Category Archives: Uncategorized

Day 577 of Life on the Road as a Family, Salt Lake City

We spent the day in Salt Lake City and were amazed by how many new businesses there were, how much construction is going on, and how diverse the population is now .  All of it is nice to see, the city really is booming , but it was also obvious what the costs were – air pollution and filthy water. 

 

 
The Capitol was closed and remodeled from 2004-2008 and it was beautiful from top to bottom .  Literally the bottom –  265 base isolators were put in so the building will shift 24″ side to side when an earthquake hits .  After the San Andreas fault, this area is the second worst in the USA.  Who knew ?!

Our tour was excellent .  Because we showed an interest, our guides took us to many areas that they usually don’t include.

  

 

I’ve taken dome pictures all over the USA, and Austin is still my favorite, but this one is pretty good !  The murals tell the history of Utah, of course , and if you look closely ,you may see the seagulls in the dome itself. Early on, the settlers crops were being eaten by locusts and the sea gulls came in to eat them up, hence saving the settlers .   The marble is from Georgia and is cold to the touch .

  We learned a ton about Utah today and I hope the kids have a little more knowledge about how the West was settled .  None of us knew that mining was/Is so important .  I was impressed that the Utah territory  allowed women the right to vote until the guide said they weren’t allowed in as a state until they rescinded that right .  Argh .
  
After a fun lunch at the fancy City Center downtown mall, we headed to the LDS Temple Square for a tour led by a young lady from the Phillipines, and another from Spain.  This pic is in the Tabernacle, with the famous organ behind us .  We heard the pin drop on stage and then came back later for the 2pm concert .  Oh, I will never forget the look on Nate’s face when the music started.  Pure pain.  We have heard better organs , so maybe it was just an off day .  We left early .

Our tour ended with a short movie that moved you through different rooms.  The emphasis was on family, spending quality time together .  Funny, I think we get that message already, we’re on this adventure together !

  
This 11′ marble statue of Jesus was in a round room at the end of the tour.  The mural on the wall took 3 weeks to be painted .  Pretty.

Dan and I had been here before, but this time it didn’t feel like we were pressured .  The whole area was immaculate, with flowers in bloom and not one speck of litter .  The only hard part was seeing the families with multiple children – as in 5, 6, 8 kids .  Do they not know that the world’s tremendous population is causing global problems with our earth’s resources ?  Seeing a man with 2 wives and 8 kids made me cringe , but was a good conversation starter with the kids.  

All in all , another interesting, perfect day on the road with my family .  Only 10 days and we’re home !

Day 500, Life on the Road as a Family

IMG_7470This is a perfect picture for Day 500 – Nate lounging with Lady and Jessica!  They will never leave him alone, and if he uses Lady as a pillow, Jessica has to get closer.  We love having them along, even though they are occasionally a pain.

We didn’t do anything special to celebrate the day because I was flat on my back sick all day while the rest of them went to the library to do school.  I was going to make a special dinner, but ended up with an easy Cinco de Mayo mexican one.   It’s my 3rd  day back in Greeley, Colorado with my family, and it’s nice to be home.  Home, a 34′ RV, but when you’re family is there, that’s all that counts.  Including the dogs!

Day 489 of Life on the Road as a Family,

IMG_7256It’s the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas!  We drove 322 miles this morning to get here in time to get our twine from the town library and add it to the ball.  It’s not quite what I expected, but it is HUGE and it smells great.  The website hasn’t been updated since 2012, that should have been my first clue.  We pulled into town and parked right across from it.  The little town was like a ghost town and so sad looking.  Boarded up buildings, broken windows, broken streets, and no one out and about on the main street.  I had contacted the lady in charge before we arrived, and since she was going to be out of town when we were there, she said she’d leave the twine for us at the library.  When Nate and I went walking through town to find the library, we stopped in at a beauty parlor, the only shop we could see that was open.  She said she thought the library was down the highway further.  Google Maps was telling me the same thing, but I didn’t believe it because we had just driven by and I didn’t see the library.

We found it right where it was supposed to be – a tiny sign indicated “Library” and a tinier sign said “closed”  Dan had driven like a maniac this morning, so we arrived too early for the library to even be open.  We went next door to City Hall and the two kind women called the lady in charge of the twine and she told them where it was in the library. While one went next door to get it, the other told me of the town’s dire circumstances due to the years long drought and how her husband was going to be furloughed soon.  His company was nice in that they continued to pay medical benefits for people, but they would have to do make do without his income.  We saw this in Oklahoma, too, and it makes my heart sick. Depending on Mother Nature to plant or bring in a crop is a tough way to live.

