We didn't have enough of the road, so we decided to get back on it today and drive for about 4 hours round trip! And since it was family, it was definitely worth it! :-) Tim and I had actually been commenting on how we missed traveling already. But, as they say, all good things much come to an end. And so we go on to other good things, like spending time with family. Soon after we arrived, we discovered they never were able to start the generator. So with three of us holding it steady, Nathan and then Tim took turns at pulling the cord to try to start the thing. After about 20 pulls, we started hearing it actually turning over a bit. Like the little engine that could, it made us start believing it actually could crank, so we began cheering it on. Finally, somewhere around the 30th pull, the thing fired up and cheers went up among us all! It was a very exciting event (we started quoting Jeff Foxworthy - "You might be a redneck if you cheer your fool head off when your generator finally starts"). We had a very nice day hanging out, swapping stories,watching the boys swimming, listening to Nicholas playing the piano, and enjoying a lovely dinner together (thanks to my amazing chef husband and Cook Christy, my sister). After we cleaned up from dinner, my mom, sister, Nicole, and I (and then Nicholas joined us) went outside to the backyard to watch the beautiful sunset over the canal. Christy and I started singing songs we used to sing together growing up, like, "Summertime, and the living is easy..." and we ended with "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". I guess sound carries pretty easily across a canal, so when we finished the last song some people across the canal started whooping and clapping for us! After we hollered, "Thank You' I answered back, "Now it's your turn," but we didn't hear anything after that. :-) Finally it was time to head home, and now it is time to go to bed, but here are some pictures from our lovely day.
You may remember, we discovered our tow dolly was stolen the day before we were leaving on our trip back in June. So we hopped on Craisglist and found a tow dolly an hour north of us. Therefore, as we left for our trip, we drove both the car and the RV and bought the tow dolly, hooked up the car, and we were on our way. Now that we're back, what do we do with this tow dolly? We obviously don't want to store it where our old one was and risk it being stolen again. We decided to just sell it. So I put it on Craigslist after we got back, and we received an inquiry last night from Mike asking if he could come and buy it this morning. We met him where we have the tow dolly and as he pulled up, Tim leaned over to me and said, "That guy looks like the guy we bought this tow dolly from". Sure enough, it was HIM!! We let him buy it back for $100 less than what we paid for it because we figured a $100 rental was a good deal - which is probably what he spent on gas to get down to us and back. Is that too funny?? I just had to share that!
We are currently on our way down to Port Charlotte to visit the fam. I just called them and they were busy getting their generator ready - they experienced Charlie and want to be prepared in case Isaac decides to pay them a direct visit. Hopefully that won't happen! I hope everyone stays safe and dry! Blessings!
Please see my post that I did yesterday morning, but for some reason it was dated 8/19 and it went BELOW the post entitled TRAVEL DAY TO BIRMINGHAM. Bottom line, we're home, we made a mad dash last night for some school supplies and haircuts (thank you Mrs. Talkington!) and we were out the door this morning at 7:45 to drop the triplets off at their biology class and then Nicholas off at his new school. Hope all you back-to-schoolers are making an easy transition of it. Ble
We had a LONG travel day yesterday. We left Little Rock around 9:45am and didn't pull into our campground here near Birmingham until 6:30pm. I've noticed a little pattern. We have 2 gas stops and a Walmart run, and we're good to go! Tim, once again, did all the driving, and I'm very grateful because there was a lot of roadwork and narrowing of lanes and then raining - conditions I would rather not be driving in with a 31ft motorhome hauling a vehicle, thank you very much!
Speaking of road construction, many of the roads we traveled on were SO bumpy, even though they were interstate roads, it was kind of crazy. Several hours down the road we heard a 'bang', and I looked back to see the microwave sitting on the top of the stove! Tim was in the middle of a construction zone where all traffic was narrowed down to 2 lanes (one lane for each direction) with concrete barracades on both sides of the road (no shoulder), so Nathan held onto the micro so it didn't fall off of the stove until we could pull off at the next exit. Upon investigation, the micro had only been held up there by 2 screws - that's it! We don't know how it hadn't fallen off earlier! Thankfully it wasn't hardwired, so we were able to unplug it and then put it on our back bed with pillows and towels around it so it could handle the rest of the ride safely. It was evidently no worse for the wear last night when we plugged it in and used it to heat some things for dinner, so that's good! We would basically have to take the whole casing around it apart to get to the screw heads to screw them back into the wall, and then worry about it falling again, so we're just going to leave it down for the duration of our trip. But that was our excitement for the day!
