So our dream of just packing and hitting the road didn’t happen as fast as we had hoped:
First off, we spent about a month selling and purging stuff from our house, and did a pretty good job of parring everything down. But, then you have to pack – and packing with a toddler and a baby is not easy.
Then, when we thought we were ready to go, we realized that in order to sell the house, we still needed to get rid of a lot of stuff and prep the house for selling. So instead, we found a place to park our trailer while we finished the house stuff.
Hello Winter Garden RV Resort. Just minutes from downtown Winter Garden, Florida, this quiet RV parks boast a playground, showers, and two heated pools (which mini-man has already discovered and loves!). We chose this place for it’s high ratings and proximity to our house.
I was worried for many reasons:
I’ve always heard that RV parks have high crime: Not here. This place has been very quiet, and despite the place being pretty full, we hardly see anyone. Just like a normal neighborhood.
How would the kids adapt: Mini-man loves the RV. There’s plenty of places for him to play and explore. I even seen him become more curious about playing outside! Little-dude (our newest addition) is still really young, so all he needs is mommy and daddy and he’s good.
Honestly, as worried as I’ve been, its been pretty calm and amazing. Which we needed! Trying to unpack in a tiny space makes for a lot of clutter. Add in watching a toddler and a baby while Damon is at the house trying to get projects finished and it makes for some stressful days.
Luckily, we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The last house project is wrapping up today, we have a few more projects to finish in the RV, and we’re ready to hit the road!
I am so happy that we found such a great first stop. While I don’t talk about the resort much in this article, I think that’s a great thing. The whole point is to get out and explore and have adventures. So having a place that’s relaxing but close to everything has been great.
South Beach, Oregon, that is. Like it’s famous cousin, South Beach is a fairly large beach town in Oregon. And with the weather finally cooperating, it looked like we’d actually be able to enjoy the great outdoors.
Our short drive took us along the 101, again. But this time, it was smoother and much more enjoyable. After a quick stop at McDonald’s for lunch (which the boys loved), we made it to our campsite pretty early.
Our first day was still pretty dreary out, so we spent some time preparing for the nice days by shopping and cooking.
Then we got to Monday – the day we’d been waiting for. And it delivered. Damon opened the door and mini-man was instantly trying to go outside, grabbing his shoes and handing them to us.
Our site is just to a playground and as soon as we were outside, mini-man headed straight there. Mini-man enjoyed the swings and little-dude had fun playing in dirt.
Next, we loaded the kids onto the bikes and road the .25 mile to the nearby beach – which little-dude did not like.
Little-dude fell asleep while mini-man went straight to work digging in the sand. We didn’t stay long – the wind blew a lot of sand our way.
As we headed back, we found an old observation deck that was covered in sand. It turned out to be the perfect spot for us – a view of the water and the kids could play in the sand. Ironically, mini-man fell asleep just as little-dude was waking up.
The next day was another beautiful day and we took advantage. The boys played with the hose while Damon and I relaxed and had some lunch.
Soon afterwards, mini-man headed back to the playground, where he spent hours on the swing.
Unfortunately, the beautiful weather didn’t last and the temperature dropped 15 degree the next day. To prevent any cabin fever, we took the kids out for lunch and Walmart.
Walmart is becoming one of mini-mans favorite places. He knows it holds food, toys, and lots of things to explore. He’s even taken to putting things he likes into the cart – most of it stuff we’d already planned to buy (like apples) and something’s we didn’t. I like that he’s getting into shopping with us.
As you may know from previous posts, mini-man is enthralled with fish. So we were thrilled to find an aquarium just minutes from our campsite.
And it was a huge hit! The place is huge and had a lot of great exhibits. Our first stop was the shark tunnel, which had three huge tunnels that you can explore. A friend of mine told me it was the former home of Keiko the Whale.
We then explored the middle areas, home to otters, sea lions, and an open air aviary (home to puffins!!). But since it lacked fish, mini-man wanted to move on.
We finished at the entrance, which had numerous aquariums. Mini-man wondered around for hours. You know it’s been a successful outting when the kids fall asleep on the way home.
