One Year Anniversary!

A little over a month ago we celebrated our first year of being on the road.  There has been some bumps in the road. Literal bumps in the road in New Orleans caused our bikes to fall off the bike rack and drag on the street.  That’s not exactly what I’m referring to though.  The real big bumps have been missing birthdays, holidays, special occasions with family and friends.  While in Denton, TX near Dallas we longed for something bigger than our 300 square foot home that we felt trapped in.  The weather was so severe that staying indoors was our only option most days.  Being tourists has also pushed our limits and patience at times.

Despite these things we have been thoroughly grateful for our time together as a family and are in awe of what we have seen, done and experienced.  So far we have crossed 26 states, “lived” in 20 of them, fell in love with certain cities and already revisited a few places.  We have spent time with lots of family and friends we don’t normally get to see and in the process of our travels have made so many memories and new friends along the way.

Here are a few highlights of our first year.  One of the things that strikes me the most in these pictures is that my baby has grown so much during this time.  We started the trip when he was only 2, he relied on his “papi” (pacifier), and was still in diapers.

Horseshoe Bend  Page, AZ

Horseshoe Bend
Page, AZ

Grand Canyon National Park AZ

Grand Canyon National Park
AZ

Arches National Park Moab, UT

Arches National Park
Moab, UT

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in NM

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in NM

Multnomah Falls Oregon

Multnomah Falls
Oregon

Zion National Park in UT

Zion National Park in UT

Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs, CO

Garden of the Gods
Colorado Springs, CO

Lower Antelope Canyon Page, AZ

Lower Antelope Canyon
Page, AZ

Mesa Verde National Park in CO

Mesa Verde National Park in CO

Riding our bikes over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA and into Sausalito, CA

Riding our bikes over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA and into Sausalito, CA

Ave of the Giants in Redwoods, CA

Ave of the Giants in Redwoods, CA

Dry Tortugas National Park Florida 70 miles west of Key West.  We took a 2 hour ferry ride to get there.

Dry Tortugas National Park
Florida
70 miles west of Key West. We took a 2 hour ferry ride to get there.

Dry Tortugas National Park Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park
Florida

Legoland Florida We went on on trip with the Fulltime Families group made up of other families living on the road.

Legoland Florida
We went on on trip with the Fulltime Families group made up of other families living on the road.

Ice Storm Denton, TX Our truck and rig had icicles all along the edges of it

Ice Storm
Denton, TX
Our truck and rig had icicles all along the edges of it

Bryce National Park Utah

Bryce National Park
Utah

Canyonlands National Park Moab, UT

Canyonlands National Park
Moab, UT

The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail in Moab, UT This trail has exposed dinosaur bones embedded in the sides of rocks.

The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail in Moab, UT
This trail has exposed dinosaur bones embedded in the sides of rocks.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Newport, OR

Newport, OR

Tombstone, AZ

Tombstone, AZ

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

White Sands National Monument in NM

White Sands National Monument in NM

Yuma Territorial Prison in AZ

Yuma Territorial Prison in AZ

Friday Harbor, WA We took a ferry ride to Friday Harbor from Anacortes.  This was a special trip because it was shared with my mom, sister-in-law and niece.

Friday Harbor, WA
We took a ferry ride to Friday Harbor from Anacortes. This was a special trip because it was shared with my mom, sister-in-law and niece.

Fun with Little Ones in Big Cities (budget-friendly too!)

We just got back (or should I say survived) from visiting three big cities all within a month’s time.  I knew there would be lots to see and do so for these places I did a lot of prepping and planning.  Here is a bit of what we did in each place.

WASHINGTON D.C. (24th most populous place in the United States)

For the majority of our traveling we used public transportation (the Metro).  Fortunately up to two children, four years and younger, ride free with each adult paying full fare.  Yes it did get confusing at times and we did get lost at times but it was still our best option.

We stayed at Cherry Hill Campground.  This place is pricey but the campground was great and conveniently located.

DAY 1:

  • Air and Space Musuem
  • Smithsonian
  • Monuments and Memorials at night.  There was plenty of people and lots of security to make this trip feel safe for us to do at night.  Some of what we saw were Lincoln, Jefferson, MLK, Washington Monument, Veterans Memorial. All of which we did a self-guided walking tour.

