Loving Arkansas – so surprised . If Hot Springs was in Oregon , we’d live there . Has the Bend vibe, but even more retirees . Tons to do .
Hiking has been great . Outside Little
Rock for a few days , we hiked to a scenic viewpoint this morning that was well worth the time . Maumelle Lake to one side and the Arkansas River to the other – beautiful . Huge storm coming through , but still 65 and humid . Eliza and I are having a hard time trying to dress half way decent while being soaking wet . Better get used to it .
I’ve been teary all day because it’s Eliza’s 14th Gotcha Day! 14 years ago we were on pins and needles waiting to take delivery at the Des Moines airport, gate A-1. Her escort came off the plane and handed her to me and my world was complete . I had felt God in my life before, but had never held His love in my arms until that moment . Psalm 139; my lifelong favorite .
What a blessing that God brought her home to us. She is so special , just an amazing human being . We thought we were such good parents because she was so incredible , but didn’t realize until Nate came home that it had nothing to do with us! (Good to be humbled.). She’s just a joy every day .
We weathered months of “why did you get a foreigner ?”, “does she speak English ?” (She was 4 months old), “what is she?” and various other silly comments as we tried to figure out where to raise her. We could never explain how we knew that we were meant to be her parents . Our locations since have been much more diverse and supportive .
Not that people still don’t occasionally make silly comments . I’ll take the time to politely educate them about adoption if I have the time , while also asking the kids if they want to talk about it . If they don’t , we just smile and walk away . Who else has to answer questions about their birth at the grocery store ?!
A few days ago we walked into a visitor center and the guy behind the desks asked Eliza where she was from . Then turned to me and asked . We had walked in together, joking around , but he didn’t put two and two together . It was so funny ! Then Nate and Dan walked in and he just kept staring . We don’t think he’s ever seen a family who doesn’t look the same . Subtle he wasn’t ; his jaw had dropped .
And that’s okay . We know how good we’ve got it with our little family of four . We have worked and sacrificed to do this trip. We fought more the first month than the last few years combined . We don’t take our time together for granted and we are truly blessed . We thank God for all of it and we are ready for the next hike !
Hot Springs Arkansas ! Cute little town . Great library for school . Good hiking and biking . Big retirement area from Dallas .
Wouldn’t let Nate into the bath houses with us to soak in the thermal water, not old enough, so we stuck our body parts in every fountain in town . Ha, that’ll teach ’em to discriminate against young kids ! Don’t worry , everyone else was doing the same – the water is pretty nice !
Drove a few more miles on the Natchez Trace – just beautiful ! Then crossed over the Mississippi again and into Louisiana . (Named for King Louie XIV , but you probably already knew that !). Headed north into Arkansas , sharing the driving . Farm country , but the poverty is still evident .
Stopped for the night at the Pecan Grove RV Park so that we could see Dan’s niece, Amanda . She’s just moving to the area , so we lucked out on the timing . She’s an incredible woman and the kids wish we all lived closer because she’s one of their few cousins ! So grateful to get to see her and hear about all her adventures .
Had a fun dinner , but the fancy cupcakes she brought were better ! Dan just finished them . Nate thinks the strawberry one was the best , but Eliza liked the cookies and cream one .
The picture below is at Lake Chicot , right across the highway from the Rv park . We walked over to get a closer look !
Rode a little of the 444 mile Natchez Trace – just as beautiful as Dan and I remembered ! Kids not as impressed because we talked about it so much; thought there would be more to it !
Originally an Indian trail for hunting and seasonal migration , it was also used by Ohio farmers after they’d brought their goods down the Mississippi to sell in New Orleans. After they sold their log rafts, they would walk back up the trace to get home . We also learned that the most wealthy slave traders from Natchez marched their slaves down it from the NE . Hard to see that part of it’s history .
Today it’s just a quiet 2 lane road , no commercial traffic allowed . When Dan and I rode it in the fall of 1998, we said we’d come back to ride it again . Now we’d like to fly back someday and ride the entire trace !
Saturday’s ride was perfect – low 70’s , a little overcast , and little traffic !!!
We have been in Houston since last Thursday. We have been on the run everyday. We are visiting with Joe and Olga Kresse. It is great to see them. The first day, we went to the war of San Jacinto. There is a 570 foot high obelisk like the Washington Monument. We went up in it. It was awesome. From there, we drove down to Galveston to step in the Gulf of Mexico. There were tons of tourists there. We had dinner with Joe and Olga at Pappasidos the other night. Great food. Houston is a big town. Tons of traffic. Yesterday, we went down to visit my Aunt Caroline in West Columbia. It was great to see her. I have not seen her since 2006 when my Dad died. She is doing well. We stopped off to see Alan as well at the golf course. It was great to see Alan too. I wish we had more time to visit. Seems like our days are packed and we are on “vacation” with no where to be or do. Funny eh! We have been in Texas for about a month now. Time to move on in our travels. The weather is warming up further north. I found a cool bike path here in Houston. Goes for miles. Sally is doing great. Eliza and Nate are doing great. I think they get along great. It is so great to hear them laughing and “picking” on each other. I think they are two great kids and I love them dearly. Sally is great. She takes such good care of us and looks out for all of us. This is turning out to be a dream trip. We have lots of support from all of our friends and family. As always, please come visit if you like in our travels. I am looking forward to heading north soon.