However, both kids slept too long, which led to both staying up late. And, for some reason, they took turns waking up in the middle of the night. Damon and I were exhausted the next day. So we took turns watching the kids while the other relaxed. On the plus side, I got to play my new Lego Dimensions Dr. Who expansion pack!
After another rough night, we decided to get the kids out by going back to the aquarium. I kid you not, mini-man was ready to run from the car and go straight in. He got so annoyed that the rest of us were taking it slower that he came over and grabbed our hands to lead us to the aquarium.
In the few hours we were there, I think we walked around the whole place at least four times. Mini-man just could not get enough. I love how much he loves fish at the moment.
One week done, and one to go. We accomplished a lot but we’re not done yet. Check out the rest of our stay in our next post.
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.
This leg of our journey started as a comedy of hurdles – just as we cleared one, another one pops up, attempting to trip us up.
We start at 330a when mini-man decided to wake up to make noise, which woke up little-dude. They went back down around 7a. With a long drive ahead of us, Damon went to get some more sleep while I stayed up (hate not being able to go back to sleep). Hurdle #1 cleared!
Around 8 Damon was up, so he finished our prep to leave. Of course when we want to leave, can we can’t – the jacks wouldn’t lower due to low voltage (I guess this program is a girl since it doesn’t say what it means). According to the internet ( thank goodness it decided to work), it means that a breaker, somewhere under the couch had tripped (why are these important things hidden?).
While Damon hunted for the breaker switch, I sat trapped under a sleeping baby freezing since we’d already unhooked and hadn’t turned on the main heater yet. After a bit of a search, the breaker was found and we could raise the jacks. Hurdle #2 cleared.
As we pulled out of our space, the downward hill caught Damon off guard and he stopped short, causing the van to hit the bumper. No damage (thank goodness). Sailed over that hurdle!
Now, were finally on the road and we lose cell service. Usually, I take this time to update our blog posts and catch up on our social channels. This becomes really hard to do when I have no cell service. So to help, Damon pulled over and hooked up our hard-drive to my tablet so I could at least watch something along our journey. Hurdle #4 no problem.
Back on the road, we encountered our next hurdle – the 101 highway. This is a scenic highway that drives along the Pacific Ocean. While beautiful – it’s definitely not fun to drive with an RV. It also added an hour to our drive time. Amd, ok top of that, we had a lovely layer of fog to contend with. Hurdle #5 survived.
After four hours, we pulled into Eureka for lunch and shopping. This was the first time in a week that we’d been close to any big shopping areas and really needed to restock. After grabbing some lunch, we headed to our favorite place – Walmart. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to tell a Super Walmart from a regular Walmart anymore and this one was the latter. This means that their grocery section is very small. I was not happy that we couldn’t get that much.
To solve this, we found a local grocery store and managed to get some more stuff. This is one of the harder aspects of being on the road – you can’t always get the items you are looking for (especially in smaller towns).
At this point, we were all really tired. Little-dude was already asleep and mini-man was in desperate need of a nap. With about 45 minutes left to go, the boys and I all took a nap. Unfortunately, as soon as Damon pulled into the RV park, both boys woke up – and they were cranky.
I wish I could say that this was the end of our troubles, but as you will see in the next post, it was just the beginning.
Our journey began with a bit of a bit of a woosh – literally. Before we left the RV park, we pulled up to the dump station to empty our black water tank (a.k.a. our sewage). As Damon went to drain it, sewage came spilling out (ew!). We think he forgot to close a valve from a previous dump. Thank goodness we had a sewage cap or things could’ve been much worse.
Damon came back in smelling just lovely (as you can imagine) and, smartly, changed his clothes. Unfortunately, he still smelled for a while during the drive (and, yes, he did wash his hands – several times). I guess sewar is a hard smell to get rid of.
About an hour into our drive, we stopped at a local shopping area for lunch and grocery shopping. This place was cute and had a lot of stores within walking distance. We hit a GameStop, Goodwill, Burger King, and Walmart, all in one spot.
