Hello everyone! I’m so sorry I went M-I-A. This will be a brief check in… We ended up being called back to homebase to take care of some important matters for my inlaws. It’s been one thing after another, our truck died shortly after getting back and we had a big ordeal with the mechanic ( it took about a year just to get the truck running again, UGH), then at the beginning of the pandemic my FIL passed. More recently, my grandpa passed very suddenly. So, we’ve had a lot going on and my blog just took a backseat.
We’re still at our homebase but hope to get back out there soon! I do have some little things I can share, so I’ll be back. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
WOW WOW WOW!!! The total solar eclipse yesterday was AMAZING! We had the privilege of being in the path of totality and I am super excited that I was able to capture it on camera! What I forgot to photograph, though, was how dark it got (bummer!). But capturing the eclipse was super exciting, so I’ll be ok, haha.
Are you ready?! OK! Here is what WE saw today!
So what about YOU? Where were you for the eclipse? Did you have a clear view? How did you feel about seeing a total solar eclipse?
Plans don’t always go as we want, it’s taken longer than we had hoped to get to the Canada border and by the time we made it to the border, it was too late. The fires in Canada and Yukon had spread too far west and the roads we would have taken were closed.
It’s a bummer, of course, but we do our best to stay positive and look forward to our next adventures, like visiting Yellowstone! We had such a great time visiting the different areas of the park that we didn’t get to see a few years ago when we drove through briefly on our way to visit family. Our last visit, we got to see a heard of bison (up close and in the safety of our van!) and even saw a HUGE porcupine (my first time seeing one in person). This time we didn’t get to see bison, or porcupines, lol, but we saw plenty of raven’s. Did you know, they like to sneak in and take things when you turn your back?? Lol. One ranger told us a few experiences, including one where another ranger’s radio was taken from him by a raven! And a man lost his wallet to a raven? Sneaky little things, aren’t they?? So funny!
We look forward to our upcoming adventures and also the day we get to fulfill our dream of visiting beautiful Alaska. And of course, we are SO looking forward to the total solar eclipse this morning!
More to come! Visit again soon, I’ll be adding photos!
To catch up, after we visited homebase for a couple weeks (back in January) we made our way west to Mississippi, visited awesome new friends in Louisiana (one of which taught me some cool soap making tricks and spoiled me with soap goodies! We then made our way to Texas and hubby found the man that brought him into the world. This wonderful man is 101 years young and still going strong. He and his wife are one of the sweetest couples you could ever meet. Also in Texas, we met another soap making friend, and swapped more soap goodies, haha.
After Texas we showed the kids the house my family lived in in New Mexico as I was growing up, had fun sliding down the dunes of White Sands, visited old friends, and got to explore Carlsbad Caverns (another childhood experience I had that we got to share with the kids). We spent some time visiting new friends in Arizona and explored the area (more about that later!) then headed to Mexico for a weekend which was a blast, the food and view was amazing!
On to California! So much in California, lol. We then made our way up to Oregon, Washington (more on this later as well), then Idaho. We were just in Yellowstone and are now waiting to observe the solar eclipse, we’re so excited!
We had a great time at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida back in November. A dear friend took us and I must say, I’m not normally into this type of museum, but I was quite impressed. There was SO much to see! The kids had a blast looking at the large variety of planes, sitting in the captain seats and the IMAX movie about The Blue Angels.
On a side note, as we were leaving, my hubby and I managed to get separated and I got lost, haha. As soon as I was found, I was kindly escorted to the front by a nice young man in uniform. Although they were very understanding of my situation, I would highly suggest giving yourself plenty of time to find the exit if you plan on visiting. Ha!
I would definitely recommend this museum. The kids had a great time and there was a LOT to see.
Our first week heading back out started out interesting. We made plans well in advance with different friends along our route, yet, once we got to the first one on the list for this month, it turned out they cancelled their plans, without letting us know. So we stayed overnight at a nearby Wal-Mart, then called the next friend to see if we could come a week early. Got a call back the next morning that where they were going to have us stay wouldn’t work out afterall…. So we moved along and another night at another Wal-Mart. We called the next friend, another cancel. And yet another Wal-Mart. By now we’re quite disappointed, as you could imagine. That first week had been pretty chilly at night, but thankfully we stayed warm enough. Plenty of blankets and snuggles.
So, we made our way to another town with friends we know and haven’t seen in a while. They didn’t know we were coming, so of course another night at another Wal-Mart BUT by the next morning they had found us a spot, and good timing too because it got COLD. We were able to hook up and got to run our heater. There was a little mix up, though, but our friends worked it out and got us not only set up in a quieter spot but our hosts insisted we stay in the apartment they have at their house. Quite unexpected but deeply appreciated. We really enjoyed their hospitality. The wife used to teach music so she taught our kids songs on the piano during our stay, they had a BLAST. Aaand, I got to enjoy a good water pressure shower, haha. If you full-time or have ever stayed in a camper, you know what I’m talking about!
One thing I found in this town was a little store called Dirt Cheap. If you ever come across one of these stores, you should check it out. I will advise to carefully check each item before buying though, some items are “dirt cheap” for a reason, lol. But I did get several good finds for under $7!
So after a week and weekend with this wonderful couple and visiting our friends in the same town and working in the ministry with them, we moved on to our next destination, a week early….
