By Jan Jackson
Think of it. You can go wine tasting without a designated driver, enjoy a night out on the town without a date or take a tour to the coast that suits you to a tee. Carolyn Smithrud, owner and operator of Wheels N Time, had all those things in mind when she created her site-to-site touring company in 2013.
Her satisfied customers are coming from as near as her hometown of McMinnville, Oregon and as far away as Alaska, New York, England and New Zealand. They are saying her private touring idea that allows you to have “Your Day, Your Way” is a good one.
Smithrud, who drives an immaculate six-passenger Ford Flex, loves the people, the freedom and the promise of the open road.
“I spent more than 25 years in administrative positions and was ready to do something different,” Smithrud said. “I have deep roots in Oregon wine country and I’ve been a McMinnville resident for 18 years. I decided this is something I could do and I knew I would love doing it. Customer service has always been my first love and this is what this job is about. I also love sharing what I know about what they are seeing as we travel the beautiful back roads and I love seeing it again through their eyes.”
Smithrud, who advertises through B&Bs, wineries and the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce draws customers from all over the world.
“ I loved the guy from England whose favorite wine was made right here in the valley,” Smithrud said. “He called me at 10 o’clock one morning and ask if I could take him to the winery to meet the winemaker. I said yes, and picked him up at the Carlton Inn. We arrived to find the gate locked but he had come too far to let that stop him. He jumped the fence and talked them into letting us in early. He got to meet his winemaker and he went home a happy man.”
In addition to Smithrud’s flawless driving record and air of professionalism that lets her passengers relax and enjoy the ride, her knowledge of the area and her interest in people make her a great tour guide. To find out how you can spend your day your way, call 941-267-6375, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wheelsntime.com.
Photo by Jan Jackson