DAY 2:

  • Arlington National Cemetery.  This is one of the few places that has plenty of parking and their rates are very reasonable.  We only saw the beginning of the changing of the guards since spectators are asked to be silent.  That was a little too much to ask of our 3 and 5 year old.

DAY 3:

  • Natural History Museum.  This was by far our favorite museum. There was lots to do and see and plenty of fun for the kids.  The first thing we did was head straight to the tarantula feeding!  We also happen to be there on a Tuesday when tickets were free for the butterfly habitat.
  • American History Museum.  Their website recommended these things to do with kids; visit America on the Move or pick up a free self guide at the information desk.  Look for hands-on carts, see the The Star-Spangled Banner exhibition and its interactive table, and don’t miss Kermit the frog in American Stories. So we did them all except for seeing Kermit.  I think they replaced him with Miss Piggy.

DAY 4:

  • National zoo.  We decided to pay for parking here.  Parking was somewhere around $20 and we were warned to get there no later than 10:30 am to actually get a spot. We got there right before 10:30 and had no problem.

DAY 4:

  • Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.  This is the extension to the Air and Space Museum.  This is a free mus

    eum with $12 parking.  A lot cleaner but smaller than the Air and Space Museum.

  • Visit with family

DAY 5:

  • The Young People Concert at the Kennedy Center.  A family member performs with the symphony so we were able to be a part of the audience with all the other 4th graders taking a field trip there.  It definitely was a special treat.
  • US Capitol Building
  • The White House

DAY 6:

  • National Cherry Blossom Parade
  • Old Post Office Tower.  A free elevator ride to the top of the tower for a spectacular view.
  • American Art Museum.  This particular day there was arts and crafts for the kids.

DAY 7:

  • Mount Vernon.  Parking was somewhat difficult to find here but it was free.  Once we found a spot and finally got inside there was so much to do and see.  Our boys favorite part was probably the story-time that was offered in the education center.

DAY 8:

  • By this time we were so overly tired that we decided on keeping away from the sights and instead visit with some family and friends.

 

NEW YORK CITY (1st most populous city in the United States)

Again we decided on public transportation here (MTA and PATH).  I found it to be a bit more confusing than Washington D.C. but that’s because there are lots more lines to choose from.  We stayed at Liberty Harbor RV Park in Jersey.  Finally figuring out that to get back home we needed to go downtown and to get into the city we needed to go uptown was a huge help in deciding what side of the tracks we needed to catch the subway on.

DAY 1:

  • Carlos Bake Shop.  This place was only 2 miles from our campground but upon arriving the line was too long and parking was an issue so we decided to skip it for now.
  • Manhattan’s Times Square.  This included a trip to Time Square’s four-story Toys ‘R’ Us and a trip on their ferris wheel.

DAY 2:

  • Carlos Bake Shop.  Our second attempt was a lot more successful.  I had Kris drop me off and the line was half of what it was the day before but still an hour’s wait.  A friend went near closing time and waited only thirty minutes.
  • Central Park. Heckscher playground in Central Park is a must for the kids.
  • FAO Schwarz.  To get there exit Central Park at Fifth Avenue and West 59th Street and emerge right near FAO Schwarz.
  • 30 Rock/ Rockefeller Center.  From FAO Schwarz just go down Fifth Avenue and do some window-shopping until you get to West 50th Street and Rockefeller Center.
  • Nintendo World.  Right around the corner from Rockefeller Center.

DAY 3:

  • Statue of Liberty.  We bought our tickets from Statue Cruises.  Getting tickets to also go inside the pedestal area is no extra cost but you have to get tickets early because they do sell out.  We weren’t able to go up to the crown because our boys were too small and the tickets for that were sold out several months out.
  • Wall Street.  The Statue of Liberty cruise drops off at Battery Park so this made for a convenient trip to this area.
  • St. Paul’s Chapel.  Since 9/11 it’s become somewhat of a shrine to commemorate that tragic day.
  • 9/11 Memorial.  Tickets were free to see a preview of the finished product.

