Posts Tagged With: grand design momentum

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.

We stayed at the KOA in between Lincoln and Omaha where we had a nice site right next to the mini golf course. Chris and the kids spent a lot of time out there.

Next we went to Clear Lake, Iowa where we visited the Buddy Holly plane crash site and museum. This was so interesting! Prior to going there I knew who Buddy Holly was only because my Dad is a big fan, but I didn’t really know much about his music. We learned a lot about him and Richie Valens who was on the plane with him when it crashed.

We started at the Surf Ballroom where there is a museum honoring Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Big Bopper. After performing for the last time at this ballroom in February 1959, they all died in a plane crash. That was “the day the music died”.

The Surf is a historical Rock and Roll landmark. Concerts are still performed there today, but they manage to maintain the 1950s nostalgia throughout the venue.

Next we went to the site where the plane crashed on a farm. Even after all these years people still come to pay their respects and honor the legacy these talented musicians left behind.

I was so fascinated by their tragic stories and I wanted to learn more. So that night we decided to watch La Bamba (Richie Valens’ story) and then the Buddy Holly Story the next night. I realize those are made for Hollywood movies, but I found them interesting nonetheless.

We stayed at Clear Lake State Park. It was very cold while we were there so we didn’t spend much time at the lake, but it looks like it is probably a popular place to be in the summer time.

Next we moved on to Wisconsin to have some fun at the Water Park Capital of the World.

Categories: iowa, nebraska | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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˜‰

Our good friends, the Schott family were in the area for our first month and we really enjoyed skiing with them as well as having regular game nights. They stayed in Salt Lake City and we enjoyed spending a day there with them at a climbing gym and eating Korean BBQ.

In my opinion, there is nothing more beautiful than snow covered mountains. We didn’t get a lot of snow this year, but when we did it was breathtaking!

We had Epic Passes again for this season which included 2 ski days each at Snowbasin in Utah and Sun Valley in Idaho. We celebrated our March birthdays with a mini vacation at each. I was so excited that it snowed during both of those trips!

While skiing at Snowbasin we stayed at a beautiful condo near Ogden Valley, Utah that had a private hot tub on the back deck with a gorgeous view.

Sun Valley was a little further away in Idaho, but definitely worth the trip. We stayed at the beautiful Sun Valley Lodge.

Well it seems I can’t really stay away from Breckenridge for the entire season, so we spent a couple of weeks there in April once the weather got too warm in Utah. We were so excited to have our good friends from Florida come out to visit us while we were at Breck.

They don’t ski, but Kim was always ready to hit the hot tubs with me when I came back for a lunch break.

It snowed just about the entire time we were there so the skiing was great and the view from our hotel room was fantastic!

We had dinner at this really cool pizzeria with little snow globes to sit in. They serve only plant based food which we were not sure we would like, but it was actually very good.

I know I’m in the minority here, but I just love winter! I love snow and cold weather and skiing; I think I could do this all year long. But unfortunately winter ends and it’s time to move on. We are planning to spend this summer exploring Michigan. I’m hoping to do a better job keeping up with blogging this year, especially since we’ll be going to some new places. Stay tuned…

Categories: Colorado, Utah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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? πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜‰

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

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˜‰

The reason we always head to Breckenridge is because we like to stay at Tiger Run RV Resort which is near four different ski areas that are included on the Epic Season Pass we get (Breck, Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek). It’s nice to have some variety with the 4 ski areas when we’re staying for 3+ months. However, I’ve been looking into other ski areas for next year because Tiger Run significantly raised their monthly rates.

Moose in the site next to us at Tiger Run

Last year we rented a ski-in/ski-out condo to celebrate Chris’s 50th birthday. If you read my post from last year (Back to Breck), you might remember the ski mountains shut down just a few days later due to COVID. That was quite disappointing, but this year more than made up for the early end to last year’s ski season. This past February we rented the same condo and my sister and her husband came out to stay with us.

My brother-in-law Chris trying snowboarding

While they visited we tried out cross-country skiing for the first time. It was fun, but I still prefer downhill skiing.

Cheryl & Chris cross-country skiing
Cute igloo at the cross-country ski area

Whenever we ski at Keystone, we take the very scenic drive over Swan Mountain to get there. I’ve always wanted to stop and take pictures on the drive, but since we’re always heading to Keystone to ski, I would have ski boots on which are not comfortable for walking around and sightseeing. Since Chris is a photographer, I knew he and Cheryl would love to take this scenic drive and stop at the viewpoints. It turns out it’s called Sapphire Point and Cheryl already had it on her bucket list of places to see!

