8,598 miles later….July 25, 2013

Getting ready for our final leg of the journey!

Getting ready for our final leg of the journey!

We are so related :)

We are so related 🙂

Gorgeous day for a drive!

Gorgeous day for a drive!

We couldn’t believe that today is the day that we are ending our trip. How could these past 7 weeks gone so quickly? Were we really in Boston, New York, D.C. and so many other places? It really didn’t seem possible.
We were up early to get going at a time that would allow us to be pulling into Bellingham around 4pm. I realized that I had failed to get any pictures during yesterday with my aunt and uncle and the kids! This blog has really helped me to take more photos but I got caught up with chatting and had left the camara in the RV. Scott and I decided to wake them up for a quick photo-op then let them go back to sleep. They were good sports as I woke them at 6:45am and brushed hair and got them all to get dressed. The sun was out and the air was crisp…I love it!!!
We gathered for a couple of shots and then we all said our good byes. So fun seeing them…we love you guys!
Driving out of their street we were looking forward to getting home. The kids slept off and on as we traveled on Hwy 20. If you haven’t taken hwy 20 you are really missing out! The scenery is so gorgeous. I feel like I have said that so much recently, but it is 🙂
The trees and fields and mountains…wow!
Highway 20 never gets old! So beautiful!

Highway 20 never gets old! So beautiful!


Ice cream in Winthrop

Ice cream in Winthrop

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Ross lake...this is so breath taking!

Ross lake…this is so breath taking!

They are all about to explode!

They are all about to explode!

Gizmo :)

Gizmo 🙂

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We made the necessary pit stops and then 4 hours later made our traditional stop in Winthrop for ice cream. I am sure all that have traveled 20 can relate with that one 🙂 We didn’t hang out but we did see the cutest little dog that was riding in a box in front of his owner on a motorcycle. He even had on goggles! So funny and cute…people love their pets!

Yeah!!!!!

Yeah!!!!!


On the road and determined to keep a good pace we made one final stop in Bow, Wa. for gas. Gas is sooo expensive here! We used the Gas Buddy app on Scott’s phone the whole way across the country and back and Bow was the cheapest on this last leg of the journey. Scott filled up the tank for the last time this trip (it has been many, many tanks) and we made the final I-5 drive to Bellingham.
We were all on look out for the “Entering Bellingham” sign because we wanted to take a picture in front of it. Looking….looking….there it is…off of the exit!?! Oh man, we passed it. Who decides that you put the sign off of the exit? We take the next exit and double back, park and walk out to the off ramp. I was hesitant but Scott said we shouldn’t give up on the very last picture of a city or state sign…and Washingtons state sign was such a bummer.
Nice to come home to!

Nice to come home to!


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The home stove is the bigger one in the back.

The home stove is the bigger one in the back.


So we get on the off ramp and it wasn’t so bad, I get some great pictures and we jump back in the RV…only 5 minutes until the Gizmo reunion!
We each gave a prayer of thanksgiving for this time, our safe travels and for the amazing fun and we took off. The kids were so excited! I think that Katherine may have been literally shaking with anticipation. She has missed Gizmo so badly (they all have) and even went so far as to cut some of Gizmo’s hair before we left and kept it in a baggie by her bed 🙂 That is love people!
We round the corner towards our house, the kids are bouncing, we park, I tell them no pushing. I could just see the door flying open and one of them crashing on the sidewalk. They run out and to the gate. GIZMO!!!! The poor dog is so excited he can’t control himself 🙂 He is jumping in circles, up and down, getting hugged by Katherine and probably wondering if it is truly us. He starts to pee (he has never done that before) as he is near heart failure. The kids are laughing and screaming all at once. I was smiling so big my face hurt! That was one happy, surprised dog and we had three kids that were so overjoyed at this reunion. The took off into the yard like a big mass of kid energy and fur. They all ran and ran, all the while Gizmo had his tongue hanging out and bounded around the yard. So great to be home!
As we all calmed down and walked into our house it seemed HUGE! Our kitchen seemed twice the size I remembered and even our small bathroom felt big! I enjoyed the fact that it was cleaned up and that Charity (our house sitter) had left cut dahlia’s and fresh cookies on the counter. I tried to take in the moment knowing that in less than 15 minutes this would be covered in all the stuff from the RV. I hate the unpacking!!!!
We went out for one of many trips back and forth with all the items we had been living with for the past 7 weeks. I am pretty sure it all doubled! How did that much stuff fit in there?
Around 5:30pm my brother Kurt and his wife Rose came over with some dinner stuff and lots of hugs. Sooooo great to see them! We all missed them so much!!! It was so beautiful outside and we all sat around and talked, barbequed some dinner and then made a fire in the fire pit. We actually didn’t get much camp fire time since the fires were banned in the last 4 or 5 states and it was too darn hot on the east coast to even want one. Kurt showed us the prototype of the Home Stove (the cleanest burning stove that also creates electricity to charge phones, led’s and other small electronics) that BioLite has developed for third world countries. It was really cool! It will help to significantly decrease the rate of child deaths. The women do all their cooking over open fires in the home and smoke and the toxins the fire lets off kills millions of children a year. This product will save lives and make their fires hotter, cleaner and produce electricity for lights and phones. He also brought along the US camping version that weighs just two pounds and creates a super hot fire for campers to cook over. The kids roasted some marshmallows over it 🙂
My dahlia's are still in bloom :)

