Sunday, July 26, 2015

Day 21

Rock Springs to Yellowstone
The drive through Bridger-Teton National Forest was beautiful. We stopped at Hoback Campground to check it out.

Bailey is tickling Hunter trying to make him smile, instead  she was laughing so hard.

We drove Hwy 191 through Grand Teton Nation Park. It was so beautiful I can't wait to come back to spend more time in the area.

Now were are in Yellowstone at Grant Village.
 At water fall on the road to Grant Village Campground.
Our camp site.
Not sure where our next stop will be. Most likely home.

Day 19 and 20

Day 19
Texas to Colorado
It was still pretty warm when we got up a 6:30 this morning. We were only a few miles from the Oklahoma boarder. We decided to take Hwy 177 which paralleled I-35, we did this so we wouldn’t have to go through Oklahoma City. We made the right choice. Oklahoma country side is beautiful and we see saw some really neat old towns. Then we crossed over into Kansas and everything went to hell. First off, it was soooo hot, 109, it felt like we were in hell. Second Kansas is miles and miles on nothing special.  Third we drove into a MASSIVE storm. The radio was giving storm updates saying flash floods and ping pong size hail. We could see LOTS of lightning and really black clouds. Then the radio said between Colby and Goodland, which was where we were headed, there was flash flooding and 60 mile hour winds. We decided to pull off in Colby have dinner and wait out the storm. We waited about an hour and it looked like the direction we were headed was clear of dark clouds and lightning. The storm was still raging beside us as we drove. I had never seen lightning that was nonstop flashing with no thunder. We thought we were doing good driving toward bright nonthreating clouds. Then….. our road turned and we drove straight into the storm! There were lightning bolts striking all around us, rain coming down so hard our wipers could hardly keep up, and wind blowing so hard cars were pulling off the road everywhere. We even saw a big construction sign that have the lit arrow flipped upside down. When it got really bad we pulled over near an overpass for a few minutes.  Then we continued on, once we drove out of the storm, we decided we had enough of Kansas. We drove until we came to the first truck stop in Burlington, Colorado.  I have no desire to ever go back to Kansas! Next stop Rock Springs, Wy.
Day 20
Colorado to Wyoming
Today was just a day of driving. No major events, just lots and lots of rocks, grass, cows, and trains. We were all so happy to have weather in the 80's. It even cooled down this evening to 60 something. It felt really good. We stayed at a KOA in Rock Springs, Wy. Not a very good place and their internet wouldn't work most of the time.
Next stop Yellowstone.

Day 17 and 18

Day 17
Sebring, FL to Fontainebleau State Park, Louisiana.
Wow Florida is a long state. It took us for ever to get out of it. I was so happy when we crossed over into Alabama that I yelled "we're in Alabama!" which started Hunter awake, oops :) The neat part about driving through Alabama was going under Mobile. Yes I said under, we drove in a tunnel that goes under part of Mobile. I also saw an alligator swimming in Mobile Bay. It didn't take us long to get through Alabama and Mississippi. We saw a sign in Mississippi that said it was 100 degrees, it was 6:45 at night! We stayed at Fontainebleau State Park in Louisiana. The park is on Lake Pontchartrain and across the way we could see New Orleans.
Fontainebleau State Park 

Lake Pontchartrain 

New Orleans in the distance.

Day 18
Louisiana to Eisenhower State Park, TX
At 6:00 this morning it was already 80 degrees. I wouldn't mind coming back to Louisiana but I think winter would be a better time to go. Louisiana and the Northeast part of Texas is pretty not what I expected. Especially Texas it was green with many trees. Oh it was hot! We stayed at Eisenhower State Park. The main road to the park was closed because it was washed out during thee floods a few months ago. So we had to take Lil Old Road, which was a little old road. The park was huge ,190 site, but there was probably only a dozen people there. I think it was because of the flooding the boat launch, fishing area, and yacht club were all closed. We found a nice site with power, air conditioning was a must.

This is the turtle we saw crossing Lil Old Road.
Next stop Goodland, Kansas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 15 and 16

Day15 and 2nd day in the Florida Keys.
We stayed at Curry Hammock State Park on Marathon.
We stopped along the road a bought each of the kids a coconut for 50 cents. Here is Bailey working on hers.

