Des Moines, Iowa

20180702_120223_HDR.jpg

Oh boy. The drive to our campsite was an adventure. We left early as we had a five hour drive ahead of us. To shorten the drive, a bit, we decided not stop at Walmart. Instead, we found a McDonald’s at a truck has station to make lunch for ourselves and get McDonald’s for the kids. During this stop, Damon decided to start the van to charge the battery. Somehow, the doors locked and the keys got stuck inside while the car was running. Everything seemed okay, so we continued on to our campsite.

20180703_145417_HDR.jpg

This is the first time Google directions has failed us. Our first attempt to find our campsite led us to a road that was closed for construction. Then it left is to a camp that looked like it connected to our campground but we couldn’t be sure the roads were public so we turned back. We talked to some construction guys who were able to point us in the right direction, which, of course, is when we see the detour signs to our campground. During this time, we’d been driving down very dusty, dirt roads – our RV and car looked great. It’s only after we find the camp that we discovered that the very first road we came upon an hour before led directly to the campground. Google was sending us down the “shortest/fastest route”, not the easiest route. I really wish Google maps would get an RV option.

20180703_150710_HDR.jpg

We arrived at a beautiful state park, with no cell service – of course. Since we couldn’t turn the car off, we couldn’t detatch it which meant we couldn’t park the RV. So we headed to the local Walmart – they have lots of parking where we could leave the RV while we waited for help, plus we could go shopping.

20180703_155655_HDR.jpg

After we got the car unlocked (which took the guy about 15 seconds to accomplish), we headed back to our campsite to set up – which took a couple of trys. The signs at our site were confusing, so we pulled in one direction. Then after conferring with out neighbors we realized we weren’t parked in the right direction, so Damon had to turn us around. Needless to say, it was a long day.

20180706_092352_HDR.jpg

The next day was the Fourth of July and we didn’t have anything planned. We spent the morning plotting our next several stops, including adding a stop in Indianapolis. We got excited, and wanted to plan more, but this is difficult without cell service – so we headed to McDonald’s. The kids got to eat while Damon and I planned our leg after Chicago.

20180703_160041_HDR.jpg

We drove around a bit afterwards to run some errands. No thrifting, as all the stores were closed. But we did get the car washed (which was desperately needed after our drive down a dusty, dirt road) and picked up stuff for a cookout.

PhotoGrid_1531075519336.jpg

We spent the evening enjoying our outdoor campsite. Damon hung the festoon lights, set up chairs, and put out the rug, making the whole area feel very cozy. The boys had fun playing outside. We even roasted marshmallows and had s’mores (little-dude loved that).

PhotoGrid_1531075315007.jpg

The next day we took the boys to the Blank Park Zoo – Mini-man loves his animal books and was very excited to go inside. Despite being the day after a holiday, it was pretty empty and they had a lot of animals out. We got very close to a tiger, giraffe, and penguins – all of which Mini-man adored seeing. Little-dude enjoyed walking around and climbing on anything he could. As for me and Damon, we had our first real experience in parenting in the summer – enduring the heat so our kids could have a fun day at the zoo.

20180705_173951_HDR.jpg

Afterwards, we hit a few thrift stores and scored some awesome toys for the boys – including a stuffed horse that mini-man is in love with.

20180706_110615_HDR.jpg

One advantage to being in an area with few attractions and no cell service, is you eventually run out of attractions and start to tackle the little projects that have been put on the back burner for months. Damon fixed several drawers, reattached some fallen trim, installed a new bathroom faucet, and reinstalled our digital picture frames. These small projects didn’t take long and it felt amazing to have them complete.

2018_0707_15104000.jpg

Out last day in Des Moines was beautiful. We were outside when mini-man kept asking to ‘wis’ (his word for swim). Knowing there was a lake next to our campground, we thought we would try to have the kids swim in a lake for the first time (we tend to avoid lakes in Florida thanks to alligators).

2018_0707_15080300.jpg

It took some coaxing, but once we got the kids into the water they were sold. The both ran around, splashing and playing to their hearts content.