My dahlia’s are still in bloom 🙂


Couldn't wait to water color paint (I wouldn't let her do it in the RV)

Couldn’t wait to water color paint (I wouldn’t let her do it in the RV)


Sooo good to be home!

Sooo good to be home!


We had a great time hanging out with Kurt and Rose. So good to be home with family and friends. The trip was an amazing experience that we would all do again and we look forward to our next adventure. Now we get the pleasure of absorbing all this stuff and getting back to the daily life. Not a bad place to be…we love Bellingham.
Thank you again for each person who followed us on this journey. It was fun to write about our time on the road and we have loved hearing from people along the way. We feel blessed beyond belief and hope you had fun with us! Until the next adventure….

Kettle Falls, Washington….July 24, 2013

Leaving Butte, Montana

Leaving Butte, Montana

Really smokey traveling through the mountains in Montana...don't know if it was controlled burn or forest fire.

Really smokey traveling through the mountains in Montana…don’t know if it was controlled burn or forest fire.

Yeah...only one more state to go :)

Yeah…only one more state to go 🙂

Lake Coeur d'alene in Idaho...wow!

Lake Coeur d’alene in Idaho…wow!

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We are in our home state!!! Lame sign though...no where to pull of and grab a picture!

We are in our home state!!! Lame sign though…no where to pull of and grab a picture!

Fields of gold

Fields of gold

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Our GPS took us here to catch the highway up to Kettle Falls...what?

Our GPS took us here to catch the highway up to Kettle Falls…what?

The "story" that went on and on for over an hour!

The “story” that went on and on for over an hour!


We woke up to a cool, crisp, and clear morning in Butte, Montana. The scenery from our camp ground is really nice. We are able to see part of the Berkeley Pit which was an open pit copper mine. It is huge! We didn’t go to the viewing point and look in because we didn’t have the time when we arrived and we left too early. When my family did a camping trip when I was young we looked down in the pit. I should remember this, but I don’t…I am not sure why some things stick and others don’t 🙂 My mom and dad were amazed at how the trucks in the bottom of the pit looked like little toy trucks that my brother had. It is one mile long by half a mile wide with an approximate depth of 1,780 feet. It is something that you are not able to miss driving through Butte, Montana.

