Omaha

After a wonderful time in Iowa, we headed to Omaha, Nebraska. Although it was supposed to be a short, two-hour drive, it stretched out due to a few pit stops.

Follow the red paved road??

The first was a much needed stop at a truck wash to give the RV a bath. We’ve owned her for seven months and have never washed her. It was desperately needed, especially after our last stop when we drove down the dusty roads. Now she looked so shiny!!

She’s never looked better

Our next stop was our customary stop for lunch and grocery shopping. Now that I’m trying to eat healthier, it seems like I’m speeding through fruit, vegetables, and chicken much faster so it was great to stock up on more food.

Lake front property for only $30 a night!

All this meant that you we didn’t get to the campsite until 6p. When we saw our site, we were very excited to get set up to enjoy the scenery.

After we set up, we noticed that we were in a great spot for the sunset and decided to break out the drone – something we hadn’t done in a while. I’m glad we did because we got some great video.

A wonderful way to end the day

After we all got a lousy night sleep, I woke pretty groggy. Some turn to coffee to get started after a bad night’s sleep. Me? I clean. I hadn’t even changed out of my PJs and I was putting laundry away. I don’t know why but cleaning energizes me.

Since all parties were tired we decided to keep it low-key and just do a little shopping. Found an amazing Goodwill where Damon found some fun stuff for the boys.

I love that he’s finally getting into stuffed animals

After striking out at the next few stops, we stopped at a playground so the boys could play. This particular playground included a splash pad that little-dude adored. His water loving older brother, however, wasn’t a fan and he wouldn’t go anywhere near it.

I may have gotten a little wet

Usually after a long day the boys konk out early. But for some reason they didn’t go to bed until really late, which late to some serious sleeping in. So much so that we didn’t get out of the RV until after lunch.

I make this look good

Which was unfortunate because we found an amazing Children’s Museum that the boys loved. It had a lot of activities that they both enjoyed – climbing, water play, and balls, to name a few. I was such a shame that we got there so late and only had a few hours to play.

Lots of stuff to do

After another difficult night, the boys woke up early this time. Even though we were all tired, I was glad that we could get to the Children’s Museum early.

I have to constantly remind myself that he’s only one

However, we didn’t get there until early afternoon, earlier than the day before, due to the boys falling asleep in the car. I’d hoped we would spend the afternoon there but it was soon clear that neither boys wanted to stay for very long.

My little monkeys

On our final day, we decided to take the boys to the lake that’s attached to the park we were staying in. To our surprise, this lake was filled with the friendliest fish you’d ever see. Mini-man was thrilled! He was able to walk around and see the fish close up.

Nothing better than swimming with sish

We got up early the next day and hit the road to our next stop – Kansas City.

Aren’t we adorable?
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The Road to I-oh-way

“Funny, I thought it was pronounced ‘I-OH-Wah'”

“Oh it is, but we just don’t like anyone else to say like that”

The Music Man is one of my favorite movies. And every time I hear Iowa, I think of this line when Professor Harold Hill first gets off the train in Iowa.

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But before we actually get to Iowa, we had a few stops to make.

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After having some fun at Mt. Rushmore, we headed east, across South Dakota, and stopped in Chamberlain. Along the way, we passed a time zone and got pushed back an hour – which sucked since we had to adjust our schedules (from driving to sleeping). 😑

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Although we only stayed one night, the campground was nice and have us a good place to play outside.

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We started just before noon the next day for Sioux Falls and arrived fairly quickly.

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This proved wonderful as it gave us time to go run errands. The boys were thrilled to get out of the RV. We even scored a cute power wheels for little-dude for just $3!

After a long night, we spent the next day relaxing and enjoying

We spent our last day exploring Sioux Falls. First stop was the butterfly garden and aquarium. This place was adorable. The first room had cute aquariums fill with fish and a touch tank with the friendliest rays I’ve ever seen (truthfully – they liked attention and interacting with people).

The next room was the butterfly room and it was filled with butterfly’s. Little-dude loved it. Mini-man didn’t mind them but didn’t like them coming near him.

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The butterfly garden and aquarium were in a park with an incredible playground – comprised of several climbing towers, suited to kids of all ages. Mini-man had a blast checking out each tower.

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After a quick stop at a thrift store (where I found these awesome Disney record books), we headed back to the RV for some pool time.

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I’m super proud of little-dude, who is getting used to the water and even had fun in his float.

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Afterwards we stopped by the camps playground for some more fun. It was an interesting playground as it was completely surrounded by tents. When your camping, it’s considered a common courtesy to not walk through other people’s sites. So we were confused as to how we were supposed to get to the playground with walking through a site. We have up and just walked through an empty site.

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You’d think that after all that the kids would go to be on time – nope. Midnight bedtimes and both woke up at 7a. At least we got an early start for our five hour journey to our 28th state, and our stop for the Fourth of July – Des Moines, Iowa.

Salt Lake City – Wrapping Up

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🐘

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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.

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.

Getting to the Grand Canyon

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I just want to get better

Unfortunately, during our stay at the Painted Desert, I developed a tooth ache that cause me great pain. And while I saw a dentist, he could help with the tooth that day. Instead, I got antibiotics and an appointment to see a dentist at the Grand Canyon. Turns out, I had a massive infection under one of my crowns. We made it to the Grand Canyon, but I felt horrible.

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snuggles

I spent the next few days in bed while the antibiotics did their job. I felt bad that we were so close to the Grand Canyon but hadn’t seen it yet. Fortunately, we have a flexible schedule and Damon was amazing with handling the kids.

By the time my dentist appointment rolled around, I felt a lot better. At this appointment, I learned that my crown is pretty much ka-poot and I need to get an implant. Fine by me if it means this pain will go away. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do that until I finished my antibiotics and the infection went away. At least I felt better and could finally explore the area.