PhotoGrid_1531074644430.jpg

Afterwards, we took the boys to get something to eat when it became apparent that they still needed to play. Fortunately, there was a playground next to the McDonald’s and the boys had a blast running around. It was a wonderful way to spend out last day.

This stop very satisfying – we had a cook-out, went swimming, went to the zoo, and completed a bunch of projects. Now onto our thirtieth state – Nebraska.

Advertisements

Salt Lake City – Wrapping Up

20180608_141524_HDR.jpg
The wagon always mean we’re going somewhere fun

 

We ended the week back at the pool. The boys had a lot happen in just a few days, so a fun day at the pool was really needed.

IMG_20180609_171633_916.jpg
Someone got really big 

Saturday was a big day – little-dude turn one! We started at the pool where little-dude had fun and is getting more comfortable with the pool.

Then we went to a local thrift and scored big time! In addition to finding some great swim clothes for the boys we found this adorable basketball hoop. The boys wouldn’t stop playing with it in the store, got upset when we put it in the cart, and haven’t stopped playing with it since we got it home.

The following day both boys were sick. Mini-man was covered in bug bites and itching like crazy. Little-dude had a fever. Neither slept.

20180610_165855_HDR.jpg
Trains!

Luckily, with some help from the almighty Tylenol, they were pretty calm. This allowed Damon to run out and get some errands done. Later, we were even able to pick up a new train set for mini-man – which he dove into as soon as Damon brought it inside.

Despite another rough night, I knew we needed to get out, so we took the kids to the aquarium. Two hours of fish made mini-man very happy.

PhotoGrid_1529599549331.jpg
Nothing better than fruit by the pool

Knowing we had just a few days left until we travel to Wyoming, Damon and I agreed that we needed to get the oil changes in the RV. So I took the boys to the pool while Damon drive the RV to the mechanic. Mini-man loved spending time in the water. Little-dude was still feeling the effects of teething and was content to just sit in my lap on a lounge chair. He even discovered blueberries and ate all the ones I brought (which was a pretty big container).

The next day hit a high of 97! So we did what any sensible parents would do – we took the kids to the aquarium. We stayed for hours and had a blast. Who knew that the best time to go would be late afternoon – hardly any kids and all the animals were very energetic.

received_1941693179176455.jpeg
Definitely one of our favorite campgrounds – beautiful, pool, and close to transit

We had a lot to accomplish on our last day. Although our drive to Wyoming was relatively short, Google doesn’t take elevation into account – so we were worried that it would be a long drive and wanted to get an early start. To prepare for the drive, we started cleaning and packing things up. Fortunately, it’s an RV and didn’t take to long to pack everything up. Next stop – state #23 Wyoming.

Salt Lake City – Continued

20180605_110221_HDR.jpg
Nothing quite gets a place clean faster than company coming

After a long day exploring Salt Lake City, I wanted nothing more than to sleep in. However, my in-laws were coming to visit, so I did what any daughter-in-law would do – clean! Thankfully, it’s an RV and I got the place looking pretty good in no time.

20180605_144738_HDR.jpg
Learning about creating islands at the aquarium

We decided to take them to the aquarium, knowing that the kids would have a great time with them there.

20180605_141347.jpg
Stopped him long enough for a picture (he looks so thrilled)

Being one of mini-mans favorite places, he basically went off on his own while I followed him. I think we saw each exhibit three or four times.

PhotoGrid_1529600575576.jpg
He loves his new sish towel from Grandma Barb

At this point, we’d done a lot and the boys needed a down day. So we spent the next morning at the pool, swimming and playing with water toys.

Damon’s parents came over in the afternoon and we just hung out enjoying the outdoors. This could not have worked out better. The boys had so much fun with bubbles, chalk, water table and water beads, which gave them the perfect opportunity to bond with their grandparents.

