Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Birthday Girl!! 10/18/16

Happy birthday to my sweet baby girl, Emry! She turned the big 4 today and she was ready for it, although I wasn't. I got a video of her as she woke up and she had her usual crazy hair. I asked her if she knew what day it was and she said “no” then I told her. She walked away & yelled to her siblings “today's my birthday!” She had to tell them twice in case they didn't hear her the first time. She showed me with her fingers how she used to be 3, but now she's 4. We took her to eat at Waffle House then to get an ice cream cake so we could celebrate at the camp ground. She wanted a horse cake, but I knew that would be hard to find here on such short notice, but she was happy with an ice cream cake. We spent the afternoon fishing before cake time. Once again guilt set in for me because we didn't have her school friends around to do a big party and have lots of presents for her, but I was happy her little friend came over & I invited the family to have some cake. We don't have a lot of room in our fridge/freezer so I was glad they helped eat some cake. I know things are different when you hit the road full time and change to a minimalist lifestyle, but I hope my children see that even a simple party with family is still something that can be fun, special & something to cherish. I do try my best to make them feel special and that their day is indeed a big deal. I hope they feel my love for them thru the things I do whether it's big or small. Of course I tell them all the time how much I love them, but I don't think they'll truly understand a mother's love until they have babies of their own. I know I didn't understand until I had my first. Happy birthday Stinkers! Your sweet smile warms my heart and your stubbornness reminds me how much we are alike. Your spirited personality is like non other and you have the best dance moves. You crack me up daily & I love you more than all the chocolate in the world. Please don't grow so fast! Stay wittle!

Green River Lake State Park, Campbellsville, KY 10/11/16

After two days at the place in Columbia we decided to go over to the State Park on the lake to check it out. Whoa! It was beautiful! I didn't want to wait three weeks to get into this place so I decided to go into the office to explain our situation. I was still on her list, but she said if I started working already then we could surely come in now. What?! Awesome! She did have one stipulation & that was we had to move over one row during their weekend Halloween celebration because she had a full house & our spot was already reserved. We were ok with that and said we'd be back the next day to hook up. Happy dance! The only downfall at this place was it didn't have full hook ups, but Amazon had a deal with a poop truck who would come out once a week to pump us out. We knew that wouldn't be enough so hubby ordered a portable poop tank that he could haul with the truck. It was all falling into place & now I would only be about 12 minutes away from work. Whew! That made me feel a little better. On top of that good news this place had 2 playgrounds, a beach area, 2 big bath houses (2 for men, 2 for women), 3 laundry areas, a storm/tornado shelter, wifi, smooth roads for bike rides, a huge wide open grassy space with a stage, and hello….. kids to play with. Score! Things were looking back up again for the Bergmarks. On top of all that I made a new friend & in a couple weeks she would be hooked up right next to us & we would car pool to work. Same shift, same job so this worked out perfectly. 

We were parked in the area with no trees around, but since there weren't a lot of campers in the park it wasn't a big deal since we had space between us. We wanted the tree lined area, but would have to wait until after the Halloween festivities. Being in the trees is so relaxing & makes you feel more in tune with nature, but we only had to hold out for a couple weeks. No biggie & it would be worth it. Turns out in this first space there was a 4 yr old girl staying in a spot diagonally from us. She had a 10 yr old brother & a 2 yr old sister as well. The mom was working at Amazon & said it was her 3rd or 4th year back. Wow! I don't know if I could come back year after year like that, but the season was new so who knows. So this little 4 yr old girl came right over & the kids got to playing and played almost daily. They all brought out their bikes & rode back & forth, which was pretty much a daily thing. There was a slight slope from the road & Annika would zoom down & fly past our spot. It made my stomach knot up because I worried about her falling off. Of course what Annika does, Emry has to do. That girl has no fear! I had to tell her not to go to the top of the slope & to use her brakes. I could just picture the road rash from her falling. Gah makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it. Thankfully no one had any accidents….well not until a week or so later. Dalton finally got motivated to learn to ride his bike so I would run behind him while holding onto his shirt. He figured out that he could easily coast down that slope & balance like he used to on his Strider bike, but simply peddling and riding straight seemed difficult for him; therefore, he would walk his bike up then coast down over & over again. I was just glad he finally wanted to ride, but as a mom I still worried about him falling as a new rider. One afternoon hubby and I were standing outside when he said “watch me” and there he went down the slope with his legs out to the side balancing. I told hubby “I hope he doesn't fall” and what happened next? He literally ran into a post & flew off his bike. I'm not exaggerating. The one time I didn't have my camera recording & I missed it. He had his hands straight out like Superman & he was airborn off that bike and went several feet onto the grass. I was so glad he had his helmet on and after a full body check he was fine. He left a nice chunk out of that post. I can look back & laugh about it now because he flew like a super hero, but at that moment my heart sank into my stomach. No more slopes for him until he mastered the simple riding part. My heart can't take it!