Curry Hammock was our favorite place to snorkel because there were no people, lots of fish and other things to see.
Beautiful sandy beach.
 These baby shrimp are all waiting for the tide to come back up and take them back out into the water.

 Some of the interesting creatures we saw.
These little thing made mazes in the rock.
Day 16
We got up around 7am and headed north for Grandma's house. We will send the night with her and then get up early tomorrow and head to Louisiana. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Day 14

We made it to the Keys!
Our campground is on Key Largo at John Pennekamp State Park and it is beautiful.
The drive down was pretty good until we got almost to the Keys and then it was stop and go until Key Largo. We were able to check in early to our campsite. It was after noon so we ate some lunch, then change into our swim suits, grab our snorkeling gear and we were off. The first place we went snorkeling it took us a little while to find the fish. Hunter and Bailey did great swimming. It took Bailey a little while to get use to breathing through her mouth only but she figured it out. We snorkeled for an hour or so then went back to camp to look at the map to find the other swimming/snorkeling area. Then we were off again for several more hours. We all had a great time. The park closes to the general public around 8:30 pm so we decided to go for a walk and take pictures. It was so peaceful and quiet. Wow what a great day.
This is one of the places we snorkeled at, it had the most fish. The fish weren't as colorful as Hawaii or St. Thomas but they were still neat to see and watch. There were huge jelly fish you had to watch out for, if you disturbed them in any way they would release something in the water, which made your skin itch and burn.    
 On our walk we found a playground, I guess the kids aren't too old to play.
The Florida Keys is beautiful day and night. Tomorrow we move to Curry Hammock State Park on the island of Marathon.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day 12 &13

Day 12
We made great time driving the rest of the way through North Carolina, then through South Carolina, Georgia and into Florida.
This is where the troubles started. We decided to take Hwy 27 south through the middle of Florida, because it was Friday and getting close to rush hour, we didn't want to go through any major cities. Well when we figured out Hwy 27 was not the way to go because of all the stop lights, it was too late to get onto I-75. On the radio we heard there were several accidents, we figured either way was not good.  So it took us a REALLY long time to get to Grandma Hays' house.

On a good note we did try something new. We had see several signs for boiled peanuts. We all thought that sound interesting, so at one of the gas stations I bought some. They are interesting. The peanut are boiled in the shells in salt water. The shell are wet and hot. When open a little salt water comes out. The peanut are soft and have the texture of a pinto bean but, they taste like a mild peanut. We're not sure if we like them, we'll just have to keep trying them:)

Day 13
Today is going to be a relax day. Grandma took us out for a great breakfast. Then we went to Ronna and Jim's for a visit. Back at Grandma's Hunter relaxed and did some computer stuff for Grandma. Eric fixed a few things around the  house and bus. Bailey played on her computer and finished a puzzle with Grandma. I cleaned the bus, washed clothes and blogged. It was a great day to recuperate.

Next up Florida Keys.

Day 11

Today we left Kings Dominion and headed southeast to Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Wright Brother National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills was really cool.

We even got to look into an Army helicopter. They had taken off from DC and had to land because of equipment difficulties. So the three army guys opened it up and let the public look in.

Then we drove to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse which we didn't realize was a really long way down there. But in the end it was worth it. We got see the lighthouse and put our feet in the warm Atlantic Ocean.

After that we had to drive for hours and hours to get back to I-95 so we could head south toward Florida. About 9:30pm we stopped at a truck stop near Kenly, NC. to sleep.
Next onto Florida.

Day 10

Today we had oodles of fun.
We started out the day at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center. We learn about the Civil War and the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg.

Then we were off again headed for Kings Dominion. We got there around noon and were able to check in early.

That was great, we made and ate lunch, packed a back pack with our swim stuff and caught the free shuttle to Kings Dominion.

Kings Dominion has two sections a regular amusement park with lots of roller coasters and a water park called Soak City. We went to Soak City first, we had so much fun going down the water slides and floating in tubes around the lazy river pool. After Soak City we went back to camp to have snacks and rest a little.  Then we headed back to the park so Hunter and Bailey could ride some roller coasters.

