The kids were sleeping when we pulled into Yogi Bear Campground last night. I love it when they wake up and one of the first things they ask is, "Where are we?" This morning they did not ask. Ummm...okay. They were up before 6am, so I put on a movie, since I knew the pools did not open until 9am. Finally, around 8:30 I told them to put their swimsuits on and get ready for pool day. They were so excited when they finally looked out the window to see a big slides and a pool. We spend the whole day at the park (getting a late 6pm checkout) in the pools and play areas. This campground is fantastic. Clean, plenty of activities and the staff was amazing. They even helped out when our pop-out would not slide back in. (The repair list is getting longer!)
After a full day, it was time again to hit the road. We had a short 2 hour drive to Austin, TX.
After a big day in New Orleans, a travel day was just what this family needed. And it was a big travel day as we put in 418 miles. When you travel over 400 miles in one day, it is necessary to stop along the way. We stopped in Avery Island, LA to tour the McIlhenny Tabasco Factory. It was a great tour and the kids were so excited to each get 4 tiny bottles of sauce as free samples. They were cute bottles and they were so excited to taste test them. (We did let them taste them at dinner time and well, I wish I would of had my camera out! ) As for the tour, since we were there on a Saturday, the factory was not operating. It was still neat to see the machines, learn about the peppers and the island.
Our route took us just outside of Houston so we selected Yogi Bear Campground. Part of traveling with children is finding the perfect activity level. Yesterday was a fun day in New Orleans and today was a big travel day, so we know that tomorrow needs to be an active day again. This is why we chose Yogi Bear Campground in Waller TX which we arrived at late into the evening when the kiddos were sleeping.
I have to be totally honest with you. I did not want to stop in New Orleans. Stuart insisted and he won. My knowledge of New Orleans lead me to think it was not a very desirable city, especially in an RV with three kids! We solved the RV problem with finding the KOA in River Ridge that offered a free shuttle to the French Quarter at 9am and 5:45pm. Perfect. The RV does not have to move. We still were bringing three kids and were warned many times to stay off Bourbon Street. Got it!
We boarded the shuttle right on time and off for a 30 min ride into the French Quarter. It was a nice ride in as the driver gave us a tour as we rode. I was already awe struck at the homes and buildings. Amazing buildings. Okay, so maybe this won't be so bad.
So what are we going to do all day? First off we needed to follow tradition and have a beignet. We selected Cafe Beignet since they are rated the best Beignets in New Orleans. The kiddos enjoyed them and cleaned their plates!
After Cafe Beignet, we discovered we were really close to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. It had rave reviews on Trip Advisor and they kids were eager to go, so off we went. Bugs, bugs and more bugs. It was awesome. Really. I have to say this is the most well done zoo (if we shall call it that) that I have ever been in. There were so many cool bugs, one after another. So educational and so well done. And all in locked containers, I like bugs that way!
The Insectarium also offered snacks! And cooking classes, but unfortunately no classes were offered while we were visiting. They did however have lots of snacks to offer us!
And cookies too! Here is my Chocolate Chirp Cookie. But I could not eat it, there was no way. Jackson enjoyed two instead.
Next up we took some time to walk around the French Quarter and to tour the Jean LaFitte National Park where Jackson worked on another Jr. Ranger badge. He loves collecting these badges and I love that he works hard on the questions and takes each oath proudly! His previous badge was earned in Springfield IL. We finished the day off with a stroll to the French Market and a few shops. New Orleans I have changed my mind about you. You are a very neat town.
This candy bar sums up day 10. Many people that I talk to in real life asked, "Are you crazy? Going on a trip with your family for 7 weeks? In an RV!?" Yes, I knew going into this there would be crazy days...and day 10 was the first one of them.
The morning started out fantastic. We took a walk to the nature center at our campground (Gulf State Park Campground) and saw some really neat animals in the area. By early morning it was hot and humid, so a beach day was in order. We spent about 3 hours on the beach and the kiddos had a blast. Then came the clouds and the downpour.
This is when we were thrilled to have the motorhome right there to hop in and get showered off right away. Then it was back on the highway for about 200 miles as we headed for New Orleans, LA. This seemed like a simple task until we hit some rain. And some more rain and some more rain and a funnel cloud in the distance. I turn into Nervous Nelly when riding in an RV in storms. And have I ever mentioned that my passenger brake petal does not work? No matter how hard I push my foot into the floor..... We did arrive safe and sound at our campground. I am learning my limits and my husband is learning them too! See this is good for a marriage :)
We stayed at the KOA in New Orleans. Off for a much needed evening of R&R.
On day 9 we traveled 361 miles from Atlanta GA to Gulf Shores AL. It was a nice relaxing drive and a good chance for us all to unwind after an enjoyable visit with family. We did stop today to pick blueberries and peaches, but only ended up picking blueberries. In order to pick peaches, we had to pick a bushel -- and we did not need a bushel of peaches! It was more for the novelty of it since we have never picked peaches before. We walked away with a couple pounds of blueberries and some peach ice cream. That seemed like a good compromise!
That evening before heading to the Gulf State Park Campground, we had the opportunity to visit with some friends. Overall it was another great day on the road.
And the pool room. This room is decorated with 750 yards of fabric! Can you imagine.....the dust in here!!
And just so you know, Elvis also thought sewing was a good idea. And buying Singer as a gift, even better!
