Journey Up the East Coast - Spring 2014- Part 1

Since we left Gulf Shores, AL area in early spring.... here are a few highlights of our journey up the east coast...

Pine Mountain, GA....

South Carolina....

While I have no pictures at the campground, we were met with such wonderful hospitality.  Many thanks to the wonderful folks at the campground church in Fair Play! 

Geology Museum and Botanical Gardens in Clemson, SC

Excerpt from one of our favorite books we are reading together...

North Carolina....

Philip asked if he could go fishing on his 12th  birthday instead of school.  We were backed up to a small lake.  I told him if he caught 12 fish I would clean them for him and we would have them for his birthday dinner.  He caught 21 instead.   You can bet that the next time the kids cleaned their own fish.

All for one and one for all.....

Winston-Salem Children's Museum... fantastic!

Our very nice next door neighbor, Dawg, let the kids play with his remote control boats....

Stephen relaxing with a container of cottage cheese....

David taming and naming his duck friend, Jonathan Lindle Guyer the Third (from Mandi series).  David would play his harmonica for the duck and tell him American history stories and this duck kept showing up throughout the day and following David around the campground. 

Colonial Beach, VA

We would have liked to have spent more time in Virginia, as it's so rich in history,  but we were needing to be to Philadelphia by mid-May for James to work the International Trumpet Guild Conference.  

Near our campground was George Washington's Birthplace

The original house where GW was born burned down but the foundation is still there.  Here we are standing over the bedroom where he was born.  The kids were very intrigued to know that the people back then thought taking a bath more than four times a year was unhealthy.  Blacksmith shop....

Filing out Jr Ranger Program Booklet

Swearing in Jr. Rangers

Crossing the Potomac River

Everyday Life- Laundry

Our shower is our laundry room. (We usually use the campground bathhouse for shower).  Nearly every square inch of the RV must be used for a purpose so we put our tub of nicer clothes in a tub under the washing machine and everyday clothes in duffle bags under the dinette seat.  Everyone has 4-5 outfits of each season (cold and warm) with nothing that needs ironing.  Adults have a little more space in the back for our clothes and James keeps his dress shirts hanging in the car.  

For small loads, the portable washing machine and hanging clothes out to dry off the back bumper drying rack works well, but with a stretch of rain, Mt. Neverest grows quickly.  Once a week or so we haul it to the laundry and the 4-5 loads are done in a snap with all hands helping.

We also have a Breathable Mobile Washer  This works surprisingly very well and is a great backup if we find ourselves without electricity.

Beautiful Mother's Day

North Carolina is a beautiful place to celebrate Mother's Day!  There is nothing that delights me more than to see our children laughing and marveling at the simple things in nature.  So instead of a spa treatment or day to myself I would choose a day with my family every time.  

So today, we went to see Daniel Boone Cave State Park.  And hiked and hiked and HIKED all over this beautiful land.  Next time we will remember to grab a map.  Legend has it that Daniel Boone moved to this area as a teenager and possibly lived in the cave here while the family was building a cabin.    It's so fun to walk on the ground where the influential people of history walked and imagine what it was like in those days.  

This is apparently the third largest tree in the state of North Carolina.   It's 156ft tall.  

To top off the day, we stopped by an ice cream shop on the way home and they were giving moms half off anything on the menu.  I got the gigantic banana split with 6 scoops of ice cream for $4.  Everyone got to pick out their own flavor.  

Loved the day!! Savoring every moment before they all grow up.  

Gulf Coast

As we prepare to begin our journey northward, we smile on our time here, finishing out the winter on the Gulf Coast. 

White sandy beaches...lots of shell collecting 

We enjoyed our time immensely with Chester and Dianne, who invited us out to their beachfront condo for a day.  A week later we got to see them perform with the Mobile Symphony (they got us complimentary tickets).  It was a fantastic concert! 

And beautiful weather... mostly in the 70s and sunny except for a couple of torrential rainstorms.

(our front door

We are thankful for our time here in southern Alabama!

Corinth Civil War Interpretive Museum and Battlefield

Yesterday reminded me of when we were in Muncie, IN last summer and just happened upon Minnitrista Gardens and Museum, the former grounds of the Ball Family (canning jars).  Or the 45th Infantry Museum in Oklahoma City.  It seems those we accidentally stumble upon  are the ones that we find most fascinating.  

This past weekend, we planned to make a quick pit stop overnight in Corinth, MS.  Since it turned out that we were the only ones at the campground, and the temperature was in the mid 70s,  we decided to stay a bit longer and get ourselves regrouped as a family.  We spread our junk out to get organized (being the only ones there, no one would care if there was a bit of a mess for a few hours).  We also decided to drop in at the Civil War Museum.  

