Meet Our Guides
Our guides are carefully chosen professionals and year after year are the highest-rated aspects of our trips. They are there to take care of all the details but also exercise with you during the day, eat with you at dinner, and often show you their favorite watering hole or sunset-watching point in the evening.
“Your guides seem to bring out the kid in all of us.”
“I don’t believe you could get better guides. I don’t know how you do it. They are all great!”
Most importantly, they know how to have fun, and that is contagious. All Zephyr guides are trained in CPR and First Aid and, when appropriate, are certified as inline skating instructors. Two or three of the guides listed below will accompany you on your adventure. On many of our trips we utilize additional local guides who specialize in the area’s history, language, geography or culture.
Allan Wright is Zephyr’s owner and president and has been running adventure vacations since 1997 when Zephyr first created the inline skate touring industry. If you have questions about where your next Zephyr trip should be, ask Allan – he set up most of Zephyr’s locations and is planning all the future ones! Allan is a native of Seattle and has lived in ten cities in four countries on three continents during his many traveling years. When asked about his life dreams, Allan will tell you, “To have a significant impact on other people and the world and to have fun doing it.” Allan is a bit of an idealist.
“His passion for creating an active travel company that is centered around the participants’ wants and needs clearly shows.”
“Brilliant! Always everywhere in tune to everything and everyone. Can he be cloned?”
Andrea Franklin is admired by the other Zephyr guides for her excellent teaching skills – although if Zephyr were a school, she would most likely be voted the “class clown.” Andrea is one of our most experienced and versatile guides. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Andrea now considers Miami her home. Andrea comes from a skating family – her parents met 60 years ago while on skates and her father recently tried inline skating at age 83! She teaches skating and spinning classes full time, was a skater for the Rollerjam television show, and can be found guiding a variety of Zephyr trips.
“Andrea is just fun to be around and her obvious love for organizing spontaneous group fun makes her a natural guide.”
“Beautiful skater who shines at all levels.”
Desiree’ Kameka was born and raised in Miami, she grew up on inline skates and raced for several years as a pro before “retiring” to take on new adventures. You will find her on any of our hiking, biking, or skating tours. On her own time, she loves to play the guitar, salsa dance, and read a good book. She works with autistic youths so she can “partner with those who are autistic to reach their highest level”. You will love her enthusiasm and will enjoy laughing with her each and every day.
“Love her! Please send Desiree’ on all my tours.”
“Desiree’ has a passion for many things in life but seems to be most passionate about whatever is right there in front of her at the time. A great attitude to have.”
Erika Helstrom is a full-time member of the Zephyr Adventures office staff and focuses her efforts on marketing our tours. As an avid traveler, Erika has been to several exotic locations around the world, including a pre-Zephyr trip that combined Nepal with Tanzania. From her home in Boulder, Colorado, Erika enjoys a full range of outdoor activities including mountain climbing, camping, kayaking, and biking.
“When we interviewed Erika to work for Zephyr Adventures, we loved that she was using Skype to talk with us from Nepal, just before getting on the trail to enjoy a trek. That is Prioritizing Adventure!”
Gary Passon is a Minnesota native who retired a few years ago and now spends his time doing what he loves: working out and helping others do the same. During winters he is a personal trainer at a health club, teaching fitness classes and working one-on-one with clients. During summers he teaches inline skating to aspiring racers. In addition to skating, he is accomplished at pretty much any sport he tries and so you will find Gary on tours in almost any of our locations doing a variety of activities. Our tour participants love Gary for his quick smile and his willingness to take care of every detail to make your tour outstanding.
“Gary is perfect as a guide. He was always working hard to arrange the tour details but also had time for each person’s individual needs.”
“Conscientious, considerate, and professional. So pleasant and comfortable to be around.”
Giovanni Ramaccioni is our Italian specialist and a man of many talents. Not only is he an expert on the food, culture and history of his country, he is an expert on bikes and biking. He also is intimately familiar with Italian wines and can give you his opinion on why they are much better than French wines! He has guided biking and hiking tours in Tuscany and Umbria for many years and knows the area like the back of his hand. Giovanni and his college sweetheart Michela live in Umbria with their two kids.
“Best local guide we have ever been on a tour with. He really knew his biking and his country and could talk about both easily.”
“Giovanni made my trip. His personality, energy and knowledge were awesome and his sense of humor just made him a joy to travel with.”
