I was looking forward to Boston!! One of my cousins lives there and I was overdue for some Courtney time! And I remember enjoying the Freedom Trail. We did that on a family trip when I was in middle school I think.

We have been running like crazy and are starting to wear out, so I was actually happy it was going to rain our first full day in Boston. The trip from NYC was long – I’m not even driving and I was worn out. I needed to tackle the laundry and get groceries. Turns out they are not the same direction from Wompatuck State Park. So that was my afternoon. But we all enjoyed a “day off.” It’s amazing how much work site seeing is! 😉

I was so excited to spend the evening with cousin Courtney and her husband Ty at their cute house!It was definitely the best part of Boston! I wish we could have hung out more, but I’m soooo thankful we got there before they had to leave for their trips! Ty made us an amazing Taco Tuesday spread! Court made us the yummiest strawberry rhubarb crisp – yumm!! A big taste of KS right there! And I got 2 more loads of laundry done! That was the most fun I’ve had doing laundry in the last 4+ months! 🙂 The kids were in heaven – they got to see Court and Ty, play with 2 dogs and watch TV! The only part we did wrong? – we didn’t get a pic with Ty!! Grrrr – next time!

The kids loved the train rides in and out of the city. Huck covers all of that very well in his posts.

The Freedom Trail was mostly fun. Since we are sloooowing down and we were staying quite a ways out of Boston (but still the closest possible in an RV) we decided to do the Freedom Trail over the course of 2 days instead of cramming it into one long day. It worked for us!

We were disappointed by a couple of things. 1. Because of graduations, etc. we couldn’t see the big main hall in Fanueil Hall. That was very disappointing. And because we weren’t there on a weekend there weren’t the colonial characters out and about that we had expected. Oh well. The Paul Revere House was of course the highlight for that day.

The second day we started up at the Old North Church. We had good timing and a good time there! We just happened to be there when a volunteer was giving a presentation. He did a great job and added facts that we would have missed otherwise. At the Battle of Bunker Hill we climbed up to the top of the Monument. We also got a private presentation as a school group didn’t show up on time, so the ranger talked to us instead. This was super helpful as we needed to get going over to the USS Constitution and get home early to pick up Ava’s new leg from the UPS Store. We enjoyed the USS Constitution. Dacen really wanted to tour the WWII Destroyer as well, but we had already toured one in Texas and we needed to get going.

The only other thing I really wish we had done was go to the Charlesbank Park and Esplanade. Well, I guess there is always next time! I think I need to go visit my cousin sooner rather than later! 🙂

In a New York State of Mind

I was excited to get to The Big Apple! I remember our trip when I was around Dacen’s age. My grandparents lived in Queens – Astoria, NY. I loved the escalators, seeing the fountain where the dancers from Fame did their twirls across the plaza, watching the Nutcracker Ballet, riding the ferry by the Statue of Liberty (she was closed for repairs) and eating a pretzel from a street vendor. I wonder what will stand out to them years from now?

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Philly fun!

I feel like no matter how much research I do before we visit somewhere, A. I never get all the info that would be nice to know. B.everything kind of changes, or we find out a new or better way to do it.  So we go with the flow and I try super hard to realize we can’t do it all.

Biggest thing to note about Philly – it is hard to find drinking fountains/water. I’ll cover that at the end.

I have learned it is always best to go to the visitor’s center first!! I didn’t even consider the school groups would take all the spots on the different tours (like Independence Hall!) Luckily we got spots on the last tour of the day (4:30) and that was before 10am!

The line to the Liberty Bell was long and not moving at all, so the tour group in front of us decided to peek thru a window. We decided to follow suit.

I have learned on the trip we love learning about the various POTUS we have had so on to Ben Franklin square. I loved how they have an outline of his original house, but I totally missed it until Huck pointed it out. I thought we were just going under arches or something.

I love the creativity and ingenuity most of our finding father’s had. Ben Franklin was no exception. The museum is very fun and very hands on which my kids love! I love when the kids make various connections too. They’ve learned a lot these 5 months. I can’t keep it straight, but I’m so glad they can!

I had never heard of the armonica. I didn’t know his love of kites not only helped with electrical experiments, but he also did the first kite sailing!! And he invented hand swim paddles. I’m glad we’ve made improvements there…. His look awkward and heavy, the ones we used in swim team were much better! But I love that he experimented with such a variety of ideas and subjects! We watched a very interesting short movie about the printing press that had a demonstration. There were model ink blotters and other items to view.

