States

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

After leaving Manistique we headed up to the Lake Superior side of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to visit the spectacular Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We started on the east side at Grand Marais and later moved to Munising. While staying at Woodland Park Campground in Grand Marais we enjoyed some amazing sunsets over Lake Superior.

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Manistique, Michigan

Our first stop in Michigan was at beautiful Manistique Lakeshore Campground on Lake Michigan. This campsite was definitely in our list of top 5 best sites we’ve ever had. This was our yard for 2 weeks and it was heavenly!

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Wisconsin Dells

This was our second time visiting Wisconsin Dells. When someone told me a few years ago that this is the “water park capital of the world” I thought she was kidding. Who knew you could play at water parks year-round in Wisconsin?

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Nebraska and Iowa

Nebraska and Iowa are 2 states we had not been to yet, so on our way to Michigan we decided to stop and visit something in each of those states.

First Nebraska. We chose Omaha because I heard that one of the best zoos in the country is located there. The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha did not disappoint! We really enjoyed our visit and feel it was definitely worth a stop in Omaha to go there. My favorite part was the aquarium.

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New Ski Adventures

After spending the prior 3 ski seasons in Breckenridge, Colorado we decided to try Park City, Utah this year instead. We stayed at Mountain Valley RV Resort in Heber City. The weather was a lot warmer than Breckenridge so we did not have nearly as much snow as I would have liked. The rest of my people however really liked the milder temps. I guess they’re just not as hard core snow fanatics like me. πŸ˜‰

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Not all Birds Fly South for the Winter

While most “normal” RVers choose to spend winters in warm states like Florida and Arizona, we prefer winters in the snow. So for the 3rd year in a row we headed out to Breckenridge, Colorado just after New Years and spent over 3 months enjoying snow, cold weather and skiing. By the way, it’s a little strange to be writing about winter in June, but whatever! I’m a little behind. πŸ˜‰

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The Florida Keys

Happy New Year! I guess we’re all glad that 2020 is in the rearview mirror, right? Well before I move on to the new year I need to catch up on one last blog post about our time in the Keys.

The first time we visited the Florida Keys 2 years ago we loved it so much, we decided it was time to go back. Especially because we had a milestone birthday to celebrate. Jake turned 16 in September and we had a blast celebrating his birthday with Sebago Watersports on an All-Day Watersports Adventure.

On the Sebago Catamaran heading out to snorkel.

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Summer in the Georgia Mountains

It sure has been a long time since I posted anything here, I guess I just haven’t felt motivated to post anything lately. Strange year we’re having, right?

We had originally planned to spend the summer exploring the Great Lakes around Michigan. We decided to cancel all of that, and got a site for the summer in Hiawassee, GA instead. With all the craziness going on in the country we thought it would be better to just stay in one place and not travel for awhile. The North Georgia mountains were perfect because it was close to family and not too hot in the summer.

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Back to Breck

If you have been following along for awhile, you might remember that we spent last winter (2019) skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado. We loved it so much we returned for another ski season this year.

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We had a another fabulous season until it abruptly ended due to COVID-19. We are living in very strange times these days, right? I haven’t posted anything lately, and it has been hard to even motivate myself to post this because it’s difficult to see these pictures and not feel sad about how much things have changed in our world since then.

After spending the holidays with family back east, we headed out to Colorado to get back to one of our favorite places. Thankfully we had 2 good months of skiing before everything shut down.

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Home Sweet Home

In addition to Breckenridge we skied at Keystone and Beaver Creek. Arapahoe Basin was no longer included on our Epic Passes so we didn’t go there, and we had intended to ski at Vail but never made it there before everything closed.

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We found our “bear cave” from last year, which we now think we should call a “beer cave” due to all the beer cans we saw in there. πŸ™‚

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Our first day back to skiing we had to take it easy and get used to it again, but it didn’t take long at all for these boys to get back to doing what they do best, the double-black diamond trails. They even talked me into doing The Windows once. Trust me, once was enough!