20180607_114653_HDR.jpg
My clean room quickly destroyed by projects. At least little-dude was having fun

On their last day, Damon and Phil spent part of the day fixing things on the RV, while Sue and I played with the boys

IMG_20180606_155914_326.jpg
Three Generations

We ended the visit with a cook-out to enjoy the great weather.

Salt Lake City

20180529_125403_HDR.jpg

I’ve been looking forward to this stop since we started planning this leg of our journey. Why? Because it’s packed full of awesome things for is to do with the boys – two aquariums!, A children’s museum, parks, and a zoo!

As much as I wanted to hit the ground running, we were stopped by summer colds (and we were doing so well on the illness front). Luckily, we seem to get it at different times, so each of us had their bad day apart from everyone else.

20180602_151710_HDR.jpg
I love with the boys playroom

We did push ourselves a little in order to get food and some things for the playroom. We currently have a TV in the upper corner of the playroom, but it’s hard for the boys to see. So we’ve been on the hint for a smaller TV that we could mount lower. After scowering thrift stores, regular stores, and the internet, we found just what we were looking for on Salt Lake City? In fact, they’d just put out this TV as Damon was standing there!

DSCN2089.JPG
sish!

The days of errands and illness caught up with us and we needed to get the boys out. After a bit of a rough start, we managed to get the boys to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.

DSCN2129.JPG
Shark – wow

As soon as we put, mini-man knew where we were and wanted out of the car. We were definitely going way to slow for him.

We spent almost three hours walking around each exhibit several times and saw lots of fish, frogs, sharks, and many other animals. This place was the perfect mix of everything the kids are interested in at the moment.

PhotoGrid_1529595807721.jpg
wis , juice (mini-man for swim and water)

When we got back, the boys were still energetic, so we tried to take them to the playground. Ha! That lasted less than a second as mini-man headed straight for the pool.

And somehow, after all that we managed to finish a lot of projects in the playroom. The new TV is mounted and hooked up to internet, the shoe rack is fixed, and the play cabinet knobs are secured. No wonder we were all tired by the end of the day.

20180602_121535_HDR.jpg
I love otters

After seeing the the following week brought temperatures in the 90s+(!), we decided to take advantage of the nice Saturday and visit the Hogle Zoo.

At first mini-man wasn’t into it. Then we saw the giraffes. Suddenly, he became very invested and started going from exhibit to exhibit, very excited. His favorite, by far, was the phephants 🐘

20180529_193607_HDR.jpg
I don’t think this guy has a lot of experience

Unfortunately, we had some problems getting to the zoo. The van was having some issues with the electrical system – sometimes it worked and sometimes the battery was dead or the car had very little power. After getting it checked out, we learned that we needed a new alternator. At least we could get it fixed fairly fast.

By Monday, we felt adventurous and decided to explore Salt Lake City. We took the trolley, conveniently located next to our campsite, and headed to Temple Square – home to the main temple for the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

This place was beautiful. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. It felt like a very calm place to worship.

Since there wasn’t much for the boys to do at the Temple, we moved on and went to the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum.

This place was built for Damon – you could build, play pretend, and it had a lot of variety.

The boys had fun too – it was a great place for them to explore and get some energy out.

At this point, I was starving. Having walked around downtown in 100+ heat, I was in no mood to cook, so we went to the Cheesecake Factory.

Unfortunately, we didn’t know the trolley system that well, so we walked 15 minutes in the heat, only to learn that the trolley stopped right at the restaurant 🤦.

Fortunately, this lesson came in handy for the journey home, and the next day, when we went back for dinner.

We accomplished quite a bit in our first week in SLC, and we were just beginning.

Coos Bay, Oregon

Our original master plan was to get to Seattle, Washington by May, assuming that we’d have some warm, spring weather to accompany us along the way. Unfortunately, the weather this year has been quite unusual.

Luckily, we’re not on a tight schedule, so we decided to adjust a bit. Instead of running up to Seattle, we chose to slow down and spend some time near the beach in Oregon. Again, assuming that the weather would be nicer.