We left camp at 7am and were spoiled with gorgeous view once again. The topography of Wyoming and Montana are one of my favorites! I love the mountains that rise up around you as you wind your way along I-90. Once again I snapped a bunch of photos but it never looks as beautiful as it does in person.
The morning was beautiful as we traveled through Montana on our way to Idaho then Washington. A stop here and there for stretching and gas and we were on our way again. The weather was getting increasingly warmer as we approached noon. I texted my aunt to let her know we would arrive around two and she informed me that it was supposed to be 100 degrees at her house. We were not concerned with that, this whole trip has been hot so what is one more day 🙂 ?
We had these great plans of when we arrived at the Washington border we were going to pile out and take a victory picture. Heading out of Couer d’alene , Idaho we had 10 miles to go and were excited. You would think that on I-90 Washington would have a good sign to stop at…not the case. They stuck the sign in the median between the two directions so that you couldn’t stop…and it was a lame sign too. So disappointing Washington!!! I snapped a drive by and we kept on going. Maybe we will do the victory picture when we enter Bellingham 
We made it to Spokane and we have to leave 90 and head up 395 north so our GPS decides to skirt the city…good plan, then has us driving through neighborhoods. The roads get worse, then we notice that one fo the roads is blocked off. Wonderful! We continue hoping that it we could take a right or left and turn around. The area is…lets say…”rough”. Scott says the GPS will say “next, take a right at the burning couch on the side of the road” It didn’t seem too far-fetched! Scot had to flip a u-turn with our RV…not a simple maneuver, and we found our way to 395 north. I tell you, it’s when I say that we love our GPS and it does something like that! Scott has a really good sense of direction so he figured out an alternative all the while GPS lady was telling us to turn around 
On the way north we enjoyed some nice landscapes and farmland. It got me wondering why barns are always red. Technology is so great…I google it. Turns out that back in the day before paint farmers would protect their wood with linseed oil which is from flax so it had an orangish tint. They would then mix in other things one being rust (which was very plentiful on a farm) because it would prevent fungus and moss from damaging their wood. This combination made a red color when applied to the wood. Once paint colors came into being farmers continued with the red paying tribute to past tradition. Interesting huh? Now you will think of that when you see a red barn  One of the things that has been so fun is just looking something up when you have a question. We have it so easy these days, information is just at your fingertips.
The whole drive from Spokane to Kettle the kids were making Scott and I laugh. They were making up a story. One would make up a whole series of events and animated tales, then the other would take over and add on where the other left off. This went on for over an hour! It was so intriguing to listen to the tale they were spinning. At one point I hear Katherine say “Who ordered a chicken dumpling because I am about to give you a chicken dumpling!” So funny! The story took many twists and turns 🙂
We pulled into their driveway at 2pm and were so happy to see them! We love coming over to Kettle Falls and hanging out with George and Linda. Benjamin especially loves when Unkey Monkey (sorry George 🙂 ) lets him shoot guns. No guns on this stop, just time enjoying their company and sitting on their lovely deck that is shaded and relaxing. It was darn hot, but it was okay in the shade. The kids began by reading inside the house for a while then came out and got in the hot tub. One of the other things they love about being here is the hot tub. George had cooled it as best he could and it was perfect for them. They “swam” around for a long time while we all talked. It is always a great time at the Colman’s house. We had a great dinner with lots of fresh, cool vegetables (I know that sounds weird but we have run out of veggies and they are so good on hot days) and COLD water. Every camp ground has had such warm water! It is awful to fill your cup with water that is 90 degrees. The kids were in and out of the hot tub and ran around the yard some. The temperature finally began to decrease about 9pm and by 10pm it had gotten as low as 80 🙂 We borrowed a big fan from Linda and between that, the little one we have and our overhead ventilation fan it sounded like we could lift off at any minute! It was quite a comfortable temperature by the time everyone was tucked in. The kids said they don’t want to leave Auntie Lindy’s and Unkey Monkey’s , they just love seeing them.
It has been a long couple of days for Scott as he tackled miles of freeway…hard to believe when we awake tomorrow we will be on our way home. I said this would be my last post but I figure I should write one more when we arrive in Bellingham tomorrow. So good-bye for now…Bellingham here we come!

One giant loop….July 23, 2013

Driving through Wyoming

Driving through Wyoming

We were the only ones on the road!

We were the only ones on the road!

We completed a giant loop

We completed a giant loop

Hello again!

Hello again!

Riding up top in the RV...rough way to travel :)

Riding up top in the RV…rough way to travel 🙂

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She knew I was taking a picture, she loves to be funny :)

She knew I was taking a picture, she loves to be funny 🙂

WOW!

WOW!

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It may be gone tomorrow!

It may be gone tomorrow!

The final count down...do you recognize this dance move Nathan?

The final count down…do you recognize this dance move Nathan?

Dancing, not boxing :)

