Amish Country and Chocolate World

We enjoyed 3 great weeks in Pennsylvania! The first week we spent in Lancaster, also known as Amish Country. As soon as we pulled into town we started to see horses and buggies on the roads. I was completely fascinated by this and the Amish way of life. It was like stepping back in time but with a strange 21st century feel since there were also many cars on the road. I found myself actually being afraid that the horse and buggy carts would get hit by a car. It’s hard to describe but it literally was like being in a town where the 19th and 21st centuries exist side-by-side.

SavedImage_0426181457_24~2

SavedImage_0426181502_24~2

An Amish cart even rode through our campground one day selling homemade goodies. We purchased some chocolate chip cookies and fresh-squeezed lemonade that were delicious!

0428181812_Burst03

I know the picture above is a little fuzzy. I took it as they rode by our site. When we purchased some goodies from the man he told me he doesn’t mind that I took a picture of them riding by, but they don’t believe in having their picture taken where you can recognize their face. I really wish I could have talked with him and his family and learned more about their lifestyle, but they really seemed to value their privacy and do not want to be exploited by tourists.

It was fun to spend time with another Fulltime Family while we were in PA. We met the Bauman family over 2 years ago and have been able to meet up with them a few times since then. We met them for a field trip to Lapp Valley Farm one day.

0426181538_HDR

0426181542a_HDR

Gorgeous peacock roaming around the farm

0426181543a_HDR

0426181543c_HDR

0426181549a_HDR

I had no idea that Pennsylvania was so beautiful!

0426181601a_Burst02

The boys enjoyed playing with their friend Austin a few times and were excited for him to join us when we visited Dutch Wonderland. This amusement park was connected to our campground. We happened to be there for opening weekend and spent a Saturday enjoying that park.

0428180943b_HDR

0428181108a_Burst09

0428181336_HDR~2

0428181359b_Burst05

From Lancaster we moved on to Hershey and stayed at the Thousand Trails park there. Thousand Trails parks do not reserve specific sites in advance, but all sites are first-come-first-served. I was very happy to snag this awesome site right next to the pond the day we got there, and we were visited by a family of geese several times during our stay.

0502181829a_HDR~4

SavedImage_0504181553_01~2

Aren’t they so cute??

Of course our main purpose for visiting Hershey was to visit Chocolate World and Hershey Park. Chocolate World has a free ride tour that was interesting, although it went too fast to really be able to fully absorb what they were teaching. On the ride you learn the process that goes into making a Hershey candy bar. At the end of the ride you get a free candy bar and then enter a store with an overwhelming amount of Hershey candy, including my favorite Reese’s.

20180508_163343_Burst02

20180508_165824

Milton Hershey

20180508_165815

20180508_171205~2

We got a good deal on 2-day tickets to Hersheypark which included a 2.5 hour preview the night before our first visit. We had a blast riding all the thrill rides at this park!

0504181734_HDR

Jesse just reached the Twizzler line which meant he was tall enough to ride everything!

SavedImage_0505181059_11

Chris and Jake at the end of Fahrenheit

0504181904_Burst03~2

Jake and I were on this ride near the back row — it was scary!

SavedImage_0505181806_06

All of us agree that the ride behind us was our favorite — it’s called Great Bear

We got to meet up with the Bauman family one more time to visit Troegs Brewery. They had delicious food including a cheese fondue that was so yummy! And we tried a few different beers that were really good.

0506181705_HDR

The adult’s table

0506181706_Burst05

The kid’s table

We had such a wonderful time visiting Pennsylvania! Next up, we headed to New York City. Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Washington D.C. Cherry Blossoms and More

On our last evening in DC we walked around the Tidal Basin where there is the highest concentration of Cherry Blossoms that were in full bloom. Cherry Blossoms are a big thing in DC, they even have a Cherry Blossom festival every spring.

0412181834c_HDR

There are several memorials to check out as you make your way around the Tidal Basin. The first one we came to was the Jefferson Memorial.

