Welcome to our Adventure...

We packed up the kids, dog and the trailer and headed out for adventure, learning and helping others. During our adventure we will try to update this site as often as possible to keep everyone interested involved in our travels and to keep a journal for ourselves. The plan is to be working, schooling, helping and sharing on the road for a year.
Please feel free to post comments and questions! Thanks for following!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

St. Augustine, Florida

Today we got up and looked out and it was beautiful. Looks can be deceiving so Brock went out and stuck his finger in the air to see whether the winds were any lighter than they've been. He determined that they were. We still hadn't decided whether to try to move south or stay put again because Brock had a VERY busy workday today since all of his HTG documents and presentation were due to be turned in, plus all the normal work on his agenda. His board checking didn't go very quickly and that getting behind feeling started creeping up on him. He made the call to go ahead and move on since we really wanted to see St. Augustine, America's oldest continuously occupied city (settled by the Spanish in the 1500's) and we are running out of time before we need to be in Orlando for Brock's conference.

Our normal morning stuff completed, we moved into action to check out by the campground's checkout time, which is 11 am. At about 10:40 when we were just about to get the Yukon and trailer hooked up together, Brock asked Bri to check the tire pressures and wouldn't you know it, the same tire was very low again. Argh. We checked at the office to let them know that we'd be checking out a little late and then headed back to the establishment that Brock visited yesterday. The business owner was there and checked in with the guy who'd done the work yesterday. It seemed he just hadn't checked the recommended PSI rating since we are pretty heavy duty and had only inflated the tire to 40 when the other was around 70. That was a relief that the tire wasn't still leaking (we hope) that it had just been underinflated. The owner had us move so he could spray the area with soapy water and it didn't bubble so hopefully we are good. It is a good thing that Brock is anal about checking everything. I'm sure if it is still leaking we will find out soon enough.

Now, fairly stressed due to the amount of time spent on unplanned activity, we got on the highway headed to St. Augustine. We drove a short while and crossed over the Florida border and stopped at the first rest area because Brock had a call to make. We decided to go ahead and eat lunch while we were there. Brock's intended call never really happened since there were other issues that needed his attention with clients' servers being down and he ended up working there until about 2:45 when we got back on the road.

A couple of scary things happened on the drive. It was still fairly windy and so Brock had to pretty much stay tense the whole time. Secondly, right as we were coming in to the Jacksonville area (big city) an ambulance came up and passed us on our right on the shoulder. It really scared both of us because by the time we heard the sirens and Brock started to brake and pull over, the vehicle was right next to us. It really made my heart race. The ambulance got off at the next exit which was I guess his reasoning, but it sure seemed like a good way to make his own situation needing an ambulance. I was thankful for God's protection and Brock's good reaction time.

We drove to our intended campground, St. John's RV Park, a Passport America park that would have been within our budget. We didn't have reservations; I'd tried to call earlier during the drive, but their off season office hours would keep the office closed until right about the time we planned to arrive so we just chanced it. For the first time, that didn't pay off since we pulled in and saw a very full park that had no vacancies. The manager explained that there is a Good Sam Rally in Daytona Beach coming up. Doh! We didn't even think about that. Thankfully, she recommended another park that was just up the road which I'd looked at on rvparkreviews.com too, and it had decent reviews. She allowed us to call them from the office to make sure they had a space and they did. Hooray! Only drawback is that they aren't Passport America and they charged us extra for the kids and when all was calculated the price is WAY over our nightly budget goal, but oh well. It's a nice park, full hookups, and we're tucked into some trees away from the main road, but we're actually really close to the freeway entrance too.

By the time we got set up in our spot, Brock immediately went back to work and the kids and I finished up our school work. We didn't finish until very late in the day and I had to make dinner. Brock was still plugging away on his HTG stuff. The kids were pretty bummed that we didn't get to participate in any of the festive traditions that we sometimes do on Halloween. We didn't find a pumpkin patch. We didn't carve a pumpkin. We didn't trick or treat. We didn't find a harvest festival to attend. Most disappointing, we didn't get to hangout with our extended family like we usually do and we didn't get to wish Grandpa Ray a happy birthday in person, though the kids made him some silly videos. We love you, Dad!