Iker Garamendi guides with us on our Spain tours and adds a whole lot to your experience. He is our local bike expert and works full-time as a bike messenger in Pamplona, sort of a “running with the bikes.” Iker helped us set up our local biking routes and, as the quote above attests, also has the knowledge to take you on an exploratory route if you are so inclined. Asked about his passions, Iker says “Passion is the word, biking and hiking are the ways, and Spain is the place. This is what feeds my mind and always has me looking forward to the next trip.”
“We did the long route on Day 5, sort of an “explorer’s route” with Iker. This turned into one of the highlights of the trip for us.”
Jenny Siddall is a Brit who lives in Rioja (Spain) and has ten years experience guiding both active tours and those focused on food and wine. She has a masters degree in Viticulture and Oenology and has worked in several Spanish wineries. She is fluent in Spanish, Italian, and French and so you will find her on any of our food-focused or wine-focused active tours in Europe.
“We are looking forward to our first tour with Jenny. She sounds like an awesome addition to Zephyr’s guiding staff!”
Kris Thomas works full time for Zephyr out of our Red Lodge, Montana headquarters. For most of the year Kris is Zephyr’s “customer care” and tour operations specialist. However, she also guides a variety of trips. Tour participants find her to be organized, competent, a great leader and – true to her Midwestern roots – always friendly. When asked what her life dream is, Kris answers (among other things), “To always have a job where I can work in my pajamas or shorts.”
“Kris is down-to-earth and easy to be with. One of those people you just feel comfortable with right off the bat.”
“Bet she was the kind of kid who never got in trouble, but was the instigator behind all sorts of childhood mayhem.”
Liz Miller became an inline missionary in 1991, after discovering it was a great way to have fun and get exercise at the same time. She now spends her at-home weekends teaching skating and her away-from-home weekends skiing, hiking or adventuring with her “Prince Charming,” Dan. Liz works full time as a technical writer, but also makes time to author books and a fantastic website (www.getrolling.com) about inline skating. Liz specializes in instructing at Zephyr’s Camp Rollerblades.
“Liz’s devotion to an active lifestyle is an inspiration.”
“A skating intellectual, or should I say ‘skate-training analyst.’ She had the greatest sense of how to convey skating techniques in a manner to reach even the most otherwise-untrainable student.”
Reno Walsh lives and works in Bozeman, Montana, and has many years of experience in the adventure travel business. In addition to guiding, he works full time developing new business opportunities for Zephyr. Reno spends his free time in the outdoors via fly rod, canoe, snowboard, bike, raft, trail, rope, rock, water and mountain. When he’s not on the go, you’ll find him with a glass of his favorite red, a good read, or his friends.
“Reno has a true love of people and the outdoors — we were lucky to have him as our leader!”
“Always helpful, friendly and fun. Displayed an impressive amount of knowledge about the area, geography, hiking and wildlife.”
Although Santiago Castelo lives and works in Peru and is an expert on Peruvian culture and history, his knowledge spreads beyond his country’s borders. Having lived in the U.S. for a time, he is able to relate to North Americans and is comfortable conversing on any subject you choose. Born and raised in the Cusco area, Santiago has trekked the Inca Trail hundreds of times and will amaze you with everything he knows about the flora and fauna, the Incas and the Spanish. Santiago’s compassion for his people is easily apparent, as is his wickedly fun sense of humor!
“On a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being the best … I would rate Santiago as a 12.”
“Santiago was the best – an encyclopedia and always attentive to safety. A really nice guy as well. He has a great respect for Andean culture and I learned a lot from him.”
Sonya Mapp is Zephyr’s administrative whiz in McCall, Idaho. After running her own business and working for several small companies, Sonya joined Zephyr as the person in charge of all things to do with our office. She is an avid hiker, skier, soccer player, and mountain biker. She and her husband have two young daughters, and an 80-pound black dog that join them on all their outdoor pursuits. While most of her time is spent in the office helping keep Zephyr’s wheels rolling, so to speak, you may also meet Sonya as one of your guides on any number of trips.
“She always knows just when to step in to help and when to quietly observe and let you work something out for yourself.”
“Sonya is unflappable – one of the most organized people I’ve ever worked with.”
Terry Lynch was born in South Dakota but has lived near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia for the last two decades. You’ll find Terry is as easygoing as they come and is one of those people who can talk about any subject you throw at him. He teaches Special Education full time, but we get him during his summers off, when he guides in a variety of U.S. and European locations. In the winter, Terry is a weekend cross-country skiing guide and instructor.
“Terry is incredibly patient with the kids (he plays well with the adults too).”
“Terry was very laid back and nice to talk to. He made me feel comfortable and welcome immediately.”