This decision resulted in a much shorter drive for us, from the Redwood Forest to Coos Bay, Oregon. We continued on the 101 and it’s still as twisty as ever – it’s not a lot of fun to have constant turns in an RV (similar to waves at sea).

One nice thing about short drives is you arrive at your site pretty early. As it was our only nice day during our stay, we went for a walk. The campground was beautiful and I could see it’d be very popular in the summer.

The rest of our trip involved cold, rainy weather. As an added bonus, our site was very dirty which created a lot of puddles and mud. So even when we got a dry day, our site was still wet.

We took advantage of our extra time and had our car fixed up (again). Luckily, the mechanic was in the downtown area of Coos Bay, which was very walkable and had lots of stores to visit. Our favorite was an adorable thrift shop that had a dedicated kids room. The boys loved playing and exploring – we walked away with quite a few new toys.

Afterwards we stopped by the local library, where the boys enjoyed pulling books off the shelf.

Once we got the car back, we headed to Walmart. Mini-man is currently fascinated with fish and now spends most of our time at Walmart at the fish tanks.

We spent the rest of our time trying to keep the boys entertained in the RV (which isn’t easy). This insipired a new project for us – turning the dining area into a play area for the kids. We realized we’ll never sit around the table until the boys are older. No sense in keeping something that we rarely use.

As soon as we donated the table and chairs, the boys were enjoying the new space. We even got an old DVD player and set it up to play Elmo’s World on repeat. It keeps mini-man entertained and gives us a bit of a break – win-win.

I’m looking forward to our next stop – South Beach, Oregon. It’s close to the beach, supposed to have nicer weather, and has some cute local attractions (like an aquarium!). Fingers crossed it fulfills our expectations.

Back to the Cold in Yosemite

received_1838530526159388.jpeg
Enjoying one of our last warm days for a while (It’s almost spring, right?)

After finally finding warmth, we drove back to the cold in Yosemite. Turns out, it was warm here until recently. Only when we show up do they have a huge snow storm. I think we might be affecting the weather some how.

20180315_142704.jpg

During our drive, we experienced a first for us! When we stopped for lunch, we parked on a small road that had access to an exit. Unfortunately, by the time we were ready to leave, other trucks had shown up, complicating our exit. There was a small gap, so we tried to navigate through it and got stuck. In order to get out, Damon had to block the exit to the restaurant, unhook the car, and move the RV out. Apparently, this is common for class-a’s with tow vehicles.

20180316_112444.jpg
Why, Smokey! We meet again.

We arrived at our campsite just in time for the rain. Not feeling particularly adventurous at this point, we settled in for the night

After some rough sleep, we decided to get out and get the boys some fun. First stop, the Children’s Museum of Sierra.

PhotoGrid_1521654386043.jpg
The kids had so much fun

This place is amazing! Four large rooms fill to the brim with toys and activities that the kids could play with. Both boys had a great time – so great that Damon was able to sneak out and get some car stuff done. Now we can finally get the car registered.

20180316_160308.jpg
Our new ride for the week. Not our preference, but it worked. And came in handy, in more ways than one.

The rest of our very wet afternoon took us a “red tape” adventure. Turns out that until we get our paperwork filed, were not supposed to drive our car. So we very carefully drove to a rental place in nearby Fresno to get a car for the week.

This wound up being a blessing I disguise. You see, the van’s been going through oil and smelling over the past few weeks. What better time to get it checked out than when we have a rental car. Unfortunately, we ran outta time and had to leave the van near the rental place for the night.

Since we were in Fresno, we decided to get some shopping done. Totally scored a Lego Dimensions game for half off (I know it’s discontinued but we have all these figurines now and I’m curious, some Lego tape for mini-man, and lots of food! The real fun part was figuring out how to fit this all in our rental truck.

20180317_131740.jpg
Gotta love the toy aisle

The following day we made a plan to get the car to the mechanic. While the kids and I had lunch at the McDonald’s in the local Walmart, Damon set about rearranging the cars.