Both Spence and Sky are already feeling a little better with their colds, but unfortunately, now Brynna is feeling puny. God-willing, she will also feel better quickly. Tomorrow, hopefully, we'll tour some very old forts and look around this very historical place.

Since I still don't have any good pictures to post, I'm going to try to upload Spencer's memory verse video from last week. It is hilarious. I couldn't watch it without "cry laughing" as the kids call it. He learned the whole chapter without any help from me just using his CD that is scheduled with his curriculum for this year. He came up with all the motions by himself and didn't want me watching even when practicing. He was very shy about me watching him make this recording, so I didn't, but now that it's recorded and he doesn't have to watch us watch him, he said he wanted me to upload to youtube. LOL (Uncle George, he wants you to pay attention to his muscles and wants you to know he's been working out.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Staying Put

We decided to stay another day at Golden Isles RV Park and Campground. When we got up this morning, it was sunny, but the wind was still pretty gusty and we really didn't want a stressful drive to the south for a couple of hours where Brock feels like he's battling the wind the whole way so I went over to office to make sure it was ok to stay another night in our spot. They were happy to oblige and we got to enjoy their great rate and good Verizon coverage and useable wifi for another night.

There isn't much to report. We feel really good about a full day of school and work and checking all our boxes and crossing off a lot of to dos. I was able to get all our laundry done and Brock had to take the Yukon in to get the same tire looked at again. It seems that the first repair didn't repair it all the way so the second repair place took a shot. We are thankful to have the time to get it taken care of.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Windy Drive

Even though we liked the people and the site at our current campground, we had to make the choice to move on down the road since the internet was just too slow for Brock to be able to work. I had started two loads of laundry last night when we got home from the fair, before counting out my quarters, and when it came time to dry them I only had enough quarters to dry one load. No problem, I thought. I'll just get change from the office in the morning and dry that second load while we get ready to leave.

We hustled through the getting ready for checkout checklist, including the kids preparing all their schoolwork for working in the car. When I went to check the laundry, the dryer was not running. The timer however, said 8 more minutes. I had started with 60 minutes on the dryer timer. I then remembered a little power glitch that had occurred earlier. I surmised that the dryer shut off in that time and required another push of the start button. However, the timer automatically started back up when the power did and I was out of time, both on the dryer and literally since we had to get to a better Verizon coverage area in time for Brock's scheduled meeting. Our plan was to head to a rest area about 30-40 miles away. I went to the office and requested a refund for the $2 I'd spent on the dryer and pulled our wet jeans out and put them on our dining table to await the next dryer opportunity.

The rest area worked beautifully as a school and work spot for the next couple of hours. Brock was able to park us on an end so that we could put the slides out without blocking anyone and that made it so we could all share our workspaces and get stuff done. We also ate lunch and then got on the road again. The skies were clear and the highs were in the 60's. The wind did seem to be picking up.

We debated on how far to drive south today and the wind was a deciding factor. Brock was pretty tense as we were getting pushed around every once in awhile. Tonight, he said the winds were at least as bad as they'd been in Montana. We called up a campground that is on our Passport America list to make sure they had a vacancy and we took it. It is a nice place with full hook ups and good Verizon coverage and passable free wifi, all for under $20 with the PA discount. (Golden Isles Campground) It has a pool; the kids were excited until I reminded them that it is not all that warm!! We'll probably just stay for tonight and then drive to St. Augustine, FL tomorrow. We'll check the weather before we head out, but it seems like things have calmed down quite a bit. We'll see. They have the oldest masonry fort there and the oldest wooden schoolhouse among other things.

Sky/Ben definitely has a little cold, but isn't feeling too badly. Spencer has a very sore throat so I'm sure he'll be presenting more symptoms tomorrow too, but thankfully it's nothing serious.

Sorry, no pictures for today.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fair weather

Well no visit from Sandy last night where we were staying. There was a little bit of wind but nothing any worse than other spots we have camped out without hurricanes being near by.

We searched around for a church nearby that might have space or a close by place to park our RV while we attended but could not find one so decided we would follow Pastor Mike's sermon notes in the car. We got the trailer all ready for travel including sweeping all of the pine needles off. The needles are alot like LodgePole pine needles and get stuck in the windshield area, the awning and even inside our roof vents in the trailer so they require a little extra time clean up wise.