DAY 4:

  • Grand Central Station.  This included having fun at the “Whispering Gallery” there.
  • New York Public Library
  • SoHo
  • Little Italy.  This included dinner at Lombardi’s, the first ever pizzeria in the United States (1905).  To avoid the long wait we took our pizza to go and ate at the playground next door.

 

CHICAGO (3rd most populous city in the United States)

We decided on only two days here for numerous reasons.  One being that campgrounds near the city don’t exist (we stayed over an hour away at Leisure Lakes Resort in Joliet, I highly recommend it).

Since our time was limited I decided we’d drive into the city and deal with parking.  I didn’t want to spend all my time figuring out the bus and train system.  Spothero.com was a huge help in finding parking that was reasonably priced.

DAY 1:

  • Lunch with friends.  You can’t go to Chicago without having a Chicago Dog.
  • Dinner at Lou Malnati’s.  And you can’t go to Chicago without having Chicago-style deep dish pizza.  Supposedly this is the best and I believe it!  We opted to go to their cafe located in Lincoln Park rather than their main restaurant.  We were able to get seated right away on a Friday night and we found street parking there for free with no problem.

DAY 2:

  • Shedd Aquarium.  Kris and I were able to get in free with Bank of America’s Museums on Us program.  We just had to pay for the kids.  It took much searching and clicking on their website to figure out their basic general admission price ($8/adult, $6/child).  That’s a big difference from the $35+ prices they try to get you to buy.
  • Cloud Gate aka The Bean.  My boys loved seeing their silly faces and dance moves in this thing.
  • John Hancock Tower.  We actually never made it there but I did hear its a great view of the city and FREE!

 

Best Restaurants

Part of touring the U.S. is eating some delicious food along the way. I’m glad to say that we found a few unforgettable restaurants in our travels. Here are the ones worth mentioning.

Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans French Quarters

All they sell is coffee, juice and the yummiest beignets ever!  The beignet is a fried piece of dough covered in powder sugar.  Their beignet mix can be purchased online but don’t even bother. I tried and making it is just not the same.  This place is open 24 hours and each time we passed it the line was very long, although it moves quickly.

Cajun Seafood in New Orleans

This place was more about the experience, trying crawfish for the first time.  The added bonus was the food was fresh and tasty, the prices great and above all the staff was some of the friendliest people I ever met.  We were greeted by a woman that went out of her way to help us in ordering.  We needed that since what we were ordering was new to us.  It was also very pleasing to hear her authentic New Orleans accent, although it confused my husband a bit.

McGuire’s Irish Pub in Pensacola, FL

This place tops the list of being crowded and we went on a weekday night. As usual there is a reason for it being crowded.  They specialize in an awesome Irish cuisine and fresh steaks.  What I tried was very good.  But what I think makes this place is its atmosphere. Maybe it’s because everyone is drinking, but you look around and everyone is having so much fun. If you don’t like loud and crowded it’s definitely not a place for you.

Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport, OR

The name kind of says it all; fresh and local.  Kind of on the higher end of pricing, at least for us, but oh so worth it.  Not only was the seafood fresh but all their local ingredients were.  It made for a very flavorful meal and even the kids ate up what I renamed “Crabby Patties” from their kid’s menu.  The casual dining atmosphere also helped to make for a good family place.

Manny’s Chophouse in Winter Haven, FL

This was a surprising find.  We weren’t looking for anything spectacular in Winter Haven but after a long day at Legoland we were hungry.  Someone at the campground mentioned this place to us so we thought we’d try it out.  We had the NY T-bone steak; fresh and juicy.  My favorite though was their unlimited salad and fresh slightly-sweet rolls. My kind of food.

Samoa Cookhouse in Samoa, CA

Dining here gives you a feel of the history of the area.  It started as a cookhouse for lumberjack workers back in 1890 and hasn’t changed much since then.  You sit at long picnic table seating and are served an all-you-can-eat meal family-style. In fact, everyone in the restaurant is served the same thing.

Best “Kids Fun and Educational” Deal

We finally got around to buying our Children’s Museum membership that also gives us membership into the ASTC program.  The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) is an organization that grants its members FREE admission to over 300 participating science centers and museums around the world. I absolutely love the word FREE and when it means that my boys are kept happy I’m practically in heaven.