While we were at Walmart, and just as Damon joined up with us, an amazing milestone happened – little-dude to his first steps! I love that they are side-ways steps, since he’s been practicing on the furniture that way 😆

After that, we decided to try some local pawn and thrift stores. Unfortunately, we struck out and didn’t find anything. But, we did hear from a local guy selling his PS3 and games for a great deal, so we went to meet him. Now we can play Lego Dimensions!!

20180317_195931.jpg

After an accomplishing, and exhausting, day, we treated ourselves to dinner at BJ’s.

20180318_114137.jpg

By Sunday, we’d done a lot and decided to have a nice day at home – which included installing and playing Lego Dimensions (of course 😆). That game is a lot of fun. I’m really glad that we got into it now, when everything’s on sale!

After a few hours of video games, we headed outside for some fresh air. Mini-man had fun with his bicycle and building set while little-dude practice walking with his toy truck (he’s getting pretty good at it 😍).

received_1844035128942261.jpeg

Still excited about the Lego Dimensions deal we found, we decided to head into Fresno for the evening and do some more shopping – where we scored a Cyberman from Doctor Who!

20180319_155101.jpg

The next day was our nicest, and warmest day, during our stay, so we decided to head to Yosemite National Park.

Knowing that we had a two hour drive ahead of us, and to the cold no less, we prepared like crazy – food, drinks, toys, cameras, tablets, and anything else we could think of. Luckily, the kids fell asleep pretty quickly.

PhotoGrid_1521652927747.jpg

Another blessing in disguise for our car troubles – having the truck for this trip. Over two hours we saw lots of hills, winding turns, and complicated directions. At one point we had to follow a government snow plow to avoid a clean up crew working on a part of the mountain. This would’ve been a much harder trip in the van.

Speaking of the van, thank goodness we got into the shop (another blessing), it had a lot of issues – brakes almost gone, rear shocks shot, serpentine belt about to break, and cylinder head seals almost eroded. Imagine driving that up and down a mountain.

20180319_130922.jpg

Since it was snowing in multiple areas of the park, we opted to take the more scenic route that was longer but didn’t require any snow chains. It was a fascinating drive – it was amazing to see how the road evolved over the decades.

PhotoGrid_1521653763722.jpg

Once we arrived, we parked at the visitors center to stretch out legs and check out the area. The kids were really happy to get out of the car. The walk to the center was so serene and beautiful – the smell of pine instantly relaxed me. And you can’t miss the half-dome in the background.

The visitors center had a cute walk-through that explained the history of the park. My favorite part was seeing photographs of the same fall from different time periods. The kids loved the hands on elements. After a quick stop at the gift shop (a must), we picked a few areas to visit and headed back to the car.

received_1845157885496652.jpeg

Time sure flies when your having fun – we managed to spend two hours in this area! With a long drive ahead of us, we decided to just hit a couple of places. First was Bridal Falls, one of the many gorgeous water falls in the park. Since Glacier Point was closed, the road to half-dome, we continued on.

received_1845158638829910.jpeg

received_1845158515496589.jpeg

We then stopped at Tunnel View, a stop that gives an amazing overview of the valley. It was amazing to me to see the beautiful views and the juxtaposition of the snow capped mountains with the green valley below.

20180319_164122_HDR.jpg

At this point, both boys had fallen asleep, so we decided to head back home. So glad that we got to experience this gorgeous park.

Our last full day and we were busy! It’s so great that we’ve accomplished so much during this stop – car, paperwork, video games, children’s museum and Yosemite – which led to a very busy last day.

received_1846113435401097.jpeg

First up, visiting the thrift stores and pawn shops one more time. Unfortunately, we struck out again. This trip hasn’t been great for our thrifting. We did walk away with another Lego Dimensions character. Can’t wait to see if we find any new ones in the next city.

20180320_142620.jpg

On our way to the grocery store, we finally got the call that our car was ready! Woohoo! So Damon dropped us off and raced to drop off the rental truck and get the van. Luckily, the people at Enterprise were really nice – not only did they stay later for us, they drove Damon to the repair shop!