0412181902a_HDR

Jefferson Memorial

0412181901_Burst09

Thomas Jefferson

0412181842a_HDR

0412181912a_HDR

As we continued walking around the loop we noticed that in some areas there were so many cherry blossoms it looked like snow!

0412181919a_HDR

Next we arrived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial.

0412181917a_HDR

0412181923_HDR

Franklin D. Roosevelt

0412181921a_HDR

Eleanor Roosevelt

0412181928a_HDR

0412181940_HDR

More cherry blossoms

Continuing on we arrived at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

0412181934a_HDR

Martin Luther King, Jr

0412181935b_HDR

And more cherry blossoms

After making our way completely around the Tidal Basin and visiting all of those memorials we were back out at the Reflecting Pool where we had been a couple of days earlier. This time we were there in the evening when everything was lit up really pretty.

0412181956_HDR

Lincoln Memorial across the Reflecting Pool

0412181957e_HDR

0412182005b_HDR

World War II Memorial at night

0412181950b_HDR

Representing Florida!

0412181952_HDR

0412182013a_HDR~2

Washington Monument lit up at night

We ended our time in Washington D.C. on such a high note by spending this time viewing the cherry blossoms and seeing DC lit up at night. After 3 full days of exploring the city we were completely exhausted, but so grateful for all that we got to see and experience.

If you missed my first two posts on DC you can see them here: Washington D.C. Memorials and Arlington and Washington D.C. Capitol and Museums.

Also, another Fulltime Family blogged about their time in DC that I found extremely helpful in planning our time there. If you would like some tips on visiting, I would recommend reading her posts starting here: Barry Good Times.

Categories: Washington DC | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Washington D.C. Capitol and Museums

One of the highlights of our time in DC was visiting the Capitol building.

0412181227_HDR

A few months before our trip I contacted our congressman’s office to schedule some tours. They set up our own personalized tour of the Capitol building by an intern working for their office. While talking with the intern during our tour we realized that his parents live in the same area of Florida where we used to live and he was also homeschooled! Not only that but I recognized his mom’s name when he mentioned it. We have over 20 mutual friends on Facebook so I knew her name sounded familiar. It turns out she’s friends with lots of my other homeschool mom friends back in Fernandina. Small world!

0412181234_HDR

0412181254b_HDR

Anyway, we really enjoyed our tour! The rotunda which is the large room under the big dome you see on the outside of the building was really beautiful on the inside. There were famous paintings surrounding the room featuring our nation’s early history.

0412181422_HDR

0412181430_HDR

0412181421b_HDR

Ceiling of the rotunda.

0412181413a_HDR

Old Supreme Court Chamber used from 1810-1860.

0412181433a_HDR

Memorial honoring the heroes of Flight 93 on 9/11/2001.

The absolute best part of our Capitol tour was getting the chance to sit in the House Gallery which is the room you see on TV where the state representatives argue about political stuff. Unfortunately we could not take any phones or cameras in the there, in fact the security to get in there was very extensive (including those full-body scanners they use at airports). It was worth it though to get to sit in and watch and listen to some representatives argue about a budget amendment. I can’t say the subject matter was all that interesting, and I honestly did not recognize any of the people in the room, but it was still really cool to sit in and watch that nonetheless.

In addition to the Capitol, we also visited Ford’s Theater where President Lincoln was assassinated. The museum was very well done and had many exhibits about Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and the Civil War.

0411181405a_HDR

0411181400_HDR

0411181407a_HDR

After touring the museum, we were able to sit in the theater to listen to a ranger talk about the events of the night of the assassination.

0411181416a_HDR

0411181424a_HDR

Theater box where President Lincoln was sitting the night he was shot.

0411181321a_HDR

Peterson House where he was taken after being shot where he later died the next morning.

We also visited the National Archives museum but unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures there either. We saw the original documents of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It was very cool to see those original documents, even though the writing was quite faded and difficult to read.

Lastly we visited the new Museum of the Bible. The children’s area was really fun!

0412181615b_HDR

Jesse pretending he is Samson knocking over the pillars.

0412181614_HDR

Jake doing the same thing.