Wow!  We learned so much!  This was a significant battle in the Civil War.  Not far from the museum in Corinth was where the north/south railroad and east/west railroads intersected.  The Union knew that if they took Corinth, they would be taking over the control of the railroad.  Being from the north, there were so many details that I would have never learned.  I'm sure I learned more than that but I guess that is what stuck with me.  There was so much more to it all.   We teach our children that when you read a history book or see an exhibit, you are gaining just one person's or group of people's perspective on that time period and adding it to your overall understanding.  Really, nothing you read should be taken as a "fact", but if you search hard enough and gather information from many sources you can sometimes piece together a great nugget of understanding.  There is nothing like standing on the battlefield where it all took place though.  

We lived in Boston for a number of years and often neglected to take advantage of opportunities in our own backyard. Sometimes when family or friends would come and visit... but I walked the freedom trail to work everyday and just kind of got used to it all.  Now that we travel full time and know we will be moving on in a few days, we are quick to take advantage of these opportunities.   

The Jr. Ranger program, as always,  is a great way to focus in on and retain information presented at these National Monuments and Parks. 

We learned that over 23,000 troops were killed in this battle and nearly the same number died of disease at the makeshift hospitals set up for the wounded.  

General Rogers was a Confederate leader killed in battle. 

This fountain represented the first 100 years of the United states.  The blocks in the middle represent all the battles of the civil war, the biggest ones being the ones with the most casualties.  

 The site of Battery Robinette. 

The swearing in ceremony and receiving of Jr. Ranger badges. 

Looking forward to another "surprise" down the road.....


Our home has been in heated storage for a couple of months  so we are thankful have not had to winterize.  We've still been able to fulfill the yearly need for fun in the snow and are ready to finally migrate south (assuming south is warmer than north-not so sure this year).   I wanted to share this memory of the winter of 2014.  Notice how we didn't even need sleds to get down the very slick ice covered hill?  Watching them come up the hill was even more hilarious. 

Everyday Life- Roadschooling

Writers block on this one.  Not because I don't know what to say about road schooling , but because there is too much to say and every day is so different.  Foundationally, we believe education is about knowing, loving and worshipping  God, marveling at the things we learn about the world He has made (science),  understanding the story of life from the beginning into future (history/social studies), living right (Bible knowledge/reading/application) and communicating this well with others (writing/speaking etc).  

This first picture illustrates about 1% of what education in our home on wheels is really about.  I thought I'd better include it in case someone expects some traditional schooling pictures..... minus the classroom walls that is.

We really do have a daily routine.  At least written down.  Here is an example of one of the kids' days:  

Well, possible days.... I mean.... there have actually been a couple of times that we have  gotten through this whole list, but most of the time, it's a general guide.   We laminated one for each of the kids and put it in a clear plastic pocket hanging on the wall.  Assignments can  be written down and items checked off when completed.    However, if  unusual teachable moments occur (and they almost always  do), or we find a historical site in our new backyard, or a huge bug lands on a math book and begs to be identified, we'll grab those opportunities in a heartbeat over being chained to this list.  Maybe it's survival skills training day and we just decide to go fishing.  Everything purple can be done independently so no one has an excuse that they don't know what to do. 

While the 3 Rs are more structured, everything else occurs as a way of life.  So as for the other 99% of the time...  

Map reading and geography:  We pray for and learn about various countries each day ( is a great resource and daily devotion).  We memorize the countries broken down into smaller regions through Geography Songs (Troxel) and sing them as we go about other tasks.  Even Stephen who just turned three can sing the countries of Africa-just because someone's always singing a geography song. They are kind of catchy.   We don't just memorize state capitals but we go see them,  which makes them hard to forget.  We let the kids navigate... (double checking of course) .... following GPS as well as written maps.  We still like some old school. 

It's a challenge to find a place to store school books.... Still trying to cut back and use technology more, but again... hard to give up old school. 

Music...We sing a lot together, add instruments here and there.... it's a way of life, not a class. 

Stephen enjoying table activities.... And here is Johnny's day (age 5)...sometimes....



And daily nature walks (we often take pictures or sketch what we see on the walks and identify them when we get back to the RV).  The US is awesome as in every state we find different treasures that we've never seen before.   This is from a gumball tree in Kentucky.  The kids and some neighbors (another full time family) collected about a thousand of these and had gumball battles.  Ouch! (Not really they are spongy)

We find lots of fungi variations... 

Here we are with a wonderful family that we stayed with for a week, walking through their woods identifying edible plants.  Now this is education.  Loving life and learning together. 

Turkey Run State Park

It's not the Grand Canyon, but the canyons of Turkey Run State Park (West of Indianapolis) were still amazing.  Actually, we only saw a small portion of this state park. There is a long suspension bridge which one must cross to get to the rougher trails, but unfortunately last spring a huge tree smashed into it.  You can still get there by going the long way around but for the sake of time, we just stayed on the more moderate trail, which leads through a gorge.  Maybe after some rock climbing practice we can tackle the other trails next time passing through.