There are some stipulations.  The biggest being the program doesn’t apply to centers within a 90 mile radius of home. This works great for us because being more than 90 miles away from home is where we usually are nowadays.

We bought our pass at the closest children’s museum of our residence. The Houston Children’s Museum which happens to be rated #1 of all children’s museums in America.  We soon found out why. This place is amazing and after spending two days (over 3 hours each day) we still had not done it all.

One of the highlights was on Tuesday seeing chicken eggs in incubators and going back on Friday and seeing the same eggs hatching.  Everything here was hands on, filled with great learning experiences and lots of fun!  We look forward to what the rest of the country has to offer in this arena.

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FAQ

What do we eat?
What we eat is pretty much the same as we would back at home. We have an oven, stove top, microwave and crockpot. Our fridge holds enough food for at least a week. That means I plan our meals for each week and shop accordingly. We eat out about once a week sometimes more if we are visiting with friends in the area.

How do my husband and I get along?
Very well:)!! Even prior to marriage we spent most of our days in close proximity to one another. Up until the first four years of marriage we worked together in ministry and after that Kris started his current business. Since then he has always worked from home. The difference now, because of less obligations to events and people, is that we spend more quality time together than ever before and we really enjoy it. I do miss the time I use to have with friends and family though.

What is our sleeping arrangements?
The master bedroom has a queen sized bed where Kris and I sleep. The boys have their own room in the back which includes two bunk beds (4 beds in total!). We’ve even had guests sleep over as well. Between all the beds, the pull out couch and our dining table that converts into a bed we have had as much as 12 people sleep over at one time.

Do we have a heater and air conditioner?
Yes and yes. The RV is fairly drafty but for the most part we stay warm on cold days and cool on hot days. We do miss CA weather though. Winter elsewhere so far has not been pleasurable. Mostly because we are stuck indoors and that can drive us all a little stir crazy, especially our two young boys. We are anxious to get to FL soon and enjoy the warmer weather there.

How do we get our mail?
We have a mail forwarding company that forwards our mail wherever we’d like.

How do we watch TV?
Most campgrounds that we visit have cable TV hookups although we rarely use them. Most of our TV viewing has come from Netflix and DVDs. Already we’ve watched all the seasons of Breaking Bad and The Office so at this point we are looking for a new TV series to get into.

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Pictures and more pictures

I had high hopes for this blog. Well actually I had small plans but even those aren’t getting accomplished. Instead of feeling obligated to write and document in detail about where we’ve been I’m going to attempt to journalize it simply through photos and a few captions here and there. If I end up doing more than that then it’s just a bonus. So here is to being on the road for 4 months so far.

First Stop Yuma, AZ

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This trip included visiting the Yuma Territorial Prison. It’s a non-operating prison which made it that much funnier for the boys. According to them it once held “bad guys” who are now zombies.

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We also made a stop at a Camel farm. It was already getting hot in Arizona (this was the beginning of April) but we spent enough time at the farm to have fun feeding the animals. We were given locally grown dates to feed the animals.

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In Yuma we purchased portable dual screen dvd players that also play video games. It was definitely our best investment to keeping everyone happy on our long drives.

 

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Unfortunately, I forgot to capture our favorite part of the trip; visiting with our friends Josh, Andrea and Alayana.

 

From Yuma we headed to Bisbee, AZ. We saw a lot of dry land along the way. In fact, we saw a lot of this throughout our drives in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Coming from southern California were everything is so congested it was almost unbelievable to find out how wide and vast the U.S.A. really is.

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Bisbee, AZ

It was an old mining town and now very eclectic.

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While in Bisbee we took a short drive over to Tombstone, AZ. That was lots of fun for us all. The Western cowboy element kept the boys entertained which meant we got to enjoy the history and fun of it all as well. The comedic gun show and trolley tour was also reasonably priced. I’m actually real proud of this first picture because it was taken by Isaiah who was 2 at the time. He has become quite the photographer on our trip; not much skill but loves snapping away every chance he gets.

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Las Cruces, NM

Not too much here but it was a good stopping point to get to our next destination. It does have some rich Mexican-American history and an old school metal merry-go-round.