Dancing, not boxing 🙂

We said good-bye to Casper, Wyoming at 7am. The morning was beautiful with the sun coming up and taking the chill off the temperature. When I woke up at 5:30am it said that it was 50 degrees out. I love it when it is hot during the day and cools down so nicely at night.
The landscape of Wyoming is just gorgeous. It seems like over every hill and around every bend I was saying “wow, that is so pretty”. I took a bunch of pictures that didn’t do the view justice. You could see so far from the top of some of the hills.
We stopped for gas about an hour in and then a rest stop awhile later. We were planning a trip to the Cracker Barrel restaurant that we had seen so many signs for back east.
The kids read and played and about four and half hours in we made it to Cracker Barrel. Cute decor and they served breakfast all day. Benjamin was happy about that and he ordered….french toast :) No surprise there. Our meals were okay. I guess I was expecting more from all the advertising on the side of the road. Benjamin and Ellie said that they preferred the breakfast food from G.G.’s kitchen. Grandma, you can tell the cooks at Venus that they hold the prize for breakfast fare 🙂 
We finished up and had to walk through the gift shop to leave the restaurant. That is smart on the retailer’s part but is it ever a pain to a parent. They put all the candy and kids stuff right down the path to the door. It is exhausting! We battled our way through to the doors and onto the “front porch” of the restaurant. They had a couple of checkers boards set up for people to use so Scott and Ben played a game. The girls also challenged one another to a game. Scott won, narrowly, and the girls were told to end the game. Time to hit the road with three and a half hours to go. We will have to stop to get gas once more along the route which will give Scott a stretch break.
The kids have done a really good job entertaining themselves during our travel times. They have surprised both Scott and I really. I know that they are good kids, and they get along really good overall but we have had many hours together so we expected some grumpy times. They have had a few disagreements but over all they have done excellent. It has made the trip that much more fun. They are so excited to get home to friends and family and Gizmo. We are glad that our last night on the road will be visiting my aunt and uncle in Kettle Falls, Wa. We love to head their way in the summer and enjoy their company and beautiful yard. We feel blessed to have so many people in our lives to miss 
We made it off of I-25 and onto I-90 right before Sheridan, Wyoming…the completion of one gigantic loop! So funny that we were driving this same stretch of interstate on June 9th! We passed many familiar sights as we drove west.
Our last stop for gas and stretching was just outside of Bozeman, Montana. The kids got a kick out of it because we filled up at the semi truck area and there was a truck full of cows next to us. We got back on the road and Scott drove the last 100 miles of the day. He ended up driving 507 miles!!! That is the longest day of the trip. The drive was a good one though; it was sunny and not too windy.
The campground was sub par at best, but we are gone in 13 hours anyway. The kids took a swim and then Scott, Benjamin and I played a game of SkipBo at the picnic table while the girls were entertaining us with dance moves that they learned from the Zizzo dance party  They were making us all laugh!
Ellie is getting close to losing her first tooth and she is really scared about it, it is pretty cute. Benjamin and Katherine have been reassuring her that it will be okay. I think it may come out tomorrow.
Sad how fast they grow up. This trip was in the back of our minds for a couple of years before we actually said we were going to do it. One day it dawned on Scott and I that our time with them is going quickly, especially Benjamin…he is only 7 years from leaving to college. How can this be? We only have our children for a short time and we wanted to take this trip when they were still thinking it would be fun and that we are not lame  We are so glad we did. It was overwhelming at times thinking about all the things that needed to happen to leave for such a long time. As we got everything in place I still was so uncertain about being gone for so long and all the unexpected things that could pop up (I am a planner to a fault). Two days into this adventure and Scott and I were more thankful than ever for this opportunity. We are always talking about how we are amazed that this has been as fun as it has. We have been living in 29 feet for over 7 weeks and I really think we are all better for it. The kids have had fun together, Scott and I have been able to really spend time with them and enjoy each of their personalities, we have loved visiting family and seeing this beautiful country. Our appreciation for our home town and being close to family has grown. Sometimes when you are at home and in your routine (I am a big fan of routine) you forget about living life. This has opened our eyes and helped us to refocus how we spend our time. Our kids are precious, they are growing up too quickly and we want to know each of them for who God made them to be. Scott and I both are so thankful for these past weeks and will cherish the memories made forever.
A few of the things we have learned on this trip..
I hate humidity! My hair looked like a lion’s mane most of the time…big and crazy!
We love family. Spending time with Grandma, our cousin Carole and Alison and her family made me miss them but appreciate them more. I am determined to keep in touch.
We love our family and friends at home. It has been hard to be away and it is nice to know we have so many to come home to.
We NEVER exercise on vacation! As much as we want to think we will…we won’t! I even brought the gear and it now is in storage under the RV, it took up too much precious real estate in the RV 
Our kids are each unique in their own way and they are fun (We knew this, but we learned to appreciate it more during this time)
We love our GPS..most of the time.
The Keurig coffee maker is awesome!
WE LOVE AIR CONDITIONING!
We love Gizmo (Scott and I, the kids loved him at first sight)
We love Bellingham. After traveling through over half the states in the country, we are so glad to live in Bellingham, WA.
We feel honored to live in this country! Learning about the founders of this country and all that they sacrificed for us was humbling. Their dedication and determination has given us the freedoms that we have and enjoy today. We take this for granted….we shouldn’t.
Our God is an amazing creator! The beauty of this earth is breath-taking! From the oceans, to the mountains, to the rolling landscapes, his fingerprints are everywhere. He has delivered us safely to each location over miles and miles of road and into busy cities and campgrounds.
We love our RV 
Thank you to everyone who has been following our journey. Your prayers and messages have made us feel loved. I had fun writing about our days on the road and all the interesting things we were able to experience.
Tomorrow will probably be the last time I write anything about this trip since the next day we are headed to Bellingham. We had a wonderful time!!!!

On our way to Wyoming….July 22, 2013

Does it get any better?

Does it get any better?

God's amazing handiwork!

God’s amazing handiwork!

Colorado vistas (that is for you Mom :) )

Colorado vistas (that is for you Mom 🙂 )

Wyoming again!

Wyoming again!

Ellie made this on the drive...a robot costume.  It took her a long time :)

Ellie made this on the drive…a robot costume. It took her a long time 🙂

The kids with The Kid

The kids with The Kid

Escape door

Escape door

fun :)

fun 🙂

Benjamin got a magnifine glass at the spy museum, its bun to burn holes in leaves.

Benjamin got a magnifine glass at the spy museum, its bun to burn holes in leaves.