With twine in hand, Nate and I returned to the big ball and Dan tied on one end for Nate to tie the other, while Eliza tried to do her piece.  I had Jessica on a leash and ended up not putting the twine on – and I was the one who wanted to come here and do something so wacky!  Isn’t that always the way,  this Mom is last.  I’m going to change that…IMG_7281The best part of Kansas is the people, but these views are pretty good, too.  As far as the eye can see there are very small rolling hills and a big huge sky.  Really fun to drive this road.  I even got my hands on the steering wheel again and enjoyed the view the whole time.

IMG_7305Dan has been hyper vigilant about the weather while we’ve been in tornado country, so we switched our plans and headed to Goodland, Kansas.  While out walking the dogs I found this 60′ van Gogh painting and couldn’t believe my eyes.  They had more huge artwork around the little town, but the storm was getting closer, so I ran back to the rig.  The campground owner had a storm shelter in his basement and we were to go there if we needed to, but we lucked out once again and it went south of us.  Two tornado’s did touch down in Lucas, where we were going to stay.  So glad we changed our plans!

Day 412 of Life on the Road as a Family, Ocala FLvel

IMG_4812Our 3rd favorite library in the country!!!  Aren’t the paintings beautiful?!  We lucked out when Dan found this regional library online and it would be open the week we here.  Many libraries have such limited budgets now, they definitely aren’t open 7 days a week, and sometimes they are only open for a few hours a day.  This library opened at 10 a.m, so the kids got to sleep in, which they loved.

It was a busy place, too.  We lined up with about 20 other people each morning, and then we all would walk briskly to our favorite tables.  I liked the one by the big window, Dan liked the private conference room, and Nate and Eliza just wanted electrical plug-ins for all our devices.  It was a nice, quiet place to work for the week, and we were grateful.

Day 386 On the Road, Ave Maria & Naples , FL

2015/01/img_4455.jpg

We went to church here this morning ! It’s on the Ave Maria University campus , 17 miles east of Naples , Florida . Tom Monaghan , former owner of Domino’s Pizza, started a catholic university in Ann Arbor Michigan , but the town wouldn’t let him expand , so he moved the campus to this rural location in Florida . It’s a gorgeous campus! They pre-planned the town around it , with the Oratory (church) right in the middle . Shaped like the Pope’s “hat”, it is stunning inside and out . I’ve never seen the Stations of the Cross as beautiful – wood surrounding metal and marble – wow . The 1,200 students who attend here are truly blessed .

2015/01/img_4472.jpg

We drove into Naples after lunch , and found the old pier. The Pelicans sit and wait for scraps from all the fishermen , and people were waiting to get a picture with this old guy . After he nipped someone’s shoulder , they all moved away and I took this picture .

The beach was packed with sunbathers in all sizes and shapes – most of them just sitting and soaking up the sun . It was only 76, so felt just right .We didn’t swim , and I only picked up a handful of shells before we headed out to run errands .

We drove through Old Town and I found 4 shops that Eliza and I “need” to visit – we are already thinking about back to school clothes for her, but I keep reminding her that we will be living in the mountains and we will be freezing again , so all these flimsy clothes may not cut it . For now , though , we are enjoying playing tourist and being warm !

Day 376 On the Road, Grassy Key to Naples, FL

IMG_4331Stayed up with the kids to watch the ball drop!  I made it til 1:30 a.m. and could have gone longer if we weren’t driving today.  Fun to see all the NYC festivities now that we’ve stood right there.  Oh, this trip is soooo educational, ha.

IMG_4333Up and out bright and early for one last walk in my favorite area with the dogs.  it’s already hot and humid at 7 a.m. and the girls are panting.

IMG_4343No, no, don’t make us go!!!  We’ve been in the Keys for a month, and it feels like home.  We’ve met so many nice locals and other travelers, and there is still so much more to see.  I am already nostalgic because  I know we’ll never be back.  We won’t fly this far from home to go somewhere we’ve already been, because you can never recreate a good “vacation” time.  We have revisited most of the places from our 1998 trip, and Dan and I just keep saying, “you can’t go back”; it’s not the same.  The freshness and wonder and expectation just won’t be there, and that’s what we love about traveling.  IMG_4351So, off we go, north down the Overseas Highway to the mainland.  The Gulf on our left, the Atlantic on our right.

