We had a blast in Alabama with our oil family! We usually park 45 minutes away at a huge lake, but this time, found a little local spot for our short stay in Huntsville.....
Our friends and business partners there, Darren & Angel, always bless us with the most AMAZING meal. They are from Fiji and have ALL the good recipes!!!! This time it was curry and rice, holy amazing. The kids had a ball playing outside, while the adults visited.
Sweet Darren surprised me with MY FAVORITE.....Rosie's Salsa!!! The BEST Mexican out there, for serious. I may or may not have rocked this jug and held it like a baby! ;) (and then ate it for my meals everyday! haha)
Then it was time to work! Angel and her team did a FABULOUS job filling each class....we had a ball! Lots of new oilers coming to Huntsville! :)
We even got to have a Rosie's Fajita dinner after our second night of classes, thanks to Darren dropping it off after work. SO thoughtful!
I loved getting to hang out with Angel and Kathryn more before we left town.....
The next morning, the students of 4 Oaks Academy finished their school year.....WAHOO!
Time to celebrate!
We let the kids pick wherever they wanted to go from dinner to CELEBRATE.....
Is it any surprise they picked Rosie's Mexican?!
You are looking at a future 3rd, 5th, 7th and Junior in HS right here......
Look at how they've changed since we hit the road 4 years ago, April!
They picked the TV foodie famous, Bigfoots Little Donuts for dessert. Hot and fresh off the line, Peaches & Cream, Honey Cinnamon and Funnel cake
We left early the next morning to head to Franklin, TN trying to beat a line of storms....
I just don't think we did this area any justice at all. We sat in the parking lot in Franklin, TN for a quick oil class in the local coffee shop, and from what I hear, missed a TON of cool things to do and see.
Next time, Franklin. Next time.
We always try to think of fun games to play or crafts to do during travel days. Today was, a stamp the playdough guessing game! :)
We headed to our campsite in Kentucky and got all set up....the kids were at each other, and it was pouring out, so no evening walk in the forecast.
We decided to divide and conquer. The girls and I would stay here with chocolate and a girly movie, and Dale would take the boys in to see the Corvette museum. You know, the one that had a sink hole in the center at one point?
At the last minute, Destiny decided to go along. No problem! Papa would be proud. My dad was a corvette fanatic and had 17 different Vettes in his lifetime..
I stayed behind with Avery and we decided on swiss chocolate (Thanks, Elaine!) and Little Women, the movie. Not 25 minutes later, Dale calls.....the boys were fighting and despite being warned, had just lost their privilege of going to the museum that day. Everyone was headed back home for dinner and an evening at home.
RUT RO!!!! Those lessons are hard on EVERYONE involved.
We ate dinner and headed to bed. Tomorrow is a fresh start!
The next day, instead of home church, we headed out to go enjoy our Creator's Creation: Mammoth Cave.
We had just read about this in Paxton's school books and one of my favorite Christian Fictions, so it was perfect timing.
Mammoth Cave National Park Facts:
Mammoth Cave National Park is a 52,830 acre park located in the state of Kentucky in the United States. It is named after the cave it partially encompasses, called Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System, which is the world's longest known cave system. Native Americans have inhabited the cave region for at least 6,000 years. It is believed that the first Europeans to discover the cave system did so in the late 1700s, although it is not known if it was Francis Houchin or his brother John Houchin who officially made the discovery. In 1941 Mammoth Cave National Park was officially established.
There are a variety of different tours available, all varying in sites, length and exertion. They range from 2 -6 hours in length, all offering an incredibly memorable experience. A few of the more popular tours are Frozen Niagara, Fat Man’s Misery, Domes & Dripstones and the Grand Avenue.
The main Grand Ave tour was sold out, note you will need to book FAR in advance for this one!
We picked a moderate difficulty 2 hour tour, Domes & Dripstones, and hung out in the free museum while we waited for the buses.
I was just fine until I read all the warnings associated with this tour about those fearing heights and suffering from claustrophobia......
So glad for this bad boy.
Balance is wonderful for times when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just feeling anxious about something. It's also good for days kids cannot focus or sit still!
It's grounding and centering and smells wonderful! I dosed myself in it while we waited.
Ahhhh much better! Now if I get nervous, I can sniff my wrist.
We arrived at the cave entrance and the descent down began.......and kept going and going and going.
I have never gone down so many dark, damp, steep, slippery stairs in my life! Avery's eyes were HUGE and her teeth were chattering!
The formations are incredible and vary in size, color and size. The Drapery Room looks like pleated drapes in a pale limestone. The Snowball Room has the appearance of hundreds of snowballs, varying in size. Frozen Niagara looks like a waterfall, frozen in time. These are just a few of the unique formation waiting to be seen at Mammoth Cave. Each area seems to be a doorway into another new world of shapes, colors, sizes and creatures.
