Friday, July 20, 2012

Maine Vacation

We left Tuesday (July 17, 2012) for yet another adventure.  We left about 10am and made a fairly  uneventful trip to Terre Haute, IN--about 400 miles.  St. Louis was the worst as far as traffic goes.  We were at a dead stop several times!  Plus the heat was terrible!   We stayed at the KOA in Terre Haute and went swimming.  I realized that I had forgotten my swim suit, so I just watched everyone else swim.  It was rather hot and muggy, but not too bad.

Wednesday, July 18, we left Indiana by 9am-ish and headed to Ohio.  This was a little more eventful day.  We stopped at Target  in Akron to get swimsuits (Taylor needed one too), then we ran into some storms in Columbus that were a little scary.  At one point a gust of wind had blown a bumper off a guy's car, right into our path and we ran over it.  Thankfully no damage was done.  Also, with that strong gust, it pushed all traffic over to the right.  Again, no damage or injuries.  We were in a severe thunderstorm watch as it rained really hard for quite awhile and thundered and had lots of lightning.  At one point, we heard a huge crash and lightning had struck the grove of trees across the interstate right where we were passing. Yikes!  We pressed on and got north of the storms.  I'm assuming the storms kept heading East and didn't come north as we didn't have any more weather issues.  We stayed at a
campground in Geneva on the Lake, Ohio right across the street from Lake Erie. Nathan took Taylor and Jack swimming while I put Charline to bed.  Today's mileage for the day: 320 miles.

Thursday, July 19
The campground was rather large which made a great place to get in a good morning walk.  Kenai and I walked briskly all ove the campground, then stopped to get Taylor and she walked with us as well.  We noticed the ducks and swan at the ponds, and also noticed a feeder.  So, we went back to the motorhome, got Charline (Jack sleeps in now) and we went to feed the ducks!  We got a decent start again and headed out for New York with our goal being Albany.    A rather un-eventful driving day which is good, because it allowed us to travel about 450 miles.  We stayed just west of Albany at a little campground.  We all went swimming (I at least put on my swimsuit and watched, all others got it).  The temperature had dropped to probably 70 and there was a breeze and the pool was not heated.  Not for me.  The kids, as usual, had a blast swimming with their Dad!  We got out and started a fire and dinner.  It's nice to be able to have fires again.  On our last vacation (3 weeks ago), I think we only had a fire once.  There was a fire ban everywhere.  Even the first couple of campgrounds on this trip banned fires.  The girls and I did a load of laundry and noticed a super-cool bug.  I looked it up later and learned it's a Dobsonfly.  Very interesting creature!  Total mileage for the day: about 450 miles.

Friday, July 20
My favorite driving day so far, I just wish we would've allowed more time to enjoy this drive!  New York proved to be absolutely beautiful.  I wasn't exactly expecting that :)  We left our NY campground and decided to take Hwy 7 East and take 2-lane to Portland, ME.  Hwy 7 turned into Hwy 9 in Vermont.  Vermont is absolutely gorgeous as well.  Not sure what I had in my head, but I wasn't exactly expecting that.  The kids memorized various mountain ranges in New England this year, one of which was Green Mountains.  Well, the Green Mountains make up 90% of Vermont, so it was neat to actually see the mountains they learned about.  Heading further east into New Hampshire, we went through another set of mountains they learned about..the White Mountains.  (Oh, and can't forget the Adirondacks, they learned those too).  The only hold up today was our right taillight blinker quit working and of course it wasn't an easy fix.  Nathan had to take it all apart and change out the fuse.  A much bigger ordeal that just changing a lightbulb.  I was thinking we didn't have quite as far to go today, so we didn't get going until 10:15am, then we added a 1.5 hour delay at Wal-Mart fixing a taillight--we didn't leave New York until 1:30.  That's a late start to make it to Maine in decent time.  Thus, we went through lots of cute towns with lots of antique shops! and even a couple of antique book shops!! but didn't stop.  We only made one Dunkin' Donuts.  Nathan was craving a donut and coffee and next-door happened to have a little nursery, so I got some maple syrup and cheese (we were in Vermont at this point, had to get syrup and cheese!).  Our only other stop was at a pizza place in New Hampshire.  And I loved New Hampshire as well!  NY, VT and NH really exceeded any expectations I had.  They are beautiful!  We finally entered Maine and had about an hour to our campground in Scarborough--just outside of Portland.  It''s a huge campground.  No pool, but does have a large pond.  It was nearing dark when we arrived, so we just had a quick campfire and are now getting ready for bed.  Total mileage for today: 250 miles.  Total for this trip so far: 1420 miles

So far, a great trip.  Fairly uneventful (no major disasters at least) and we are truly enjoying the nice, cool weather.  I definitely did not pack enough warm clothes!