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Katherine did her own hair, looks good!

Katherine did her own hair, looks good!

More stew...yum :)

More stew…yum 🙂

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Fun game!

Fun game!

DSC_0703I was up early this morning and started in on writing the post when I noticed that the sun was about to come up. I end up always writing inside the RV, everywhere we have stayed has just been so hot from the get go that I preferred the air conditioning. I decided to go outside and it was great, about 62 degrees. I grabbed my computer and my coffee (in my pink Elvis mug of course) and sat down at the picnic table. It was like we were the only ones there. It wasn’t quiet since we were right by the freeway, but it was peaceful just the same. The sun rise is one of my favorite things. I love the start of a new day, the freshness of it. It energizes me and I look forward to what this day will hold. The sun was beautiful and as it rose it warmed me up as I wrote. This is the best morning on this trip so far. The sunrise, hot coffee and the fact that Colorado reminds me of home. I miss Bellingham. I always knew I liked where we lived but now it is confirmed. The mild temperatures are definitely what I prefer.
I wrote the blog and headed inside once again to get all ready to take off. We packed up our things and were driving out of Fountain Colorado at 7:45am. When we get going earlier and we have a lot of pretty straight driving we let the kids stay sleeping in their beds. It is nice for us and for them. They usually only last an hour at the most but at least it knocks an hour off the drive.
We headed through Colorado Springs, so we did see it from the road 🙂 then towards Denver. We didn’t want to hit all the rush hour traffic and our leaving closer to 8 was just right. There was some traffic, but not bad. Colorado is really pretty. I have always wanted to see what it looked like since it seems like I have met a lot of people in Bellingham that moved from Colorado. The views of the Rocky Mountains and the landscape are really beautiful. There is a lot of farm country as well.
We made a few stops on the way, one being the visitors center/rest area for Wyoming. It was such a nice visitors center! They had all kinds of displays and interactive learning stations for kids. So much information on the state, its history and what to do in Wyoming. I picked up some brochures for our next adventure we want to plan, Yellowstone. The kids had fun sitting in a jail cell next to Billy the Kid and escaping through a hidden hole in the wall down a little slide. They also got to climb into a tee pee which was neat.
We continued on the way enjoying more beautiful scenery through Wyoming. It is crazy that the last time through Wyoming it was still June and we had talked to the people going on the bike race in Seattle…did that really happen? How does time go fast and slow all at once 🙂 It has been 49 days, we have seen so much and yet it has gone quickly. Tomorrow we will be driving through Sheridan (where we stayed before) making our travels end up in one giant loop!
We stopped at Walmart for some last minute dinner stuff and supplies and headed to our campground. Once again it is basically on the freeway but we are only here for 14 hours and nothing will compare to our stay at Jelly Stone Park!
The pool was tiny, but nice and the staff friendly. We had some great neighbors from Montana that we talked with a bit and found out some information about some neat places to stay in Wyoming. We all swam and cooled off. There was a nice breeze so the 90 degrees felt pretty good…low humidity really helps too.
After a bbq dinner the kids took one more dip in the pool then we all played some games. At Dicks 5 and 10 in Branson, MO I picked up a game called Skill Ball. I don’t know if it is an old time game or not, they were selling it as if it was, but I thought it was one all could play. It turns out to be really fun 🙂 It reminds me of SkeeBall (we spent a lot on that at Hershey Park) where you roll the balls up the lane, off the jump at the end and try to get them in the rings/holes for points.
We had fun playing many games of that, some go fish and then SkipBo. This time is nice because it does limit what needs to be done and allows for more time playing with the kids. I know they will remember many things about this trip and I am sure one of them will be that we played a lot of games.
We all headed to bed a little earlier than normal (probably 9:30pm) since tomorrow is a doozey…Scott is driving 500 miles. We have not driven that far yet, but we are shaving off one day of the trip to see my aunt and uncle and arrive home one day early. We hope to be out of the campground by 7am. We are going to stop for lunch about 5 hours in at a Cracker Barrel. They are everywhere on the east coast and we are curious about how good they are. It will be a great place to stop and fill up and then hit the road for 3 more hours.
On a side note…I have to tell you one more thing I remembered about Charlie Bucket from San Francisco, CA (the micro-mini pig). His “mom” showed us what he was going to wear to visit Graceland the next day…a while, sequined Elvis cape! No joke! Also she told us many times that he is completely potty trained and sleeps with them in their bed, oh my!
Anyways, that is it for today, not many interesting things happen when the majority of your day is spent driving but an uneventful drive is good for us 🙂
Only three nights left of RV sleeping! Thanks for the prayers and comments…we love them!