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On our way from Las Cruces, NM to Carlsbad, NM we made a stop at White Sands National Monument. So glad we took this route even though it made the drive a little longer.  We purchased a sled at the gift shop and tried some sledding. Although we waxed the bottom of the sled pretty good sledding down the dunes was still pretty slow. Here are a few pictures although they could never capture the beauty and immensity of this place.

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Driving from White Sands to Carlsbad, NM became interesting when it seemed as though at one moment we were in desert and the next in snow.

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Carlsbad, NM

Our sole purpose of stopping here was to visit Carlsbad Caverns. Carlsbad is not much of a city and at this point I’m starting to realize most towns in the U.S. aren’t compared to Los Angeles and San Diego. I did find a small zoo and a pretty cool playground to take the boys. On our last day there we made it out to Carlsbad Caverns and that was breath-taking. It is the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh largest in the world. The descent into the cave is equivalent to about 79 stories and yes my 2 and 4 year old walked most of it. This has been our favorite attraction we’ve been to so far. Again pictures can not do it justice especially since lighting in the cave is very dim.

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Austin, TX

I’m not a huge fan of Texas but my husband grew up here and he said Austin was definitely the best city in Texas. While there we visited the University of Texas, the Capitol, ate at Salt Lick BBQ, spent an evening at the Children’s Museum when they had a free night open to the public, took a miniature train ride in Barton Springs park and got to visit with my cousins whom I haven’t seen in years.

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While in Austin we also took a day trip to San Antonio to visit The Alamo and Riverwalk.

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Livingston, TX

We were there for about 3 days and this is the only picture I took. It was taken at Wal-Mart which I guess I could say was the big highlight of this trip. Not much going on there.

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On our way to Longview, TX we were able to spend some time in Houston and visit with our ex-neighbors and close friends. It was great seeing them but reminded me of how much I miss the Colemans.

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Longview, TX

Since this is where Kris grew up and where his parents live our trip there meant a lot of spoiling for the boys. It included attractions at the local mall, an indoor play gym and a carnival. We also got to visit with our friends the McNews and Skenders.

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Dallas, TX

This ended up being one of our longest stays. We were there for 2 weeks when our parked car was hit by a drunk driver and we had to wait until all the repairs were done. On the up side this allowed us more time to spend with friends and family. It also prevented us from our planned trip to Oklahoma which was hit by a huge tornado at the time we were suppose to be there.

Most of our trip here was spent visiting with friends and family. We also made some time for the Children’s Aquarium and the swap meet at the RV park we were staying at that had rides and all.

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Colorado Springs, CO

We always try our best to stay at a campground that is family friendly.

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At Garden of the Gods the boys thought they became expert rock climbers and made good use of their new skills. Of course their plush toys came along as they do pretty much wherever we go.

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Focus on the Family Visitor’s Center was a pleasant surprise. I never knew or even thought it would have a huge play area on the bottom floor.

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We also took a scenic drive and small hike to see a local waterfall.

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To end our touristy trip we made a visit to the Air Force Academy.

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The drive from Colorado Springs to Ouray was spectacular.

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Ouray, CO

Ouray did not disappoint either.

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While there we took a gondola ride up to Telluride where it lightly snowed for us despite it being the end of May.

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Ogden, UT

Ogden is right outside of Salt Lake City. While in Salt Lake City we visited Clark Planetarium and of course the Mormon Temple.

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We made a quick stop in Boise, ID. There I took the boys to the MK Nature Center; fun, educational and most of all free.

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Bend, OR

Oregon and Washington are very lush and green because of the rain.

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The best part of the trip was exploring our 2nd cave of our roadtrip; the Lava River Cave. This one was different from Carlsbad Caverns in that it’s a lava tube and completely pitch black (no artificial lighting). We used our headlamps and flashlights but probably should have paid the $5 for the lanterns provided at the entrance.

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The campground we stayed at was very family friendly and had a fun area with a Western theme.

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Newport, OR 

The North Coast is neat in that we can camp in the middle of the forest and then walk across the street and be at the beach.

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I took the boys to the Undersea Gardens, definitely overpriced for what they offer but having a coupon and the boys being free made it worth it. Afterwards we walked around the Historic Bayfront.

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The better place was Hartfield Marine Science Center and it was free.