How about a not so dangerous sport like fishing? Yes fishing is so much better. You can't get injured from fishing….well technically you shouldn't, but you haven't fished with my kids. They only had 2 fishing adventures during our stay at this park & there's good reason. It's simply a lot of work. From constantly putting the worms on their hooks (hubby's job) to helping cast out over & over again while dodging their hooks. On their first adventure they fished off the side of the lake near the boat launch & it was a rocky area. You really had to cast your line out in order to not hit the rocks. Annika got really good at casting & was a natural. The other two kiddos tried their best & it was pretty entertaining watching them. No one caught any fish on the first adventure, but Dalton did manage to catch his hat. He tried to cast out but apparently forgot to let go of the lever & that hook just came right back at him & hooked the rim of his hat. Yikes!! I could only imagine if that would have gone into his eye. Hey it could happen. As always I was on high alert the whole time because Dalton decided to move to a spot off to the side & no surprise it was a sheer drop into the water if you missed your footing. Why must my kids give me a heart attack? His response “I won't fall mommy”. Well I sure hope not. We had to cut our fishing experience short that day because I had to go to work. Mama's bringing home the bacon now!

On our second fishing expedition a couple weeks later (Emry's birthday) we went to the opposite side of the park near the tent camping area & fished off the beach area. I'm happy to say I caught a fish & Annika caught 2! As we neared the end of the worms, for some reason my kids got all sentimental & didn't want to use the last 3 worms to fish. Instead they wanted to keep them as pets because they were so cute. Uhhh what? I could have sworn I saw Emry kiss one of those slimy worms. Ick! I told them we couldn't have pet worms & that they should just put them in the sand so they could create their own home. That idea wasn't good enough for these precious worms so instead my thoughtful children created a little house out of rocks and leaves then put their beloved worms into their new home. As we walked away they waved & blew kisses and said their many good byes to their new worm friends. It was quite entertaining and every day for about a week they asked if we could go check on them. I told them that the worms were probably deep in the sand keeping cool, but we did take a trip or two over there and sure enough there were no worms present. I love how sensitive & thoughtful my kiddos can be. It's sweet.

Whether it's riding bikes, fishing or just playing outside with friends. I hope my children grow to love the great outdoors as much as hubby and I do.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Three Springs, Columbia, KY 10/8/16

Well this didn't turn out the way we had planned. About two months ago I made reservations at an approved Amazon campground (Green River Stables). I called a month later to confirm & the guy said “yes I have you down” however he never took my credit card information, phone number or anything. I was skeptical, but he said he went by his word. Ok, it's a southern thing, I get that so I felt we were good to go. The day we were supposed to arrive at this campground, hubby saw an online review that stated “if you have reservations at this place you'd better call because we had reservations and just arrived only to be told they had no room for us.” Hubby told me to call to verify since we would be there in a few short hours. I called & sure enough they “had some contractors who extended their stay due to bad weather at their destination and can't leave just yet.” Heck that's not my problem. That's not how reservations work. When the current person's time is up then they leave so the new people who have a reservation can come in. It's not rocket science. There are other places along the way those contractors could have stayed. Needless to say I was not a happy camper and it turns out this happened to at least six other Amazon workers who were coming in to stay at the same place. Not good business practice at all. Grrrrr! I quickly scrambled to find the other approved campsites before they filled up. Only one campground (Three Rivers) had openings and unfortunately it was about a 30 min drive to the Amazon distribution center from there. I wasn't thrilled about having our only vehicle for 11 hours while leaving hubby at home with three kiddos. What if there was an emergency? We didn't have a choice at that point so we took it. On the bright side it would only be for about three weeks because I was on the waiting list at the State Park to move in after their Halloween celebration. The campground at Three Rivers had NO amenities EXCEPT wifi. No bathrooms, no showers, no laundry, no playground, no dog park, etc. It looked like a grass field that was cut into a horse shoe shape then fitted for rv sites. It was very peaceful there, but there was nothing. The girls tried riding their bikes on the gravel road, but it wasn't the best. There was however an underground shelter of some sort, I'm assuming in the case of a tornado. I was happy about that. We only stayed for three days because this mama worked her magic and got us into a way better place closer to work.

