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

Endless Possibilities

It never ceases to amaze me how fast time goes, especially when you aren’t paying attention. It seems like just yesterday we were anxious to set out from Great Falls and head for Kentucky, our first stop as full-time RVers. Now here we are, almost four months later, and our time in Kentucky is almost up.

Our job as part of Amazon’s CamperForce is coming to an end. Peak season is ending next week, and then we will set off once again. The only difference this time is that we still do not know which way we will go. There are so many options and we have yet to narrow it down. I suppose with only a week and a half to go, we might want to get on that.

There is a chance that we will be able to stay on with Amazon through January, but we have not heard for certain yet. There are many more people wanting to stay than positions available. We should know tonight, hopefully, whether we will call this campground home for another month. If that is the case, we have a little more time to figure out our next destination. If that is not the case, then we have a lot of work to do.

A family of five can really spread out when stationary for four months. Things will have to be stowed for travel again, Cricket the Canoe will have to be loaded back up on top of the van, the boxes of donate items will have to be dropped off.

I admit that I am a little anxious. I am a lover of what comes next. I have a wandering soul, and she sings when we are heading somewhere new. There is so much in this great Nation to see, and I want to see it all. I am greedy that way. If we end up staying here a little longer, then we will have more time to plan and to fatten up our wallet. If we go… well, if we go, then the possibilities are endless.

Amazon has been a really good first stop for us. We have worked harder perhaps than we ever had before, but they have treated us well and have taken good care of us. We are planning on coming back again next year, though perhaps not to the same location. But that will depend on where we plan to be come next fall. Rob and I are both in better shape as well as a few pounds lighter. Walking an average of 11 or so miles a night will do that to you. Neither one of us are complaining, though.

With all the noise and sensory overload that takes place on a regular basis, we are definitely ready for a little time off. We are thinking perhaps a nice Forest Service campground for a few weeks might be just what the doctor ordered. Quiet. Peaceful. There shouldn’t be too many campers this time of year, so hopefully the kids will be able to run wild a little bit. Or a lot. They truly are cavekids at heart. Nothing beats watching them collapse at the end of the day, exhausted from play and covered in dirt.

After a life of knowing exactly what to expect each day – what time to be to work, what time to have the kids to school, what time to get up in the morning – it is somewhat liberating not knowing what comes next. The ability to choose. (Scary, but) Priceless.

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Update: On December 23, our season with Amazon will end. Time to get busy…