As you might have guessed by now we really like going to the seashore. The National Seashores are beautiful places and are worth visiting just for the pristine beaches. They also have educational ranger programs, visitor centers, and the kids can do the Junior Ranger programs. The beach is a great place to spend some school time and each National Seashore has something unique to the area. When my parents suggested we visit Assateague Island I wasn’t sure if we would get to or not. Often times the places we visit are a combination of timing and what route we have to take to see the capitals. After staying in Virginia for longer than we had originally planned, we knew we needed to start heading towards Dover, DE. Unfortunately for us the state parks in Delaware seem to be perpetually full on the weekends at this time of year and we were having some trouble finding a spot to stay. That was when Sarah found a free primitive campsite that was about half way between Newport News and Dover that was located in Maryland.
The state of Virginia contains much in the way of history, especially when it comes to the early beginnings of this country. They refer to three of the historic sites as the Historic Triangle. This triangle includes Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown. Both Jamestowne and Yorktown have two sites, one being the national park site, the other being a historical recreation. Of the two we only visited the national park sites for both. There is always so much to see and we only have so much time and money to go around. We really wanted to see Colonial Williamsburg though so we decided to buy the tickets and see the sites (you can walk around the town, shops, and eat in the restaurants without buying tickets). They were not cheap to buy, but we had a great time and felt it was definitely worth it at the end of the day.
We loved our visit to the USS Texas in Houston and when we saw the USS Wisconsin was on the ASTC museum list we were excited to visit it. Unfortunately there was just too much to see in what is known as the Historic Triangle and we ran out of time. Our first trip out of camp found us at the NASA Air and Space Museum in Hampton, VA. We had wanted to visit a space museum in Texas and in Florida, but they were pretty expensive and we had to pass on them. Since it was on the ASTC list we decided that it would be our first stop, especially when the weather report showed rain everywhere else in the area except in Hampton. Well it turned out to be a great day to be at the museum. I was really impressed by the Apollo 12 Capsule on display and yes it is the actual capsule that went to the moon! Everyone really enjoyed the flight simulators and now we know that landing a spaceship is exceptionally difficult to do. The plane simulator was cool because it had a dozen rows of seats plus the windows were hooked into the computer program, so they showed what the pilot was doing, making it more realistic. Of course the kids really liked the cockpit with the thousand switches and buttons you would expect in an airplane. During our visit we also went to Mars in a simulation and got to see the inflatable structures that NASA is designing to build habitats on the red planet. From the Wright Brothers Flyer to Rockets this museum had everything you could imagine about space and flight. After half a day of learning though we were getting hungry, so we walked over to the marina and had a picnic where we could look at the yachts and sailboats. Journey wants to go sailing after we visit every state in the country, but that is a long way off.
We are heading north up the east coast and we plan to be in Maine sometime this summer, but we have a lot to see before we get there. This includes a few stops in the Virginia area where there is a lot to see. Richmond VA was one of our stops, it being the capital and all. Virginia has so much history involving the founding of this country and its early beginnings that we were looking forward to touring the capitol building in Richmond. There was also a science museum nearby that we wanted to check out. There is always an opportunity to learn something new at every place we go, but we love that it comes so easily when visiting museums and historical sites. We also get the added bonus of it being fun too!
I know that Sarah has made some amazing food over the years and that I am just beginning to be able to cook with any skill, but sometimes it doesn’t take fancy food to please people. Sure I love a homemade chicken pot pie or Italian stuffed chicken when we are at home. On the road though, you don’t always have the time or energy to make a culinary delight that can be packed into your travel plans. We like to hike and if you have read any of this blog then you know we love museums. Occasionally we eat at restaurants, if we always ate out though it would get expensive quick. I would love to say that I had the idea to make mixes on my own, but it was actually my mother and father-in-law that planted the idea in my head.
Sometimes we make camp and something unexpected happens. Well at Oregon Inlet Campground we ran into some strong winds. Now we have had strong winds before, like in New Mexico when the wind damaged our wheel skirting, but this was some really powerful wind. One night it blew so hard it damaged our window! Luckily we are pretty handy at this point and we were able to fix it ourselves in the morning. I have heard of the saying when life hands you lemons make lemon-aid, so when we were faced with strong winds we decided to go fly a kite. We brought a kite along with us from Nevada and had carried it to twenty-five states without using it. This was the opportunity we had been looking for, strong winds and sandy beaches for the kids to crash it into because let’s face it you gotta crash a few times to really learn how to fly. That’s what the Wright Brothers did and it worked out pretty well for them, but I digress and will get to those guys in a minute. The look of joy on the kids face as the kite took flight and they were the ones controlling it was priceless. Yes even though it was windy we had a great time visiting the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
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.
So first off many apologies for not having some pictures of our great camp near Winston-Salem, NC. When we pulled into the camp it was raining for the first two days and the nice days saw us so busy that we simply forgot to snap any photos. The reason I bring this up is because we stayed at a lovely spot called Tanglewood RV. When we left the freeway and Sarah said it was only a few turns to get to the camp, I must admit that I was worried about road noise. Two turns later and a drive into the camp didn’t do much to ease my worries. We checked in and headed to camp, which was down another long driveway to even enter the camp. After we set up camp I perked up my ear to see if I was going to be bothered by road noise and to my surprise I heard nothing. It turned out to be a wonderful quiet camp in the woods. The sites were not very level, but we have dealt with that so many times over the last year that it didn’t matter especially with our new slide supports (yes I really do love those things). Best of all the park had good Wi-Fi which allowed us to post some articles and send family pictures, which is something we always love.
The opportunity we have had to visit some of the most beautiful places in this country has been priceless. Going to national parks has somehow become a part of what we do. We had no idea when we started out on this crazy adventure that going to national parks was to become such an integral part of our whole experience. They are all so unique and amazing, each one is different and we are surprised to keep finding that we love all of them. Visiting them with our children has created some unforgettable memories for our entire family. Having our kids right there with us is not always easy, but totally worth every moment.
I was born and raised in the mountains and have always felt a connection to them. Although visiting the beaches of the Gulf coast was fun, I have been aching to see mountains again. The last time we were in the mountains was in Big Bend National Park before Christmas and to me that is a long time. The kids were a little surprised when we crested a hill and I saw mountains because I let out a joyous call. The forested hills of Georgia were very pretty, but these were mountains and I knew that soon we would be in the Great Smokey Mountains!