Posts Tagged With: Alabama

Seventh Nomadiversary

This month we celebrate 7 years on the road. I haven’t posted in a long time because we really haven’t done anything new or different. 2021 was almost a repeat of 2020, so I didn’t even include a Nomadiversary video like I usually do. Instead I thought I would just write a recap of how we spent the rest of 2021 after my last post about skiing.

After leaving Breckenridge last April, we spent a week in Canon City, Colorado and visited the Royal Gorge Bridge Park.

Next we headed to Texas to spend some time with friends and family. First we stayed at Cedar Ridge Campground to visit the Graham family. We met them our first year on the road, but they are no longer traveling so we like to visit them anytime we’re in Texas. Ironically as I’m writing this we just left that same campground and another visit with the Grahams on our way back out west. But these pictures are from our visit with them last spring.

The Graham Family

We also like to visit my aunt and uncle in Nederland whenever we’re in Texas. Last spring we visited them after the Grahams, and just like seeing the Grahams this month on our way back out west, we also saw John and Patty again. I love when we can route our travels through areas where we can visit friends and family.

From there we headed to Meaher State Park in Mobile, Alabama where our good friends the Norstrems came to visit. This was our second visit to this state park. We love that there are so many sites backed up to the water, and the sunsets are amazing!

Next we moved on to Georgia for the summer. First we stayed at Victoria Campground for a couple of weeks and then moved to Hiawassee for a couple of months. We spent the entire summer there last year and liked it so much we decided to do it again. We enjoyed lots of visits with my parents and Cheryl & Chris while we were there, as well as visits from some good friends.

Tubing in Ellijay

We went ziplining at Unicoi State Park in Helen, Georgia which was so much fun!

At the end of August we headed back to Florida. I know what you’re thinking, who in their right mind heads to Florida in the heat of the summer? ūüôā We do because we had dentist and orthodontist appointments to take care of, plus the kids have birthdays in September and they wanted to go to their favorite place, Universal Orlando.

We headed to Fort Clinch State Park first, and Chris and I enjoyed lots of alone time because the kids like to go stay with their Mimi while we’re there.

Having a date night on the beach

We also got to spend time with some good friends while we were in Fernandina Beach, but unfortunately we must have been having so much fun we forgot to take pictures. ūüėČ

We bought season passes to Universal Orlando and went 4 times during the fall. When we used to get Disney passes we would stay at the Fort Wilderness campground, but since Universal doesn’t have a campground, we stayed in hotels each time.

Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel

In September we stayed at Cabana Bay which I love because we can walk to Universal’s water park, Volcano Bay. In September when it is really hot outside, I prefer the water park over the theme parks, but we did both.

Later that month we stayed at Royal Pacific which we like because it comes with Universal’s Express Pass and we can walk to the theme parks. Jake turned 17 and Jesse turned 15 in September and we celebrated at the Toothsome Chocolate Factory at Universal’s City Walk.

For the other two trips to Universal in November and December we stayed at Hard Rock Hotel and Portofino Bay. Both of those also come with Universal’s Express Pass and are walking distance to the theme parks. I think our favorite is Hard Rock, but Portofino Bay is absolutely beautiful!

Hogwarts Castle
Inside Gringotts Bank
New Velocicoaster ride

My kids have turned into Harry Potter fans since we started going to Universal instead of Disney. The 2 Harry Potter lands (Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade) are so well done! The new Velocicoaster ride is awesome if you like roller coasters.

We spent a couple of weeks in October in the Keys. We started at my favorite Bahia Honda State Park where we had an incredible site backed up to the water.

Fat Cat enjoying the view from the back patio
The kids floating in the back yard
Amazing sunsets!

We spent a lot of time swimming and snorkeling with the Reyes family while we were in the Keys. In addition, we had a great time with them at Robbie’s in Islamorada feeding the tarpon.

