Family, Fun, and the Fair-OhioSummer2018

DISCLAIMER: LONG POST ALERT

Normally we try to take a big summer trip.  In 2015, we took a trip across the country (#48statesover48dates).  In 2016, we went west to Galveston and Houston through New Orleans, and then to cooler weather in the Upper Peninsula to Mackinac Island in Michigan.  In 2017, we went back up to Michigan and Ohio to escape the heat.

But, this year, we have a teenager, who started working a “real job” at Chick-fil-A, so now we are grounded more than we like.  However, we were able to sneak away for a two-week vacation to Ohio at the end of the summer break.

We kicked off the trip with a hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (last blog post-https://thomas6travels.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/our-8th-national-park-cuyahoga-valley-np/) and headed down to Massillon, Ohio for William’s grandfather’s family reunion.

It was a good time, between the food, kickball game, fellowship, and meeting some family and seeing some that William had not seen in 20 yrs.

 

 

Though it was supposed to rain, we were glad it didn’t.

From there, we headed to Westerville, Ohio for the duration of our vacation.

As usual, we had to make a trip to Easton Mall for Red Robin and See’s Candies. Plus, the kids like to walk around and ask for things that they know they’re not gonna get.

 

 

While we always have fun on our vacations, we like to make sure our kids are learning something.  And, if you can add free ice cream along with that learning, we are certainly down for it. We took a tour at Velvet Ice Cream Factory in Utica, Ohio. We learned the history of the company, which once was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

 

 

The town of Westerville had their 4th Friday celebration with vendors, food, sweets, and some of everything else, so we spent an evening enjoying the activities.

 

 

Of all times we have been to the city of Columbus, we’ve never visited downtown, so we made sure to this time.  Our first stop was to the Harley where Dad bought his bike and picked up another poker chip to add to our collection.

 

 

Then we walked around, enjoyed the German Village, the sights, sounds, food, and architecture of downtown.

 

 

Before heading back home to get ready for school to start, we spent the day at the Ohio State Fair. Grandma Shonen spoiled the kids with unlimited rides and money to buy whatever they wanted! They took full advantage of it and loaded up on cotton candy, candy apples, slushies, lemonade, and funnel cakes.

 

 

This was our 2nd year going to the Ohio State Fair and we look forward to going back again next year! Until next time…

Advertisements

#FloridaForty We’ve Made It Home

2 parents…4 children…40 cities…40 days…27 Harley Davidson dealerships stopped at…14 RV parks…4,152.6 miles driven…71 hours and 2 minutes driving…418.1 gallons of gas…35 new Christmas ornaments for our travel tree…way too many Walmart stops…

=1 grand trip!

Thanks again for joining us on our 40 day journey through the state of Florida.

(and to think that it rained for that many days straight while Noah was on the ark and Jesus fasted for that long while in the wilderness)

Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

Along the way, we made some great memories, had a lot of fun, tasted new food, talked with some fantastic people, and grew closer together as a family.  It is these times that we hope have the greatest impact on our children.

So that we can keep a record of our trip, as well as to share with those who are wanting to know, we decided to share our itinerary as well as the names of the RV/Campgrounds/State Parks/National Parks we camped in.

Feature City                            RV Park

Day 1           Jacksonville                           Little Talbot State Park Jacksonville, FL

Day 2           Ponte Vedra Beach               Faver-Dykes State Park St. Augustine, FL

Day 3           St. Augustine                         Faver-Dykes State Park

Day 4           Mt. Dora                                 Bee’s RV Resort Clermont, FL

Day 5           Howey-in-the-Hills              Bee’s RV Resort

Day 6           Eatonville                              Bee’s RV Resort

Day 7           Lady Lake                              Bee’s RV Resort

Day 8           Clermont                                Bee’s RV Resort

Day 9           Groveland                              Bee’s RV Resort

Day 10         Frostproof                              Kissimmee Prairie Preserve S.P. Okeechobee, FL

Day 11         Okeechobee                           Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

Day 12         Taylor Creek                          Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

Day 13         Dania Beach                          Fiesta Key Rv and Marina Layton, FL

Day 14         Key West                                Fiesta Key Rv and Marina

Day 15          Marathon                              Fiesta Key Rv and Marina

Day 16         Islamorada                             C.B. Smith Park Pembroke Pines, FL

Day 17         Miami Beach                          C.B. Smith Park

Day 18         Pembroke Pines                    C.B. Smith Park

Day 19         Davie                                       C.B. Smith Park

Day 20         Miramar                                 C.B. Smith Park

Day 21         Everglades City                     Collier Seminole State Park Naples, FL

Day 22          Naples                                    Collier Seminole State Park

Day 23          Fort Myers Beach                 Little Manatee River State Park Wimauma, FL

Day 24          Winter Haven                       Little Manatee River State Park

Day 25         Clearwater                              Mary’s Fish Camp Weeki Wachee, FL

Day 26          Weeki Wachee                      Mary’s Fish Camp

Day 27          Alachua                                   Suwanee River State Park Live Oak, FL

Day 28          Live Oak                                  Suwanee River State Park

Day 29          Madison                                  Suwanee River State Park

Day 30          Lee                                           Suwanee River State Park

Day 31          Carrabelle                              St. George Island State Park, St. George Island, FL

