Warmer Temperatures

While we enjoyed our few days in the snow, we were happy to enjoy the balance of warm mornings and cool evenings of Arizona and into Nevada.

The kids have finally gotten back adjusted after a long Christmas break doing school again each morning (without complaining) and then going out to enjoy our campground or the surrounding city. Whenever we get the chance, we like to enjoy a picnic lunch by the water. We had Pizza Hut on the Colorado River!

The last time we traveled to Las Vegas, we didn’t explore much with the kids, so they were looking forward to seeing the city.

Everyone had something they wanted to see:

Madison (our chef) wanted to visit Gordon Ramsey’s Hell Kitchen and Carlos’ Bake Shop.

Mackenzie (our fashionista) wanted to see the high end stores, like Louis Vuitton and Gucci (actually she wanted to buy something but that wasn’t happening).

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The little ones just wanted to eat hamburgers! So we went to In-N-Out since we can’t get that back at home.

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For us, we were just looking forward to the sites…

…and taking pics of and with the kids.

As we planned our monthly date, 18thfor18th, we made sure we’d be in Las Vegas.

We enjoyed seeing the city.  We looked at RVs and stopped by the Vegas Harley.

Then we spent a few hours walking on the strip before eating lunch!

Normally, we leave the strip before it gets dark, but we stayed into evening, enjoying some time away from the kids and enjoying the lights.

Before heading into California, we checked out a flea market (swap meet) the next morning. We’re always on the look out for good deals, and picked some vinyls, puzzles, and some DVDs.

Until next time…

New Mexico is Beautiful!

Did you know that northern New Mexico is at a higher latitude line than where we’re from in N. Georgia? We were pleasantly surprised with all of the snowy weather, the landscape, and topography of this beautiful state.

Here’s some of what we’ve seen!

Beautiful sunrises…

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…sunny days…

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…and magnificent sunsets!

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And the snow; it’s everywhere!!

 

Even got some good shots of us on the road by ourselves!

 

We’ve been through this state twice but have never explored it like this before. It’s absolutely stunning.

Until next time…

Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on, please shine down on us!

F-I-N-A-L-L-Y!! We have some sun and we are soaking it all up.

We don’t start school until next week but we still like to use our time learning, so we visited the Bureau of Engraving and Printing where money is literally printed by the millions daily!

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Couldn’t take but one picture because they don’t allow phones or cameras in the compound.

Stopped at another Harley dealership too!

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In order to keep our trip kid-fun and kid-approved, we caught the new Spiderman movie, and actually it was pretty good.

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AND, we finally were able to go hiking.  We explored Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailways.  The kids received new hiking sticks for Christmas and we all got new hiking shoes/boots, so we were more than ready to put them to use!

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We have finally adjusted to Central Standard Time, right in time to move on to Mountain Standard Time tomorrow😀

Until next time…

Old Friends and New Friends…and more rain!

It’s amazing how many friends we have in the state of Texas.  Sadly, we aren’t able to see all of them, yet we were fortunate to have a meal and visit with two families in the Dallas area.

William grew up with Ebony in Massillon, Ohio and hadn’t seen each other in about 16 years.  It was great to meet them for breakfast, meet her husband for the first time, and for them to meet our children (Ebony met Madison when she was a newborn).

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Somehow, though none of us are really sure how, we connected with a family on Facebook a couple years ago, Dan and Emily Crutchfield. We have really enjoyed our social media relationship with them. They were welcoming enough to have us come over to their home and they cooked a fantastic Greek meal for us as we visited with them for a few hours.

(In all of our fun, though, we forgot to take a picture!)

The rain seems like it’s been following us since we left. We’ve driven in it and  many of our campsites have had some big puddles around it. At least our sites have been private, spacious, and beautiful, including this latest one.

We got a little reprieve from the rain to explore downtown Dallas…

…as well as picking up two additional Harley Davidson poker chips…

…and making our daily grocery trip.

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The weather report is looking sunny and warmer over the next few days and we’re looking forward to it!

Howdy Y’all!

Everything is bigger in Texas!

The signs…

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…the buildings…

 

…the hats…

 

…and the Harley Dealerships!