We’re back at the little local library, and this place is hoppin’! We’re all on computers; kids doing school, Dan and I trip planning. We’ve almost got the spring, summer and part of the fall reserved, which is a huge relief. When we started, we wanted to just go and move to new campgrounds when we wanted, but with so many people snow-birding, the rotten weather, and needing wi-fi for school, we have needed to make reservations.
We really had to make them for summer in the Northeast – we are going to popular places during the busiest time of the year. It’s going to be insane everywhere we go! When Dan and I did this in 1998, we got to Michigan, went down to Chicago, and turned around and headed west as fast as we could go. We couldn’t stand all the traffic and noise and people and needed our wide open spaces. This time we won’t have that option. We know it will be bad, so we are mentally preparing for it now. Yes, we know we are blessed to be living our dream, but the day to day reality of traffic is sometimes hard.
So here are the plans we have… subject to change, if we pay a fee! That’s another thing that’s different from the last trip. Every campground or RV park has pages of rules/regulations to read before you arrive. Many times when you reserve in advance, the whole fee isn’t refundable. We’ve spent hours trying to plan for the places we really want to see, while blowing by other areas that will probably be just as beautiful.
Our goal of getting to Prince Edward Island via Canada has caused us to cut short other areas, and our goal of not having the RV pipes freeze has caused us to head south sooner than we’d like in the fall.( But we know we can come back to our favorites anytime we’d like – by plane!) We’ve also had many places that were already booked and we had to go with our second or third choice.
The dates are short because we get bored easily and there is so much to see in a limited amount of time. Many of the places this spring are Dan’s and my favorites – so we can’t wait to show the kids where we stayed before, all the bike rides we did, all the plaques we read and the history we learned. We’re sure they’ll be thrilled.
3/24-28 Little Rock
3/28-31 Maumelle, AK
4/7-8 Mammoth Caves
4/9-11 Trail of Tears
4/11-15 Baber State Park outside St. Louis
4/15-17 Starved Rock State Park
4/17-20 Ilinois Beach
4/21-22 Dubuque IA
4/23-24 Pikes Peak IA
4/25-5/12 Grandma Helen’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5/12-15 Lebanon Hills, MN
5/16-19 Al & Sue Crouse, Stillwater, MN
5/19-23 Devil’s Lake State Park
5/23-28 Madison KOA
5/28-6/1 Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek, WI
6/1-3 Mike & Leigh’s, Iron Mtn MI
6/3-9 St Ignace Straits St Park, near Mackinaw
6/9-11 Finn Rd
6/11-13 Wayne County Fairgrounds
6/13-16 Cedar Point, Sandusky Ohio
6/16-19 Evangola St Park, NY
6/19-22 Jellystone , Niagra Falls, Canada side
6/22-25 Darlington Provincial Park, Canada
6/25-27 Wellesley Island St Park, NY
7/1-3 Quebec City
7/4-5 Mactaqua Provincial Park
7/5-10 Prince Edward Island! Cornwall KOA
7/10-13 Halifax Nova Scotia KOA
7/13 Sussex NB
7/14-16 Cobscook Bay State Park, ME
7/16-20 Bar Harbor
7/20-21 Stonybrook, Hanover ME
7/21-25 Crazyhorse, CT
7/25-29 North Beach CT
7/29-31 North Pole Inn & Campground, NY
7/31-8/2 Tolland St Forest NY
8/1-8 Minuteman CG, Boston
8/8-11 Shady Knoll CG, Cape Cod
8/11-12 Salt Rock CG, CT
8/12-13 Cozy Hills CG, Bantam CT
8/14-21 Liberty Harbor Rv, NJ for NYC (Look it up/crazy!)
8/24-31 Warwick Woods PA , Gettysburg
8/31-9/2 Granite Hill
9/3-5 Harpers Valley KOA
9/5-19 Bull Run Regional Park, for DC
9/19-22 Charlottesville VA KOA
9/25-29 Cape Hatteras NC KOA
9/29-10/3 Jordan Lake St Rec area
Late October – Dave’s
November – March 2015 – Florida
March – July – heading back west to settle in Oregon
That’s all folks!