Sapphire Point

Speaking of Keystone, we spent many Friday evenings skiing there. Unfortunately they did not have other weeknights open for skiing this year. I love night skiing, but I did not enjoy it as much on Friday nights because it was so crowded. It seems like Friday nights are when the party crowd shows up for the weekend and they ski a little too recklessly for my comfort level. A snowboarder even crashed right into Jake one night, but thankfully neither one of them were hurt.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having a good time! It’s just that I prefer to keep my limbs intact and not ski with people that may have had a little too much happy hour before hitting the slopes. πŸ˜‰

Breathtaking view of Keystone Village while night skiing

My favorite thing we did this year was to spend a few days at a ski-in/ski-out hotel at Vail for my birthday in March. It definitely redeemed the disappointing birthday I had last year when the ski resorts chose that day to shut down for the season. One thing that made the time in Vail especially fun was we got the most snow of the season while we were there. Skiing on fresh powder is the best!

Skiing at Vail was awesome!

We stayed at Lion Square Lodge and really enjoyed the pool and hot tub after skiing.

The last time we went to Vail in 2019 we didn’t like it that much. That’s because we made the mistake of going on a Saturday on the last weekend they were open in April. It was hot, the snow was slushy and many trails were already closed for the season. In addition it was super crowded. This time we did Vail right and enjoyed it immensely!

We also enjoyed 2 more ski-in/ski-out hotels this winter. One was at Grand Timber Lodge where we got a good deal to stay for Easter.

Awesome view from our room at Grand Timber Lodge

The other one was Grand Colorado. Last year we had a Dream Vacation Week certificate for a week long stay there, but it was canceled due to COVID. Thankfully we were able to re-schedule it for this year and it was amazing!

The hot tubs at Grand Colorado were incredible, especially this infinity hot tub overlooking the ski lifts.

As you can see, we really enjoy staying right on the mountain. Tiger Run RV Resort is only a 10 minute drive from the Breckenridge ski area, but there is nothing like staying right on the mountain.

It really was a fabulous season, and such a blessing after the way last year turned out. I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures sledding at Carter Park and Frisco sledding park.

Carter Park
Frisco sledding park

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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!

 

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fifth Nomadiversary

When we decided to sell our house and most of our belongings to hit the road and see the country, I had no idea we would still be doing this 5 years later. At the time we thought we would do this for a year or two, but we quickly realized there is way too much awesomeness to see in this beautiful country to only travel for 2 years.

Now, 5 years later, we’re still going strong with no end date in sight. I can’t even describe how blessed I feel to be able to live this amazing life with the people I love most in this world. Making memories instead of accumulating stuff has become my life goal.

Each year has been great. Well, maybe the Heartland disaster year wasn’t that great, but our 5th year really was the best so far. It almost seems like we were making up for the not-quite-so-great year before that.

So on this 5th anniversary of the day we moved out of our house and into an RV, I am excited to share with you this video of the highlights of our 5th year on the road. The song “My House” by Kacey Musgraves is just perfect!

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Green = 2015; Red = 2016; Blue = 2017; Purple = 2018; Black = 2019

If you would like to see our Nomadiversary videos from the first 4 years you can see them here:

Thank you for coming along with us on this journey.

Categories: Our Travels | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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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Categories: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney’s Fort Wilderness and a Hurricane

If you haven’t figured this out yet, we are a family of Disney fanatics. Every year when we head back east, you can be sure we will spend some time at our favorite campground in the country — Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

In my last post I wrote about our journey back east, and how we arrived back to Florida just in time for Hurricane Dorian. We spent a few days with our good friends the Reyes family who are always so gracious to allow us to park at their house whenever we’re passing through the area.

While hanging out with the Reyes family, we kept an eye on the forecast for the hurricane. We were scheduled to arrive at Ft. Wilderness on Labor Day, and by the Saturday before it looked like the hurricane would be turning up the coast and not have much impact on central Florida. So we went ahead with our plans and continued on to Disney on Labor Day.