IMG_4365I drove the piece through the Everglades and thought it was beautiful.  It was a little strange to be driving with 4 lanes on a divided highway after being on 2 lanes or a bike for a month.  I kept searching the swampy area to the right for alligators – other RV’ers said this is a good spot.  This is the first time we’ve driven west, knowing we wouldn’t be going back East, so essentially, we will be working our way home for the next 7 months.  The last year has flown by, so we can only guess how quickly this time will pass.

IMG_4370We pulled into our new home/site at about 3 p.m.  This is our view for the month of January and we like it.  We are younger than most of the population here by about 20 years, but so far, they’ve all been very welcoming.  We were in the pool and hot tub by 4 p.m., so that was a good start to the year.  2015 here we come!

Day 375 On the Road, New Year’s Eve, Grassy Key, FL

IMG_4307I took this selfie right before our last Keys sunset.  I was laughing, of course, because I wasn’t holding the camera right and Eliza was putting up with me.  Plus I was crouching down to get us all 3 in the picture and was afraid I was going to push the kids off the back of the dock!  By the end of the trip, I will have taken one good selfie.

We had dinner again at the Sunset Raw Bar & Grille.  Best spot to watch the sunset in Marathon, and the food is okay.  They were gearing up for the big evening, but we were there for a quick bite at happy hour, the sunset,and then home to get off the road.  I heard the worst stories about drinking and driving New Year’s eve in the Keys, and didn’t want to be part of it.  Key West would be full of revelers, but they weren’t driving.  Grassy Key was far enough away from the restaurants that people said there would be at least one fatality and 15 accidents. Evidently this area is known for its accidents.  No, thank you!  Precious kid cargo coming through!

IMG_4314 Our last Keys sunset.  Why are we leaving?

Day 359 Sombrero Beach, FL

We went to the library for school today, and I played hooky (no one else wanted to come!) in the afternoon and went to see this beach…. it’s famous here and is pretty cool.  People had said it is the  ideal beach – clean white sand, little waves, pure sun and a nice park behind it – and they were right!  Tons of street parking, but I had to go around twice to find a spot. I walked down the beach for a 1/2 mile and picked up a few shells.  I didn’t want to go back to the library.

IMG_3991This is a panorama picture – hopefully it will show better on a full size computer.  Look at the color of that water!!!

Day 357, Key West

We drove down to Key West again today, about 60 miles, and this time we let the boys come.  Dan had spent 2 weeks here years ago and said he really didn’t need to see it again, but he came anyway.  Nate didn’t care either way, so we made him come.  This cruise ship was docked on the west side and we couldn’t believe how big it was.

IMG_3870

We walked all over and Eliza and I noticed how many more people were here than our previous visit.  It’s getting closer to the holidays, which is the busiest time of the year down here.  And we thought we were the only ones  who would be in the Keys for the winter, haha.

IMG_3883This is the world famous Duvall street!  Busy, smelly, fun.IMG_3900 And the southernmost we will be on our adventure!  Yeehaw!

IMG_3911There are 3 main things to do in Key West – Bar hopping, fine dining and water recreation.  I’d add a 4th – shells on your truck.  We’ve seen them attached to cars everywhere we’ve been, but this was the best one.

IMG_3948We went to Mallory Square with about 2,000 other tourists to watch the sun set.  The couple next to us had just gotten married that day, and the family to our right were arguing about where to go on Duvall street that night.  There were booths selling food and tourist trinket junk, and entertainers with pets, fire and knives.  It was the party atmosphere we expected, and we weren’t disappointed.  Another perfect day on the road.

Day 356, The beach again

IMG_3828I went to the beach today after school at the library and saw this beautiful ray!  I yelled to a kid nearby and he came over and watched it with me.  Beautiful, fluid and as long as he wasn’t coming near me, fun to watch.

We’ve been in the Keys 13 days now and I am definitely on island time.  I really don’t care what’s going on in the rest of the world, I’m learning more about Jesus by reading Matthew than I thought I would, and my husband and kids are happy today.  What more is there?!  Oh, the sunset.  Always this great sunset.

IMG_3832