Fortunately the museum found us close to the suggested places for a Philly cheese steak sandwich. Caden and I both had that on our list to try!  They were yummy! We tried several varieties…. One with whiz, most had provolone and the works 🙂

We toured Ben’s printing press after lunch. Fortunately we watched a short film on the museum because a school group took up the whole room so we could not see well. Turns out they shorten the program this time of year too because of the groups. We were able to ask a few questions about the binding process that was in another room before the next group took over.

The kids had earned their Jr ranger badges, so we headed back to get those before our last tour. The good part about that was the line to the bell was short so we went in and saw it up close. 🙂
Liberty Bell

The day ended with our tour of Independence Hall. I was glad we had learned about the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution elsewhere, because our tour guide was pretty hard to understand. Our poor kids asked what he had said after the whole thing was over. Oy! Luckily they understood where we were and could look around and enjoy being there!

Penn's Landing



Digital printing


At Ben's



Philly Cheesesteak

Abe and JFK


Printing press





Jr Rangers

Liberty Bell

Independence Hall front



Continental Congress meeting hall

Independence Hall back

Kids at the bar

At Timberlane Campground

Naomi, Kaylin and Brielle


Naomi, Brielle and Kaylin

Remember in the beginning I said it was hard to find water to drink?!? On our way out the visitors center I looked for a drinking fountain as our water bottles were empty, but I didn’t see one. We stood in the 20-30 min security line for the second time. I thought there would be drinking fountains. None. So I was very thirsty at the end of our tour. We tried finding water in 7-11 or any other place with a fountain or sodas. None. Until Huck (who doesn’t drink) walked into a bar. The bartender was soooo sweet and happily filled all our water bottles. The water tasted like dirt, but it was cold and wet. Should I be worried Dacen looks so excited to be getting a drink in a bar?!?
Kids at the bar




I’m curious to know how I got good grades in history. I know I atleast got B’s. I do remember feeling like all these dates and places and battles were swirling around in my head and didn’t really make sense. I think I compartamentalized each chapter we needed to learn about for the test. I like to see the big picture and I don’t think that ever happened for me with history.

So this trip has been great. Although still a little hard to keep straight since we’re still learning/visiting/seeing the sites of so many wars and battles. American Revolution, Civil War, War of 1812, Yorktown, WWI, WWII. There has even been stuff about the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Whew. In some cases it’s still felt a little text book and a little intellectual, but there have been rangers, volunteers, movies, and exhibits that have really personalized the war or battle, the person, and their struggles.

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DC – Museums, Monuments, Memorials, Mammals and More – Oh and Don’t go in May!

DC – I loved it all! So much to do, so little time! I feel like a broken record, but it’s true.

The campground was nice and pretty. It was kind of far away, and there was not much to it at all, but for the price it was great! It was super tight though. I feel like we barely fit through there. I’m sure Huck covered the 5 different tries until we fit in a spot. And boy none of the sites were even close to being level. But we found one that worked.

Let’s cover the biggest down side…. The school groups. Not just a few, but hundreds of groups of kids everywhere! We didn’t really have a huge choice in the timing. I know that sounds weird, but there’s a lot of factors in the timing of our trip and you can only control so many…. If any. So, if you can help it, do NOT visit DC in May.

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The National Zoo

The National Zoo  was sooooo fun!! Huck needed a work day and he doesn’t love zoos. I don’t blame him. I am a hypocrite because I oppose them on one level, but I LOVE seeing the animals! I do love that zoos can get people excited about animals and nature. You get to learn about the animals and when you see them up close it can really ignite a level of passion you can’t get from a book or computer/TV screen. So really I love sanctuaries that have rescued animals, rather than zoos that breed animals just for captivity. And I definitely prefer zoos that give animals lots of room to roam vs the ones that put them in small cages.

As for the National Zoo, we got a late start, it was quite a drive THRU downtown DC, in the Beast. I was really worried about finding and parking the Beast as everything (even the web site several times) states that the parking is very limited. Whew Parking was no problem at all. We were not sure if we would get rained on, so I warned the kids we would NOT be able to see everything. Except we did come quite close to seeing it all. And if I had been able to navigate the zoo better, we probably COULD have seen it all! Oh man did I mention the kids and I love animals? All animals! We of course knew that the pandas were top priority since we can’t see those in CO and the kids have never seen one in person. (I had seen them in China, but couldn’t wait to see them again!) When we first checked on the pandas the 9month old baby was up in a tree and you could barely see a little bit of cream fur. But the big ones are also so darn cute!!  I think we were able to go back to the pandas about 3 times because of the way we saw the zoo. And 3rd times a charm! We saw the cute little guy inside right up close and he was sooooo cute!