After a quick tire air fill and gas-up we were on the road to our next location. The drive today was under three hours and the weather the whole drive was beautiful. When we got to our next campground (Jolly Acres RV Park and Storage) it was 73 degrees out. The campground is a great place, nicely taken care of and with our Passport America discount we are under $18 a night for full hookups which is a  GREAT deal! The only problem is that the Verizon service here is spotty and their Internet for the park is really slow so we are not sure how long we can stay.

When we checked in I asked the manager what was in the area that we should not miss and she mentioned that there was a fair going on. Based on the size of the town I figured a nice little county type fair so we packed back into the car and drove to the fair.

When we got there we realized this was more like a state fair with the number of cars that were waiting to park and were already parked. After getting to our parking space, we got tickets and entered. We decided that lunch would be at the fair so we got some OK BBQ sandwiches followed in a bit by an Elephant Ear we all split.

The fair was nice and we got to see animals, lots of people, a petting zoo, lots of people, a lumberjack demonstration, lots of people and at the end of our visit a hypnotist (followed by lots of people on the way out.)

Brighton seems to be drawn to stage acts so the hypnotist was really something he wanted to do. The act was funny (not sure I believe that they were not all paid actors) and everyone seemed to have a good time. Ben was sick today so he slept most of the way to the new campground and again on the way home from the fair. Hopefully he feels better tomorrow.

When we got back to our "home" we decided that we would probably need to move on tomorrow due to the Internet and find another spot. So it looks like up early and driving a couple of hours south tomorrow into Georgia for a better WIFI/Verizon spot.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What's the Opposite of Storm Chasing?

We decided to get on the road as soon as possible this morning unsure what the day would hold and wanting to get about five hours down the road (and inland). We had a quick cereal breakfast and got all disconnected from services pretty quickly. When we were just about ready to hop in the Yukon and take off, Brock noticed that a bolt was loose on the swing-arm bracket for the load leveling bars. We thought with all the bumps we've gone over and corners we've turned over the last 7000 miles(!!), it would probably be a good idea to check those periodically. Gratefully, we tightened them up and then had a remarkably uneventful drive with only a few minutes of very light rain and only a little wind the rest of the day.

We saw our first real drawbridge this morning as we were stopped at the crossing bars and watched a little boat go through.

We saw fields of cotton.

We are grateful for God's guidance and protection on this trip so far!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Visiting Kitty Hawk

I hate to say this to folks back home but I had to get up last night and turn the air conditioning on. :-)

The morning was like most with work and school. We did do a little research on Hurricane Sandy and from everything we read and researched we should be out of harms way on our planned route. We will be heading south following I95 which is inland from the coast while Sandy is heading north off the coast line. We do feel very blessed though that a week later or a week earlier and we would have been much more affected. We hope that the storm does not do the amount of damage they are predicting and that it dissipates much faster than forecasted.

About 1PM we finished shift one of work and school and headed in the car to Kill Devil Hills. Not the nicest name but home to the Wright Brothers Memorial. The area relating to the Wright Brothers is more well known as Kitty Hawk. Stacey agreed to drive so I could finish up some work in the car. It started to rain as we were leaving but by the time we arrived had just turned into a light drizzle.

We visited the National Monument (getting in for free thanks to our cool National Park Pass) and reviewed the history of the Wright Brothers. It was pretty neat how they basically worked together their whole lives - even sharing the same dream of flying. Some days we really wish our kids would work together that way! It also impressed us how long they stuck with their dream and the sacrifices they were willing to make to see it become a reality. No quick solutions or overnight successes. Lots of long, tedious research, testing, refinement and adjustment to finally come up with the plane that worked.

We saw replicas of the glider and powered planes they had used for their flights here. Outside the museum were replicas of their hangar and living quarters. Next to that is a stone marker showing where the powered test plane took off and then four marker stones for the four flights they made and where they landed. We of course had to send a kid to each marker for a group picture. Another dad and son got in the picture as well but in the far distance is Brighton (hard to see) at the spot where the fourth flight landed and made history.

Next to the field is a hill that they used for training and plane refinement using gliders. In the thirties they built a monument on top of the hill. As we hiked up to the top the weather took a turn and we started getting rained on. By the time we made it back down the car, those of us that did not bring a rain jacket (OK, that was pretty much just me) were soaking wet - like rain in your eyes and you can't see soaking wet.

