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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Sunburst RV Resort

We rarely mention RV parks that we stay at on our blog, but the Sunburst RV Resort was so spectacular that we just have to talk about it. Although the pool was closed when we visited, the hot tub was still open so we took advantage of it, twice. After a long day on the road it was nice to soak away the stress. As an added bonus we met a nice couple from New York that we hit it off with. They met us again when we visited the hot tub a second time and they also loved the park. Both of our groups have extensive travel experience and we know it can be hard to find a great camp site. Although it was a bit of a drive to visit Pensacola from the park, it was well worth it because the manager truly cared about the people in the park. She was working non-stop to please someone the entire time we were there, yet she still found time to help the kids make hiking sticks and survival bracelets. She provided the materials and spent a few hours on two occasions doing crafts with the kids. Of all the campsites we have visited, she is the only host that we invited to dinner! The park was spotless and everything was in tip top shape, even the two swimming pools. This place was just amazing and if you are ever in the area, we recommend wholeheartedly that you spend sometime here. It is a short drive to the beach, the Naval Aviation Museum, the Gulf Island National Seashore and more. Our neighbor at the park was from Cape Cod and seemed super happy with the park. Yes when everyone at the park is smiling and in a good mood you know management is doing something right. Trish is a super star and one of the nicest managers we have met on the road! Good work needs to be called out and people like her that go above and beyond the call of duty are rare.

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Airplanes, Cannons, and Beaches

In order to see the Everglades while Rangers programs are still going on, we had to postpone seeing Alabama and Mississippi till later. Instead we just drove right on through to Florida and stopped north of Pensacola for a short stay. We found a campsite that was so great I will be doing a post just about them, so stay tuned. Pensacola was very pretty and everyone enjoyed our time in the area.

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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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Steamboat Natchez

If you are ever near New Orleans, then I would recommend taking a few hours to enjoy a cruise on the Mississippi River. The Steamboat Natchez is the last authentic steamboat left plying it’s trade on the river (their competitor has diesel engines). When we first went to get our tickets, the ship was playing music with it’s steam. It’s called the Calliope concerts and they hold them twice a day. You can hear the music from the French Quarter and it’s free to check out the boat and listen to the concert. Plus there is a great walking path that takes you along the Mississippi River and the edge of the French Quarter.

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A Castle in America?!?

Sometimes we come across hidden gems on our adventure. Baton Rouge has an amazing capitol and I will get to that soon, but the old capitol building has been turned into a free museum and it looks like a castle! The spiral staircase with a stained glass dome could be the most spectacular stairway we have seen yet. The museum had tons of Baton Rouge and Louisiana history, plus a display about modern times in Baton Rouge. Across the street is a walking path next to the Mississippi river with a destroyer, museums, fountains and artwork scattered around making it a pleasant place to walk. The kids found plenty of Mardi Gras beads from the parade the previous weekend and we are looking forward to actually seeing a parade soon.

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Museums, a Monument, and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a Battleship?

Some of the main concerns when visiting a large city are traffic and parking. Houston definitely has it’s share of both. We decided to stay in an RV park on the east side of the city in a small town called Anahuac. It was a decent place, but most of the sites were rented on a monthly basis and we typically only stay in a place three or four days on average. It was a little farther from the city than we had anticipated, but things usually tend to work out as they should and we were comfortable there for a few days.

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The 5 Biggest Changes in our Home-school to Road-school Transition

Many things have changed in our lives since we have been on the road full time.  My children have always been home-schooled so the transition to road-schooling has been easy enough, but there are some big differences in our daily routine.  I want to share with you some of our biggest changes, some of these we expected and others we did not, but so far it has been a great experience.

1. Daddy Time-  The fact that we now get to share all of our learning experiences together as a family has been awesome.  We don’t have to say good-bye to Daddy every morning and then bombard him with all the days activities the minute he walks in the door at night.  He is there to share the day with us.  He gets to participate in all the fun (and not so fun) things we do each day.  There is no more “Daddy we wish you could have been there,” because he is there.

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Austin

McKinney Falls State Park was busy, but that is probably because it feels secluded, yet is actually close to Austin. Located on the Onion Creek, McKinney Falls State Park has an upper and lower falls both of which have great swimming holes. It was too cold for us to swim when we visited though due to a ‘Norther’ (chilly air blowing down from Canada). We did get to do some fishing, but the only thing caught was a turtle that wasn’t even hauled out of the water. The fish we could see were large though and I would recommend bringing your fishing pole if you visit the state park. The campground was in the forest and quiet with a small amount of city noise in the distance, but when we went to visit the capital it only took twenty minutes to get downtown!

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Winter in the Gulf Coast

Padre Island National Seashore is 60 miles of beach on one side and bay on the other.  It is located in the Gulf Coast between Corpus Christi and Brownsville in south Texas.  There are many amazing things about this beautiful place, and I am grateful that we got to experience some of them.  We originally intended to stay at the Malaquite campground inside the park, however, things do not always go as planned, and we have learned to be flexible with our plans as they often change on the spur of the moment.  The campground was complete,y full when we arrived, so we studied the map for a few minutes, drove to the other campground on the bay side, and hen decided we would take the trailer right down to the beach.  There are no amenities when camping on the beach, but the view is amazing and the price is reasonable (free!).  It is possible to drive the entire length of the beach, but 4 wheel drive is recommended after the 5 mile marker, so we only took the trailer down about a mile or two.  We found a great spot, backed in, and set up camp.  I can’t think of anything better than camping on the beach in a national park in January.  It was awesome.

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