Back on the road, we had the choice between two options – the 1 or the 280. The 1 was shorter, and scenic, but had the same, windy roads that delayed us into San Francisco the other day. The 280 was longer but had easier to navigate roads.
Not wanting to take the RV down windy roads, we chose the 280. And, my goodness, was that the right choice. Not only was it easier to drive, but it took is right through a Redwood Forest. It was an absolutely gorgeous drive that ended at the Pacific Ocean. This is definitely the prettiest drive we’ve had thus far.
We arrived at our campground by the early evening. As soon as we parked, we were outside, enjoying the beautiful weather. It’s so great to be in an area with great weather again.
The following day kept us close to home as Damon wasn’t feeling well. We suspect that some of the previous days sewage might have gotten into his system. So the kids and I played while he rested. Unfortunately, by the evening, I started to realize I was coming down with a cold (so much for our healthy streak).
Tuesday brought such gorgeous weather that we couldn’t stay inside. Armed with medication, we took a short drive to nearby Glass Beach – famed for its beaches covered in glass fragments. The site is certainly interesting, but years of tourism has depleted the glass to just tiny fragments.
The best part for me was watching mini-man explore and play in the sand. He was having such an amazing time.
After a much needed grocery stop, we headed back to the RV and fired up the grill for dinner. I wish the warmth of the day lasted but California just doesn’t retain heat like Florida does.
With everyone not feel well, the boys and I collapsed early in the evening. Damon stayed up for a bit to finish some paperwork. Unfortunately, for him, by the time he came to bed, mini-man was waking up. Hard as he tried, mini-man didn’t go back to bed until 6:30 the next morning – just about the time little-dude woke up.
Then, somehow, mini-man woke up just a few hours later (how do toddlers to that???). The boys and I watched some Elmo while Damon slept.
While we spent most of the day relaxing and playing, we did get something done – we got the car registration back in the mail (Fingers crossed we got everything right this time), I fixed mini-man’s favorite book (that he shredded during a midnight meltdown), and we stuffed mini-man with tons of food.
The food part worked so well, that mini-man fell asleep at 7:30 again! But unlike the previous night, both kids slept through the night (thank goodness ’cause this sick mama needed the rest).
We we’re originally scheduled to leave on Thursday, but thanks to illness, we didn’t get to experience everything we wanted to do. But after evaluating our schedule, we realized we had some spare days to play with and decided to extend our stay.
I’m so glad we did this. In addition to giving us more time to complete a few projects, the day turned out to be really warm, so we took advantage and headed to the beach!
Of course, it’s never that simple – both boys fell asleep within minutes of riding in the car. To kill some time, we headed to the local thrift stores where we found some cute toys for mini-man (and paid less than $2!).
As soon as we parked at the beach, mini-man was on the ground, filling up his bucket with sand, moving a few feet and repeating the process 😂. And not to be left out, little-dude starting digging as soon as we put him down.
Then we got to the water. I swear, mini-man doesn’t not care about the temperature of the water – if it’s there, the he has to be in it.
Little-dude was content to keep digging and crawling around.
After a couple of hours, the boys were more than ready to leave – mini-man was very wet and getting cold, while little-dude was more than ready for his nap.
The next day, we decided to take a ride on the Skunk Train. This famous local attraction take passengers on a breath-taking trip through the Redwood Forest.
The train consisted of the main engine, two 1912 passenger cars from New York, and a 1970s open flat car from the US Army. After coaxing mini-man on-board, I figured he’d do better in the passenger car and took him to find a seat.
Just as we were ready to leave, Damon and little-dude headed to the open car for a better view while mini-man and I stayed in the passenger car – I wanted to make sure he wouldn’t freak out.
After a few minutes, mini-man just say, looking out the window saying ‘toot-toot’. I took this opportunity to check out the flat car. The nice thing about the train being so small was I could walk away a bit and keep an eye on mini-man.
The open car offered an incredible view of the forest – the redwoods towered above us. Plus, the train went slow, so it hardly made any noise. However, after a while, the smell from the engine started to bother me and I went back to mini-man.