We stayed until 6:30pm, then left so we could go to Pam's house (Eric's cousin). We had a great visit with Pam and Mason.
Next we head south.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day 9

Today we road a train for Quantico, VA. to Washington DC. It was hot, no rain. First we went to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Eric and Hunter really enjoyed it.
We are waiting for the museum to open.
Next we went about 8 blocks up and 2 over to the International Spy Museum. That was really neat, we all liked it. The museum is huge it took us several hours to go through it.

This is Hunter testing out is spy strength. You try to see if you can hold onto the bar for 60 seconds, while it blows air at you, the bar vibrates, and/or turns. Hunter was able to hold on for 53 seconds. The lady working it said that was the longest she had seen today.

Last we walked about 6 blocks down to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum to see the Hall of Human Origins exhibit.  This was Baileys favorite.
She loved looking at all the skulls and other bones.
By the time we got to the train station to catch the train back to Quantico, my feet hurt so bad I thought I wouldn't be able to walk for a week. Bailey was the only one who said her feet didn't hurt. All in all we enjoyed our trip to DC.
Tomorrow we are off to Kings Dominion.  

Day 5-8

Day 5
We left camp about 7:00am and headed off to Mt. Rushmore. It was the perfect time to get there, almost no people.

Then we headed east again. We detoured through the Badlands and took some beautiful pictures.

After that we drove and drove, I didn't think we would ever get out of South Dakota. We were on the road for about 14 hours and finally stop at a rest area near Missouri Valley, Iowa. Hunter and Bailey were so excited when we saw fireflies in the trees. We decided to sleep there for the night.

Next stop Indiana.

Day 6

Eric and I woke up about 3:00am to thunder and lightning. A few of the booms were right above us and shook the bus. Hunter and Bailey slept right through it all. Today was a long day of driving. We drove down the west side of Iowa, into Missouri. When we got to Kanas City we headed west all the way across Missouri and through the lower part of Illinois. We finally stop about way through Indiana at a truck stop, to sleep. Our generator worked GREAT, it ran all night long with our air conditioner and frig going.

Next stop Stafford, VA.

Day 7
We were up and go by 5:30am. There was a rest area about a mile for where stayed, so stopped there to uses there bathrooms. As we drove the rest of the way through Indiana and into Kentucky we hit a massive thunder, lightning and heavy rain storm. Bailey again slept through it all. Traffic wasn't bad until we got to Fredericksburg, VA. It was a lot of stop and go, cars weaving in and out but we finally made it to our campground.

Aquia Pine Camp Resort

Day 8
We were lazy today. The kids and I didn't get out of bed until about 9:30. We were awake but we laid in bed watching tv. It started to rain then it poured and poured. Hunter helped me put up our screened cover and some tarps over the picnic table. Then I was able to cook breakfast. Then we head off to King Gorge to meet family of Eric's (Sandy and Tommy Berry and Kids). They were all very nice people. We stayed with them all day and then they took us out to dinner. We got back to camp about 10:00pm.

Tomorrow we head to Washington DC.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 3 and 4

On our way out of Yellowstone we saw Bison. We saw a few big daddies close to the road and several mamas and babies down in a valley. Then we stopped at the Mud Volcanos.

 It wasn't a very warm day today. When we stopped for lunch we could hear thunder booming in the distances. We made a couple more  stops along Hwy 14. Once we exited Yellowstone it became Shoshone National Forest. The area is very pretty, with lots of forest service campgrounds off the highway.

When we got to the Bighorn Mountains we started out at about 4800 ft. elevation. When we reached the top we were at 9330, that was a huge climb for the little bus.
That night we stayed at a forest service campground Sibley Lake, about 21 west of Dayton, Wy.

It was raining hard when we got there and continued to rain for at least and hour. Hunter rigged a tarp over the picnic table so I could cook dinner. Tomorrow we head for Custer, SD.

Day 4
We didn't make any stop but stay in a really nice campground in Custer, SD.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Day 2 cross country

Today's first stop was old Montana prison and car museum in Deerlodge MT.

Then we head to Yellowstone's north entrance.

We stayed at Canyon Ville Campground. I was very glad I made reservations because all campgrounds in the whole park were full. Here is the bus at our site.
Next we are headed east through Wyoming.