Dad's Bluegrass RV 10/6/16

Hello Kentucky! We finally made it, but had to make one last overnight stay before getting into Campbellsville. We pulled into this campground & the owner met us out front in his little golf cart. He was super nice. He apologized for the renovations that were under way & asked if we'd stay long enough to listen to the live music they had on the weekends. Unfortunately no, but I'm sure it would have been a cool thing to listen to live bluegrass music. We got an end spot & before we could get out this young girl, about 8 yrs old or so, came speeding over on her bike to give our kids the scoop on the rv park. She was very friendly & mentioned the cat that wandered around & the lady's dog 2 rows over that you could pet if she was outside and then there was the nice old guy who would take you fishing & “it's ok to go into his trailer”, etc etc. Ummm I'm more cautious than that so I reminded the kids that they were not allowed to go into anyone's trailer. The girls grabbed their bikes & rode around with her next to our site. I walked with them so they could wander the campground. It looked like a lot of permanent campers and the campground overall was very full. After our walk around the camp ground & briefly saying “hi” to that young girl's mom we all made our way back to our trailer. I gave them drinks & goldfish crackers then the girl asked if she could use our bathroom. Ummm I wasn't real keen on the idea only because we had just met her, but I figured if she had to go so bad that she couldn't make it to her trailer then I should say yes. I didn't want her to have an accident because I said no. Well big mistake on my part. She was in the bathroom for a long time & I wondered what the problem was. I also couldn't help but wonder if she made her way into our bedroom. She finally came out of the bathroom & oh my goodness I was utterly taken by surprise. She had to go alright & she made a mess of the bathroom. I couldn't help but wonder what the heck happened. Not to be mean, but it was so gross. I quickly cleaned up her mess & had to wipe down the entire bathroom with Lysol wipes just in case. Never again, sorry. Learned my lesson. Again not trying to be mean, but I don't want to go thru that again. I told my kids I hope they never do that to another person's bathroom & if they did then they'd better clean up after themselves.

While I was taking care of business, hubby was researching the area & said he had something planned for the next day, but he wouldn't say what it was. I joked & asked “what is it a haunted house?” ding ding ding! Turns out I was right. He found this place called the Octagon House that was supposedly haunted. I knew for sure we'd have 3 extra people in our bed that next night if they knew they were going to a haunted house. I told myself I'd play it down so as not to over spook our kiddos. I was curious if we'd actually see or experience a ghost in the house. Once we got there I was surprised the house was smaller than I thought, but still an interesting house. It was 3 stories high, with the basement partially above ground & yes in the shape of an octagon. There was a really weird nursery room full of dolls that instantly freaked out Annika & she no longer wanted to be in any room so she stayed in the hallways & begged her dad & I to go outside. Of course we wanted to see all the house so we walked quickly then hubby finally went outside with all 3 kids. Dalton & Emry weren't real excited about the house. Instead they wanted to be outside playing with the blue eyed dog. I, on the other hand, went into each room taking pictures hoping to see a ghost, but never saw or felt anything. I heard a guy talking to another group of tourists & he claimed that he had seen a lot of paranormal activity. He had a group of folks who had the ghost technology & traveled to all kinds of haunted places to do their scientific gathering. He said of all the places he'd been, this Octagon House was the most haunted. Well I guess we arrived on an off day for the ghosts. Back to the campground we went to get ready for our morning departure. Next stop Campbellsville!

