Driving into and through New Mexico, we were ecstatic to see the snow all over the ground and in the mountains.
We were able to enjoy the snow for a few days…
…and hiked to Church Rock in it!
We enjoyed some authentic Mexican Food in Gallup.
And, learned about the Navajo Code Talkers while in town.
Snow is fun to play in and look at, it’s not a favorite of ours to drive in. So we (once again) changed our plans and decided to leave beautiful New Mexico a couple days early. We drove all the way across Arizona in one day to run from a major storm.
That didn’t prevent us from visiting a few spots though.
We stopped by the Petrified Forest National Park, and while we couldn’t get in, it was on the way, so we took a chance.
Still couldn’t get in!
Visited Wigwam Hotel, inspiration for the movie “Cars.”
Stopped at a couple Harley Dealerships.
After a longer than normal driving day, we got to our campground for the next couple days, got some laundry done, and let the kids play in the little area behind our site!
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…
Two of our long time loves (our children and traveling) and two of our new loves (hiking and visiting National Parks) combined make for a fun and educational trip.
Started off the day, hoping the rain would hold off…
…which it did so we were able to hike Brandywine Falls Trail…
…and what a reward for our efforts!
It is exciting to see our children discovering what they love to do, like Mackenzie becoming quite to the photographer!
We even got to learn a bit about how the canal system worked, how it brought ships from one large waterway, through land, and to another large body of water. Pretty neat stuff!!
Although we have been to many national monuments, national historic sites, national seashores, etc…, we have only been to 8 that have been upgraded to National Parks (9 if you include Gateway Arch that was just upgraded to National Park Status this month). There are 60 total National Parks in the U.S. and we intend on visiting and exploring all of them!!!
We actually learned how to say the city’s name correctly after saying it incorrectly for months. We had been saying ‘Is-lam-a-do-ra’ (I don’t know why). One of the ladies at the Visitor’s Center told us that there are two ways to say it. The Spanish is ‘Is-la-mor-a-da’ where the “is” is pronounced like the English word “is.” And the Portuguese version ‘I-la-mor-a-da’ where the “is” is pronounced like it is in “Island” and the “s” is silent.
In 1935, there was a hurricane that came onto land and killed over 300 civilians and servicemembers. A monument was decided to their sacrifice, and included their cremated remains.
We took a little break from learning to go souvenir shopping.
That Mackenzie Grace!
Back to learning…It seems like the kids are starting to like what we like: National Parks and the history behind them.
Biscayne National Park has some great history. One name you should check out is Sir Lancelot Jones. Click Here to learn more.
On our way to our campground, we knew we needed to pick up a few items, but we are absolutely tired of going to Walmart, so thankfully we found an Aldi.
We pulled into our campground right before the rain started. It stopped long enough for Mackenzie and Gig-Up to get a chance to try their hand at fishing.