There were a lot of arcade style games with Biblical themes that the kids loved playing.

0412181619a_HDR

While they played in there I wandered around some more of the museum. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there and I didn’t get to see much of the museum, but I did like the Amazing Grace exhibit featuring the history of the writer of the famous hymn, John Newton.

0412181633_HDR

0412181640_HDR

The museum had 6 floors and I only had time to explore one. I guess that means we’ll have to go back again someday.

Also, we never had a chance to make it to any of the Smithsonian museums. I didn’t realize there was so much to see and do in DC and I clearly did not plan on enough time there. What my friends at Ditching Suburbia taught me is that we should not leave an area with regrets of what we did not see. It’s impossible to see it all, and it’s always nice to have a reason to return. We definitely left many reasons to return to see more of DC!

I will have one more post about our time in DC to share pictures of the cherry blossoms. We coincidentally timed our visit perfectly so that we were able to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom! Stay tuned for that post next.

Categories: Washington DC | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Washington D.C. Memorials and Arlington

We had an amazing time exploring Washington D.C. I will need to write about it in more than one post, otherwise this would be too long.

We stayed at Cherry Hill RV Park in College Park, Maryland. This was the perfect place for us to stay because we didn’t have to drive the truck anywhere! The campground offers daily sightseeing information sessions to help you learn how to get around DC. The Metro bus stops right at the campground and takes you to the Metro station where you can take the train right into DC. We got Metro cards from the campground and were able to re-load them at any station.

Our first day we took the Metro to Arlington National Cemetery. Before going there we did a lesson on the history of Arlington. I learned about this lesson from another Fulltime Family and you can download it for free here: Arlington Activities. This study was so helpful to us in preparing for our time visiting Arlington.

0410181152_HDR

Arlington National Cemetery is beautiful and sobering all at the same time. It is a sea of gravestones as far as you can see. It’s incredible to think that each one of these represents someone that sacrificed for our freedom. Someone that doesn’t even know me, yet I get to enjoy freedom thanks to each of these remarkable people. To say I’m grateful would be such an understatement.

0410181323_HDR

Freedom is definitely not free.

0410181123_HDR

If you look closely in the picture below on the left-hand side you can see horses pulling a casket to a funeral. Arlington averages over 20 funerals each weekday!

0410181129a_HDR

We got to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We learned about this in the lesson we did, and I found it so interesting how much goes into ensuring that this tomb is properly guarded and respected by soldiers that must pass a very strict process to be able to participate in this.

0410181142a_HDR

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

We also visited John F. Kennedy’s gravesite where an eternal flame glows, although you can’t see the flame in the picture below (it really was there!)

0410181223_HDR

0410181224b_HDR

My favorite quote from John F. Kennedy.

After visiting the cemetery, we walked across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool and several other memorials.

0410181309_Burst06

0410181303_HDR

0410181348_HDR

0410181321_HDR

Korean War Memorial

0410181400_HDR

Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial

0410181415_HDR

Reflecting Pool looking back at the Lincoln Memorial

0410181415b_HDR

World War II Memorial and Washington Monument

0410181420_HDR

World War II Memorial

0410181418e_HDR

Lastly we walked over to see the White House. It was amazing how crowded this area was! I’m glad we got this picture with no one else in it, well except for that secret service agent behind us.

0410181502c_HDR

Our first day in DC was so incredible and exhausting. We walked over 20,000 steps that day. We really appreciated the campground hot tub that night!

Categories: Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Williamsburg, Virginia

We spent 2 weeks in Williamsburg, VA and it was still not enough time. There is so much to see and do in that area! We stayed at a Thousand Trails park which usually means we are sure to meet up with other Fulltime Families, which of course we did. The park was awesome with an indoor pool and hot tub that we enjoyed on more than one occasion. We also enjoyed mini golf and Jesse loved playing basketball with Chris just about every evening.

