Spring Break!

Spring break is always such a great time for a road trip. It’s not too hot, and if you head the opposite direction from the rest of the crowd, you don’t bump into too many people. This year we decided to head to Kansas. We are trying to get the kids to all of the lower 48 states before they head out on their own, so now we are one state closer to that goal! Only 13 to go!

Nathan did not make it very far before falling asleep.

Our first stop was at Capulin Volcano National Monument. It was quite cold and very windy, but we practically had the place to ourselves, so there were no complaints there! What a neat, perfectly shaped volcano! I realize now that I did not take any pictures of the volcano itself, so I feel a little bit silly.

The view from the top was amazing!

We did not have too much trouble finding a place to park!

Mr. Amazing himself. ūüôā

It was windy on top of the volcano!

Quiet country roads are my favorite, and we saw only a handful of cars on our way to Lake Scott State Park in Kansas, which was where we made camp the first night. It was great! We arrived later than planned and it was somewhat difficult finding a place to camp in the dark. Once we figured out which loop we needed to be in, though, we were able to get set up pretty quick. Again we found ourselves practically alone. Apparently not many people are up for camping in late March in Kansas. Who knew?

Bright sunshine not only makes it hard to look, but also makes it hard to stop laughing!

Beautiful sky on the Colorado/Kansas border.

This kid loves to photo bomb, and he dove right into my sky picture!

My camp pictures will not load with our blazing (not) fast internet, so I will have to leave that to your imagination! Just picture a pretty state park right on a lake, with no cars except ours. Join us tomorrow as we venture a little further into Kansas to see what we can find!

Dino Prints and a Tri-State Marker

As I mentioned yesterday, the dinosaur prints in Kenton, Oklahoma were pretty amazing! We spent quite a bit of time there feeling pretty cool that we were walking in the exact prints of a dinosaur. We were hoping to find out what kind of dinosaur it was, but since the Heritage Center was closed, we were unable to do so.

Sweeping out a print

Walking with the dinosaurs

A line of prints crossing the creek bed

A pretty cool spot to be!

This little guy tried to trick us, but we weren’t falling for it!

After leaving the prints, we kept on down the road until we came to the tri-state marker where New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado meet. Dirt road, felt like the middle of nowhere (my favorite place to be), nobody around. It was perfect.

Where three states meet

Arizona

For the last several months, we had been planning a road trip vacation with Rob’s sister, Mary Beth, and her hubby, Jim. They wanted to see the southwest, and, in our attempt to get our kids to as many states as possible before they graduate, we needed to make a stop in four states. As it turned out, our goals lined up almost perfectly! Not to mention it was a great way to get to spend some time together. The first stop on our grand adventure was Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. None of us had ever been there before, so it was a great first stop. What an amazing park!

Petrified Forest National Park

The sun was perfect for a group shadow photo on the bridge!

Liam jumps pretty much everything he can find…

Jackrabbit!

After exploring Petrified Forest, we drove a little until we came to an Arizona state park where we set up camp for the night. The next morning found us on our way to Grand Canyon National Park. I wish I had words to describe its grandeur, and I wish my pictures did it justice, but neither is the case. Might I just say that if you ever have the opportunity to see it for yourself, do it. It is an experience you will not soon forget.

My pictures do not come close, you have to see it for yourself…

Ahhhhh…

Us girls left the boys at camp and went back for the sunset.

Desert View Watchtower

Inside the watchtower

Camp!

Nathan and CowCow snoozing in the hammock.

Three nights spent in Arizona, two national parks visited, and we were able to add Arizona to the states the kids have been to. (Our requirements to claim a state are that we have to see or do something special, and we have to spend at least one night.) Seeing the Grand Canyon was a bucket list item for several, and I am so glad we were all able to experience it together. Our time in Arizona had come to an end, and it was time to hit the road. Next stop: Las Vegas, Nevada.

Where is my family?!

Rob and I don’t tend to spend time apart, so when we do, it is quite an adjustment. Our original plan was for all of us to travel from Pennsylvania to Chicago, and then down to Kentucky for our new season at Amazon. SInce Rob’s job was extended (yea!), I had to go to Chicago by myself, and then continue on to Kentucky since I already had a planned start-date. William had the choice of whether or not to accompany me, and he chose to come, so we have¬† enjoyed some quality time together. The twinnies stayed with Rob, since he works right by our summer RV pad.

William and I have¬†been tent camping in Kentucky, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the rest of our family. Rob’s last day at his summer job was yesterday, and they were planning on hitting the road today. Nathan called me this afternoon to let me know they¬†were rolling! They¬†are still a couple of days out, but¬†it is so¬†nice to know that they are¬†on their way. By the¬†time they arrive, it will¬†have been¬†almost two weeks since we parted. Too long, if you ask me.