Millington TN Naval Base & the King 10/4/16

I gotta say before we made our stop for the night I kept seeing signs for Loretta Lynn's Ranch. I quickly Googled it & saw that it was on our way, but this wasn't her home that she refers to in her song “Coal Miner's Daughter”. This ranch in Hurricane Mills, outside of Nashville, is where they have a replica of her childhood home, concerts, gift shop, restaurant, motocross races & more. Apparently when she bought the land to build her home way back when, she actually bought the whole town. They also have an rv park, but reviews were iffy. I'm putting in my memory bank for next time. I do for sure want to go to her childhood home, which is East of Lexington, KY & just so happens to be somewhat on our way out of town after Breyerfest in July 2017. All the reviews say it's Loretta's brother who does the tours for $5 & it's not your typical touristy spot, which I like. I also read that it's hard to find so you have to go to the little country store & ask about it & they'll call Loretta's brother to meet you out there. It's literally a one on one tour & he tells you all kinds of stories from their childhood. That would be awesome so it's definitely on my list for next summer.
As for our stop over, we decided to pop a squat at a naval base famcamp. Another huge savings since we only pay $20 a night & you can't beat that. We had no idea it would be so nice here! We were surrounded by beautiful trees & spacious sites with concrete slabs. The roads within the camp were nice & smooth so the girls could ride their bikes. Dalton still hasn't learned how to ride his bike without training wheels & he's not very motivated to learn. No biggie he just runs along side & burns energy, which is a win win for this mama. Emry on the other hand is riding as if she's been riding for years. She scares me with her speed & no fear attitude. She makes my heart race, in a not so good way. I have these visions of her 10 years from now doing bike tricks & stunts. Gah! I can't watch!! There was no playground within the rv park, but there was one across the way, but a bit far of a walk. The laundry room/bathhouse was one of the nicer ones we've seen so far and get this. FREE LAUNDRY! Awesome & it came in handy since I had a sick child then a sick hubby. One puking & the other sweating out their fever. Yeah lots of laundry, but I got it all done. It was so nice at this place that we decided to stay an extra day & as a result we got to go see a couple touristy sites.

Our first touristy stop was the ginormous Bass Pro pyramid shop in Memphis. You know when you've seen one Bass Pro or Cabela's you've been them all, but this one was impressive. It reminded me of being at the Luxor in Las Vegas. After looking at all the fish & stuffed animals, I found one of those nifty air lounge chairs that are floating around on facebook. You know the one that they demonstrate how “easy” it is to fill with air then seal it & sit? Yeah tried it & it's not so easy. I felt somewhat foolish running up & down the aisle in the store trying to get air into the darn thing then finally figured out I had to really scrunch the edges in order to make the fabric stiff. Hard to describe, but I got it to work then I sat in it. Oh boy talk about looking foolish now. My butt was on the ground & trying to get back out of the darn thing was making me work up a sweat. Seriously I must have been doing something wrong. My son sat in it & practically sunk in the middle (there are 2 sides to it). He looked like he was getting eaten by the thing. I decided it wasn't worth the $79 & moved on….well after I forced it back into the bag. I'll stick to lounge chairs thank you very much.

Our next stop was of course, Graceland to see The King of Rock n Roll. I was here once before back in the 1996-1998 time frame, but didn't do a tour. Seems like there's even more stuff around that area then my last trip. I tried to picture what it looked like 40+ yrs ago without all the touristy stuff. I'm sure it was much more peaceful. We decided not to do a tour because the kids wouldn't appreciate it the way we would & why pay for them to whine about it when we can get that for free. It was pretty warm out so we took some pics then wrote our names on the wall that surrounds the front of Graceland and called it a day. One day we'll go back & finally do a tour. I was reading online that NO ONE goes upstairs in Graceland. That's off limits to tourists & only for family and a few close friends. They don't want the bathroom to become the focus of the tour & I can understand that. I blew a kiss to Elvis then said good bye. We rounded up our gang to head back to our lovely campground so we could leave in the morning. Next stop, Kentucky. I'm more than ready to get to work at Amazon!

Hope, AR City Park 10/3/16

Our next top after spending time in TX was Hope, AR. We were just moving along & it was time to stop to rest for the night. Nothing to see here that we had planned, just a sleep & go kinda stop. We found this very inexpensive city park/fairgrounds area to stay. When you can find a cheap place to stay for a quick night then you take it. The roads to get into the park were a bit tight & we had to circle around to find exactly where we were going, but we found it. Seemed like a good idea & it was only for one night. We were surrounded by baseball fields, a couple playgrounds and what smelled like stables or barns for their yearly fairground days. We backed into a spot (everything was open) right next to a baseball field. The kids got out & ran freely with the dogs & once the trailer was set up we went to the playgrounds to let out some energy. I started to get the impression that we weren't in the best part of town, but thankfully nothing bad happened to us. However, that evening we saw flashing lights thru our blinds. A quick glanced revealed a police officer who pulled a car over right next to our trailer. Of all places, really? It was a big park so it HAD to be right next to us. I felt slightly safe knowing the police were patrolling the area & at the same time it worried me because what was up with the neighborhood that caused this pull over in a park of all places? I didn't want to know & was ready to just leave the next morning. Again just happy all was well with us & we were safe. Not much else happened during this overnight stay, but the next morning when hubby was prepping the trailer to leave he found some pennies in the grass. I went over to grab them for “good luck” and found over 44 pennies! I can't remember the exact amount, but that's like over 40 times good luck (if you believe in that kinda thing). I was all excited on my….I mean hubby's find. My mother in law gave us this little tin box for us to put all our coins in that we find along our journey so we could keep track & this was a nice start to our money tin. Thanks Hope, AR! Guess you weren't all that bad after all :-)