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Chris did the Needles Eye with them, but I refused. Later they told me I made the right choice. πŸ˜‰

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At Beaver Creek the kids’ favorite run is 4 Get About It. We did that one a few times this year. I keep trying to tell them “forget about it, I’m not doing that!”, but they won’t take no for an answer. Somehow I manage to keep up with them. πŸ˜‰

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4 Get About It

One day at Beaver Creek Chris had a bad fall just after we took this picture.

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Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t be going down trails for “Experts Only”?

Chris was out of commission for a couple of weeks due to his injury, so the boys and I had to ski without him while he recovered.

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In February we had some epic amounts of snow! Check out all that powder!

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One day Chris & Jake tried to take Fat Cat for a sleigh ride at the campground. She wasn’t amused.

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We love going to Keystone during the week for night skiing. The weekends are pretty crowded at Breck, but we’re usually working during the week so we have to just deal with the weekend crowds. Going skiing after work at night during the week is so much fun!

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Last year we celebrated my 50th birthday at a ski-in/ski-out resort at the base of one of the ski areas at Breck, which was definitely one of my best birthdays ever. We decided to do the same thing again this year for Chris’s 50th. Yes, he’s younger than me, lol! Our birthdays are 3 days apart so we are the same age for 3 days until I become the “older woman” again.

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View from the balcony of our vacation rental

For this year’s birthday celebration we got an amazing VRBO at the base of Peak 8.

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But that is not even the best part! My parents came out to spend the week with us, along with some of the Picariello family (life-long friends). My parents hadn’t skied in 12 years, and we were so super excited to show them and the Picariellos around Breckenridge.

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Meeting up with Mom and Dad at Breckenridge Station

Jake and Jesse showed Gramma and Grampa around town while we got everyone’s luggage moved into the condo. Then the boys brought the Grands for a ride up the gondola to get to the condo.

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Looking at these pictures reminds me of just how super excited we were for this vacation week, not giving much thought to the invisible enemy that was out there, about to change the world as we knew it.

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An epic day skiing with Mom and Dad and the Picariellos

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Grampa, Chris, Jesse & Jake

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My parents… still skiing in their 70s!

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We talked Lauren into trying Devil’s Crotch. I won’t go into details about how that went. Hint, hint… it wasn’t pretty, lol!

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We did much better on Imperial.

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Some of the gang enjoying the hot tub after skiing

Well, all good things must come to an end, right? The night before my birthday we found out that all the ski mountains had to close immediately due to coronavirus. I can’t even describe just how disappointed we were!

However, I am thankful that we at least had a few good days of skiing before that happened. We got to ski on Chris’s birthday, and the Picariellos got all of their skiing in before the closures. In fact, we had just dropped off some of the Picariellos at their shuttle to go back to the airport when we got the news.

My parents were still with us for a few more days, and we had planned to ski some more, but that was not meant to be. We made the best of it and used the empty ski mountain as a sledding hill.

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Sledding instead of skiing on my birthday

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Sitting on the chair lift, wishing it wasn’t closed

After Mom and Dad went home, the only thing left to do in Breckenridge was sledding, so we did that a few more times.

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Sledding with the Schott family, our good friends and next door neighbors for the season

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Eventually even the sledding hills closed, so it was time for us to go. The RV park in Breck is not cheap and it just wasn’t worth spending the money to stay there any longer when everything was closed.

So we headed to my friend Rachel’s campground in St. Louis to hunker down and wait things out. We had plans to spend the summer in Michigan, and St. Louis was close enough to continue on with those plans if things re-opened. However it doesn’t look like that will be a good place to go this year.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with some pictures I took at our RV park in Breckenridge before we left. It’s so beautiful there!

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I’m not gonna lie, it was really hard to leave this winter wonderland. We all love skiing and playing in the snow so much, it was so disappointing when it ended early.

I hope and pray that you are all staying safe & healthy. Let’s hope we can all get back to adventuring and exploring soon!