Since leaving Montana we traveled 2,700 miles, and you can imagine we were so ready to finally get somewhere and stay for awhile. We got into our site, got set up and were so happy to finally relax and not move for a month. But then, not 2 hours later, we got the news that Ft. Wilderness is closing due to the impending hurricane and they are re-locating everyone to the Disney Resort hotels.

What?!? I mean, don’t get me wrong, Disney hotels are amazing, but we just drove 2,700 miles to get here and we really don’t want to pack up and move again anytime soon. But then my Disney Pixie Agent, Tabitha worked her magical pixie dust and got us into a Disney Boardwalk Villa. I think it also had a lot to do with God blessing us beyond anything I can ask or think.

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My favorite Disney Pixie agent, Tabitha & I at Chip & Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-Long

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Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is incredible, and one of the few Disney resorts we have never stayed at. We always wanted to, but it’s just so expensive! You can imagine we were all super excited when we found out where we were being evacuated to.

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Pool and water slide at Disney’s Boardwalk

The time to relax and stay put for awhile would have to wait. Ft. Wilderness instructed us to park our RV in the Magic Kingdom parking lot along with all the other RVs that had to evacuate the campground, and we were going to the Boardwalk! All Disney hotels are pet-friendly when a hurricane is approaching, so even Fat Cat got to come along on this adventure.

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Ft. Wilderness evacuees parked at Magic Kingdom

We certainly looked like the Beverly Hillbillies strolling into that fancy hotel with our grocery bags full of everything we had to empty from our fridge, a laundry basket full of dirty laundry (because our villa had a washer/dryer in it — free laundry!), a litter box and a very squirmy and unhappy fat cat.

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I don’t even know how to caption this!

Once we got settled we enjoyed a fabulous 3 nights at the Boardwalk, and the storm hardly affected us at all. One night it got a little windy and rained a bit, but that was it. The night of the storm, all the Disney parks were closed so our hotel made all arcade games free for the night — the kids loved that!

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Disney’s Boardwalk

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Sunsets at the Boardwalk

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My parents were planning to head to Orlando that week, and since the storm was not going to affect central Florida, they went ahead with their plans. It was so much fun to have them come for a visit!

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Fat Cat had her own adventure while we were there. On our last night, we headed out to dinner with Mom and Dad, and when we got back to the room, we couldn’t find the cat anywhere. She’s been known to hide, but we really looked everywhere and thought that somehow she got out of the room. We even thought she may have jumped off the balcony, and we were on the 3rd floor!

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Fat Cat on top of the fridge, before she got lost

Finally, after hours of searching, Chris heard her collar jingling behind the kitchen cabinets. Apparently, she climbed up on top of the cabinets, found an opening and climbed down inside the hole. Once she got in there she couldn’t get out. Chris had a heck of a time trying to get her out, but finally succeeded. That cat sure knows how to get herself into trouble!

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Kitchen in the villa — notice the arrow pointing to where Chris found the cat

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This is Fat Cat stuck in her hiding place

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This is the hole on top of the cabinet she crawled into — forgive the dusty mess, it’s not my house. πŸ˜‰

After 3 nights of living in the lap of luxury, Ft. Wilderness re-opened and we were able to move back. The morning we got back it was weird to see the campground so empty. Of course, it didn’t take long for it to fill back in.

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Empty camping loop at Ft. Wilderness

We were so happy to finally be settled in our site at our favorite campground! And we stayed for most of the month of September. Jake and Jesse both have September birthdays, and that’s where they wanted to celebrate.

We were planning to get another Disney parks annual pass starting around Halloween, so for September we got a water parks pass instead. That worked out well since it was so hot, and it was great to spend so much time at Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

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September was a fun month of celebrating Jesse’s 13th and Jake’s 15th birthdays, and seeing friends and family again.

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Danny & Kim came down to visit from Fernandina

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The Lundy’s came to hang out with us at the Campfire Sing-a-Long

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Margie and I with Chip & Dale

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Jake is not quite old enough to drive yet, but he liked pretending on the golf cart. Notice a strange Fat Cat in the back seat with a cute Jesse Bear.

 

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

St. Louis with Friends

We started feeling homesick, missing friends and family while we were in Montana, so we decided to head back east about a month early. We did some crazy, long drives for 4 days.

The first day we didn’t even make it out of Montana, that is one big state! We spent the second night in South Dakota and had our first tornado scare. We were in the RV eating dinner during a thunderstorm, when we suddenly heard tornado sirens. We looked outside and saw lights flashing at the campground laundry room (I assume that is to let us know where to go for shelter), so we grabbed the cat and made a run for it.