We wanted to visit Busch Gardens along with all of the historical areas so I was thankful to find a combined ticket that gave us access to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg for a week. We spent Easter weekend at Busch Gardens. That park is so much fun and has so many thrill rides! I can’t take a lot of pictures while I’m riding roller coasters all day so you’ll just have to use your imagination, but trust me, the thrill factor at that park is high! Here is a picture when we were riding the train taking a temporary break from roller coasters. See the tall tower in the distance? I’ll tell you a story about that shortly.

0331181549_HDR

I always like to take a break when the guys ride bumper cars… that ride gives me a headache.

0331181201a_HDR

Here’s a funny story about that tall tower… it’s called the Mach Tower and it’s one of those rides where you are on a rotating tower that goes really high, giving you really awesome views of the park, then suddenly drops you. Typically I would ride anything like that, but Chris would not. Neither Jake nor Jesse would ride it with me either. I didn’t want to ride it alone so I figured I would be skipping that one. Suddenly Chris decides he wants to ride it. I honestly didn’t believe him because it goes really high, and if you know Chris, he does NOT do well with heights. Anyway, he said he wants to do it so I decided to go with him. Neither kid was willing to go, so they were going to wait for us and watch. The ride started to go up, and really hadn’t gotten very far and I started feeling very panicky. I did not want to go any higher but we had just started and I couldn’t stop the ride. Strangely though, the ride suddenly stopped and came back down. They announced that they had to re-check everyone’s seat. When the ride attendant came around to me I told her I want to get off. They let me off and Chris got off the ride with me. Our kids were wondering what was going on, and why did they stop the ride and let us off? Of course that’s not why they stopped the ride, but I took that as my opportunity to get off because I was seriously panicking about it. Anyway, a few hours later we met up with another Fulltime Family and I suddenly changed my mind and wanted to try it again. Their teenage daughter who is willing to ride anything was happy to go along so she, Chris & I all went together. This time they did not stop the ride and I was not able to chicken out. I went to the top and inside I was pretty panicky the whole time. Chris kept talking to me, asking me if we were at the top yet, and I couldn’t answer him. I literally could not speak, I was so scared! The drop itself didn’t bother me at all, but being up so high really scared me. Funny, since Chris is the one that normally has an issue with heights! 🙂

Anyway we had so much fun exploring this park with our friends, and the kids loved riding this with their friend Dean. I love their faces in this picture!

SavedImage_0401181915a_04~2

The following weekend our good friends from Fernandina came up to stay with us and explore Colonial Williamsburg. We spent 2 days exploring that historic town. It’s kind of overwhelming when you first get there. The whole town is set up like a town in the 1700s and it takes a long time to absorb it all. We were glad to go back a second day once we had a better idea of what we wanted to see.

The people in the town all dress up in colonial costumes. I guess Jesse and I don’t quite match this guy with our 2018 dress code. 😉

0406181600_HDR~2

This was a replica of the governor’s palace where Thomas Jefferson once lived.

0405181359b_HDR

0405181404c_HDR

0405181634_HDR

We sat in the church pew that belonged to George Washington.

0405181440a_HDR

And Charlie and Emma sat across from us in Thomas Jefferson’s pew.

30221949_2135931623180747_262569162033856512_n

0405181441_HDR

We explored many homes in the town.

0405181426_HDR

0405181425a_HDR

Check out the calf’s head in the center of the table. The tour guide said that it was typical lunch fare in those days.

0406181634_HDR

Charlie and Jake got to participate in a mock trial in the courthouse.

0406181334_HDR

0405181434b_HDR

0405181720_HDR

30123787_2135931569847419_7708821102037827584_n

30127275_2135932009847375_3947562316437913600_n

Colonial Williamsburg was a really interesting town to visit, but it can be overwhelming with so much to see. If you have a chance to visit, I would recommend allowing plenty of time to fully explore the town and have a chance to talk with the colonial townspeople to really get a feel for the history.

After 2 days in Colonial Williamsburg we went to visit Historic Jamestowne. We started with a living history talk by “John Rolfe” from the 1600s. He married Pocahontas in 1614 which ended the hostilities between the early American colonists and the Powhatan Indians. His talk was so interesting and gave us so much historical perspective before we ventured out to explore the grounds.