Escapees in Livingston, TX 10/1/16

My in-laws told us a while back about this place called Escapees & they deal with full time RV folks like us. I read up on the husband and wife who started this whole organization & it's grown tremendously. They have acres & acres of land with 2 different rv campground areas as well as lots of full time permanent mobile homes. You can get your own physical address thru them & they'll forward your mail to you & they offer other benefits on their website like a job board & discounts at other campgrounds as well as their magazine. We needed a TX address so we can change our residency so hubby felt this would work while we're on the road. We thought 2 nights here would be enough, which gave me time to see my new nephew. Can you say baby fix? Squeal!! Anyway, we pulled into the park & there were a few rigs around, but we noticed something very obvious. We were the youngest ones here and with children. Yes definitely a place for senior citizens, but heck if they're open to all then we'll take it. The price to stay in their campgrounds are so inexpensive, like $20-$25 bucks a night. Can't beat that, well unless you're in a state park that's $10 a night, but who's keeping track. You do have to pay for wifi here if you don't use your own. I believe it was $3 per day. One thing that was definitely different & totally unexpected was the sign in the bathroom that said “Do not dispose of Depends in restroom trash. Please place in dumpster outside.” I got quite the laugh out of that. Usually a sign tells you not to dispose of feminine products or diapers, but depends? That's a good sign you're in a senior community. As Jerry Seinfeld would say “not that there's anything wrong with that.”

While hubby did his thing with our new address I was looking forward to getting my hands on my new nephew. I needed a baby fix like no other so I was thrilled that we were near, well an hour away, from my little brother in Houston. Even though my brother had to work we went anyway. I wasn't there to see him...haha! My sister in law let me just swoop up that little man & love on him. There's something about a baby smell (not the poopy part) that is just heavenly. I was even able to rock him to sleep. Nothing like having a baby sleep on your chest. Oh how I miss that. My brother showed up later & we visited a bit, but we had to get back to the campground since we were leaving the next morning. I love baby snuggles & can't wait to see him again.Thanks little brother for making me an aunt again! Never say never :-) In a few years my son will be happy to have another male cousin to play with.

We had our last Whataburger meal before hitting the road again. Won't get to dig our teeth into another Whataburger until Christmas so I told them to enjoy it. I was actually glad we would be almost done with all the fast food. Blah! I was craving green veggies & made sure to make smoothies so I felt like I was getting some kind of nutrition. That can be a downer about traveling all the time. A little is ok, but keep it up & you'll have to have your defibrillator along with you just in case. I know how easy it is to just swing thru a fast food place to grab a quick bite, but I need green veggies man! I was looking forward to working at Amazon & hopefully drop a few Whataburger pounds. 

Good bye Texas. We'll see you at Christmas!

Lackland AFB, TX 9/29/16

I gotta say we are blessed with hubby's prior military service & retirement because it allows us to use the military bases for shopping & now for rv'ing. It's only $20 to camp on the military bases, but most bases don't take reservations. It's first come first served so you take your chances (kind of like flying Space A) & you can only stay for 30 days at a time (I know some places have tweaked that a bit). They may not all be the fanciest places, but that's ok for $20 I won't complain. On this base all the full hook up sites were taken & most of the partial hook ups, but we were able to score a full hook up space since one guy was leaving. Sa-Weeet! We had to wait a bit, but it wasn't that long & it was worth it to wait for full hook ups. There was no playground and no doggie park, but they did have bathrooms with showers & a laundry room. I used the laundry room, but not the showers. They needed some serious updating. I would think that Lackland of all bases would have a nice big campground since they have hundreds of airman graduating all the time. Parents & family members come out to see their airman graduate & I think a bigger campground would be beneficial, but that's just me. I'm sure the air force doesn't see that as a priority. The Air Force is all about winning awards for this or that so I wonder if they have one for their FamCamps? If not they should since that would be motivation for updating & expanding.