Fun with the Reyes Family

We also stayed at John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo where Jake and I went kayaking through the mangroves and even had a manatee swim right underneath our kayak. We took a snorkel trip to a coral reef which was so beautiful. I don’t have any good pictures from snorkeling, so you’ll have to take my word for it that the coral reef was amazing!

Kayaking through the mangroves

We had a quick visit to Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground after the Keys. I love staying at that campground even when we don’t have Disney tickets. We were there in October and rented a golf cart so we could ride around the camping loops and look at all of the Halloween decorations. My favorite site was the one with all the Stormtroopers dressed up in Little Mermaid costumes.

Isn’t this so cool?

Chris and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary at Fort Wilderness, and then went to the Reyes’ house the next day and celebrated again, after surviving a truck breakdown on the way there.

Camping at the Reyes’ house and toasting with our anniversary glasses

We’re so thankful for friends who have RV spots for us, and we’re also thankful to Keith for rescuing us when we were broken down on the way to their house.

Speaking of friends with RV spots, we spent many weeks off and on at the Norstrem family ranch from September through January. The Norstrems are our other family, not blood relatives, but just as special to us.

The roosters crow outside my bedroom window throughout the day, and I think it’s so funny when I’m on the phone with someone from work and they hear the roosters.

We went to a Tim Hawkins concert with the Norstrems which was so much fun. Tim Hawkins is hilarious! We also looked for gators at Okefenokee Swamp Park, but didn’t find any.

Celebrating Ken’s 50th Birthday

Finally, we spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in Charlotte with family.

Hanging out with Mom, Dad, Cheryl & Chris

As I write this I realize that even though much of this year was a repeat of the previous year, we still had a really great year and enjoyed lots of time with friends and family. There is a lot of craziness going on in the world and sometimes the future seems so uncertain. I don’t ever want to take for granted time with loved ones.

Thank you for reading. I hope everyone has a blessed, healthy and prosperous 2022!

Fat Cat turned 10 this year and we thought this was a funny picture with her tongue sticking out
Categories: Our Travels, Roadschooling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

USS Alabama Battleship

The last 2 times we passed through Alabama we stayed in Gulf Shores. I had wanted to visit the USS Alabama battleship but we didn’t make it either time. So this time through Alabama we stayed right in Mobile, only 5 minutes away from the battleship which made it easier to make sure we got around to touring it.

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Our good friends from Fernandina Beach, the Norstrem family came to join us for the weekend and we all toured the ship together.

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park¬†is a really neat place to visit for the whole family. You can tour almost the entire ship and climb on everything which is lots of fun for the kids. They also have a naval aircraft museum and a submarine to¬†tour. It costs $15 for each person aged 12 and up, $6 for ages 6-11 and 5 and under are free. Although we all enjoyed our time there, we weren’t excited to have¬†to pay for 3 adults now that Jake is 12. It would be more affordable for families if the children’s prices applied to all children, not just under 12.

Anyway, we still enjoyed our time there exploring this ship which served in World War II.

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Charlie got the award for the most excited of the day, he is really interested in battleships!

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The interior was really cool to walk through. We saw living quarters, kitchens, laundry facilities and even an ice cream parlor! It was hard to imagine what it must have been like for those living on this ship during such an important time in our nation’s history.

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They have rooms like this for scouting troups to spend the night on the ship. That would be quite an adventure!

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After touring the battleship we walked through the naval aircraft museum.

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And then toured the submarine.

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I have to say, if I was in the military I think I would prefer living on the battleship over the submarine. I can’t imagine being underwater for so many months in such cramped quarters!

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We stayed at Meaher State Park right on Mobile Bay which was so beautiful, and enjoyed gorgeous sunsets most evenings. Chris & Ken wasted no time in getting into a cribbage game as soon as they got there.

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It was a nice surprise to meet my friend Doug’s brother and sister-in-law Ron and Brenda who were also staying there that week. We had fun playing dominoes with them one night and Ron is very good at entertaining kids with trick questions!

