everything but personal expenses (such as shopping) and tips for the driver and tour director.

Though the tour groups meet at Lansing’s First Church PCA to board the bus, participants come from miles away, including Whiting, Demotte, Merrillville, and Schererville, Indiana. Many of the participants are seniors, though some younger adults use a vacation day in order to take advantage of a trip that sounds interesting. A full bus load is 54 people, and Hamer often has a waiting list. She tried doing two buses once, and filled them both, but afterward decided that shepherding 108 people was more than she wanted to handle.

The 2020 season includes the following bus trips, and the first reservation deadline date is March 20 (for the May 20 visit to Tommy Gun’s Garage):

  • April 22: South Bend, Indiana (Reservation deadline: April 1)
    • Trip includes the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame, Tippecanoe Place Restaurant, and South Bend Chocolate Company
    • Bus leaves at 7:00am, returns at 4:00pm
    • Cost: $75

  • May 20: Tommy Gun’s Garage (Reservation deadline: March 20)
    • Trip includes a Roaring 20s musical and comedy show dinner performance
    • Bus leaves at 11:00am, returns at 4:30pm
    • Cost: $85

  • June 17: Douglas and Saugatuck, Michigan (Reservation deadline: May 25)
    • Trip includes the Old School House Historical Museum, Coral Gables Restaurant, Star of Saugatuck River Cruise, and shopping in downtown Saugatuck
    • Bus leaves at 7:00am, returns at 6:30pm
    • Cost: $90

  • July 15: Indianapolis, Indiana (Reservation deadline: June 1)
    • Trip includes Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s dinner buffet and Beehive: the 60s musical
    • Bus leaves at 7:00am, returns at 7:00pm
    • Cost: $100

  • August 19: Mystery Bus Trip (Reservation deadline: April 30)
    • Mystery trip includes a light lunch, a fun time, and dinner; part of the day will be outside
    • Bus leaves at 8:00am, returns at 7:00pm
    • Cost: $100

  • September 9: Shipshewana (Reservation deadline: May 19)
    • Trip includes seeing Josiah for President at the Blue Gate Theatre, followed by lunch at Das Essenhaus
    • Bus leaves at 9:00am, returns at 6:30pm
    • Cost: $105

  • September 30: Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin (Reservation deadline: September 1)
    • Trip includes seeing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Fireside Dinner Theatre
    • Bus leaves at 7:00am, returns at 7:00pm
    • Cost: $115

Further information about any of these trips is available directly from Sandy Hamer, and she also handles reservations:

  • 708-474-1427

First Church PCA is located at 3134 Ridge Road in Lansing, Illinois.

First Church (PCA) is located on the corner of Burnham and Ridge. The main entrance is on the north side of the building. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)