When you are done with your descent from the cave, you walk through this nasty soapy stuff that gets your socks wet. It is supposed to help you from spreading a disease to other places since its present in the mammoth cave bats.
Since we were so close to the Corvette museum, Dale decided to take the boys to it, attempt 2. He dropped the girls off at the mall and took off. It was fun!
Avery found some cute magnetic earrings. She wants to get her ears pierced so bad, but we are looking for some improvement in responsibility and clean up first, so these will do.
We pulled out the next day for Ohio!
BUT, not all travel days are fun and relaxing.......
Let's do a little travel day math, shall we?
30 ounces of water x 5 Ferguson stainless steel cups = 150 oz of cold refreshing water
ADD to that equations, the Mother of ALL POTHOLES and that equals....
Over a GALLON of water flying out of said cups, and rushing all over the floor and under slides!
BONUS: We lost all our dash gauges too. But never fear, Mr. Fix It is on the job!
*The floor will be oh so clean when we stop tonight.
*My cup jumped across two open laptops before spilling. Thanks, Lord!
*We may never know why the Lord needed us off the road that 30 minutes but we trust it!
*Dale got it fixed and we are back on the road again!
OHIO - Here we come :)
The next stop in our journey was Bristol, TN in the beautiful home of our blue diamond uplines, and family friends, the Esteppes! And once again, due to no full hook ups at local RV spots (what is up with this?) we were invited to move into their lovely home for the weekend.
SECOND TIME IN 3 and a half years to do this. How is this continuing to happen?! I am so perplexed but so grateful for people with room for SIX EXTRA PEOPLE in their homes comfortably. LOL! :)
They have the cutest little Frenchie, Blossom. We were a wee bit nervous that the girls wouldn't play nice. It pretty much turned into Sophie running away from Blossom.
We had a nice evening visiting and getting settled in to our beautiful rooms.
We enjoyed coffee (water for me) out on the front porch the next morning. This house sits up high and has GREAT views!
Spring and Keith had a business training planned for the next day, so we took their daughter, Amryn, with us to go explore the area. Their oldest child, Ryland, was at a missions trip until the next day.
We went to a state park called Warrior's Path, and played at a playground called Darrell's Dream. It was Narnia themed and SO AMAZING!
The girls put on a little show for us in the theatre there at the park. SO cute!
There was a river, sand tables and even some musical instruments!
The kids wanted to throw some poles in the lake before we went to lunch. It didn't last long because the fish were NOT biting and it was SO SUPER HOT!
It was Spring and Keith's anniversary, so we ran to the store so the girls could make them a Chocolate Mousse! Mmm can't wait to taste it!
That night we headed to eat Mexican and then explore downtown historic Bristol, where one side of town resides in Virginia, and the other Tennessee! YES for real! It is so crazy cool!
Spring had this idea that she was going to take our photo by the sign in the middle of the road. So we wait for traffic to clear and we all rush out there.......only to realize Dale wasn't following!
PHEW, just in the nick of time!
We ate at the historic, Blackbird Bakery. OH MY HEAVENS, all the choices and a line a mile long. Dale ALMOST didn't come in, but we convinced him. Silly guy! ;)
ALSO, do you see Amryn's baby doll? Holy cow, that thing drew a crowd everywhere we went. It weighs over 5 pounds like a real life baby.
Can you tell this crew doesn't get sugar as often as they would like? Hahaha :)
It was a great night for walking around!
In this slideshow, you will see Dale getting himself into trouble in the middle of the road. Beautiful downtown main street, train station and the infamous state sign.
We floated around the lazy river all afternoon Sunday and just like that, Monday arrived and it was time to head on into Virginia.
Bye, Esteppe family! Thank you for your amazing southern hospitality and showing us your amazing town! Until next time...
Narrow bridges and a rainy day greeted us as we pulled into Tennessee!
After a long day of travel we needed an EASY quick supper, so Potato Stick Salad was the perfect fit! Click on the link to read the recipe from the 4 little Ferguson's blog.
The RV park we stayed at had the neatest commons area. The fire circle with twinkle lights, swings, corn hole and hillbilly golf. We played each night we were there and had so much fun!
We got to do a class and hang out with some travel friends we met along the way. God is so good to bring us faithful friends and believers in Him to hang with wherever we go.
We loved their church, had a fun oil class, then went out to dinner! :)
Want to create good listeners in church? Try this fun game!!! You can personalize it to the sermon topic once you get to church! :)
We headed towards Chapel Hill, TN to see if we could fit in Henry Horton State Park. We don't get to stay in State Parks very often because of our rig size, but this one we JUUUUST barely squeezed into with much manuvering by Dale. This is why HE is the driver, not me! SCARY STUFF!
It is funny, we live full time in our RV and normal life usually prevails, but being in the forest like this? We started acting like we were weekend campers again. Cooking over the fire every meal, hanging out in the hammocks, fishing and swimming all afternoon.