0407181404b_HDR

Please ignore Charlie’s bunny ears over Jake’s head! 🙂 

0407181417a_HDR

Pocahontas

0407181425a_HDR

Ken & Kelli — we love these two!

0407181427a_HDR

We’re thankful they’ll travel to meet up with us on the road.

So many of the early settlers died of starvation. It was so interesting to hear the history of the “gentlemen” from England. They did not think they should have to work or get their hands dirty, so they did not do anything to find food to eat. So many starved to death rather than hunt or fish for food. Pocahontas was kind to them and brought them food, but it wasn’t until they learned how to work the land that they were able to learn to sustain themselves.

0407181434_HDR

0407181433_HDR~2

0407181430a_HDR

I just love learning history and visiting these historical places. After Williamsburg we moved on to Washington D.C. where we learned even more about this beautiful country that we call home. I took way too many pictures there and it will take some time to sort them out. In the meantime, please enjoy this beautiful picture of our precious kitty courtesy of Emma.

30222348_2137486856358557_1741700605367287808_n

 

Categories: Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Carolina Beaches

After we left Florida we started traveling up the east coast stopping at beaches in both South and North Carolina. This is not new territory for us since Chris and I both lived in Charlotte, NC for many years, in fact that is where we met!

Our first stop was Myrtle Beach, SC and that is a place that we have been to many times. I remember going there when I graduated high school and then several times over the years after that until we moved to Florida. Considering Chris and I haven’t been there since the year 2000 though, it almost seemed new to us.

We took the kids to Broadway at the Beach one evening. It was still the off-season so not very busy, but still fun to show them where we used to hang out in a previous life.

0313181900a_HDR~2

0313181902a_HDR

0313181913a_Burst05

Chris and I celebrated our birthdays there that week, and since it’s not too far from Charlotte my parents came to visit too. I can’t remember the last time I saw my parents on my birthday so that was a real treat!

0315181828a_HDR

29258363_10214043185067041_275483282319325966_n

Mini golf at Ocean Lakes Family Campground with the Grands.

Mom and I had one really nice and warm day on the beach while Dad and Chris played golf.

29261889_10214035787202099_822170945146172188_n

0316181446_HDR

Looking at this picture of Jake, I realize how much he has grown up. He looks so serious in this picture. I can’t help but stare at him lately and wonder where my little boy went. I wonder if other moms of boys go through this? I see him changing into a man before my eyes and I have to admit it makes me a little sad. I’m happy to watch him mature into a wonderful young man, but also sad that he’s not a little boy anymore. At least I have other pictures that still show his younger side, like this one:

29340318_10214035787242100_7868863209480872845_n

And this one…

0318181904_Burst01

That last picture is from our next stop along the Carolina Coast. That was at Cape Hatteras KOA which is on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That was actually new to us! We had never been to the Outer Banks even though we lived in NC. We were there during the off-season and it was quite cold! It barely got out of the 40s that week, but we enjoyed our stay anyway, having the park pretty much all to ourselves.

The ocean was on one side of the campground and the sound on the other where we saw a gorgeous sunset.

0318181908c

Jake took Fat Cat for a walk on the beach one day — I can tell you she did NOT enjoy that!

0322181835b_HDR

We visited the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse which was the prettiest lighthouse I have ever seen! I’m not sure if they just painted it, but it really was beautiful!

0322181352a_HDR

0322181425_HDR

Lastly we visited Kitty Hawk, NC and visited the Wright Brother’s National Memorial.

0324181201a_HDR

0324181236_HDR

0324181156a_HDR

0324181157a_HDR

0324181217a_HDR

We really enjoyed our time visiting these beaches along the Carolina Coast, although I wish it could have been a little warmer. Next we moved on to Williamsburg, Virginia. Stay tuned to read about that.