Tent camping has been an adventure, though. The RV park we are it is located right across the street¬†from Amazon, so all the¬†RV’s here, close to 100 already, are part of the CamperForce¬†program. People from all walks of life come here for the peak season, so there are fancy motorhomes and more simple travel trailers, big 5th wheels and truck campers. We, however, are the only tent. I have heard everything from¬†“So you¬†are the ones in the tent,” to “I told someone I thought the gal in the tent was¬†blonde.” There¬†was even a “You’re¬†in a tent, is everything alright?”¬†I think¬†there is a mix of concern and the desire to gossip, and perhaps a lack of other conversation topics.¬†¬†

We have been doing great, though. The weather¬†has been amazing, William has been even more so and besides the¬†fact that my bones are aching for my own bed, we have been very comfortable. I have¬†rather enjoyed the time William and I have been able to spend together, and I know Rob can say¬†the same thing about the twinnies. We don’t get this opportunity… well, ever.¬†

That being said, however, I miss the other 3/5 of my family, Charbie, Remington P,¬†Wiggy Wabbit, Flash the turtle,¬†sleeping on something other than a bed of rocks¬†and a¬†bathroom that doesn’t require a walk up¬†a hill in the middle of the night.¬†¬†

One thing this wonderous lifestyle has taught us is that you have to be able to go with the flow. Things change, they rarely go as we plan, but somehow they always work out, and we are usually stronger because of it. In a couple of days I will embrace my entire family once again, and the mere thought of the reunion makes my heart want to burst.

A Little Catch-Up

The funny thing about life is that it keeps on marching, regardless of whether or not you are paying attention. These last few weeks have been a blur of activity and I am not even sure where to begin in this little game of catch-up. Nor am I sure exactly where the time went.

Our time in King’s Mountain State Park went by way too fast, even though we did end up staying for two full weeks. We all loved the freedom¬†that came with our little spot in the woods¬†and none of us wanted to leave, but alas, all¬†good things must eventually come to an end.¬†And more good things are sure to follow.

We are still in South Carolina, only a little bit further north. We have left the woods behind in order to catch up on a few needed things. Glasses for Rob and William, brakes for the van, you know, all the painful things that you put off until it becomes impossible to put them off any longer. We will be boon-docking it here for another week or so while we wait for new glasses to arrive.

We did end up with quite the job predicament. Rob was offered a job as a white-water raft guide of the Pigeon River for the summer, I was offered a job at an amusement park, and then, to make things a little more interesting, I received a call from a kite company from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. After much thinking, pondering, debating, pacing and lost sleep, we have decided that our best option is to go with our original plan: the Pigeon River, Great Smoky Mountains, white water. We need to be in Tennessee by March 4 so Rob can begin training.

Overall, we have all been doing really well.¬†The kids enjoyed the snow this afternoon and I am looking forward to spring. I know it is not far off because trees and bushes here have already begun to bloom. I do not remember the last time¬†I saw flowers in February. We are back in the land of internet once again, and I look forward to catching up with all of you. It has been too long…

And just for fun, here are a few random pictures from the last few weeks.

 

Remarkable

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of
trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which
is infinite, which is yes.  ~e.e. cummings

DSC_0349 leafy kids

Today¬†marks the end of our week here¬†at King’s Mountain State Park.¬†None of us were ready to leave.¬†We weren’t ready to rejoin civilization. Or to wash the smell of the campfire out of our clothes.¬†We hadn’t even had a chance to see and do all there was to see and¬†do. There were trails¬†we had yet to¬†hike, water we had yet to fish, sunrises we had¬†yet to witness.

How could we possibly leave now?

We couldn’t. So¬†we didn’t. We decided to stay for another week, because¬†sometimes you have to hold on to a good thing. A great thing.

The kids are absolutely loving life. They are¬†running and playing and throwing leaves and riding their¬†bikes and chasing squirrels and simply being… kids.¬†And they are sleeping like the dead at night. I am loving the fact that I can simply let them be. Oh sure, I keep my eyes on them and make sure they are being safe and staying close to home, but I don’t have to follow them around anymore. I don’t have to worry about what they¬†put in their mouthes or up their noses.

And their new-found freedom has brought me a little as well.

I find that I have a little more time to read, to write, to run. To breathe. I feel as though my batteries are finally beginning to recharge. There is not a doubt in my mind that we are exactly where we need to be right now.

Rob is finally ready to hit the water. We picked him up a fishing license this afternoon and realized a few seconds too late that we were in North Carolina when we bought it, not South Carolina. So tomorrow morning, as he slips out into the darkness in search of solitude, he will have to go a few miles further down the road than planned. He won’t mind, though, just so long as he is able to get a line wet. Bringing home a catfish or two would be an added bonus. Whether they are from North Carolina or South Carolina won’t make¬†a bit of difference.

So when the kids and I wake in the morning, the birds will be singing, the sun will be rising, and Rob will be fishing. And all will be right with the world.

They were right. It’s the little things that matter. It’s the little things make life… remarkable.

Rest and Relaxation

For almost a week now, we have been camped out at King’s Mountain State Park in South Carolina. We have been enjoying campfires and roasting everything we can get to stay on a stick¬†and¬†the kids are filthy dirty and running around like wild cats (and loving every minute of it!) This is what we were seeking. Peace and quiet. No schedules. Our week here is up on the 4th, but we are thinking another week may be just what the doctor ordered.

The only down side is that our internet does not work at camp, so I have fallen behind on my posts and updates. (Although for some crazy reason it is working right now, so I am trying¬†to make this quick¬†so I don’t push my luck!) I will have to fill in some gaps¬†at a later date, but for now, Happy February!!

DSC_0316 King's Mtn SC