A pastor at our church gave Tim an audio CD book written by David Platt who happens to pastor a church here in Birmingham, AL. And today just happened to be Sunday and he happened to be speaking there (since he is the pastor and all, that works out well), so once we realized all these 'coincidences' we thought we might just happen to go to church there. :-) It was really good. Pastor David Platt is only about 33 years old, and yet there is a maturity there that is pretty amazing. I've never really heard a sermon like his before. He didn't seem like a normal 'preacher' - he was basically just talking to us, and most of it was straight out of the word. I asked Tim, if you were to describe his sermon in one word, what would it be? And he said, "Urgent". Anyway, we're really glad we went there today.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I'll leave you with one picture that I took of the displaced microwave sitting on top of the stove. I know - not very exciting, but that's all I got. :) Blessings!
This morning we are on our way home, can you believe it? We should be arriving there sometime in the mid to late afternoon today. Last night we stayed at an RV park off of I-10 next to a Burger King that was in a Shell gas station (never seen that before). So we went crazy and celebrated our last night on the road by walking over and getting a BK dinner to go! We brought it back to the RV and enjoyed reminiscing about our travels over our 'last supper' in the RV. Nathan had written a list in his iPod of the 'iconic' places we had been to, so we went through that list and had a lively debate on places some considered 'iconic' that others didn't and vice versa. It was a great time to remember all the experiences we have had together as a family, and just thank God for His goodness to us. We ended by having a time of prayer thanking the Lord for all the people, places, and things we have enjoyed during this trip.
We originally were going to start this trip a week or 2 earlier than we did, but this RV wasn't available until well after our planned departure date, so we just bumped our ending date accordingly. This bumps us RIGHT up against school starting tomorrow! All that to say, I think I will be feeling like a one armed paper hanger for the next couple of weeks as we make this fast transition from traveling one day to beginning school the next, which means my blogging days will most likely be few and far between. We'll see.
One thing I've been wanting to mention but never seemed to fit it in was the nationwide drought we seem to be experiencing. Over these past 9 weeks we have covered a big chunk of the United States, and one thing I noticed is that no place we visited seemed 'lush'. The only plots of land that weren't brown were the ones being watered. I really thought California would be different, but it was the same there. The ground where we stayed near Kansas City was so parched it had cracks in it everywhere. The mountains we have seen before (the Rockies, Glacier National), that previously were always snow-peaked even all summer had very little snow on them at all. We talked to a farmer who stopped to try to help us when we blew those two tires in Montana, and he said he is having to harvest a month earlier than usual (and therefore, will have less yield than normal) because the run off from the mountains that usually lasts through September had already dried up. We've seen more rain in the past 3 days than we have the whole trip, but I imagine it is still just a drop in the bucket of what is needed. I just wanted to mention this because it troubled me, and I would like to ask those of you so inclined to pray with me for God to send the rains needed to end this drought. OK, enough of my soap box on that!
Thank you all for coming with us on this journey - we've so appreciated your sweet comments and prayers and well-wishes - it's been a blessing beyond words. Here are the last pictures (at least the last ones I'm planning on uploading) for this trip. There is a snapshot of the 'welcome to Florida sign along with pictures of our 'last supper, and a couple of pictures of the kids in their beds because I don't think I've taken very many of those. Nicole and Nicholas have privacy curtains they wanted to show off, so you'll see those. :-) Thanks again, and blessings to all!
Sorry I forgot to post this yesterday! We had a very nice day in Little Rock. Our campground is right on the river downtown, so everything is very convenient! They have a cable car here, and we were very tempted to take it instead of driving, but then opted to go ahead and drive. It turns out, we could have just walked, but we didn't know that. Our first stop was Discovery Museum (courtesy of our MOSI passes). It was a great hands on museum, with the first thing to greet you being a bunch of tubes with air shooting through them that you could take a scarf and put it in the tubes and watch it go all the way through until it was spit out of one of the exit tubes. You could change directions and even cut off the air flow of your scarf, which Nathan enjoyed figuring out exactly how to direct each tube so he could get the scarf to go where he wanted to. They also had a nature center with 2 chinchillas! Weird that I've never seen a chinchilla before, and now I've seen them in the last 2 museums we've been to. They also had The Amazing You exhibit, which MOSI had had before, but I think this one had different things. There was a mind game where 2 people put a headband with electrodes on and then sat at opposite ends of a long narrow table and concentrated on relaxing your mind. The more you relaxed, the more a ball that was in the center would move towards your opponent, until it hit the x spot in front of them to end the game. Nicole is the undefeated champion among Nicholas, me and Tim (although her match with Tim went on for so long I think he finally threw the race to end it). :-) I was enjoying watching them so much I forgot to take a picture (sorry!). I got another picture of the 2 of them at another exhibit, though.