We hid out under tables in the laundry room while praying and waiting out the storm. Thankfully the storm passed quickly and we survived to tell about it. πŸ˜‰

The third night we spent in Kansas City, and then finally made it to St. Louis on day 4. We spent a few days exploring St. Louis with our good friends the Santo Tomas family.

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We knew the Santo Tomas family when we lived in Fernandina Beach. Rachel & I got to know each other in our homeschool group co-op back then. They are a military family and also live in their RV. They are now stationed in St. Louis, and it was so nice to catch up with them there.

St. Louis is amazing with so many awesome things to see and do! If you’ve followed me long enough, you know I am NOT a city person and typically avoid cities at all costs. However, visiting a city with another family that is familiar with the area, and had access to a shuttle that would do the driving for us, made visiting this city easy and fun.

Our first stop was the Gateway Arch, a must-do in St. Louis. We rode to the top of the arch in the little pods.

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Inside the pod heading up to the top of the arch

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View of the city from the top of the arch

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View of the Mississippi River from the other side of the arch

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At the top of the arch

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My beautiful friend Rachel

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The kids

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After visiting the arch we went to the City Museum, another must-do in St. Louis. This museum is a several-stories-high giant playground that is fun for both adults and children.

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Even the adults have fun!

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Another day we visited the St. Louis Zoo and Science Center, both are free!

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We had such a great time visiting the Santo Tomas family, we were all sad to leave! I think we’ll be seeing more of them next year though, so instead of saying “good bye”, we say “see you next time!”

After we left St. Louis, we spent a night near Nashville, then the next day arrived in Georgia to visit my sister and brother-in-law for a few days. Then we headed on to Florida and parked (or moochdocked) at the Reyes’ house for a few days.

Hurricane Dorian was heading to Florida at this time, and we had plans to arrive at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Campground on Labor Day. We kept an eye on the hurricane while at the Reyes’ house, while trying to decide if we needed to leave Florida or not.

Imagine! We just drove such a long way from Montana, only to get back to Florida just in time for a hurricane! Did we come back too early? Stay tuned for that story next.

Categories: Illinois, Missouri | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glacier National Park

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post! We have been busy, and we’re already back on the east coast, so I guess it’s time to catch up. After we left Canada we headed back to Montana to visit one of my favorites, Glacier National Park.

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We last visited this park in 2016, and we did so much hiking and exploring back then. This time we didn’t do much at all, and I attribute that to the fact that we were all exhausted after our adventures exploring Banff, Jasper and Kootenay in Canada.

After my parents left Canada and we headed to Montana, it seemed we were all a little burned out on hiking and we were starting to miss friends and family back east. Sometimes when we’re out west I think I could never get tired of it, but I guess there really does come a time when you just want to go “home”, wherever that may be.Β So, we only hiked a couple of our favorites, then we pointed our wheels back east.

Our first hike was to Avalanche Lake. We started out on the Trail of Cedars and continued on to Avalanche Lake, approximately 4 miles out and back. The beginning of the trail has some pretty river views and waterfalls.

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This hike is pretty crowded, but starts to thin out after you get past these water views. The hike continues through woods and ultimately ends at beautiful Avalanche Lake.

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Another day we hiked to Hidden Lake from Logan Pass. This is one of my favorites, but it’s also very crowded.

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The crowds thin out significantly once you get past the scenic overlook. We like to continue past there and hike down to the lake. It’s challenging climbing back up though which is probably why that part is much less crowded.

Hiking down to the lake is wonderful, the views are incredible and the lake is so peaceful. We brought snacks and hung out at the lake for awhile until we mustered up the energy for the long hike back.

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Chris and Jesse skipping rocks

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My little Jake who is now taller than me

We saw lots of mountain goats on the hike!

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My favorite hike we’ve ever done in our travels was to Grinnell Glacier. We didn’t do that this time, but I wrote about it last time if you are interested:Β Grinnell Glacier. Like I said, we were all feeling a little burned out and just didn’t have the energy for that one this time, but I would love to go back and do it again someday.

When we left Glacier, we spent 4 long travel days heading towards St. Louis to visit some friends and tour the city. That was a blast! I’ll write about that next.

Categories: Montana, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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