 

Categories: North Carolina, South Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wintering in Florida

Like many fulltime RV’ers we spent most of the winter in Florida. After spending the holidays with family in North Carolina we headed back to our hometown of Fernandina Beach, FL to stay at Ft. Clinch State Park in January. Most of the time we were there it was very cold, well by Florida standards that is. I know most northerners would question my definition of “cold”. We woke up one morning to find that the water coming into the RV from the outdoor spigot had frozen. We’ve traveled for 3 years and that has never happened. How ironic that it would happen in Florida of all places!

In spite of the cold we had a blast hanging out with friends, playing lots of games, enjoying lots of campfires and watching gorgeous sunsets.

We were so happy to be in town to attend one of our best friend’s surprise 50th birthday party!

27355652_1518773014836577_984268090324639520_o

Good friends Danny & Kim

So much fun with friends…

26231665_929263340578547_9193179482792125342_n

Game nights with Mimi

26815526_10214876180566398_1867201009442824453_n

Catching up with Kym

26993198_2032848170155760_5422296236749611014_n (2)

Camping with Kelli and the rest of the Norstrem family

One night while watching the sunset we were so excited to see a couple of dolphins playing so close to the shore. Photo credit to Kelli for these beautiful sunset pictures.

26734119_2032848260155751_7399931352834483948_n

19598431_2032848013489109_2632820345427858053_n

After almost 4 weeks in Fernandina we headed down to another one of our favorite places: Disney’s Ft. Wilderness campground. This time my parents, sister and brother-in-law joined us for some Disney fun.

27072575_10156132727416983_284041008160647162_n

27540092_10157233039769762_26610769880016644_n

Later in February we moved on to Three Flags Thousand Trails where some good friends were staying. In the past I have shared pictures of some of the incredible campsites we have been blessed with that included lots of space and gorgeous views. Well, sometimes we end up with a site with a lovely view of the neighbor’s camper with barely any room in between.

Nomadiversary001

Jake and Jesse with their good friend Gavin

The sites at that park were pretty close together, but thankfully the neighbor was really nice. She brought treats over for the kids often and even told us we could use her golf cart anytime we needed it. We didn’t take her up on that, but I have to say she was one of the nicest neighbors we have ever had. In addition we got to hang out with some other Fulltime Families which made our stay there really fun.

Even though we didn’t have a lot of space between our campers, our back yard was pretty amazing with cows coming to visit us every day.

Nomadiversary002

Nomadiversary003

From there we moved on to “moochdock” at a friend’s house. We met these friends on the road 3 years ago. They recently bought property in Florida with a very nice, large RV spot.

Nomadiversary004

Keith and Michele’s house

We went kayaking in Silver Springs while we were staying with them. That was lots of fun until we realized we missed a turn and ended up 2 miles downstream which meant we had the strenuous job of paddling back upstream that far. I was so thankful Keith tied a rope to my kayak and helped tow Jesse and me back!

Nomadiversary005

Peaceful and beautiful while we were still heading downstream.

Next we spent a quiet weekend at a beautiful state park on the Suwannee River.

0303181534_HDR

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

Lastly we attended our 6th Fulltime Families rally in Madison, FL at one of our favorite Jellystone Parks. We used to go on weekend camping trips to this Jellystone years ago before we started traveling fulltime. They have a really awesome water slide and lazy river. The entire week the boys were so excited for them to open the water park. It was a chilly week, but the campground promised they would open the water park for the rally no matter how the weather turned out.

Nomadiversary006

Well, the campground kept their promise and many of the kids braved the cold to enjoy it one afternoon. The outside temperature was in the 60s, and I have no idea how cold the water was but based on the blue, shivering lips of most of the kids it was quite cold!

Nomadiversary009

28828049_10156146829613610_8728006843177380338_o

Photo Credit: Brooke Foster

28701323_10156146829188610_8291602246232269670_o

Photo Credit: Brooke Foster

Rally weeks are always so busy and super fun. One day we had a field trip canoeing down the Suwannee River.

Nomadiversary007

Another day they had field games like relay races and crab soccer.

Nomadiversary008

We also had campfires, pot luck dinners and lots of other fun with old and new friends.

28947238_10156146725708610_939391669109748537_o

FtF Rally Group Picture – Photo Credit: Brooke Foster

So that wraps up our winter in Florida and now we are making our way up the east coast. We are so excited to begin another year of adventures and making memories.