Just as we got near our turnaround point, I went back to the flat car to see some more of the forest. I tried to get mini-man to come with me, but he was more than happy in his seat. The return trip was easier on me as the train went in reverse so the smell of the engine didn’t come near us anymore.
I tried one more time at the end of the trip to get mini-man to go to the flat car with me – and he did! For about a minute, then he high-tailed it back to his seat. At least he knows what he wants.
The ticket included admission to the local model train museum. This was awesome – it was a scaled replica the area we had just traveled along. Mini-man was in heaven. He walked along the entire track, back and forth, following each train, saying ‘toot-toot’. I guess this was more his speed. It was a great way to end our trip to Fort Bragg, and I highly recommend it.
I have enjoyed our stay here but have been increasing frustrated with the internet at this RV park. This small town has limited cell service, at best, so we chose an RV park with WiFi. However, this particular park has zero cell service and inconsistent wifi. After struggling to connect, if you can, the service is fine but only lasts for a few minutes before it drops. It may not seem like much, but this is a pricier park that advertised wifi and it doesn’t work. And I know that it’s not important to everyone, but it is important to me – it’s how I plan future stops, find fun outtings, and stay connected along our trip.
Here’s hoping we have better luck at our next stop – The Redwood National Forest.
As someone with page skin, it can be difficult to find a lipstick that looks good on me. So when I got the chance to try Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Cream Lipstick for free, I was skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised – it’s subtle, creamy, and last. It’s become my new favorite every day lipstick. My only criticism is it comes off on everything your lips touch, but that’s pretty normal for lipstick. At least the color still looks nice after some has rubbed off.
After being nearby for over a week, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon.
We stopped at the visitors center on the way in to see the Grand Canyon Imax movie. We tried to see it together but mini-man didn’t want to. Instead, we split up – one watched the movie while the other played with mini-man in the gift shop. We later learned that this wasn’t the official visitors center and that there was a free movie available inside the canyon.
Our first stop was Mather point, one of the easiest, most accessible areas of the canyon. Since the boys just had naps, we were all able to visit this area. The scene was spectacular.
We then got to do something special – drive Hermits Rest. Most of the time, this area is only accessible by bus. But during this time, we were able to drive to some of the prettiest spots on the canyon. At this point, it was late, so Damon hopped out at each stop to take some pictures while I stayed with the kids in the car.
Our next leg from Albuquerque to Arizona looked to be a long drive. Since we were all still sick, we decided to divide the trip into two hour, two night stops. This way we could make some progress would wearing ourselves out.
Our first stop was Blue water lake State Park. This park is beautiful but lacks a few things this princess is used to having:
• No water hook-ups – makes cooking and going to the bathroom interesting
• No cell service!!! – I went through withdrawals
• Weak antenna service – 9 channels and three were PBS
• Far from anything – 20 minutes to the closest store
After we arrived, we realized we needed a few things from the store. As we left, we learned that the park closed at 5p and if you weren’t inside, you couldn’t get in until the next day. That was one of the fastest store runs we’ve ever done!
The next morning we explored the park. A major downfall for me is the parks high elevation -8000ft! I have sensitive lungs, which makes breathing difficult during usual elevation (think smoke allergy). Add in high elevation and it makes things even more interesting.
Despite my difficulties, we managed to see some of the parks beautiful scenery.
We then headed out to get some lunch, see some souvenir shops, and run to Walmart – which we just managed to finish before the park closed.
The evening started out disappointing as we couldn’t get the Superbowl game on – couldnt stream it, didn’t have the antenna channel, and couldn’t leave to go see it elsewhere. It turned around when Damon hooked up my computer to the TV so we could watch The Love Boat!!
The next day we hit the road – this time stopping to see the painted desert and the Petrified Forest.
These shorter runs are really nice – we get somewhere new without feeling like we’re sitting around all day. Plus, it gives the kids more time to stretch after the drive after being cooped up for so long.