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One other fun thing we did that week was to visit the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center. We were able to get in free with our reciprocal zoo and science center membership. We met up with another family there that we had met 2 years ago at a Jellystone Park.

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After a great time in Mobile we spent a few days in Louisiana and then headed to Texas.

Categories: Alabama | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Back to Gulf Shores, Alabama

Last year when we left Florida we spent some time at Jellystone Park of the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Because we had so much fun at Jellystone last year we only spent one day visiting Gulf Shores so this year we decided to stay right in Gulf Shores at Gulf State Park.

My favorite thing about this park is the amazing, paved bike trails!

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I rode for miles on these trails and even got to see some cool wildlife like this alligator and her babies. ¬†(The 2 babies are a little hard to see; they are hanging out in the water behind the mama. ¬†I later learned that these are not exactly babies anymore, they’re about 3 years old.)

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One day the kids went for a ride with me because I told them I found a cool rock-climbing park along the trail.

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The Gulf State Park Pier was across the street from the campground.  This was fun to visit in the evening for the sunsets, and the boys liked wrestling in the sand.

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There were cool birds hanging out on the pier.

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I like this sign.

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Fat Cat enjoyed hunting rabbits at our campsite. ¬†The rabbits didn’t pay any attention to her. ¬†She would sneak up on them, and then when she finally decided to chase them, they ran away and she was stuck because of the leash. ¬†It’s a little hard to see but she is hunting a rabbit (to the left) in this picture.

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The highlight of this trip was having the Norstrem family come to stay with us for a few days. ¬†Ken, Kelli and their kids are good friends of ours from back home in Fernandina. ¬†We miss them a lot when we’re traveling and are thankful that they came out to join us for a few days before we got too far away from Florida. ¬†The funny thing is that every time we see them it seems to be rainy and cold. ¬†This was no different. ¬†We had nice weather all week, but as soon as they were on their way to see us the rain started. ¬†And it rained pretty much¬†the entire time they were with us. ¬†You might wonder how can 9 humans and 1 cat live in an RV for 3 rainy days? ¬†With the Norstrems it was no problem. ¬†We have so much fun with them no matter what the circumstances!

One day the kids all decided to go outside in their bathing suits and play in the rain.  But the rain decided to take a break at that time, so instead they had a water balloon fight.

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The campground had a really nice nature center so we went there one day to play with snakes.  Umm, I guess I should say the kids played with snakes, I have no interest in holding a snake.

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The snake was trying to get in Jesse’s pants!

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This snake was on the floor eating a dead mouse.  Yuck!

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This turtle roams around the nature center.  You have to be careful where you step!

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We wanted to take the Norstrems to the pier, but the weather never cooperated so we just had to go in the rain.

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Another cool bird hanging out on the pier in the rain.

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We took a field trip back to Florida to the Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum.  This was really cool!

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The Blue Angels practice from here, but we were a couple of weeks too early. ¬†Their practice sessions don’t start until late March.

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And finally, we celebrated Chris’s birthday. ¬†Poor Chris had to cook dinner on his birthday. ¬†We had planned to have dinner at Lambert’s (Home of the Throwed Rolls), but the wait was 90 minutes. ¬†So Chris suggested we all go back to the house (RV) and have dinner there. ¬†For those of you that know Chris, he is a great cook! ¬†He cooks for everyone that comes to visit, even on his birthday.

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We had so much fun at Gulf State Park and especially with our friends visiting.  We miss them and look forward to seeing them again when we get back to Florida.  We keep trying to talk them into joining us on the road!

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Geese, Roosters and Patriotic Yogi Bear

We just spent a week at Jellystone Park of the Alabama Gulf Coast. It was fantastic! It was the first place we have been to where we were in a more woodsy type place. It was very peaceful, well, except for the noise of the geese and the peacocks and the roosters and — oh well, never mind, I guess it wasn’t all that peaceful, but it sure was fun!
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Categories: Alabama | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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