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Probably the boys best part of this stay was trick or treating in June. The staff at our campground were super nice, great with kids and had lots of activities planned that weekend.

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Portland, OR

Portland made for a lot of special memories. There we celebrated Isaiah’s 3rd birthday and 4th of July and my dad and step mom even made the drive out there to be join us.1081 IMG_5117 (2)

We also explored downtown, the Grotto, visited the Keller fountain, went to see Monsters University and hiked in the Colombia River Gorge to Mutnlomath Falls.

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Anacortes, WA

I had really been anticipating this trip primarily because we’d be seeing my sister-in-law and niece. We also met up with our friends the Florios there and my mom even flew out for a weekend. It was destined to be a great time and it was.

My niece, Daryn, was able to sleepover one night. It was her first sleepover without her mom. Two things were a must on her list; roasting marshmallows and hiking. Samuel wouldn’t leave her side even when it was time for bed.

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Strawberry picking

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A short trip to Seattle to see the city and pick up my mom from the airport

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Since we were with friends and family I decided to throw a birthday party for the boys.

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A fun trip on a ferry to Friday Harbor.

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Concrete, WA

This trip included a fun jump pillow at the campground, an air show and blueberry picking at Cascadian Farm.

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Leavenworth, WA

The city of Leavenworth is a cute Bavarian village. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the town or the authentic German food we ate. I did get a few shots of the beach (as in river beach) that we thoroughly enjoyed. We also enjoyed all the time we got to spend with the Florios; here, in Concrete and in Anacortes. A huge treat for us to finally have some friends around.

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Tacoma, WA

Our stop here was very brief and it was the place we spent Samuel’s birthday. His birthday was a day filled with fun activities for him; roller skating, go-kart racing and cake!

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Newport, OR

This time around we spent a lot more time at the Historical Bayfront.

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Fulltiming with Kids

Fulltiming is a popular term used to describe those that are living “fulltime” in their RV.  Most people don’t fulltime until they are retired and have the freedom to do so. Our situation is unique (although it’s becoming more popular because of the internet and the ability to work from home) in that we are fulltiming at a younger age than most and with kids.

This makes for an interesting and need I say adventurous situation. Parenting alone is a huge task but traveling with kids brings its own set of challenges. Maybe it’s because our kids are still very young (ages 2 and 4 right now), I would have to guess that many would think we are crazy. Maybe we are. But I would have to say we are definitely not ignorant. The whole trip almost got canceled when we were already dealing with tantrums, disobedience, screaming, crying, whining, fighting, disrespect and other misbehaviors at home. We were at least somewhat aware of what we were getting ourselves into.

Now that we have 2 months of fulltiming under our belt I’m glad to say that it’s going smoother than expected. There are times of tension and we are definitely still learning as we go but no one has asked to go home yet (my children, my husband nor me). I like to think that’s a good sign.

Some of what we have learned is not to expect the full experience in whatever site or attraction we decide to visit.   Also not to expect to see all the sites and attractions that one place offers for us to see. The places we go have to be family friendly or at least family tolerant, although we prefer the former. There are lots of restrictions on what a 2 and 4 year old can do. For us this means no long hikes, no thrill seeking adventures, no guided tours or even in-depth self-guided tours. We have learned that if we want the history and details behind some place we visit it best to watch a documentary on it later that evening when the boys are sleeping.

We have also learned to slow things down. Our instincts cause us to want to travel more and see it all but it just can’t get done that way with kids. We must pace ourselves and enjoy it all, take it in and relax at times. We can’t always be out and about. Playground and pools at RV parks have been one of our greatest sources of slowing things down.

It’s worth it all though to experience this trip through the eyes of our children, to make everlasting memories, to grow a stronger family bond, to make life simpler and to see and experience the beauty and wonder that our country offers. I hope our travels are giving my children lots of memories, even at a young age, and a respect and awe for our country. I hope they as adults will want to continue to travel and explore. For now they are young boys exploring and enjoying the greatest backyard any young child could have.

Back to City Life

I’m definitely a city girl. Now that we are in Austin, TX it has been comforting to have all my regular stores available for all my shopping needs. Wal-Mart just hasn’t been cutting it for me. Just the sight of Target brought a smile to my face and an urgency to shop. Living in a RV though does limit my shopping urges. I constantly have to remind myself if certain things are worth buying because that means I’ll have to find a place to store them in the RV.