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Mini-man in his happy place – in a comfy chair watching George and eating strawberries

We started immediately. The dentist was in Flagstaff, Arizona, and had a lot of Goodwill’s and grocery stores. Man, did we score! Books, toys, and some other accessories that we needed. Plus, we were able to stock up on food at Sam’s Club. A very satisfying outing.

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Both boys love their new train set

The next day was another accomplishing day – this time with paperwork. Since we’ve been sick for so long, we put off a lot of important paperwork, which we finally got done! Now we can enjoy the rest of our trip.

The next day brought snow!?! While I love seeing it snow, the whole point of leaving the northeast so fast was to avoid the snow and get someplace warmer. Often times, the weather limits how much exploring we can do.

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Kickin’ it on Route 66

Luckily, the weekend brought warmer weather (yay!). And boy did we take advantage. See what we did in Grand Canyon Adventures.

Driving Through the Desert

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On the road again

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.

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While beautiful – there was no cell service!!

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

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Damon loved that trains went by every few minutes

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!

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Blue Water Lake half froze over night – the white part is ice!

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.

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A canyon a part of the campground

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!!

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Beautiful terrain seen on route to the Painted Desert

The next day we hit the road – this time stopping to see the painted desert and the Petrified Forest.

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KOA near 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.

The Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert

Finally feeling better, I was so excited to see the Painted Desert. Over the course of an afternoon, we saw the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, and an old hotel from the 1920s! It was all very beautiful.

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Why can’t I get better!?!

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.

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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.

Seeing How the Painted Desert got it’s Name

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Pecos Bill was quite a cowboy

I grew up with a Disney-loving family, so I knew of the Painted Desert thanks to the legend of Pecos Bill.

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Mini-man loved the visitors center at the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest

We started at the Welcome Center, which gave a cute introduction to what existed in the park millions of years ago. Mini-man had a blast playing and looking around.

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Little-dude and Damon looking at some of the Petrified Wood

Around the back of the center was a collection of Petrified wood. We tried to get mini-man to go see it but it was too windy for him. So he and I stayed in the Welcome Center while Damon and little-dude saw the trees.

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Exploring some of the Petrified Forest

We drove to another part of the park to see more trees. Unfortunately, we made it a ways in when mini-man decided he wanted to go back to the car.

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Mini-man prefers to site-see from his car seart

At this point, we put Curious George on in the car and let mini-man watch and eat while we drove through the rest of the park.

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Luckily, there were lots of places to pull over and take pictures from the car.

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I love seeing Route 66!

My favorite stop was the route marker for Route 66!!

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This place was amazing! Wish you could still stay here

Our last stop was an awesome old hotel from the 1920’s that was built using petrified wood. The inside was gorgeous and offered a beautiful view of the painted desert.

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The poof of hair is mini-man

I am so glad we managed to see this park. It was beautiful and I love seeing all the history the park had to offer.

Hittin’the Road – Part III

After six weeks in San Antonio, it’s time for us to get back on the road. It was great to have a break and get so much accomplished. Now that the batteries are recharged and we’re reorganized, were ready to go!

  1. San Antonio, TX: Ok, so we’re only going 30 minutes away but we have somethings we want installed and fixed before we truly hit the road. Plus we can visit Gruene.
  2. Seminole County State Park, TX: Rio Grande!
  3. Maverick Ranch, TX: because Texas is big and takes a while to get out if 😋
  4. Brantley Lake, NM: Home of Carlsbad Caverns.
  5. Albuquerque, NM: Everyone says it’s beautiful
  6. Navajo State Park, NM: Close to Four Corners (cause why not!). Plus, close to snow areas in Colorado to take the kids sledding!
  7. Grand Canyon, AZ: Never been and heard it’s a fun stop.
  8. Southern California: no exact stops, yet, but excited to explore
  9. Sequoia National Forest: I’ve always wanted to visit
  10. Lake Tahoe, CA: Another beautiful place to visit
  11. Northern California: Still researching stops but really excited to explore this area
  12. Redwood National Forest, CA: Another place I’ve always wanted to visit
  13. Coastal Oregon: Still researching the area but need to go through this area to get to our final stop
  14. Seattle, Washington: Damon and I visited here a few years ago and loved it! Plus, it’s a short ferry ride from Victoria, home to the Butchart Gardens

San Antonio – Wrapping Things Up

Dinner with Damon’s parents

Once Phil and Sue left, our time in San Antonio flew by – there was so much we had to get done before we continued our trip. Here’s some of the things we did:

I think he likes the new setup
  • Cleaned the RV
Bye bye Suburban
  • Sold the Suburban
Cleanings a lot harder with kids
  • Organized the trailer
Mini-man was not happy he had to share with little-dude
  • Lots of shopping for supplies!
All ready for Christmas
    • Decorated the RV for Christmas
    Getting in some last minute Christmas lights
      • Visited Elf Acres for their lights
      Rare picture of my boys together
      • Rang in 2018 with a New Year’s Day tradition – watching the Rose Parade

      And all of this had to get done while taking care of an active toddler and a teething baby.

      Gotta swim when you can

      But, it wasn’t all work – we took time to enjoy ourselves, which is a big part of why we are doing things.

      Not feeling well

      By the end of the week, I’d barely gotten any sleep and my headaches we’re getting pretty bad. Unfortunately, for me, we were running out of time and needed to get these things done so we could move on. Just one of the few downfalls of full-time RVing with little kids. 

      Enjoying the RV ❤️

      Hopefully, all of our hard work and new RV will all be worth it in the end and it’ll be the start of a great next leg. Where are we going? Stay tuned!