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Right on the border of Arkansas and Texas is the second most photographed Federal building (we’ll let you find out the first), the Texarkana Post Office.  The post office is separated right down the middle: one side is in Arkansas and the other is in Texas.

 

The clerk there provided us with some great information and history of the building and we even mailed some of William’s client packages from there with a special stamp (only Post Office that has two states on its stamp)

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To this point, we’ve had less than stellar weather, but the sun decided to come out for a bit while we were in Sulphur Springs. They have a quaint downtown area, but are known for their Glass Public Bathrooms. You can see out but can’t see in!

 

Heading west to California will keep us in Texas for about a week.  We’ll finally start hiking in the coming days and weeks and we’re super stoked about that.

Until next time!

National Park #1-Hot Springs National Park

Up and at em early in the morning Shipley Donuts was our first stop of the day and we made sure to get our fair share.

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After breakfast, it was a short ride to our main attraction for the day, Hot Springs National Park.

 

It’s amazing how warm these super heated springs are.  After dipping our hands in, we were tempted to dive right in!

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Would have been nice to take a bath at the Quapaw Bath House, but at $20 a person, we decided to pass until it was just a parents’ only trip.

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While in the town of Hot Springs, we took a tour of Mountain Valley Spring Water Visitor Center and enjoyed some fresh water.

 

We grabbed a few things from Walmart before pulling into the campground.

We made it in time for the little kids to ride their scooters for a few minutes…

 

…before being forced in by the rain 😦

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So Much History and A Half Million Dollars

For about 30 seconds, the Thomas family had $520,000 of cold hard cash in our hands.  We could feel how heavy it was and it smelled just like you would think a half million dollars would smell.

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It would have been nice if this was our family safe in the background, but it was inside the vault of the Arkansas State Capitol Building.

We haven’t seen many vaults before, but this one certainly was massive. The door was 24,000 lbs alone from O-h-i-o (shout out to William’s people) that had to be hoisted up to the second floor in 1912.

The Capitol Building was stunning: wall to wall and floor to ceiling marble, supreme architecture, marvelous columns, and beautiful symmetry all throughout.

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Our tour guide was fantastic and extremely knowledgeable about both the Capitol Building and the history of the city, both historically and currently.

The rest of city didn’t disappoint either.

We find history, specifically cultural history, to be especially interesting.  We’ve discovered many cities have audio history tours that you can take, so of course, we did this one too.

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We drove by the Horace Mann High School, which was built after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision to end segregation. It was built on the east side of Little Rock where most of the poorer black students lived as a way of still keeping black and white students separate.

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Afterwards, we passed this cemetery where former slaves and free blacks, from the early 1800’s, were buried.

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From there, we went over to MacArthur Park and the Pike-Fletcher-Terry home.  The park was the first city park and has statues to honor those who fought in the Korean War, as well as a statue to remember the end racial segregation in the U.S. Military.

Mrs. Adolphine Fletcher Terry was instrumental in supporting and getting non-segregationists elected to push the end of segregation in schools.

Before heading over to the current Capitol Building, we toured the Old State House…

(Macey and Gig-up recreated the creepy photo)

…which is now a museum, that holds everything from Oddities…

…to quilts woven by African American women…

…and, the dress Hillary wore when Bill Clinton stepped out the front doors to accept his first presidency inauguration.

One can’t visit Little Rock without visiting Little Rock Central High School.  If you are unaware of the history of this school, we’d encourage you to research it for yourself.

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There was so much more we saw in this city, but one must come and see it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#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

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#FloridaForty Day 38 Gulf Breeze to Pensacola Beach

We started off the morning with possibly our last walk on the beach on this trip, watching that waves crash on the beach and collecting seashells.

 

Though we have visited Fort Pickens before, this was our first time participating in the guided tour.

 

The two little kids were able to be sworn in as official Junior Rangers…

 

We learned about how and why Fort Pickens was built, as well as who built it.  It’s amazing to see our children light up when they learn about the enormity of what our ancestors were a part of and how they were a critical part of the birth of this country and its sustainability.

 

We love that they are learning so much!

We picked up another Harley poker chip!

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And finished the evening with a Mardi Gras King cake!

Gig-up got the baby!

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#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.

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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.

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