From there we travelled all the way next door to the Witt Stephens Jr Central Arkansas Nature Center, where they had an alligator feeding at 2pm. The image we had, being from Florida and all, was a big habitat with lots of gators in there and some type of meat being thrown about while the gators thrashed around fighting for it. It turns out there were 2 baby alligators in a tank that they fed worms and crickets! It was still interesting, though.
Our RV park is right next to the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge, so Nicole and Nicholas and I decided to walk back to our RV over the bridge. I took the picture of Nicole & Nicholas on the bridge you will see below, and if you click on it to enlarge it, you can see our RV in the background between their 2 heads. :-)
After we had a late lunch, the boys all went fishing on the river.
Well, that about does it for Little Rock for us. On to Birmingham, AL! I'll leave you with some of the pictures we took here. Blessings!
It was a long travel day, but Tim did an excellent job of driving and we arrived here around 6:30pm. We made 2 stops for gas, and then another surprise stop at a national monument we had no idea about. We missed an entrance ramp and ended up on a back road where we saw a sign for the George Washington Carver National Monument. Nicholas had done a report on him a couple of years ago, so Tim and I both wanted to see the monument. It was actually more like a visitor's center with a lot of things from his life on display. He really was an amazing man. Born into slavery, but with a thirst for knowledge that couldn't be quenched. His research discovered hundreds of uses for peanuts and soybeans and sweet potatoes, etc. But he was also a talented musician with a voice, and he even crocheted. It was a nice break in a long travel day, and about the only picture we cpatured for the day. So here it is. We'll probably have more tomorrow. Blessings!
We packed a lot in today! I was thinking we would try to leave by around 9am, but when I woke up and looked at the clock, it was already after 9am, and everyone else was still asleep! We're all still on Mountain timezone! It then took us an hour an a half to eat breakfast, pack lunch, and get on our way - it's like herding cats sometimes! :-) Our first stop was City Hall - no we weren't planning on fighting city hall - they have an observation deck that you can go up in. It's one of the tallest City Halls in the nation. Here are a couple of shots from there (sorry for the blurry picture of us - we had a guard take it and didn't want to impose on him for another one). :-)
Then it was on to Science City (courtesy of our MOSI passes!) at Union Station. The building itself is incredibly impressive. And right before the entrance to Science City was a gift shop (we commented that it is exactly opposite of Disney who empties you into a gift shop AFTER the ride - here the gift shop was first). But one of the employees quickly engaged Nathan in a sword fight to show off the attributes of their swords - it was pretty cool. Then Science City itself is very unique. It has a few things we've seen at many of the museums, but the first thing to greet us that I haven't seen at others was a little music making area, where the barrell drums each had 2 different sounding drums you played with your hands, so we could all get into the act of creating drum beats together. And then there was a piano in a u-shape on the floor that you played with your feet. And then there were these plastic looking rectangles that you could put your had over and it played a note. Nicole and I played "heart and soul" waving our hands over these plastic things - it was pretty cool! Here are a couple pictures of the sword fight and the drums:
They even had a little nature center with some of the most unique creatures - the bearded dragon, a turtle with a tail that made it look like a 2-headed turtle! And this bunny you see below - isn't he the cutest thing?... along with a chinchilla - never seen one of those before! (sorry we only got a picture of his back - long story - but you can see how soft his fur looks):
Nathan has always loved to build things, so it is hard for him to pass up an opportunity to create some type of structure. And here he was able to make a device with a gutter system to roll a ball down. Once he was done with that and we took some pictures we really needed to get going because there were still a couple more places we wanted to see. So, after leaving Science City, instead of finding a picnic table to have our lunch at we opted for a tailgate party in the parking garage! Here's a picture of that along with Nathan and his contraption:
Next it was on to the Hallmark Visitor's Center. That place was pretty cool. They had a lot of history of the Hallmark legacy, and then they had an area that showed how they made bows - even had a button you could push and then watch your own bow being made and delivered through a door to you. It also had this video screen that would digitally put a crown on you, take your picture, and then you could email to yourself. The boys tried it, but it evidently only does a max of 2 crowns that it randomly puts on, so Nicholas wasn't too happy about getting left out of that one. But in our family picture the machine picked him and Nathan for the crowns, he's much happier there:
They also have a creative area where they have scraps from other cards, along with string and scissors and markers and cardboard and all kinds of things that you can use to create practically anything. The cardboard can be used to color your own picture, and then they have a machine you can run it through that creates a puzzle from your picture (Nicholas did one of those). Very cool stuff.