We drove home from Kitty Hawk and started dinner prep. Brynna took Heidi for a walk and came back really quickly and very excited. "There's a bear!" she announced and we all crowded around the window. Sure enough a black bear came sauntering out of the woods just across the road from our campsite. He did not seem to be in a hurry but seemed to be looking for food. He came to within 30 feet of our trailer and spent a good 3 to 5 minutes looking around before heading back into the woods. Needless to say it was a bit of a surprise to see a black bear here and that close. Our camera kept focusing on the window and not the bear so we really don't have any good pictures of it but here are a couple. Kind of glad I did not encounter him on my run yesterday. Good thing I had bait dog, I mean Heidi, with me!

Tomorrow we head out and have a pretty long drive day. We should make it into South Carolina if all goes well.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shopping Day...Again.

Five-Acre Lake in the middle of the campground
Our site
Today was mostly a school and work day. The weather was really sunny and comfortable...not too hot or cold. The older kids and I even did some of our work outside. When we were done with school for the day, but Brock wasn't yet finished with what he needed to be with work, the kids went outside to play. I also tried to get everyone to give me a couple meal ideas so that I could put together a shopping list. I seem to be having a really hard time coming up with "what to make for dinner". We just keep having the same meals. BUT, they must be ok because the kids requested pretty much the same.

Playtime between school and shopping expeditions is a necessity.

Gotta love a teeter totter

Spence & "Ben" made some friends

Bri rigs up his stick pole for catching a "monster"

This kid is gung ho all the way.

More cheese

Spooky spider dangling on a web next to a bush as we
ran back from the playground to the trailer

When Brock got to a good stopping point, we all piled in the car to drive to a town called Elizabeth City, which was about 15-20 minutes from our campground to go to a superWalmart. Our fridge, freezer and cupboards were nearly bare so that I really couldn't think of a single hot meal to make without going to the store today. It was after 6:30pm by the time we actually got there and by the time we finished up there and headed back home to the trailer, it was nearly 8:30 and we still had to eat. I chose something fast though not maybe the most nutritious, but tasty. While it was cooking, I had the task which can stressful, of trying to stuff all the stuff I chose to buy into the nooks and crannies of our interior space. (particularly the fridge/freezer stuff) That is one aspect of fulltime RV living that I find it hard to appreciate. Finally the last of the kids got into bed after 10 pm. Phew!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel

Today, we were planning on getting checked out of the campground by 10 am so that we could get on the road since we had about four and half hours of driving without stops and we had the bridge to cross and we weren't sure what to expect there. We had read that if there are any winds, we may not be allowed to cross and one fellow camper at the Normandy Farms campground had said that they'd taken his propane tanks when he went across it many years ago. We'd read on the official website about the tunnels and bridge and from everything we'd read we would just have to pay the toll and then turn off our propane tanks and we were hoping that was true.

We were getting along just fine with getting all our gear together for the car ride and getting the interior of the trailer all ready to go and Brock had started to unhook all the services. It looked like it would be closer to 11 when we would actually leave, but that was still ok. Then, Brock checked the tires on the Yukon as he always does. I tend to think he's just being overly cautious, but today, he found that the left rear tire was 30 lbs low. That's pretty significant so he started checking for damage and found a screw in the tire! He used the little compressor to get the tire filled back up and then started calling around to local shops (there aren't many) in Rehoboth Beach and surrounding areas. He finally found one who said they could squeeze us in at 1 pm! There goes the schedule.

I was really proud of Brock though. He suggested we just talk to the park to get permission to check out late (turns out there wasn't any need since no one was there to talk to), go into Bethany Beach and grab lunch and then get the tire fixed and come back and get the trailer and be on the road by 2. Brock is getting good at this going with the flow! Bethany Beach is a resort town and most of it shuts down at the end of the season, but there was a Five Guys so we hit that for lunch and splurged on drinks from the fancy soda machines with a ton of different flavors. The burgers were great and everyone drank lots of pop. (Not good just before a long car trip by the way.) We finished up at the perfect time to drive just down the road to Robert's Repair where we got right in and the guy fixed the flat and we were out of there inside of 20 minutes and he only charged us 15 bucks!