Our short time in Colorado….July 21, 2013

Foggy Kansas morning

Foggy Kansas morning

Really pretty landscapes

Really pretty landscapes

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Two tourists got in my drive by picture :)

Two tourists got in my drive by picture 🙂

Colorado

Colorado

We headed out of our Kansas campground at 8am wanting to get a bit earlier of a start to our long day of travel. The weather was cool for the first time I can remember in the last 4 weeks…cool being 75 🙂

It looked like a fall morning as we drove down the interstate. There was low fog that made it so you couldn’t see far out into the fields. The big wind turbines looked like they had no blades, just one huge trunk leading up to the sky. We didn’t actually see the sunshine until we were at least a couple of hours into our journey.

We let the kids ride on the cab over bed for a while, up until now they have had to stay in the seats with the seat belts. It offers some great views from up there! We felt that our straight, long drive was a safe one for them to try it out. We were driving basically straight on the same interstate for 350 miles. They say Kansas is so boring to drive through…pretty much true. Not too many things to see, but the views are still pretty. There are fields of green and gold on either side. So many of the Mom and Pop gas stations are closed down in the small towns. You can see that the economy has really effected some of the smaller businesses.

We made a stop for lunch and gas (we are back to the daily fill up with all the miles we are driving) and headed back onto the interstate for 3 more hours.

Scott and I love seeing the scenery and landscape change. It is fun to get up each morning and be on the road to a new state or town and see what is there.

Notice the black thing in the air...Scott's shoe.  The girls were laughing so hard!

Notice the black thing in the air…Scott’s shoe. The girls were laughing so hard!

POW!

POW!

Oh the talent Benjamin has...does this count as musical? :)

Oh the talent Benjamin has…does this count as musical? 🙂


He was cracking us up!

He was cracking us up!


We lost an hour on our drive so we are now in the Mountain Time Zone (I think that is what it is called) and only one hour ahead of Bellingham. It was hard to be three hours ahead of friends and family…I always wanted to call them in the morning but I am up at 5:30am and no one loves me enough to take a call at 2:30am 🙂

As we headed to Colorado we were disappointed that we chose to go as far south (Colorado Springs) and not more north (above Denver…maybe Boulder) When we were planning the trip it sounded fun to see Colorado Springs, but then we didn’t tow a car so when you are at the camp ground you are stuck. We could still drive around if we wanted to unhook our power but the RV isn’t exactly easy to get around a town. The campground we chose was actually in Fountain which is 10 miles south of Colorado Springs…so we basically were driving 70 miles out of the way to stay in a site and not see Colorado Springs after all….what you learn as you go 🙂

Tasty soup by Ellie and Katherine

Tasty soup by Ellie and Katherine

The little river with a man made falls...sounded pretty

The little river with a man made falls…sounded pretty


Honestly, it was so crazy planning this trip. We really didn’t know what to expect with have camping reservations and what to see. I was so worried about not getting a spot that I had Scott book each night. That has really made our plan a bit inflexible. For the majority of the time it hasn’t been a problem but at other times we have wanted to change a stop or stay longer somewhere. The campgrounds have all been so empty too! There was only one or two that mattered that we had reservations. Well, hindsight is 20/20 right? If anyone else is planning a trip like this someday just remember that…you don’t need to book every night.

Black clouds...again!  Didn't rain until 9:30pm though

Black clouds…again! Didn’t rain until 9:30pm though


So we arrived in Fountain Springs, Colorado and it was a pretty nice campground. The office lady was nice (rare really…people are just grumpy most of the time) and our spot was surrounded by empty spots. The thing that really bugs us is when a campground has so few campers and they stick you right next the someone…really? The spaces are always close together so that is really annoying.
The pool was nice, full for how few people were actually here, but fun for the kids to cool down in. We played some frisbee which was great since we had a lot of space to spread out.

Scott and the girls kicked the soccer ball around and then they rode their bikes (again…you learn, the bikes have basically taken a tour and gotten little use) and played. The girls love to make “soup” in their red bucket so they whip up a tasty treat for themselves of water and leaves with a few rocks mixed in.

We had dinner which consisted of eating what need eating and realizing that the mozzarella cheese had gone sour….soooooo yucky! Benjamin provided some after dinner entertainment by making armpit sounds (if you know what I mean…remember doing that Kate and Kurt?) He had it dialed in and we were all laughing pretty hard. Funny how proud he was of his “talent”.
We walked around the campground and looked at the river than ran next to it then headed back for a couple of games of UNO.

We are headed to Casper, Wyoming tomorrow. Unfortunately our planning has put us driving through Denver on a Monday morning so we are leaving at 8am and hoping not to hit rush hour 🙂

Three more nights of sleeping in our RV, then our home!!!! We are excited but also sad to be ending this time as a family. We have had a lot of laughs and memories made.

Kansas…..July 20, 2013

The views! Beautiful!

