It is with sadness that we tell you December’s travel columns will be our last for CNHI Newspapers.

We can honestly say that writing for CNHI readers has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of our lives.

Having you along as we visited new places and met interesting people gave us great satisfaction. We heard from many of you via emails and appreciate that you took time to ask questions or relate your own travel experiences.

From our introductory column in October 2016 to a recent story about Wisconsin’s cranberry harvest, we visited special places and hope you enjoyed tagging along.

Best of all were the individuals we encountered.

New acquaintances ranged from Ken Broad, a retired minister who watches over the Norman Petty Studio where Buddy Holly recorded in Clovis, N.M., to Laurie Lietz, who administers the nostalgic Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, where Buddy last sang “Peggy Sue.”

During a visit to the former Barstow, Calif., Harvey House, we struck up a conversation with Ken and Debra Hodkin, who volunteer at the Route 66 Mother Road Museum.

At Homestead National Monument in Nebraska, we enjoyed talking with Superintendent Mark Engler about America’s pioneers.

There were many more, but you get the idea; travel offers unique opportunities to meet interesting people with great stories.

In saying goodbye, we thought it would be fitting to revisit five of our favorite travel experiences. 

5. Nature shows its stuff where the Old West lives on. During a spring 2017 road trip through northern Arizona and southern Utah, we stopped for three nights in the scenic town of Kanab, Utah. The small western town served as our hub for visits to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. Our stay included an excellent guided tour of Peekaboo Canyon. This region is home to some of our country’s most beautiful landscapes.

4. Nobody doesn’t like Jelly Bellies unless, of course, they are BeanBoozled. Our tour of the Fairfield, California, Jelly Belly plant was an unexpected pleasure.

We only discovered the plant’s location on the day prior to our scheduled return to the Sacramento airport.

Strolling the manufacturing plant’s elevated balcony, we watched as brightly colored jelly beans were created on the floor below. Every visitor we encountered wore a smile. 

3. Finishing up an Oregon Trail Journey, in Oregon. During the fall of 2017, we devoted the month of September and six columns to following the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon.

We encountered pioneer inscriptions in sandstone, walked in wagon ruts cut by pioneer wagons and visited numerous interesting museums.

The four-week trip is arguably America’s best road trip.

2. Going to Sunday School with a President. We had been meaning for years to attend president Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school class in Plains, Georgia, but just never got around to it, until we did.

The visit turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. The president’s talk for the day was how best to get along with other people.

As one church member told us, “He gives a good message and makes you feel good,” a comment that was right on the mark.

The former president is an amazing person.

1. Cruising Main Street Again. A summer visit to Rushville, Indiana, David’s childhood hometown, was our version of “Back to the Future.”

We ate pizza, reminisced, explored one of Indiana’s oldest high school gymnasiums and toured the local covered bridges in a classmate’s 1967 Pontiac convertible.

The lead photo, taken by Kay, says it all.

Several years ago, we mentioned an upcoming West Coast trip to a visiting friend and his handicapped spouse.

His reply: “Travel while you’re able.”

Sage advice to keep in mind.

David and Kay Scott are the authors of the “Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges” (Globe Pequot). Visit them at mypages.valdosta.edu/dlscott/Scott.html. View past columns at www.facebook.com/DavidKayScott. The Scotts columns will continue through December. The Scotts live in Valdosta, Georgia.