 

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Third Nomadiversary

Three years ago today we moved into our home on wheels and began the adventure of a lifetime, exploring this beautiful country. I can’t believe it has been that long already! I thank God every day for this lifestyle and time with my family.

We have now visited 29 states and 2 Canadian provinces, but I’m afraid I have lost count of how many national parks we have been to. My talented brother-in-law put together this recap video of our 3rd year on the road. I hope you enjoy it!

I love the lyrics to the song in this video: If Today Was Your Last Day… what would you do if today was your last day? You may not sell everything you own to travel the country in an RV (I know it’s not for everyone), but what is something you have always wanted to do, something you say you’ll do “someday”? Please allow me to encourage you to do it today, don’t wait.

Each year I like to get a picture of the boys pointing to our sticker map of states visited. As I look back over the pictures from each Nomadiversary, I see that our sticker map has filled in quite a bit, but what I notice even more is how much older Jake and Jesse look. Time, please slow down!

0121181212a_HDR

I tried something new this year — a color-coded map of our travels from the first 3 years.

Map

Green = 2015; Red = 2016; Blue = 2017

It looks like we’re missing a bunch of states in the upper right-hand corner. As much as we love the west, we decided it’s time to explore the northeast. So stay tuned for year 4 of our adventures as we explore the east coast states and eastern Canada.

If you feel like watching our first two Nomadiversary videos you can find them here: One Year Nomadiversary and Second Nomadiversary.

Categories: Our Travels, Roadschooling | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

Cross Country Road Trip

After an amazing summer in the Pacific Northwest it was time to start making our way back east for the winter. We had 6 weeks to get from Washington to Florida. This post will cover the stops we made along the way.

First we spent a quiet week in eastern Oregon on the Idaho border, recovering from a couple of very busy weeks in Washington. We stayed at Farewell Bend Recreation Area on the Snake River across from Idaho. It was beautiful and peaceful!

0917171649_HDR

0920171756a_HDR

The 2nd week we spent celebrating Jake’s 13th birthday in Park City, Utah which I already wrote about. You can see it here if you missed it: Birthday Celebration in Park City, Utah.

Week #3 was spent in South Fork, Colorado where the fall foliage was gorgeous! Our campground was right on the Rio Grande River.

1006171357d_HDR

1006171400b_HDR

1006171405e_HDR

1006171405d_HDR

We spent week #4 in Amarillo, Texas for a couple of days and then the rest of the week in Oklahoma City.

In Amarillo we used the complimentary limo service to go have dinner at the Big Texan. This was so much fun and a shining example of true Texas hospitality!

1007171927_HDR

1007171946a_HDR

1007171949e_HDR

We also stopped by Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo to leave our mark on the classic cars and to meet up with our good friends the Thomas family. Somehow we always end up on the opposite side of the country as them, and our paths crossed here in Texas as they were headed west and we were headed east. Someday I hope we’ll be in the same state again for more than a day or two!

1008171416a_HDR

My beautiful friend Erica who I miss so much!

1008171425c_HDR

After a busy 2 days in Texas we moved on to Oklahoma City. Our campsite here was interesting, right on the mini golf course!

1010171711c_HDR

While in Oklahoma City we met up with my sister’s good friend Rene who gave us a personalized tour of the Oklahoma City National Memorial where she lived and worked at the time of the tragic bombing. This was a very sobering site to see, and so interesting to hear Rene’s story of the events that happened that day in 1995.

1012171717b_HDR

1012171717d_HDR

We also visited the Science Museum in Oklahoma City which we could go to for free on our ASTC reciprocal membership. The boys enjoyed this science museum very much!

1013171325_HDR

1013171313_HDR

We moved on to Arkansas for week #5 to visit Hot Springs National Park. I have to admit we were not all that impressed with this national park after all the amazing and scenic parks we’ve been to out west. This was basically just a town with historical bathhouses. Maybe were missing something, but it seems like it’s probably more interesting for adults… not including Chris and me, we’re not adulting right now. 😉

1018171610a_HDR

1018171656_HDR

It turns out we were parked next to another Fulltime Family at the Hot Springs KOA and we enjoyed getting to know them. I hope we meet up with them again in the near future.