20180320_181811.jpg

Meantime, I was chasing mini-man around Walmart, while trying to calm a very tired little-dude. I finally wrangled mini-man and took both kids to the toy aisle to play. Thank goodness for the toy aisle.

IMG_20180320_214837_477.jpg

With a long drive in the morning, I’d hoped we’d go to bed on time. No such luck, both kids seemed wired once we got home, with mini-man becoming so over-tired that he became delirious and extremely loud. I guess we tried to do too much.

20180321_100617_HDR.jpg

Just another lesson learned, I guess. At least we have some fun things planned for the kids at our next stop – San Francisco.

Seeing Sequoia

California is known for many things, but one of the things I’ve always wanted to see, but never have, is their magnificent sequoia and redwood trees. This stop, I get to strike one of those off my list.

Our drive got off to a late start thanks to little-dude waking up at 3 a.m., then mini-man waking up at 5 a.m. Damon let me sleep while he played with the boys, which meant he got no sleep. Once I got up at 7 a.m., Damon went back to bed to get a couple hours of shut-eye. Fortunately, our previous day’s cleaning spree meant that we didn’t need to do too much to leave.

A few hours later, we were ready to go. Before we got too far, we stopped by the bank to get Damon’s debit card, which had been taken the day before for safe keeping. For some reason, though, the bank cut up his debit card. They said it was for our safety, since we’d lost it … even though they were our bank and they had it. Who’s gonna take it? One of your people? Oh well. At least I have my card, so we continued on.

We arrived out our campground by mid-afternoon, after a very bumpy ride (Hey California, how about making your roads a little less bumpy!?!). Due to the rain, we settled in for the night.

I wish! Between both boys I got no sleep. I managed to get a small nap, but you all know it doesn’t makeup for no sleep.

By the afternoon, we loaded up the kids into the car and headed for the Sequoia National Park. Even though it’s just a few miles from our campground, it’s 7000ft up!, which meant over an hour drive.

Luckily, the kids fell asleep and I could enjoy the beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Little-dude is going through a ‘I hate my car seat’ phase, which means he cries non-stop. Nothing seems to help him – I hope he gets used to it soon.

We’d almost made it to our destination, the Trail of 100 Giants, when we hit a road closure – snow had blocked our way. At least we learned this now and could try again.

After an hour drive back down the mountain, we headed for dinner. When we arrived, we stumbled upon a local Goodwill! Thinking we wouldn’t find anything, we went in for a quick look.

We. Were. Wrong! We found so much stuff here. Awesome 1980’s Sesame Street books, magnetic toys, a Connect Four, a mystery toy box, and a great GPS!

After the previous day’s long drive to a closed road, we learned our lesson and decided to ask before we drove anywhere. Turns out, the area we wanted to see was snowed in and not accessible by cars.

We did learn that there’s a Grove of trees about two hours away but the thought of spending one of our only nice days in the car didn’t sound appealing to me. Instead, we went to lunch.

There’s at least three

While we were out, we discovered a few thrift stores nearby, so we walked to them. While the Goodwill stop was a bust, we scored at b the .99 cent store – dozens of Lego Dimensions characters, candy, and some cascarones (which mini-man wanted to open in the store).

On the way home, we heard something hit/tumble across the roof of our car. We didn’t think much of it and kept going. 10 minutes later, Damon realized his phone was missing!

So we went turned around and went back to the place where we heard the sound. While Damon searched the side of the highway, I took a chance and called his phone. I heard it! I searched the car frantically but couldn’t find it. Once Damon got back to the car I told him I heard it and had him help in the search. He found it stuck in the roof rack on top of the car. Turns out, he left it on the roof of the car and it tumbled across when we sped up. Luckily, it got stuck and there was no damage.

Once we got home, it was still nice out, so we pulled our outdoor stuff and enjoyed the evening. Mini-man was thrilled to break his eggs (finally!).

The next day, we expected rain, so Damon played with the kids outside for a bit while I cleaned the playroom. Don’t know what happened to the rain, but glad the kids got to play.