Dale made us the most simple, easy breakfast. Bacon cooked on the cast iron skillet over the fire, fresh sliced avocados in soft warm grilled tortillas. Mmm mm, breakfast of champions!
We also tried zoodles and squash noodles sauteed in butter with golden shitake mushrooms. Ohmyword!
We just kicked back in the hammocks and read and talked. Ahh, it was the life for sure!
We have a budding team in Chapel Hill, so we planned to meet them and offer a business training for the evening. We had such a nice time!! They are WONDERFUL!
One of our builders and new friends, Karen, offered to let the kids ride her horse at her home the next morning. Knowing what a horse FANATIC Avery is, we quickly said yes.
They had a BALL and she taught them so much in the short time we were there! What a blessing!
It was such a stunning property!
Back at the RV park, we took off in the forest and discovered an abandoned farmstead. Holy creepy! And how sad! I always wonder the stories behind these places and why they were left empty without a new family to fill them with love and laughter.
The old house still had furniture in it, and a beautiful summer kitchen or something behind it.
I went up the front steps to check out the furnishings and heard an air leak. It was almost like an air pump with it's rthymic and repeatative - shhhh, ch, shhhh, ch, shhhhh. |
I was showing Ty the cool old black leather chair when all of a sudden a CRASH BANG BOOM noise came from the gaping down ceiling exposing the attic and something rushed towards my head.
I turned tail and ran so fast, screaming for Ty to follow me.....
Avery took one look at me and screamed along with me, even though she was far down the drive already and ran fast ahead. I am still screaming and running while looking over my shoulder at Tylan.
That kid! He was slowly making his way down the grassy drive, not even worried about the giant monster trying to get us.
Where was Dale you ask?
Oh, laughing his head off at the barn.
We had one heck of a time in Tennessee and cannot wait to come back again! Time to head to Alabama for more classes, so we are off!
It's going to be an EAST COAST summer! We are excited to be working our way up towards Maine, then over to Michigan and Wisconsin.
We have been to 37 states so far, and the best time to go up that far northeast is summer, so off we go! We want some more pins on this pin board!
Our first stop was seeing some dear friends in OKC, then off to Tennessee we went.
Oh my, it is BEAUTIFUL!
We stayed at a small RV park when we first pulled in, and had a fun lake side church service the next morning. Then worked on making up some more Blessing Bags.
These have been such a hit this past year on the road. We have gotten hugs and tears, crazy looks and many thanks!
Here is what we chose to include in our blessing bags: (we find the Dollar Store to be the best place to find these items!) *gallon ziplock
*a protein (we did some pb jars, some chicken salad packets with crackers)
*applesauce AND a spoon
*gum or hard candy like jaw breakers
(no Jolly ranchers, they melt easily and make a huge mess, trust us!!!)
*travel pack of wet wipes
*mini shampoo, lotion and deo
*mini toothpaste and a toothbrush
*comb and hair band
*couple of bandaids
*small paper devotional (found online)
*$2, $5 or $10, up to you. We did a variety!
The kids SO enjoy finding people to give them to! We figured whether the people we see on the side of the road really need our help or not, our job is to GIVE, abundantly and freely.
That's what we are responsible for, giving. What they do with it, and what their true need is, is up to them. They answer for their actions, not me!
We are tightening our belts this summer, in order to focus on debt reduction so we can GIVE more freely, we are trying to focus on mostly FREE things to do in the areas we stay. That means we did a lot of hiking and swimming, or playing games out on our picnic table, this trip, which was great!
The Smoky Mountains are absolutely stunning and the weather was perfect. And no bugs. :)
We hiked 5 miles! WOAH. These travelers have gotten SOFT. Ouchie, but holy amazing and worth it! Check out the above photos of what we got to see on our trek through nature.
The whole time we were hiking, Avery and I asked the Lord to protect us from Bears. There were a lot of warnings and signs, and even no dogs allowed signs, that made us nervous!
Dale said, but I really wanted to see one! In my head I just thought, "Ok Lord, maybe from the safety of our car we could see ONE?!"
We stopped at the little grocery store on our way home to get a few things for supper. While I was inside, Dale helped a group of ladies in the parking lot, to get their car running again.
It took a long time, but the kids were so tired from our big hike, they just lounged in the car and ate bagels from the grocery bags. Dale got it running again, and of course, wouldn't take a dime from them, so the Lord blessed Dale with his hearts desire:
Seriously! We watched this guy bumble across the road and walk alongside it up into the woods.
How cool is our Father in Heaven!!!! I love how He blesses us with the "little" things that make us feel loved and heard from.
Today we are settled river front, in North Carolina!!! I am also working on a Day in the Life Of post as requested by so many of you, so stay tuned! :)