The Mid America Science Museum is located near Hot Springs and it is also included on our ASTC membership so we went there too. Another super fun science museum that the boys really enjoyed!

1020171422_HDR

1020171519_HDR

1020171348c_HDR

After an overnight stop in Tupelo, Mississippi where Chris & I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary at a Japanese Hibachi grill along with our kids, we moved on for week #6 in Woodstock, Georgia where we were able to visit with my sister and her husband for the week. We stayed at Victoria Campground which had very nice and large sites and beautiful sunsets on Lake Allatoona. We had lots of fun with Cheryl & Chris playing games and just being our silly selves.

1022171641a_HDR

1023171832a_HDR

And then finally, after 6 weeks and over 3000 miles we were back “home” in Florida at our happy place, Disney World just in time for trick-or-treating at Ft. Wilderness.

1031171850a_HDR

1031171851b_Burst02

We purchased new FL resident annual passes and got busy exploring our favorite amusement parks all over again. Lots of other Fulltime Families spend the winter in the Orlando area also, so it was fun to meet up with some of our friends at the Disney parks.

1101171702a_HDR

1102171924c_HDR

1102171934_HDR

1103171219_HDR

1103171821b_HDR

We even enjoyed a visit from my parents at Ft. Wilderness one weekend while they happened to be in the Orlando area.

IMG_1101

IMG_1104

As much as I love traveling out west, it is good to be home. We’ll spend the rest of this year hanging out with friends and family in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. I will probably be taking a break from blogging until we begin traveling again next year. Until then, I hope you all enjoy a blessed holiday season. Remember to make the most of your time with loved ones and be thankful. 🙂

 

Categories: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Birthday Celebration in Park City, Utah

It was almost 3 years ago that we set out on this adventure of a lifetime. I started this blog 3 years ago this month with this post about why we are doing this. In that post I mentioned that the #1 reason we are doing this is because “blink and they are grown”. Truer words have never been spoken! It seems like just yesterday that my first child Jake was born, and the next thing I knew he became a teenager. How did that happen??

We were in Park City, Utah to celebrate his 13th birthday at the end of September where we spent the day at Park City Mountain riding alpine slides and coasters.

0927171252_HDR

Getting ready for our first ride down the alpine coaster.

0927171306a_HDR

This was so much fun! We were able to ride it several times that day with little to no wait since it was a weekday and not crowded. On the alpine coaster you ride up the mountain in the coaster for about 5 minutes or so, enjoying the views, and then fly back down in much less time.

I took this picture on the way up, but I couldn’t take any pictures on the way down.

0927171546c_HDR

We also rode up the scenic chairlift a few times to ride the alpine slide.

0927171337b_HDR

0927171352a_HDR

0927171738_Burst05

Jake going down the alpine slide.

We purchased a day pass so we could have unlimited rides. The day pass also included the Legacy Launcher, gem mining and mini golf.

0927171516_Burst28

Jake on the Legacy Launcher

0927171554b_HDR

Gem mining.

After we closed the place down, we headed into the cute little mountain town of Park City to find some place to have a birthday dinner. We ended up having Mexican which seems to be what we go for most often.

0927171833a_HDR

The shops on Main Street were so cute!

0927171829b_HDR

0927171834_HDR

0927171946a_HDR

We loved Park City Mountain and would really like to return there for skiing in the winter sometime.

We stayed at Jordanelle State Park that week which was gorgeous with the mountain views and beautiful fall colors. It was even snowing the day we got there but didn’t last very long as it warmed up slightly that week.

0929171653_HDR

Beautiful campsite at Jordanelle State Park

0930171645_HDR

0930171643a_HDR

0930171648a_HDR

I think this was a great place to spend Jake’s 13th birthday, and it’s definitely on the list to return again someday.

Categories: Utah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.