Day 32          St. George Island                  St. Andrews State Rec Area Panama City Beach, FL

Day 33          Panama City Beach              St. Andrews State Recreation Area

Day 34         Niceville                                  Fred Gannon State Park Niceville, FL

Day 35          Destin                                     Fred Gannon State Park

Day 36          Valparaiso                             Fred Gannon State Park

Day 37          Gulf Breeze                           Fort Pickens Recreation Area-  Gulf Islands National Seashore Pensacola, FL

Day 38          Pensacola Beach                  Fort Pickens Recreation Area

Day 39          Molino                                   Fort Pickens Recreation Area

Day 40          Century                                   N/A Home

IMG_20180202_143240098

 

 

 

#FloridaForty Day 37 Valparaiso to Gulf Breeze

Kelly has been needing to get to Kohl’s to use $5 Kohl’s Cash that was going to expire on January 31. She kept putting it off until the last day but now has a new pair of leggings.  And there was a Harley right next door, so we knocked out two birds with one stone.

53334

We made it back to one of our favorite campgrounds…

…with one of the most beautiful beaches!

Ran into this little guy on the way to the beach.

53335

#FloridaForty Day 33 St. George Island to Panama City Beach

27331955_10213566394207053_3481637753369558743_n

PCB, the spring break destination of high schoolers and college kids across the country.  Thankfully, it’s January and we could visit the city without the throngs of crowds.

Yet again, we started our day of sight-seeing with a mandatory trip to Walmart.  But this Walmart was special…it had a whole section dedicated to Airbrushing!!

27331813_10213566394527061_930059156879557522_n

And of course, picked up a new poker chip from Harley, as well as some snacks.  They had a lounge for its patrons.  Pretty cool! The kids said that this is their favorite Harley so far.

For a family that did not start going to Dave & Busters at all until about 2.5 years ago in Galveston, we sure love it now.

And we picked up quite a haul!

26815522_10213566396127101_217339844313921696_n

This particular D&B was right along S. Pier Park Drive, so we got a little exercise in walking down the strip towards the pier and beach.

26992028_10213566402487260_7012006254865794044_n

Collecting some Kilwin’s…

…and beef jerky on the way…

27331635_10213566399567187_2619629941856694086_n

…before making it to the beach!

We worked up quite an appetite after walking the half mile strip 🙂

So the next stop was certainly food!

Kelly and the girls filled their bellies with a locally owned pizza shop (Shore Shack Pizza), and didn’t leave a crumb.

While William and Gig-up stuffed their faces with Waffle House.

One more week!!

#FloridaForty Day 27 Weeki Wachee to Alachua

26814605_10213510222882805_5217721142989011216_n

There was not much to see here in the city, but we liked it because every time we said it, Mackenzie would say, “Bless You.”  I guess it sounds like a sneeze!

We did stop at a pretty large Harley on the way.

27267164_10213518837218158_1727882889_o.jpg

And enjoyed a picnic lunch on a park bench!

26805343_10213510223122811_678717875835622622_n

27291965_10213521701369760_1383846621_n

#FloridaForty Day 25 Winter Haven to Clearwater

52658

The kids had a blast at Legoland so now it was time for us to go to our “theme park.”

That “theme” was RVs!

 

We looked at Class Cs, Class A Motorhomes, Fifth Wheels, ToyHaulers, and some pretty cool custom Prevost and Super Ds.

 

 

 

 

Gig-up even got to test fake drive one!

FB_IMG_1516454763799

Looks like Mackenzie got really comfy.

FB_IMG_1516454759984

We saw some sights while we were there, including a talking plant…

FB_IMG_1516454823083

…a giant old man…

FB_IMG_1516454756041

…and a giant funnel cake!

FB_IMG_1516454693367

I think William has narrowed it down to two options for our next RV.

If we decide to keep a towable, it will be the 42′ Forest River Sandpiper 383RBLOK, with two full baths, a four bunk back room, a fireplace, central vac system, washer and dryer hookup, and a good price.

20180120_084706

Or if we decide to go to a driveable, then a 38′ Thor Miramar with two full baths, mid bunks, over cabin bunk, residential fridge, fireplace, captains seats, a central vac system, and a fair price also.

20180120_084735

We also found the time to swing by the world’s friendliest Harley Davidson! They definitely live up to their nickname!

 

#FloridaForty Day 23 Naples to Fort Myers Beach

FB_IMG_1516288513959

It would be impossible to go to the beach too many times, but we are trying to test out that theory.

It was also our first #17thfor17th date (if you don’t know what that is, it’s our 17th year of being married, so we do something special on the 17th of every month this year).  We’ve done 14thfor14th, 15thfor15th, and 16thdor16th.  So this is our fourth year and we started off this year taking a stroll down the pier together and walking hand in hand down the beach.  We also were able to close the night with just us two around the fire.

There were a few mishaps with the RV on the way, but nothing overly major.  We’ll take Izzy (our RV’s name) to the shop when we get back though. And after stopping for slurpees at 7-11 we were back on the way.

Picked up a few more poker chips at several more Harley Davidson dealerships.

And added to our sticker collection too!

FB_IMG_1516288552743

With such a busy day, we were ready to get to the campground.  After a delicious grilled chicken salad for dinner…

…we had Smores and called it a night.

52647