Pictures will arrive when I can attach my camera and upload them. Sorry! Use your imagination!
Missouri parks all have WiFi-it’s something that makes their parks that step above. They are already some of the best parks we have been to, but hands down the wifi took it up a notch.
So where are we? Well, since we checked in last we have been into 7 more states.
I know. We have a lot to catch up on.
First was Missouri where we met some fantastic people (Elisha doesn’t exactly meet strangers and has made friends in EVERY state which has even prompted people to request if they can spend the night…I know, crazy right!) and also enjoyed some of the most beautiful parks imaginable.
We made our way into St Louis where we ate delicious bar-b-que and walked around downtown taking in the sites. We even got a personal tour of the arch with our very own park ranger.
We crossed over into Illinois and found a park to stay at for the night. Not much to say about Illinois. Their parks aren’t real great. The park had a pamphlet that would have sold anyone, but it was false advertisement. It had pictures of a beautiful waterfront lodge and restaurant on the water, a number of trails and water activities. We took a bike ride to the park office…it was closed, locked up tight. Saw a park ranger drive out of the back of the building and waved at him, he smiled and waved and drove off. We laughed it off. Biked on down to the lodge. Stinking zombie town guys. Trees growing up in the windows, yellow caution tape marking off playgrounds, lights broken…just super creepsville. Alright, nice bike trail but see ya later Illinois.
On to Indiana to another park, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Lincoln State Park. Both were great parks. I have to be honest, the Boyhood Memorial was probably one of my favorites. They have a working homestead in the back. You take a trail out past the cemetery and the memorial and the original site of Lincoln’s Boyhood home and nestled back in the trees you see something. It opens up into a field where there are crops growing and you see a log cabin hiding behind majestic trees. There’s a smokehouse, a workshop, a garden, a chicken coop and animal pens. What’s significant about that? The volunteers are dressed in period outfits and they transport you, no they immerse your senses, into the entire lifestyle of Abe Lincoln’s homestead. The volunteers are so great! They grab the salt cured bacon from the smokehouse (yes, from a pig that was raised on the farm), they have milk curdling on the counter to show you the process (that they milked from the cow in the back), they are spinning yarn from the DOGHAIR–I mean seriously, it is the most interesting thing ever to see them use everything possible. You learn about Lincoln, but you learn about the time period and lifestyle and my kids were thoroughly entertained as well as myself and Ryan. Best part: when my children asked if we could build a homestead just like it. They don’t want electricity, they don’t want AC- they want animals and to learn. They even asked to sweep because the broom was handmade by a volunteer and they loved it.
The bust in Indiana was heading towards a town called Santa Claus. Yes, we were super excited about it just to find out that not a darn thing was open in the entire town. Then we got stuck going down a winding back road. You see, you just don’t turn around anywhere with a schoolbus people.
Into Kentucky. We loved Kentucky. The quilts on the barns (google it, there’s maps for each county and its absolutely lovely), the rolling hills, the people. Can’t say enough about the people here! So many people who complimented our family and told us how well behaved our children were-some even comped our meals and even our park stays! Just super nice people. So we made our way to Mammoth Cave and explored a little. Planned on staying there but discovered that RVs are not allowed. Paid way too much to stay at Jellystone where the kids had a great time playing in the splashpad and waterslides. Met a couple other families that are full time traveling with their children or taking long trips through the states-LOVED IT! Paid too much, but still less than a hotel and had a great time. We then moved down to Dad’s Bluegrass Campground so we could have a home base for the eclipse.
Which brings us into Tennessee. We absolutely loved heading into Nashville for the day and you can read all about it in the Tennessee post which I don’t know how to link HERE! haha. Please check it out though, she earned her own post because we loved her so much!
We ended up enjoying the eclipse back in Kentucky and then headed north again that same day. Ended up hanging out at another state park and stopping at a couple of places as we made our way into the next state.
Ohio-where we wore sweaters everyday. Seriously, we woke up to 48 degrees one day. That’s Christmas weather back home! 3 parks in total in this state and let me tell you-all of them were beautiful, but Hocking Hills was absolutely wonderful. We hiked many miles through this park-almost 9 miles one morning with the kids and they were troopers! And I don’t mean sidewalks or big gravel paths, I mean rock climbing through caves and a million sandstone stairs through tunnels and crevices – hands down the best hike thus far! No Nature Centers in Ohio which was a little disappointing, but they earned their hiking badge in Hocking Hills for their hard work for sure! Let’s just hope that one day they appreciate how beautiful the hikes were and how amazing the views of waterfalls and lagoons were. Fingers crossed.
So we kind of cheated and got another state. West Virginia. But only because we were headed into the next state and were able to drive through it for a whole 10 miles maybe. So we aren’t necessarily checking it off because we have plans to see it for more of what it is. But TECHNICALLY we were on the soil for 10 miles.
Which brings us to Pennsylvania. We just got into PA today, but we finally have wifi again so I could give everyone an update!
I want to note that so many people back home are dealing with real problems right now with all the mess that Harvey has brought and is still bringing. I love watching the news though and seeing the posts on social media because it really does show how much we come together in times of disaster. It is sad that we sometimes fail to notice it until something so devastating happens, but either way it brings out a compassion for one another that is much deeper than we even know at times.
It makes me proud.
Not proud to be a Texan (already proud of that. lol). Not proud to be American, or Christian, or some other random title. Guys, it happens because we realize that we are all human. Don’t get me wrong, some people do it for different reasons or for a pat on the back, but most of us do these things in the heat of a moment because we have compassion no matter how deep it may be. When we drive down the road on a daily basis and see someone who needs help we have time to change our mind and talk ourselves out of it. It’s not right, but it is what it is. When we see someone drowning or struggling to cope with the loss of their home, or the tragedy of leaving everything behind not knowing what will happen – these are extreme, but this is what Harvey has slapped all of you in the face with and you are handling it like humans. Caring for one another.
We are praying for you all and we continue to pray for you but please continue to be human. That means vulnerable. That means real. That means compassionate.