After taking trips around the world for more than two decades, two KELOLAND sisters are logging more miles by inviting other women on their bus trips.
For living 100 miles apart, these sisters are as close as two can get. Both empty nesters, Vicki Fassler and Linda Blitsch-Noonan love shopping and catching a Broadway show.
"It was fun for us to just do it ourselves, spontaneous things, and so we thought it would be fun for other people too, to do things we like to do," Fassler said.
So on a whim, Fassler bought 55 tickets to see a musical and chartered a bus to Omaha, without any expectations.
"We ended up taking three busloads of women on a Thursday night to Menopause the Musical. Very first time. It was chaotic but everybody had so much fun," Fassler said.
That was in 2009. Four years later, their "2 Sisters Off and Running" travel business is gaining speed, as women get together with their girlfriends for a weekend away.
"We started and we were going to do three trips a year," Fassler said. "Three trips, that's it. Spring, Summer and Fall."
"And this is our seventh trip this year," Blitsch-Noonan said.
More than 700 guests have traveled across the region and come home with new friendships. The majority of the company's advertisement relies on word-of-mouth from past travelers.
"If it's not something we don't like doing, we usually don't do it," Blitsch-Noonan said. "It's usually just fun stuff."
The women have rented buses and traveled to see "The Lion King", "Jersey Boys", among others. They already have reservations to see "I Love Lucy" and "Sister Act" in Nebraska next year.
"Both of us want to be in charge," Blitsch-Noonan said.
"Of not only each other, but other people," Fassler added.
"We like to do all of the planning and be in charge of the whole weekend and everybody has to depend on us. We love it," Blitsch-Noonan said.
The sisters, who live in Lennox and Cherokee, Iowa, say they arrange all the bus tour details: from what shows to see, to where they'll stay and what they'll do during their down time.
"We have to Skype 2.5 hours and my husband will say, 'I'm just going to bed,'" Fassler said. "Because I'll still be sitting out there Skyping away with her. But you want to find new and different things if you can think of them."
The pair's main business goal is to provide affordable entertainment both admit the travel business doesn't generate enough money for them to be able to afford to quit their day jobs. And that's fine with them.
"We pretty much do it for fun," Blitsch-Noonan said. "Our husbands always say, 'Will you guys ever make any money?' And it's like, well someday. We want people to be able to afford to go."
The typical trip averages less than $250, including the $100 show ticket and most meals.
Looking ahead, they say they're happy taking small trips to places including Minneapolis, Omaha and Lincoln and leave destinations to Las Vegas and Chicago to larger companies.
"I think my favorite thing is seeing the people get excited and surprised," Blitsch-Noonan said. "That's what it's about. That to me is the satisfaction is just making other people happy."
Next weekend, the sisters will be taking their guests to see the musical, "Wicked" in Minneapolis.
They will also take another group to see it in Des Moines the second weekend of November.
For more information, check out their website at www.2sistersoffandrunning.com.