But we still had another stop to make, so we hopped in the car and drove over to the Federal Reserve and the Money Museum. That place is amazing. It has coins from every era of our history on display. There is an area where you can see how the money is transported (but they don't let you take pictures), but they have these 3 robot vehicles called Huey, Dewey, and Louie, who pick up stacks of money and transport them to their warehouse area. Then they also have a computer thing where you can digitally create your own money with your picture on it. So we all had to take a turn at that:
We packed a lot in the 5 hours we had to spend there! One thing I noticed going into the city was the lack of congested traffic! It seems like every other big city we have been to, no matter what time we have been there, traffic was a headache! But Kansas City seemed so easy to get around in - I loved that! Even coming home in 5:00 traffic was a breeze compared to pretty much any other big city I've been in. Anyway, that's my 2 cents, whatever that's worth! Hope everyone is having a great week! Blessings!
What a gorgeous day! It started out rainy, which the Kansans were thrilled about and we were happy for them, and then it cleared up by mid-morning. Actually, yesterday was the first day in Kansas that the high was below 90 degrees since June 12th (or somewere around there), which was a new record! So anyway, we left at the crack of noon once again. :-) Since we only had a 4 hour drive, it was no big deal. Tim took the wheel for this trip, so I logged into work and put in a few hours. We were able to drive for some of the way without the A/C on, so that was really nice! A stop for gas and a Walmart run in Topeka added a little bit more time, but we still rolled into our campground around 5:30pm. I immediately opened up all the windows and we enjoyed a wonderful cross breeze in the lower 70's. The kids hopped out, glad to be outside, and after I straightened out things inside the camper I grabbed a camping chair, put it in the sun, and took a wonderful break to read some of a book!
Tim then had to 'go to work' with a couple of clients (which he sat in our car still hooked up to our camper for), so the kids and I made dinner while listening to Adventures in Odyssey on the radio. I love those stories! The kids got ready for bed, Tim came back in, and then he played some card games with Noah & Nicholas while Nicole & I were on our computers and Nathan was checking sport stats on his ipod. We are LOVING this campground. There is practically no one else here, and the kids saw deer near the playground. Nicole had her camera on her, as usual, and took some goofy pictures of Nathan & Nicholas (none of the deer, sadly), and then one of me taking my break in the sun with my book. Those are the only pictures from the day, so here they are!
Tim was back under the weather a bit today, so he drove to the interstate and then I took it from there. Perfect driving conditions for me - nothing but long straight boring road! Although I must say, the wind was whipping! I first thought we needed an alignment or something because I thought it was pulling so far to the left. I had the steering wheel constantly aimed to the right as if I was bearing to the right, but that was just to keep it straight. Then I realized it was the wind! Once the wind died down (about 2 hours after I started driving), I was able to resume steering normally. So, even though it was mostly boring (except for the wind), Nicole and I had some good time to talk, so that was fun! We arrived at our campground by like 4:30pm, and that is even with losing an hour! So Nicole grabbed her camera and we walked around taking goofy pictures. We are close to an oil digger thingy (not sure what they are called), so we walked over to where it was and stood mesmerized by it...how does it work exactly? There were several signs on it that said, "No Trespassing", but one sign caught our attention, "Please lock gate" as we gazed down and saw an unlocked lock on the gate. Nathan wanted to obey the sign, but I was concerned the person who needed to get in had lost the key, so we left it as it was.
Later, Nathan found a feather and pretended it was a quill and that he was a great writer poised to transfer his amazing prose to paper for the world to be enlightened, And next thing you know, our famous author is asleep on his writing settee. :-)
That reminds me of one of my all time favorite posters I had up in my dorm room in college. It was a polar bear lying on its back with the caption: "Whenever I feel lke studying, I lie down until the feeling goes away". :-) Anyway, here are a couple of goofy pictures of Nicholas & Nicole:
We had dinner and then watched 'Stars Earn Stripes' and were very sad to see Dolvett eliminated on this first week. Then prayers and bedtime came and went, and one of my friends called me so I stepped outside to talk to her. As I was sitting on a bench swing just outside our camper, I noticed what I thought was a cat coming near me. And then I realized it was a SKUNK! Are you kidding me???? I know you're not supposed to do anything to startle them, so I got up slowly and then started running away. Thankfully, the skunk ran the other way! Whew! That was close!
Tomorrow will be another driving day, so looking forward to that (hopefully minus the wind!). Blessings!
Tim & Jodie