Downside of this big city is traffic and pushy drivers on the road. I got cut off plenty of times, my blinker meant little to most drivers, an 18 minute drive took over an hour and I even got flipped off once. Reminds me of the right choice we made to buy a home in Murrieta, CA. It’s still a city without the nuisances of a bigger city.

I’m not necessarily missing home just yet. We are having way too much fun and seeing things I never thought I’d see or even knew existed. But I am constantly wondering when and if I’ll miss life in a stationary home with plenty of space and a yard to call our own. I do see the benefits of calling one place home. My boys are missing opportunities to play in organized sports and building relationally with family and friends. But for now the benefits of the adventure we are experiencing far outweighs those few losses.

The Places (Our 1st Week)

Yuma, AZ…

Lots of old people! This was even evident at the local Wal-Mart that had a whole section for memorial flowers. It was even difficult finding a place to set up camp since the majority of RV parks had an age requirement of 55+. The front desk at Suni Sands RV park was not happy to have us check in when we arrived.  Strange because they had no problem making our reservations over the phone knowing we didn’t meet their qualifications :/.

We had a wonderful time visiting with our good friends Josh, Andrea and baby Alayna. We were even there for Andrea and Alayna’s birthdays. The Yuma Prison (rated #1 place to visit in Yuma by tripadvisor) was neat. Good history and plenty of open space for the boys to run around.  Knowing “bad guys” were once housed there made it fascinating for them as well.

The down side of Yuma was that it was hot, not too attractive and unfriendly. I can get past the first two but it really bothers me when I’m treated unkindly by people who don’t know me. Not sure if it was because I am not a senior citizen, I’m Mexican, both or people just aren’t happy there. Anyways, nothing major occurred as far as people being rude but more than anything I felt unwelcome.

Bisbee, AZ…

This was definitely a change from Yuma. Bisbee was very scenic and the people there were extremely friendly. The way it looked reminded me of Austria with old historical colorful buildings and narrow streets. The way it felt reminded me of Pacific Beach, laid back and dirty. But it still had a touch of Southwestern feel to it. The view from our campsite was amazing. Large orange mountains sometimes with deers roaming the very tops of them.

Tombstone, AZ…

We decided to spend a day here since it was only a 20 minute drive from Bisbee. It turned out to be lots of fun!!! We took in a trolley tour, a comedic gun fight show and even a round of mini golf. All for the low price of $20 for all of us :).

The town itself has done a great job in preserving its history and making visitors feel like they are reliving that history. Several people are walking around in the dress of the Wild West and stage couches and donkeys are roaming the streets. Isaiah even participated in the nostalgia of it all by shooting anyone that came within gun range distance of him. We should nickname him “The Kid” :)!

I also really enjoyed the trip because it reminded me of all the times my Dad, sisters and I would watch the movie Tombstone and recite all the great lines from it. Dad, wish you could have been there with us.

Las Cruces, NM…

Not too much to say about it since there isn’t too much out here. It has served as a good stopping ground to get us elsewhere. No complaints though either. There’s a cute historical plaza area (old Mesilla) with a great playground nearby.

 

Sarratt Family Road Trip

We began our journey a week ago and so far have stopped at Yuma, AZ, Bisbee, AZ, spent the day in Tombstone, AZ and now are in Las Cruces, NM.

So far so good! The boys have adjusted well. “Camping” non-stop has been a huge treat for them and even the long drives are something to look forward to. Having a portable dual screen DVD player that also allows them to play games helps on that front.

For Kris and I it’s been a great change of pace. So far Kris’ work schedule has allowed him plenty of time with the family and the ability to enjoy the places we are visiting. It’s been a long time coming. Wives of the self-employed who work from home can relate in knowing what it’s like to have their husband never leave work.

As for me, just the mere fact that it only takes one hour to thoroughly clean my whole house has left me less-stressed and doing things I actually enjoy.  What a wonderful life!

There are things to get adjusted to; little counter space for cooking, making sure to open cabinets with caution after driving, low water pressured showers and the greatest of all not being around our closest family and friends.