We also loved the birds and reptiles, lions, tigers, elephants, and more! The Fennec fox pups were sooo cute and playful and interactive. I loved seeing the kids laughing and playing with them. We loved the bird houses. It was fun to see up close some of the birds we had learned about and seen in Florida. We also saw quite a few mice running around. And these enclosures were set up so that we COULD have touched a lot of these (though you aren’t supposed to) so conceivably we could have had a mouse run across our foot. Ewww. That’s one animal I don’t love. The only disappointment was poor Dacen. We couldn’t see the ONE bear they had. He LOVES bears. Oh well – he saw the PANDA BEARS!!

Ring tailed lemur

Lemur lookers



Riding a seal

Caden staring down the seal

Seal likes Brielle's Bei Bei

Close enough to touch

Spoon bill

Lions lyin around

Lion s and crazy faces


Princess on a bear

Eating a bear

Brielle's Bei Bei

4 little monkeys

Oooo oo ahhha ahh

Przewalski's horses

Riding a bear



Riding a statue

Bao Bao


D with his stuffed panda

Brielle with her stuffed animal



Group shot

Elephant poo

Fennec foxes

DC was a success!!

Earth Day And Neuseway Park

We had a busy earth day!! (Yes it was a couple days ago but the festivities were today). A local club had a kids fishing day at the pond next to us. I was left holding the worms, so I decided to go pick up trash (sadly there was a LOT).

– Dacen held a dead water moccasin/cotton mouth. Luckily I’m not afraid of snakes because that boy is a little obsessed. We learned a lot about snakes from the teens who killed it. We later found out even though the snake DID have the diamond shaped head and other appropriate markings, it was another very similar looking snake. So, Dacen STILL wants to hold a cotton mouth. Sigh.

– Caden rescued a turtle who was trying to cross the road. There’s a joke there I’m sure!

– Brielle rescued an injured or stunned toad. Sadly it was camera shy and hopped out of her hands before we could take the picture.

Snake  Caden's turtle rescue  Marsh

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Oh I love the south! It’s green and gorgeous and the people are so friendly! I have not spent hardly any time in the south save for a couple business trips and a trip to New Orleans in college for a marketing convention. So I’m enjoying learning about and experiencing this part of the USA!

However, we are at a difficult point in our trip. We are feeling like we don’t have much time left. Only a little over 2 months left, but a LOT left to see and do. Wahington DC, New York, Boston, the outer Banks. Each of those are probably 5-7 days easily. Not to mention Virginia, and we’d like to get up to Maine if possible. Then there’s the drive back to Colorado and things we want to see on the way back. Nashville and Memphis, and Mammoth Cave in KY to name a few. So we’re trying to pick and choose where to spend our time. Therefore, we only had two days in Charleston, NC.

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Georgia On My Mind

Skidaway Island State Park

What a gorgeous place!!! This place is still on my mind and possibly one of my favorites on the trip! It’s quiet and absolutely beautiful! Instantly I wanted to take a picture of our “yard.” This park is definitely worth visiting if you are in the area. There is so much to see and learn about in a small area. They have great (short 1.5 miles or less) trails. The trail maps give great info about the plants, trees and history of the area. All the trails are worth exploring. The only downside is it’s about 30 minutes to Savannah and Tybee Island.

Immediately we noticed the cardinals that like to hang out in our front yard. Also the pileated wood pecker that liked the trees in the back yard. Since it’s a state park we of course asked for the Junior Ranger book. Cranky kids meant I sent them out right away to get some fresh air and work on their Jr Ranger books. Mama needed peace and quiet.

One and Only Ivan Cardinal Jr. Ranger work

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3rd Times a Charm!

While in Ft. Lauderdale I tried to research where we should stay after our time in the Keys. We wanted to be somewhere central in order to check out the Everglades and yet be able to go to Key Largo.

One place I researched was Larry and Penny Thompson Park. It was reasonably priced, looked really cool, got good reviews, in fact, it seemed perfect, but it was on the south end of Miami and not as central as the Homestead area. The Homestead area is definitely very centrally and ideally located to the Keys and the Everglades. In fact, it’s the closest location to both, without actually staying in the Keys or the Everglades. But the RV parks get very mixed reviews and they are expensive.

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