Making Friends on the Road

Moving around so much means that making friends on the road can be tough. When we choose our next campground there is always a randomness factor. Who will our new neighbors be? It is our hope that we get no neighbors or cool neighbors, but at least quiet neighbors. Never the neighbors with the “cute Christmas jingle” that plays every time they open their door.

Luckily for us our Thanksgiving campground destination happened to have some great neighbors. At Minooka Park, half way between Birmingham and Montgomery, we discovered a really great place to stay. It is an ATV park with RV campsites many of which have full hook-ups. The ATV riders were all very considerate in the campground and the trails are out of the way so noise is not bad. We loved it and made some new friends too!

Our neighbor at Minooka Park was one of the county commissioners, Jim Hardee. He invited us to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family. Sharing a wonderful meal with some great company made it a very nice holiday on the road. He also arranged for us to get a more personal tour of the capitol when he found out we are visiting all of them. We were very thankful to find making friends on the road is possible, especially when those friends are so awesome.


Driving to every capitol in America has been an adventure.

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It is still an adventure visiting these places because every one of them is different and they all give us a new perspective. Montgomery Alabama was the first time we have had a special tour arranged for us. It was different, we got to see where the House and Senate meet now. The capitol is more of a museum, both were fun. We learned that Jefferson Davis gave his inaugural address on the front steps of that building, something we had not known before. Always something new.

The First White House of the Confederacy is across the street so we thought we would check it out. Plus it’s free! The house is small and looks very plain from the outside. It has quite a bit about Jefferson Davis and the time period inside. The volunteer was very knowledgeable and friendly. It is bigger than it looks on the inside, but it doesn’t take long to see. It is worth stopping in if you visit the capitol.

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We might not always be successful making friends on the road, but the friends we have made are spectacular.

We love to visit places that are educational, an added bonus is when they are also free. The MOOseum, part of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, was free, educational and is also located within walking distance of the capitol. Parking was free too, so we just parked and walked from there. The small museum was really fun. It isn’t very big with only three rooms to explore. This worked for us because we were able to see it, the First White House, and the capitol all in one day.

Out front they have the cattle van with the cow on top showing where the different cuts of meat are. Inside they have two rooms with many

informative displays about the cattle industry. We had no idea there were so many different types of cows or that cattle was such a big industry for Alabama. The last room was for the kids. There were dress-up clothes, a large kitchen to prepare meals, and a cattle pen complete with cow. It was fun and we learned something new.

If we had not been open to making friends on the road, we many not have met the Hardee family. Our experience in Montgomery may have been different. We are thankful that we have been able to meet so many great people all over the country. It isn’t always easy making friends on the road, but it is part of the adventure.

Although we go with the flow and often go where life leads us, it isn’t possible to see it all.

There are always tons of things to do when we visit a new place. We get many suggestions from the people we meet on what to do. Sometimes these people do not understand that we are not exactly on vacation. We do not have the means to do every cool thing available. The free stuff is what we look for first. However we are always open to ideas.

We got several great suggestions about the Montgomery/Birmingham area, but they were a little out of our price range. So we took our trusted ASTC membership and went to the McWane Science Center in Birmingham. It was a great place to visit.


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Miles hand made a bow, arrows, a quiver, swords and a staff out of bamboo.

As always we explored the place just about all day. They had a small lunch area where we had our sandwiches and took a small break. The kids loved the zip line they had set up , it was something they hadn’t done before. There was also a small train set up for Christmas they enjoyed. Our favorite thing was the pin wall, it was fun trying to make something before someone else pushed it all back!

It is always cool when they have a variety of experiences like they did at McWane Science Center. The underwater area was pretty cool. They had a sting ray tank where the kids could touch the rays. We got to watch some of the fish being fed too. In one room they have activities going on throughout the day. The kids got to do an experiment with meal worms and touch a bearded dragon. It was an educational day of fun.

Our second Thanksgiving on the road was even better than the first. We made some great new friends, explored two amazing cities in Alabama, and found a nice family campground. Starting out on this adventure I did not think much about meeting people. I knew we would of course, but I had no idea that it might lead to making friends on the road. It turns out that it is the best part. I really am grateful to have met so many wonderful people. Thanks for reading.




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Us at Minooka Park


Trip at the MOOseum


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17 thoughts on “Making Friends on the Road”

    • We like visiting amusement parks, but they are so expensive and not educational. After having visited 40 states, now we try to find different types of activities to do.

  1. The Hardee family sound wonderful – I agree, it’s so nice when you meet really genuine people as you’re traveling, and it’s great sharing your knowledge and picking up cool tips on where to go from the friends you make. Alabama sounds like it made for a really fun Thanksgiving – one to remember for sure!

    • We didn’t think Alabama would be our favorite, but it has definitely made an impression because of the awesome people.

    • We try to stay in touch with the people we meet on the road too. And yes we now know what southern hospitality really means.

  2. So cool you get to travel with the kids and show them all these wonderful places. I couldn’t agree more with you: making friends while traveling is one of the best part of a trip. It makes it so much special.

  3. What a fun journey to visit all the capitals! I’ve been to most of them since I come from a major road trip family, but I love using it as a quest. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to make friends based on the destination. However, staying at campgrounds I’m sure you often find loads of like-minded people!

  4. I bet it is tough meeting and maintaining friendships when you move around a lot. On the bright side you aren’t stuck with crazy door noises for long, that made me laugh. I hadn’t considered visiting each state capital. I’m going to check to see how many I have been to

    • We just had to laugh about it too. Our kids thought it was so great and so did we, till it had gone off a thousand times. All you can do is laugh about and realize it will make a great story down the road.

  5. You have had some amazing adventures on the road! Yes, it can be challenging to make friends while traveling but those you do make are even more special because of the unique experiences you’ve shared. And you have definitely had some unique experiences!

  6. I love that you are living on the road and taking your kids! That is such a wonderful education for them. We did that with our kids for 7 or 8 years and we loved it so much. I really miss that time, but it made us so much closer as a family than most of the families we know. We always loved the Science museums too.

    • We had originally thought we would travel for a year, but have been on the road almost two years now! It is so educational and fun that I could see us on the road for 7 or 8 years too.

  7. I totally agree that the people you meet are what makes travel so rewarding. You get so many new ideas for what to do just because your neighbors did different research than you. I never thought of campgrounds as a good place to make friends on the road, though. Glad you were able to connect with your neighbors in Alabama!

  8. The first White House of the Confederacy sounds like a good place to visit during Jefferson Davis’ Birthday to brood about the War of Northern Aggression. Seriously though, I love your banner graphic and it’s super cool that you are visiting all of the state capitals. I bet few kids have ever done that.

    • Thanks for complimenting our banner, since I made the graphics I really appreciate it. Going directly to the historical sites is a great way to teach our kids history. Yes we even teach them about the civil war, even though it is a touchy subject.

  9. Oh my God, there is so much to see in the States, I am from Canada, plenty to see up here as well, but the US as nothing to be shy off, I am a fan of old building, had a great time in Boston and Phily already, but there is more than a single life time just to go around.

    Great work, very interesting to read, and keep sharing, at least if we can`t make it there, we can a feeling of what it is.

    Thank you

    Sylvain Richard
    owner of


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