 

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Family, Friends and More Disney

Happy New Year everyone! I guess it’s about time I write an update about what we have been up to lately. Since my last post about our month at Fort Wilderness in September, we have been spending lots of time with friends and family in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, as well as more time at Disney.

We spent most of the month of October near my sister in GA at 2 different Army Corps of Engineers (COE) parks. COE parks are some of the nicest in the country and there are plenty of them near Woodstock, GA.

First we stayed at Victoria Campground then moved over to McKinney Campground. Both parks are amazing with gorgeous views of Lake Allatoona and beautiful sunsets. At McKinney we had a really incredible campsite on a peninsula.

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Sunset at Victoria Campground

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Peninsula site at McKinney Campground

While at Victoria Campground my parents came down to visit. We went up to the town of Helen, a cute Bavarian-styled mountain town where we took some family pictures and played mini golf.

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Next we went back to Disney for Halloween. Fort Wilderness Campground is our favorite place for trick-or-treating, and we love to rent a golf cart and ride around looking at all the decorated campsites.

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My sister came down to visit after Halloween and we had a blast visiting the Disney parks with her.

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After Disney we headed up to our hometown of Fernandina Beach and stayed at Fort Clinch State Park. Unfortunately it was rainy, windy and cold the entire week we were there except for the first day. At least we were able to play on the beach and get some pretty pictures the first day.

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Chris and the boys playing football on the beach

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The only sunset we saw in Fernandina Beach that week

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We were also blessed with a beautiful moonrise that night

Since moving away from Fernandina Beach almost 5 years ago, our good friends the Norstrems try to meet up with us somewhere on the road. They did not get a chance to do that this year, but instead they added an RV spot to their new home. What a blessing to be able to go and park our house in their yard for a week!

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We absolutely love this family, and it was so much fun to spend the week hanging out with them, playing games and riding horses. We miss them when we’re traveling, but always look forward to seeing them again when we head back to Florida.

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Chris and Ken back to their cribbage games

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I loved riding horses with Kelli and Emma

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Jake and Jesse enjoyed riding the horses as well

After a quick trip to Charlotte for Thanksgiving with the family, we headed back to Disney. Halloween lights at Fort Wilderness are great, but to me there is nothing quite like the campsites decorated with Christmas lights. We rented another golf cart and I loved riding around the camping loops to see all the beautifully decorated campsites.

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While we were there the new ride in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened. In all of our years visiting Disney, we have never seen anything like the opening of this new ride, Rise of the Resistance.

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I have to admit, it is pretty amazing. The ride experience is close to 20 minutes long, and consists of multiple immersive ride systems. Getting on the ride is no easy task either! You can’t just show up at the park and get in line to ride, you have to join a boarding group at the crack of dawn.

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We got to Hollywood Studios around 6:30am. The park was already open because there were massive crowds showing up before the park even opens to be able to experience this new ride. As soon as you go through the ticket gate and everyone in your party is in the park, you can open the My Disney Experience app on your phone and join a boarding group to ride Rise of the Resistance.

Once you’re in a boarding group, you can see updates in the app to let you know which boarding groups are currently loading. You’ll also get a notification when your boarding group is able to get in line.

The week we were there the boarding groups were all gone for the day between 7:30 and 8:30 each morning. That’s why we had to get there at the crack of dawn just to get in a boarding group.Β The trouble was worth it! We even went back and did it again the next day.

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We also got to visit with some friends from our Nassau County Homeschool group for a field trip to Sea World. My friend Holly and her kids stayed with us at Fort Wilderness for a few days, but unfortunately we never took any pictures. One evening we had a nice visit with Kirsten and family, and thankfully Kirsten remembered to take a picture. πŸ™‚

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After a couple of weeks playing at Disney and enjoying the Christmas lights, it was time to head back to Charlotte for lots of family fun and games, and celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior.

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I hope everyone had a blessed holiday season! Until next time, I’ll leave you with this random picture of Fat Cat. The expression on her face is so funny to me. It’s her typical “leave me alone, I have no use for you” expression. πŸ˜‰

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