The views! Beautiful!

I love all the rock along the roadways.

I love all the rock along the roadways.


Crazy!

Crazy!


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Kansas landscape with clouds that are begining to look unfriendly

Kansas landscape with clouds that are begining to look unfriendly

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Our travels from Branson, MO to Salina, Kansas began at 9am. We had about six hours of driving ahead of us and the earlier start, the better. There were gorgeous views from the road out of Branson.
We were driving through one area of Missouri and Scott was noticing a lot of horse poo on the side of the road, then a sign that said share the road. It was accompanied with a picture of a horse and buggy. The area must have had some Amish. As we came around a bend there was a full blown horse and buggy! On the freeway shoulder…that seems so dangerous with so many RV’s, semi trucks and cars! I would have gotten a picture but I wasn’t prepared and we did pass him going 60 miles an hour 🙂

The skies were growing darker with each mile north and I started to get more concerned about the fact that we were going into Kansas. I haven’t been to worried about weather but I am scared of twisters and tornadoes! Going into OZ country and black skies didn’t make me feel to confident. Accuweather said there were thunder and lightning storms and lots of rain but that was it…phew!

We crossed into Kansas and the rain started to fall. We saw a lot of lightning on the drive and I tried to get a picture but every time I would put the camara down a big strike would hit…figures! We noticed a lot of signs for Russel Stover chocolate as we came closer to Salina.

Fun stop at the end of a long day of driving

Fun stop at the end of a long day of driving

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Oh yeah!!!

Oh yeah!!!

Scott drove in these conditions for a long time, awful!

Scott drove in these conditions for a long time, awful!

Scott wanted to stop and see if it was just a big store or what so we pulled off. It was a store, connected to the factory. Benjamin was so happy 🙂 They got out of the RV in record time and we went in to check it out.

The front room was neat with a whole case that you could choose specific chocolates from, but the back room is where everyone was. They had piles of chocolate for discounted prices. Some was past its season (easter and valentines day) and others were bloopers or discontinued. Heavenly for Ben!
We ended up spending a good 30 minutes picking out some treats. Headed back to the RV we were already unwrapping our chocolate snacks.

Great rainy day entertainment :)

Great rainy day entertainment 🙂

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Bellingham tree huggers :)

Bellingham tree huggers 🙂

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Beautiful ending to the day

Beautiful ending to the day

The rain was still falling when we pulled into our campground so we ended up making some dinner and hanging out a bit. Katherine and Ellie had a great time entertaining us with a show they made up (remind you of anything Kate…we had some serious talent as kids, surprised we didn’t make Broadway 🙂 ) The skies cleared around 7:30pm so we headed out and found some fun things. They had a tee-pee you could actually rent, fun. No one was in it so we took some pictures by it for fun. They had a fun playground with a really big metal slide that would probably be deemed unsafe these days since it was pretty high with no sides. We played some horseshoes (a game my family always played when we camped…I obviously didn’t play much since I stunk it up tonight) and found a tree that the girls named grandpa tree. We had fun outside until 9pm or so then headed back for a game of farkle then bed.

We want to get going early tomorrow for a long drive to Colorado Springs, Colorado (421 miles)
Scott has now driven 6,603 miles so we will be breaking 7,000 miles tomorrow! Only 5 more days until Bellingham 🙂

Branson, a fun place to visit and lots to do….July 20, 2013

I was up early today and was greeted with sunny skies and warm temperatures. The only time to be outside around here and feel pleasant is early morning it seems. I didn’t go outside though, just sat inside and wrote on the blog page and researched our day.
We decided that we would spend some time at the pool and then head down to Branson’s downtown area about 11:30am. There are so many shows to choose from that it is difficult to decide. It needs to be family friendly, interesting to all ages and at a good time of day. After a lot of research we decided on Joseph at the Sight & Sound Theater. It is a Christian theater company that spreads the gospel through experience on stage. On Trip Advisor it was the #1 in 189 shows and had 4.5 stars out of over 800 reviews. The show we chose was going to be at 3:30pm which gave us some time to explore the town, grab some lunch and then go to the show.
Once everyone was up and had some breakfast we headed to the pool. Crazy how hot it can be at 9am! We had fun swimming and enjoying having the pool all to ourselves.
We headed out at 11:30am and decided to drive our RV downtown. There was lots of RV parking at the show area and we figured that Branson is used to big tour buses and RV’s so there must be somewhere to park. I had wanted to see the older part of Branson, not all the theaters, theme parks and mini golf spots so we went around the new district and headed toward the old town. The RV parking was along a lake..it looked like a river to me but the map said lake. We walked along a boardwalk that took us through a really nice new part the town had built. It was like one big shopping mall outdoors. Really nicely done, clean and fun to walk around. There was a really large fountain about half way down that ran along the shore line. They had the water that shot up to music and at the top of every hour they had a fire and water show. We stumbled upon this and realized that we only had to wait for 4 minutes. The kids were excited to see what this was. The music started playing loud and the water began shooting up, popping, and following the words/beat.