Later, Damon and I did a major purge of the kids toys. We realized that a bucket and a hose kept their attention longer than most of their toys. So anything that was a one-hit-wonder (only kept their attention for a few minutes) got donated or stored for future use. Man, does the playroom look so much better.

Per usual, on our last day we get ready to leave. Unfortunately, when we pulled into this sure a few days ago, our living room side got stuck half-out for some reason. The motor engaged but the slide would barely move. Now that we need to leave, we had to figure out how to get the side back in.

Then I remembered that our auto-level jacks couldn’t finish due to slope of the site. Turns out, the slide twisted due to the unevenness of the site. Once we raised the jacks, the RV straighten and the slide started working! Score one for the wifey 😆

So now we say goodbye to Sequoia. I wish we could’ve seen more of the trees but weather has not been our friend lately. Hopefully we’ll have better luck in Yosemite.

Rough Ride Near the Rio Grande

photogrid_1516550667233679840847.jpg
“Roughing” it in the desert

After a long car ride, we woke up at the Seminole Canyon State Park refreshed and happy to be back on the road. This park is very close to the Rio Grande and offers many trails down to the river. Since it was the first real nice day we’d seen in a while, and the last warm one we’d see for some time, we decided to get out.

20180109_1207082023886521.jpg
The bike ride that didn’t go quite as planned

For the first time in months, we broke out the bikes and decided to explore the campground. We learned pretty quickly that the so-called ‘bike trails’ that led to the Rio Grande were basically rock covered dirt paths – not suitable for kids. We met another biker along the way who told us that the path was hard and he walked a lot of it.

photogrid_1516550938900366779234.jpg
Checking out the Welcome Center

Instead of trudging forward, we decided to go explore other, paved, areas of the park.

photogrid_15165709688881084638693.jpg
The boys love getting outside

By the time we got back to the afternoon, we were ready to relax. Since it was so nice out, we set up camp outside. It was amazing to spend time outside again! I loved seeing mini-man feel comfortable to walk around and explore a bit on his own ❤️

The next few days were spent inside as the weather went crazy! Temps dipped into the 30’s and the winds reached 70mph!! I’ll admit, I was soooooo glad that we were in the new RV. I remember high winds in our travel trailer, and it wasn’t fun. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like in this weather.

img_20180115_062438_744171402955.jpg

Unfortunately, our week started to slide south. Damon got really sick and ended up going to the ER with food poisoning 😞. And this was a day before we were supposed to leave. But we regrouped and decided to stay a few more days to let him recuperate.

img_20180116_013851_401731720050.jpg

Turned into a great decision, as both the boys and myself got sick. I guess the family that gets sick together, stays together.

20180114_1530081821921924.jpg
Family time

By Thursday we were well enough to continue on. And not a moment too soon. It can be a bit much when it’s cold, your sick, and there’s NOTHING nearby for 40 miles! Can’t wait for all of us to get better so we can start enjoying our adventure again.

A Long Day Became a Long Night

Around 12a, on Sunday, January 15, I heard Damon get out of bed and start breathing heavily. Scared he was having a heart attack, I followed him. While it wasn’t a heart attack, Damon wasn’t well. He ran outside the RV and proceeded to throw up.

Once he was done and tried to drink something, we tried to go back to bed. An hour later, he was up again and running outside. This happened almost every hour. And every time he left, I was awake, worried about him.

By morning, we were both exhausted and Damon felt horrible. We made the decision for him to go to the hospital. I’d rather he get better, faster, then try to tough it out.

I spent the day worried out of my mind. On the bright side, the kids were ok. Mini-man watched Curious George, while I played with little-dude and waited for updates.

By early afternoon, we’d learned that he had food poisoning. He was able to get some medication and come back to us, but feeling really weak and fragile.

As we transitioned to evening, Damon told me that we were expecting 70 mph winds in a few hours. So while he watched little-dude, I ran around in the dark with a flashlight trying to collect our stuff and put it away.