Uploading of pictures at the WiFi campground hotspots doesn't always work great, so no pictures for now.  Maybe later.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vacation--Kansas through Colorado to Wyoming

Thursday June 21, 2012
We had a great driving day today.  The winds died down a lot this morning and we were able to cover quite a few miles.  The wind picked up again going through Colorado and now into Wyoming, but not near as strong as Kansas.

We started off our morning by eating a pancake breakfast at the KOA in WaKeeney, KS and observing the Meadowlarks.  We headed out about 10am made it all the way to Cheyenne, Wyoming with a brief stop for lunch in the motorhome.  Along the way, Taylor and Jack were goofing off and Taylor's pinky finger got sprained in the process.  So far it is swollen, purple and very sore.  Hopefully time will heal that okay.  Jack's hives seem to be improving--at least the swelling in his face has gone down.  He still has the rash on his legs and seems to be itching more.  I did load up on Calamine lotion before we left and he takes Benedryl daily.  Hopefully he will overcome this soon!  Nathan's wasp sting from Sunday has completely healed.  That was a painful experience and his poor ear swelled up good, but the swelling has subsided and the itching has ceased.  Charline is doing okay.  She seems to have a hard time adjusting to vacation mode, but we're working with her to help regulate and enjoy our time together.  We've found that keeping her strapped in the entire time we're driving seems to be the best.  She operates best when she doesn't have too much freedom :)  She enjoys coloring, playing Legos with Jack and playing with her horses at the table.

The kids are dressed for the pool before we are completely hooked up now!  So, we all headed to the pool for a swim.  Charline always gets so cold but still perseveres as long as she can because she just loves to swim.  We then came back to the motorhome, ate tacos, then went to the KOA's home-made putt-putt.  The kids didn't really keep score, but Nathan and I did!  I had it in the bag, but the last hole....he beat me by 2 points!  Then, we played horseshoes.  Can't say I've ever played horseshoes before.  We modified the rules (there was a board that stated the actual rules).  All 5 of us got a turn and we were all so bad we changed it to where whoever got the closest to the post got a point.  I actually won that, but it was close.  Nathan was a close 2nd and Jack was 3rd.  Once Charline went to bed,  T, J, N8 and I played a dice game called Wolf.  We played 4 rounds and Jack won 3 of the rounds!  There was one round where Nathan and Taylor didn't get any points.  It was hilarious.

We sure are enjoying the scenery, the changing landscape, the different birds, the brief view of the Rocky Mountains today albeit off in the distance obscured by smoke.  Jack and Charline thought it was pretty neat to see snow (or as Charline calls it, snowman).

 We noticed our bag of Lays chips had really swollen as we climbed in elevation.  It finally popped somewhere in northern Colorado.  That was fun for the kids to observe!

Tomorrow, we are headed for some hot springs NW of here and we are super excited.  We thoroughly enjoyed the hot springs in the Yukon, so we're anxious to see how these compare.

2012 Vacation-Kansas

We left a day early and headed out on our vacation.  Destination: Yellowstone.  There were a few things we wanted to do in Colorado, but Yellowstone only had certain dates available for a campsite, so we aren't stopping much on the way there like we had planned.

We left Tuesday June 19 at 2pm and made it to Lawrence, KS.  We played games in the motorhome on the way and swam at the Jellystone campground in Lawrence and (the best part for me) was jumping on the Jumping Pillow.  Those are so fun!

Wed. June 20: We left just before 9am!  We stopped in Hays, KS at the Sternberg Museum that has a fossil of a fish within a fish.  That is a great museum, with lots to see, lots of fossils and dinosaurs and a sand pit for the kids to dig in to find bones.  They really liked that part!  We left Lawrence and only made it to WaKeeney, KS because the winds were 25-35mph.  At one point the winds pushed the motorhome into the other lane of traffic...that's when we knew it was time to stop.  Not much to do in WaKeeneey. It's hot but the winds make it too cool to swim.  I walked to an antique shop next to the campground and found an old collander, a large tea pot for Jack (he loves to make tea for the family in the mornings for Bible time) and 2 coffee mugs.

We learned that Kansas is the Sunflower State (although I haven't seen any sunflowers yet) and the state bird is the Western Meadowlark.  There are Meadowlarks all over this campground protecting their nests.  So fun to watch!

It's too windy to do much outside, so we are waiting out the wind and thankful the storms they were predicting passed!