Feeding the ducks along the shore

Feeding the ducks along the shore

The water and fire show

The water and fire show

The water shot so high that we were able to get a good misting

The water shot so high that we were able to get a good misting


Then the fire would shoot out of some pillars behind the pool at certain times. It was so fun and it sent off some great spray that we stood in (it was 93 degree’s out by this time). After the water and fire show we walked back to a restaurant we had passed that sat out over the water. We thought it would be fun to eat there beacause of its location and Scott wanted to try Alligator tail. Oh yuck! The kids weren’t too excited about it but they weren’t paying for it either 🙂
The restaurant was owned by the big outdoors store Bass…or something like that. The decor was so neat inside with hanging canoes from the rafters and old barn looking wood. Very rustic and cozy. Our table had a beautiful view of the lake. Scott did order the Alligator tail which was basically little fried chuncks…probably didn’t taste like much other than fried but he couldn’t get anyone else to try it. Alison and Michael…this is nothing compared to duck liver and horse but it was adventurous for us 🙂 I still can’t believe you ate horse!!! We all enjoyed what we ordered and were nice and cool in their air conditioning.
The place we chose for lunch

The place we chose for lunch

They love a lemon in their water...so grown up

They love a lemon in their water…so grown up

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Eatin some gator :)

Eatin some gator 🙂


After lunch we headed out and waited for the free shuttle that would take us up the hill to the older section of town. It wasn’t too far but it was uphill and still so hot out that the kids would have been worn out.
They dropped us off at Dick’s 5 & 10 store. Such a fun and super packed store. It had everything you could imagine from some tools, to kitchen gadgets, candy, stuffed animals and baby supplies. So much to check out and we had only 20 minutes. We looked and found a couple of things and then had to go since our show was starting in 45 minutes and we still had to get back to the RV and drive there. We told the kids maybe after the show we could head back to this wonderland of treasures.
We made it to the show with 15 minutes to spare. Our seats were up a bit but had great views for the kids.
Fun stop!

Fun stop!

Katherine says to me "hurry up, this smells gross inside!"

Katherine says to me “hurry up, this smells gross inside!”

We sat back and enjoyed this amazing production. They had incredible sets, costumes, acting and singing and they even had live animals on stage at various times. The actors and the animals walked up and down the aisles which made you feel like you were really in the show.
The story of Joseph was incredible. Joseph was a man after God through good and bad, never wavering in his faith. They did a wonderful job portraying the betrayal of his brothers when they sold him into slavery. His faithfulness when tempted by Potiphar’s wife, and his steadfast love for the Lord when wrongfully accused and imprisoned for over three years. The story of great faith and forgiveness. We all were captivated. We laughed at some of the characters they had mixed in (one being the jailer who had been kicked in the head by a horse…funny guys) and cried as Jacob and Benjamin thought that David had been killed. The reunion of father and son was so moving and the story of forgiveness really touched our hearts. The Bible is full of such amazing stories and seeing this one come to life is something none of us will forget.
We serve a loving God who has forgiven each of us and loves us…it is humbling. What a wonderful way to spend this last day in Branson.
During our time in the theater they had a major rain storm that knocked the temperature down to 73 degrees! I actually felt cold, it was crazy! We drove back to the RV parking area by the lake and walked back to Dick’s 5 & 10 to look around some more. The temperature was cooler so the walk was nice, the humidity was still around 90% but without the direct sun and heat it felt fine.
We spent over an hour looking around and laughing at things we saw. It was fun and the kids spent the last few dollars they had left. This was a good place to spend it since they had pretty reasonable prices for being full of tourists.
After or shopping we opted for an ice cream cone for dinner…well, this is it for our vacation…when we are home we are back to eating real meals and getting back to reality 🙂
We made it back to our RV campground a little after 9pm.

The Sight & Sound Theater.  This was a life-size model of Goliath..wow!

The Sight & Sound Theater. This was a lifesize model of Goliath..wow!

At intermission..we weren't allowed to take pictures during the show.

At intermission..we weren’t allowed to take pictures during the show.

After the rain, so pretty and so much cooler of temperature!

After the rain, so pretty and so much cooler of temperature!


Tomorrow we are driving to Salina, Kansas…about 6 hours away. From here on out we are staying one night at each spot and driving during the day. We are only 6 days from being back to Bellingham and we are soooo looking forward to it. We miss everyone so much and Gizmo too 🙂
Until tomorrow…there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…
Sorry…totally cheesy but we are going to Kansas tomorrow!