An American Tradition

A couple of years ago if anyone would have asked me if I thought I might go to New York City my answer would have been it is unlikely.  If they wanted to know if I thought I would ever be in New York City for Independence Day my answer would have been yeah right.  But things change and with our lifestyle being what it is these days I am happy to say that I have visited New York City and during Fourth of July no less!  It is amazing how quickly things can change.  It is also amazing how our perceptions can change as we add experiences to our lives.  Watching the fireworks go off over the Empire State Building was definitely not something I thought I would ever experience, but it is an experience I have now shared with my children and something they will never think of as being out of their reach.  There are so many things to see and do in New York City that deciding what to miss was tough.  We are a budget minded family and we try to see as much as we can when visit each place, but there is always so much to do that we have to miss some stuff.  It makes it easy for us that we try to stick with the free and inexpensive options.  Aside from the fact that it was our most expensive site rent so far we did manage to see a lot, but not spend a lot while visiting New York City.

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Welcome Home!

It’s always nice pulling into a new camp. Getting there means we’re home (since we take our house wherever we go) and it’s nice to feel at home no matter where we are. Some of the places we stay are definitely better than others and the Holly Point Recreation Area on Falls Lake, near Raleigh, NC, was a welcome site when we arrived. The sites were all pretty long, lots of trees made them very private, we had water and power hook-ups plus a nice walking trail to the playground which the kids loved. The campground was very quiet and the bathrooms were maintained. We liked that we could collect the dead wood here and have a campfire. I prefer staying in sites that are on the rustic side and have some privacy even if it means not having some amenities. Occasionally, we have to stay at places that are a little less camping and more on the resort side like when we need some amenities such as laundry or Wi-Fi. It was nice staying at Holly Point for its rustic camping feel as well as its proximity to the city. Once we arrive at our site, get the trailer set up, and the slides out, I always like to welcome everyone home.

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A Drive Through the Forest to Visit a King

I have always enjoyed hiking in the forest and our entire time in Georgia was spent in the woods. Our campsite near Atlanta was a state park called High Falls. It was a beautiful place with a dam that created a waterfall as well as some more natural lower falls. The campsites were large with plenty of room for our rig, and some beautiful hiking trails we were able to enjoy. For some strange reason we had overnight neighbors come and go during our stay, but we had multiple empty camp sites all around us. That coupled with the huge grass area behind our camp allowed the kids to really enjoy running around in camp. The laundry and showers were just a short walk up the road and the end of the loop was empty of campers, so the kids could ride their scooters way further than we normally allow.

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Tallahassee, Florida’s Capitol City

It was a busy day inside the capitol building since we happened to arrive on opening day of the legislative session. The university was there with some interesting displays about the history and archaeology from around the state. We were all interested in learning about some of the different ways that the natives used shells for tools. After looking over the displays we decided to take the elevator up to the top. Like the capitol building in Louisiana, you can go all the way to the 22nd floor and look out over the whole town. It isn’t quite as tall as Louisiana’s but you can still get a great view of the city. They had some plaques around that labeled the different buildings in view and it was fun to try to spot them. After seeing the whole city we took the elevator down to wandered around some of the other floors. We got to see the House Chamber just after their session had ended for the day, and we also got a good view looking down on the state seal. It was a really nice building and we were excited to see what the old capitol would look like.

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Mardi Gras

Things often work out in unexpected ways, like being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. This was never in our plans when we decided to tour the country, it just kind of worked out that way. The Carnival celebration of Mardi Gras is often portrayed as being more of an adult type of celebration. People getting crazy, drinking, and other un-family friendly activities are what many people associate with Mardi Gras. These things probably do happen, but the Mardi Gras we experienced was not like that at all. It focused on parades, families, crowds, and good times being had by all. It is really about the floats and their themes. These floats are so cool and so well designed, it’s hard to believe they put so much work into them just for this one celebration. The parades were awesome and the throws were crazy, it’s like no other parade we have ever experienced.. They throw out so much stuff (not just beads)! We left after only seeing one of the parade krewes because we had bags full of stuff, it was so incredible. The kids were having so much fun trying to get the good loot that we couldn’t help but let them. All the people on the floats (krewes) wear costumes and masks or paint their faces. It was an amazing experience to be there and I am so glad that we somehow ended up being a part of it.

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Astoria

img_5973Our first stop upon returning to Oregon was in Astoria.  We stayed at Fort Stevens state park which is located in the northern tip of the state.  The campground was pretty full so we did not get the best site, it was basically attached to our neighbors site.  This really didn’t matter though because it was kinda drizzly and raining off and on most of our time in the park.  Luckily we had enough non-rainy weather that we could still get out and explore the area.img_5903

It was a really neat park with many things to see and do.  The beach wasn’t to far, although it was a bit of a walk (about 1 mile each way).  On our first visit to the beach we walked, but decided to drive after that due to the not so ideal weather.  At this beach there are the remains of an old ship wreck.  It is accessible to the public during low tide which the kids thought was pretty cool.  It’s popular so right near the wreck was a little crowded, but further down the beach the people were all spread out.  It is img_5793also a driving beach with four wheel drive access points, so we took the kids for their first drive on a beach.  We had a great time visiting Oregon beaches, the kids even found buried treasure.  We are looking forward to seeing more of the Oregon coast in our future travels.

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Peshtigo Wisconsin

Although we would have liked to get to Madison in a single day, it was too far to travel with the kids.

Sarah found a great spot halfway across the state in Peshtigo, Wisconsin.

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Badger Park in Peshtigo Wisconsin is a quiet city park with an amazing playground. We were able to stay only the one day
planned because so many people already had reservations. It was great for the single night though and the camp host was extremely nice.
He told us about the museum in town dedicated to the fire that had destroyed the entire town around the time of the great Chicago fire.

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