Just as everyone was finally asleep and I could try to go to bed, the winds picked up and began to shake the whole RV. I remember my mom telling me once that a tornado sounds like a train coming. I could hear very similar sounds rushing all around us.

Needless to say, I couldn’t fall asleep. My mama-bear instincts kicked in and all I wanted to do was protect my family. I’d rather they be safe than get sleep. Besides, all the noise and rocking made me so nervous. It’s almost like your body knows that you’d wake up at any moment so it won’t let you go to sleep.

I’ve never been more grateful for stabilizers. I don’t think I could have handled this kind of weather in our old unit.

The wind finally subsided around 1a. At this point, I’d been up for more than 24 hours. Just as I was just about to fall asleep, mini-man woke up little-dude.

So instead of sleeping, Damon and I were trying to get the kids to go back to sleep. I finally got little-dude asleep around 2:30a and just collapsed. Unfortunately, an hour later, mini-man woke little-dude up again. I spent the rest of my night trying to keep little-dude asleep.

By morning, I was cold and cranky. It’s hard to stay positive and not feel resentful when you’ve had no sleep or help.

Our original plan was to leave our current campsite and head to our last stop in Texas. However, it would be insane to try to pack and travel after the day we had. Instead, we extended our stay and moved around our next stops.

This turned out to be a very wise decision because, somehow, the rest of us got sick.

It’s been a long few days – being sick with sick kids is no picnic. I can’t wait for all of us to get better. And I REALLY can’t wait to be able to eat again.

First Official Day on the Road in our New RV

Beautiful sunset

Ok, so you’d think wed learn our lesson by now and not try to do a lot in one day … Ya.

After a week of being at the RV repair shop, we were more than ready to hit the road. We’d been told that everything would be done by Monday, after thinking it’s all be done the previous Thursday – all we had left was the trim work and the cooktop.

The missing cooktop finally arrived!

Unfortunately, our cooktop hadn’t been delivered yet, but was due at some point on Monday. Of course, it didn’t arrive until 2p. As promised, it installed quickly and by 3p we were all set.

However, while I thought this meant we could just go, it didn’t. Apparently, we still had to dump our tanks, hook up the car, and refill our propane tanks.

Love cuddling with my boys ❤️

This happened to coincide with the kids naptime and both were melting down. Mini-man desperately wanted his daddy, but Damon had been busy all morning trying to get us ready to leave – something mini-man didn’t understand.

The usually shy mini-man is happy to help when tools are involved 😄

At this point, I was very unhappy with the repair shop. While they were nice and did a nice job repairing everything, not once did they give us a time estimate. They just kept saying it would get done. What really got me was we asked them to order everything ahead of time so it was ready. They didn’t, stating it would only take a day for everything to arrive. Instead, our cooktop took a week and we waited most of the last day for it to be delivered. If they’d ordered when we asked, the delay wouldn’t have happened.

By 4p, we finally hit the road but we didn’t finish our prep work for the inside of the RV. On our first big turn, the fridge door came flying open and food spilled out. Damon stopped to fix it since I’d finally gotten the kids down for naps.

You’d think it be smooth sailing at this point. Unfortunately not. The kids naps last only 30 minutes and both were very cranky for the rest of the trip, which was hard on me since I was going on very little sleep at this point.

Then, as we’re driving, the bunk above the drivers area slowly starts to fall down. We had to stop several times to raise it back up. We later learned we had too much weight on it.

Then, at about 8:30p, we pulled into our campground. We we’re all tired and hungry but we needed to hookup, cook dinner (unfortunately we were 40 minutes from the closest take-out place), and wind down the kids for bed.

What a day! I was more than happy to get to be. And we did learn a few lessons from our first trip

  • We cannot start this late in the day. We need time to set up, play with kids, and eat.
  • We tried to do too much in one day – repairs, breakdown, driving, and setups is too much for one day
  • Be firmer with repair shop on time expectations.
  • It’s much harder to manage both kids at once by myself. In the suburban, Damon could help, at times, with mini-man.