Unfortunately, during the trip I noticed my jaw start to hurt. At first, I chucked it up to being pain from the cold. But over the next 24 hours, the pain got progressively worse. Not able to bear the pain, we made an emergency run to the local dentist. The good news was that he figured out the problem – an infection in my back crown, which needed to be redone. The bad news was he couldn’t see me for a week! Instead I got some antibiotics to help with the infection and a dentist I could see at the Grand Canyon.
24 hours after starting the medication I felt horrible and my jaw was very swollen. However, we persevered and headed to our next stop – The Grand Canyon. I just hope that I feel better soon so I can enjoy it.
As we pulled into our campground in Albuquerque, we were all still sick but on the mend.
By Monday, we’d made it 24 hours without someone throwing up! To celebrate, we went shopping. While we were out, Damon started to be feel a tickle in his throat … Yup, he was getting a cold.
To say I was annoyed was an understatement. We’d had colds in December and just gotten over food poisoning – now this!! I stocked up on vitamins, smoothies, and anything healthy I could grab. I was determined to not get sick this time.
Ya, not so much. Not only did we all get sick, mine managed to travel to my throat and I got a bad infection.
After a few days in bed, I broke down and called a doctor. I hate going to the doctor, waiting forever to sit with someone for five minutes just to be told to go home and rest. Fortunately, a friend of mine recommended the app ‘Doctor on Demand’. This was seriously awesome!! Mom’s, a doctor sees you through your phone while your in bed! No leaving, no waiting and it’s fast. Within 10 minutes, my b doctor sent a prescription to the local Walmart. Once I had those, I feel so much better. I’m definitely using this again!!
Finally feeling better, we jumped at the chance to get outside and took the kids to the playground. They were thrilled.
During this time, Damon and I decided to change our route a bit. We had planned to go to Four Corners and take a small trip to Denver to see snow. But after being trapped inside for weeks due to the cold and being sick, we want to stay far away from the cold.
So we are now heading to Phoenix, Arizona. Since this is a big jump, we chopping it up into smaller jumps to make the journey easier. First up, Blue Water Lake, NM and the painted desert.
After a much needed stop in Ft. Stockton, TX, we finished our drive to Carlsbad, New Mexico. This cute little park was in the middle of the desert, yet it was situated on a lake.
We pretty much stayed inside the rest of the day as the winds were absolutely insane! We even contemplated pulling in the slide at one point to help ease the rocking. Our camp hosts told us that this was unusual for this area and should ease up by the next day.
Thank goodness they were right and we were able to get out for a bit. Sadly, the kids were still sick and didn’t want to play that much.
Which meant another low-key day for us, playing inside.
By Wednesday, we all felt pretty good so we took the opportunity to get out. A short drive away is the city of Roswell and who could pass up the opportunity to see aliens!?!
While, sadly, we didn’t encounter any being from another world we did get to see some animals from this one at the Roswell Zoo. This cute zoo is free and filled with lots of animals that the kids could get close to.
Right next door is a cute playground, while had a 1970s rocket slide – which Damon had to try, of course 😄
It’s been a while since we hit a Goodwill, most of the small towns we’ve visited the past few weeks didn’t have one. So we jumped at the chance to visit the one in Roswell. I scored a pile of books for the kids (I collect old Disney and Golden Books – they’re awesome and these are a steal!).
At this point, the kids were pretty worn out, so we headed back to the RV. Before we left, we made a quick stop at McDonald’s, which had an extraterrestrial feel to it 👽.
Since we were in Carlsbad, we’d hoped to visit the famous Carlsbad Caverns. Unfortunately, the only way to see it with kids is to use their elevator, which was down for maintenance all week. And, while it was supposed to be fixed before we left, the lovely government shutdown delayed things. Which meant no caverns for us this time. I was pretty bummed – I visited the caverns with my Grandma when I was about 6 and wanted to revisit it.
Instead, we used to day to clean the RV (which really helps with leaving the campsite), and going grocery shopping. Since it’s been cold out, I made my Crock-Pot Chili (and no, I’m not scared to use it. The ‘This Is Us’ guy died from bad wiring and NOT a Crock-Pot!).
And so ends another RV stop. Next up, Albuquerque.