Then, we drove back to the campground and hooked up the trailer and pulled out right at 2. The kids worked on their school work and the drive was fairly uneventful and relaxing. It turned out to be another gorgeous, warm, sunny day. We got to the bridge in the late afternoon, paid our $20 toll, pulled through the gate, pulled over and turned off our tanks, and then proceeded to drive over the 23 mile bridge and tunnels that go across Chesapeake Bay. There was even a spot to pull out and take a picture. It was very easy and really beautiful. It was weird to think we were going under the water when we went in the tunnels and that some pretty big ships were going over the top of us! Quite an engineering marvel!

Bridge heading the other way

This size vessel was going over us when we were down in the tunnel

Inside the tunnel - the kids tried to hold their breath, but
no one made it the full length of either of the tunnels 

We ended up pulling into Norfolk, VA right at 5:06 pm which wasn't nearly as bad as getting around NY was, but it was a little hairy changing lanes a couple of times. Brock handled the drive like a pro. I read one of the older kids' read aloud books to them as we were coming into North Carolina as the sun was setting.

We arrived at our campground, North River Campground in Shawboro, NC right at dark, but from what we could see, it's going to be a nice place. I think we'll need to use our mosquito spray while we're here, but as I write this, I'm enjoying hearing the cricket symphony outside and there is a very large pond/lake in the center of the ring of campsites that has a fountain in the center and makes a nice gurgling sound too. Don't worry...we'll keep a tight leash on the dog.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quiet Day

Today's highlights

Pancakes for breakfast with little freeze-dried raspberries from Trader Joe's in them drizzled with our special Bragg Farms Syrup from Vermont...

School and work...

One load of laundry with two dryer cycles...

Beautiful sunshine with highs near 80 degrees...playground time!

Trip to town to pick up some necessities...wash the Yukon...fill up with gas for tomorrow's travels...

Family dinner followed by a new dessert to us...Mallomars! The back of the box says..."Pure Chocolate Cookies, Enjoyed for Over 90 Years! Mallomars were created by Nabisco in 1913 and first sold to a grocer in West Hoboken, NJ. The metropolitan New York City area boasts the most loyal Mallomars fans. More than 70% of all Mallomars sales are generated in the shadow of the Big Apple." Thanks for the tip, Grams! Pretty yummy stuff.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Day at the Beach

Today, we started the week off getting back into our scheduled routine. The day was pretty full with school and work and we did a load of laundry here at the campground. I was so excited about there being a washer and dryer here and the price was very reasonable at $1 to wash and $1 to dry. I didn't have enough quarters however, to do more than one load. After the first load dried, well, I mean after the cycle ended, the clothes certainly weren't dry. They were whites which usually dry the fastest, but pretty much everything was still fairly damp after the 40 minute cycle, so I brought it all back to the trailer and we had socks and underwear hanging all over the place in the trailer for the rest of the day.

Brock was able to get in a run today which, I think, was a little painful, but satisfying. He did much of his work and phone conferences outside which was a good way for him to have a little peaceful time as well. He finally was able to give the trailer a quick scrub which was something that he'd been REALLY wanting to do for quite some time.

Finally, we all headed down to the beach. Brock had seen it on his run this morning, but the rest of us hadn't been down there yet. We kind of staggered our departures a little heading down because it took some of us longer to get our shoes and sweatshirts. Brighton and I were at the tail of the procession and we weren't exactly sure where the trail was, but we found one that led right there. As we were heading up and over the dune, we saw a couple of pointy ears coming up the other side and all of a sudden, a little fox appeared at the top of the hill. As he saw us, he turned tail and ran, but it was so cool to see him so close. A little later, Brock was looking for a trash can and he saw the same fox at a very close distance. I guess parks people just installed a new fence along the dunes so maybe the little guy was a little confused.

The kids said the water was a little warmer than the beach that we're used to. There was almost no waves except right where the surf broke on the sand. It was very calm. Spencer and Skylar buried each other in the sand while Brighton and Brynna mostly hung out there where the waves broke.

Attempting a nice serious pic
Permission given for a silly pic

After our playtime there, we came back to the trailer and I made dinner while all four kids went to the campground showers to get the sand out of their ears.

It's been nice to have a day to stay in one spot and just get stuff done that we need to do.