After our big tour, the kiddos were exhausted so we took to the highway to make our way to Atlanta to visit family and friends. On our way we needed to get out of the RV and stretch our legs. The joy of road trips is that we can make impromptu stops. Today, we did just that with a stop in Natural Bridge, Alabama. The name of the town and also of the main tourist attraction there. It was a fantastic stop with a really great hike that took about 30 min. The cave/bridge/rock was amazing.
We closed out day four by arriving in Atlanta, Georgia and will spend the next few days with family and friends. Days 5, 6, 7 and 8 will be family time so I will not be posting. See you on day 9 (June 19th) when we hit the highway again.
Day three started in Cape Girgardeau, Mo. It was a beautiful morning so the boys did their workouts while the girls headed to the pool for an early morning swim. After getting ready to start our day and check out, we decided that poor Jackson just needed to get his ear looked it. It was really bothering him, so off to a "quick" clinic we went. We spent the afternoon there, but left Cape Girgardeau with medicine for an ear infection. Hoping he feels better soon.
Our next destination was Memphis TN! We drove about 3 hours this afternoon, putting us into Memphis in time for dinner. A stop at the Corky's Bar-B-Q was in order. It was delicious!
Looking forward to an exciting day 4 touring everything Elvis. Really, everything is a play on Elvis around here. See....
We have launched! Day 1 of our trip was filled with excitement and a lot of packing and cleaning. The kiddos finished their final day of school and afterwards we hit the road. We landed in Peru Il, where we boondoggled in a Walmart parking lot. Day 2 started with a two hour drive to Springfield Il. In Springfield, we visited the Abraham Lincoln museum, Lincoln's home, and Lincoln's Law Office and lastly the Lincoln Depot.
The Lincoln Home. This home is preserved very much like when Lincoln lived there with his family and with a lot of the same furniture. One particular interesting piece is Mary's sewing table. On top of this table is a basket created by Mary.
The night of day two we drove a few hours staying in Cape Girardeau, MO at a campground.
So far our trip is great! We are adjusting nicely to life in the road.
Maybe it is the end of school or the preparing for a trip, but life is CRAZY busy around here. The end of school. Next year is a big year here -- all three kids will be in school full time. Jenna will officially start kindergarten now that she has her preschool diploma. It was such a precious graduation and she was so proud of herself. Going though the system for the last time is so much more of a heartstring tugger. We dearly love our preschool that one child or another has attended for the last 7+ years and will miss it so much. Knowing that a great elementary school year is right around the corner helps out...but a fantastic summer trip, will get your mind off all things school immediately!
Speaking of the RV trip, we are at the 10 day mark. 10 days. I am learning it is a lot of work to pack up your home, business and kids for 7 weeks! A LOT of work, but it will all be worth it.
The motorhome is out of storage and currently getting an oil change and "summerized." I don't know the official word, but before winter they had to "winterize" it, so this just makes good sense to me! (Winterize is where they put anti-freeze stuff in the water lines so they don't burst over the cold Wisconsin winter.) She (I wonder if Stuart knows it is a girl?) will come back this week and the packing will begin.
I said in the last post I would answer some questions about her. (Oh, she needs a name!) So here it goes.....
What do you eat? At restaurants every day?
We eat most of our meals in the RV. Of course we eat out as well, but really save those times for when we cannot get back to the RV (like if we are out all day) or when there is an amazing restaurant in the area. So if we are close or in a town where you know there is an establishment we must try, please let us know. I also love canning food. So for this trip I have processed several cans of sloppy joes, taco meat, beef and beef stew. We will also have some meals in bags in the freezer. Next on the list for the freezer is Chicken Curry Pot Pie. This is a favorite in our family -- except I leave out the parsley and make biscuits on the side rather than the puff pastry. The fridge/freezer runs off LP gas, so it says on the entire time.
Where do you park the RV? Depends on the night. There are several stores (Walmart, Cabelas ect) that will allow overnight stays. We do use these places if we just need a place to park and will move on right way the next day. Otherwise, we will stay at various campgrounds and state parks along the way. Again, share with us places that you just love!
Don't you get sick of riding? So far, no. I cannot say this won't change after 7 weeks on the road! Stuart is the driver and I am the co-poilet. Well, I did drive once for about 10 min! The kids read, watch movies, play games ect while we are traveling. Yes, we make them sit on the couch or at the table with seat belts, for the most part. We have done a brief mapping of our trip and we need to average about 2 hours a day. That is nothing in an RV.
This is awesome, but don't you have to work? Yes, we do. Stuart and I are both self-employeed. We will be working along the way. We have many business stops to make and computers set up to allow us to work as we travel. Stuart has a pretty neat and interesting gig, so we get to go lots of fun places! Stay tuned.....
Are you bringing your sewing machine? YES! I would not leave home without one! She is in the shop currently getting all prepped for the trip. I will let you meet her when she returns!
Where are you going? A long way! We have a very brief outline of our travels right now. And we will update you along the way. We will start out heading south for several days.
Then of course, there is always questions about the toilet and sewer! This is pretty easy for me. It is Stuart's job! He says emptying the tanks is not that big of a deal, so I am going with that! We empty about every other day. As for showers, you turn the hot water heater on about 5 min before your military style shower and you are good to go!
Let me know if you have more questions.