Our cousins took us on a hike during our visit and it was beautiful! The drive there was beautiful in itself. There were maple trees the whole way, with bright shades of yellow, orange and reds. If you’ve ever seen maple trees changing in the fall, you know what I’m talking about. And if you love nature as I do, you get excited to see such beauty. It’s the small things in life that truly make life enjoyable, wouldn’t you agree?
The trails were really fun. Thankfully, hubby was having a good day and the trails weren’t too steep, though I myself got a little out of breath, lol. It was a great reminder that I need to get more active and exercise more, ha! But it was so worth it!
I’m sure the waterfall has different water levels during different parts of the year but it was beautiful nonetheless. We all, but one cousin, wore our sneakers and had to be careful where to step so as not to soak our shoes but it was low enough we were able to do so.
If you’re looking to get great shots, you may have to wait your turn, lol. There were a few other visitors taking photos and as patient as I try to be, I think it would be courteous to sit and look through your shots where you’re out of the way, right? But I finally got my clear shots and was happy to move along myself, lol.
It was quite a peaceful experience, not too many people passing by. I definitely look forward to going back to this spot.
Ok, so I’m new at photography and hopefully these weren’t over edited, lol. I’m always open to suggestions! This was an awesome spot to practice!
Our second week on the road was definitely a blast. We got to stay with family, my favorite cousin and his beautiful wife. I could go on forever on how much I love them, but I’ll spare y’all the mushy stuff, lol.
The first outing they took us on was awesome, they took us to the Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari in Gentry, Arkansas. I’ll tell you right now, it is well worth going to. Our kids had such a blast and you know if the kids are having a blast, we’re having a blast. When you first pull in you will see an outside gift shop and concession stand, and restrooms are also available. I highly suggest you use them before entering the Safari, especially if you have little ones as it is a 4 mile drive through.
You have the choice of visiting the “petting zoo” first or taking the Safari. We went with the petting zoo. There were quite a variety of animals you can pet ranging from pot belly pigs (hilarious little things!) to emus and kangaroos! You can buy a bag of food for $1 per bag but we brought a couple loaves of bread instead. The bread can only be given to certain animals so please keep that in mind when you visit. There are other animals you may pet and feed but they require a special diet which excludes bread. There were a couple employees that were near those animals and handed out food for visitors to feed animals such as the kangaroos and giraffes!
They also offer pony and camel rides. Pony rides were $3 and camel rides were $5, when we went. A note on the camel rides, they LOVE their snacks! If you have bread with you, they won’t move til they get their treat! So funny.
After petting and feeding the animals, we took a break, washed our hands and had lunch! We took our own lunch but I will add that whatever food they had at the concession stand smell pretty tasty. They have a few tables you can sit and eat at and it wasn’t too busy when we went, on a Monday, so no waiting for tables. And before I forget, they also have little wagons you can rent for kiddies who want to be pulled around the petting areas. We didn’t need one so I don’t remember the price.
Now onto the Safari! This was our family’s first safari experience. If’ you’ve never been to one, you drive your own car through. They have rules and reminders when you enter to keep your windows up during your drive through. This is for your protection. The animals are well mannered but we had a car in front of us that did not follow instructions, were enticing the ostrich and let’s just say they put their windows up after that encounter, lol. It really does make it more enjoyable when people follow the rules, especially when it’s for their own safety. Visitors are also asked not to feed the animals on safari, and if you want to stop and look longer, there is plenty of room to pull over so the cars behind you don’t get blocked and have to wait. That was something else we experienced. It doesn’t hurt to be courteous. But aside from those we had a blast! If you’re in the area or can make a detour, I highly recommend it, ESPECIALLY if you have children that love animals.
We spent our first week on the road near St. Louis. We’ve visited friends, made new friends, and have had a lot of fun!
We spent one afternoon at Six Flags, that’s always a blast and the weather couldn’t have been better. It’s fun going as a family but even better when you have friends along for the ride.
Another afternoon we visited the St. Louis Science Center, admission is FREE. They do have IMAX and a Planetarium but those do cost. If you have a friend in the area with a membership with guest passes then you can get in free, at least for the Planetarium (I’m not sure on the IMAX). We went to one showing which was “Eclipses: Shrouded Sun, Veiled Moon”. It was really interesting, we each learned something we didn’t know before. So, they have seating and while that’s nice, they aren’t like the IMAX seating. They also provide padded mats you can lay down on. If you don’t have a hard time getting off the floor, those would likely be more comfortable and definitely more enjoyable to watch the showing, otherwise you might end up with a sore neck and that’s never fun. Yea, I sat in the chair…
Our friends have horses and were so kind in allowing us to ride them. Our kids had a BLAST, our oldest especially. During several feeding times she jumped at the opportunity to give a hand.
We also attempted to go fishing. I say attempted because I made a not-so-bright decision and got my hook stuck in a branch in the water and by the time hubby got through with it it was just too late to do any fishing. I think I’ll leave the fishing to hubby and the kids from now on, unless it’s saltwater fishing, I think I can handle that. Lol. Our week was also filled with making and visiting with new friends, working in our ministry, knitting and crocheting, talking about photography and just chillin’ out. It was a busy but very enjoyable and satisfying week.
We were sad to leave but look forward to going back!