Anyway, once we got into our site hubby wanted to take a trip down memory lane. He was at basic training back in 1989, I believe, so he wanted to see if he recognized anything. We drove all around & I was surely lost. I had only been on that base a couple times when I was in my early 20s so nothing looked familiar to me. Hubby was going “awww yeah yea that was the ….” or “oh ok I remember that” then there was the “that looks different so they must have remodeled.” Ooookkkay. One thing I was NOT expecting at all was the 5pm Retreat call over the base sound system. Not all bases do that & well we're out of practice & simply forgot. Needless to say it scared the bajeezees out of me because we were apparently near a loud speaker & just happened to be outside. Of course I wasn't as scared as much as the crack of dawn Reveille. I was not a happy camper about that. I don't think in my 18 years of going from base to base did I hear that in the morning. Ugh! I do have to say; however, how I miss that fellowship of being part of something. I enjoyed the military life and always made friends with the other spouses, but since hubby retired I've felt at a loss of where I fit in. We lived 2 ½ yrs in Tucson, AZ but rarely went to the base & in that time I never really clicked with anyone. It got to be a lonely time, but I kept busy with my kiddos. However now that we're on the road I feel that new sense of belonging in a group. It's a full time rv traveling kinda group that “gets” what you're doing, why & how it makes you feel. Love it & enjoying camaraderie.

During our two day stay here I got to see my mom & older brother. They came out to the campground the first night & just hung out. The kids begged her to stay the night, but she wasn't prepared & I said next time. At some point during our little visit one of our little dogs apparently ate something that was making her sick. She was puking constantly & I worried that she would get dehydrated. I did some research & it turns out acorns are bad for dogs. Well that solved the mystery since we were surrounded by them. I had the kids go on an acorn hunt & gather them up & toss them away from our trailer area. After a day of puking, little dog was on the mend & I was happy to be done cleaning up dog barf. Blah!

The next afternoon we met up with my mom & brother at the Alamo & walked along the Riverwalk then had an early dinner at an Irish restaurant. Mmmm Shephard's Pie, reminded me of my time working at Fado' Irish Pub in Henderson, NV back in my younger days. Good times. Oh so back to our visit. I got to briefly explain to the kiddos what the Alamo was all about. I'm sure my 9 yr old got the whole idea about it, but the other two, well they were hot & hungry & didn't seem to care too much. I always have these big visions in my head about going to a historic place like that & talking to my kids about it so they can learn some history. Pssssht I really need to lower my expectations & work on a less grand scale or simply just do away with the visions in my head. That's ok a quick snap shot was taken for the memory books. All they cared about was seeing their grandma & eating her delicious tortillas. I don't blame them one bit. There's just something spectacular about grandma's tortillas. Perhaps because they're made with love. Speaking of tortillas. I was NOT about to leave the city without some tamales & tortillas from Victorias. On the morning of our departure I got up early (I'm not a morning person) & drove the short distance to Victorias & stocked up on my goodies. In my book that's worth getting up early. I think I bought 150 tortillas & 6 dozen different tamales. Skip the chicken tamales & just go for the pork or bean. Soooo good. I probably ate 3 or 4 tamales on my way back to the base. Hey it was breakfast time after all. Thanks for the yumminess San Antonio & adios to my family. Time to move along!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Kyle, TX 9/27/16

Hello my family!

I was so glad to find a campground only 9 miles from my dad's house in Kyle. Unfortunately it felt like a longer drive to get to his house because it was back road driving. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers & I was so happy to see my family. It had been a year & a half since I'd seen them…..I think. Either way it had been a long time. I also wanted to see my mom & brother in San Antonio so we decided to do 2 days in Kyle & 2 days in San Antonio. Gotta be fair. The campground in Kyle was brand new & very very nice. A bit pricey, but they were brand new so I guess they need to pay their bills, eh? They had a huge store inside with all kinds of goods you might need & you could order pizza right then & there. The bathrooms were beautiful & so clean & the laundry room was top notch. They had digital codes on the doors, which I appreciated for safety reasons. Our rv site was well…...scary for me. You see we were at a bit of a slope & although hubby said we were level my eyes said no way. I thought for sure one jump inside by my kiddos would send us rolling forward & crashing into the folks across from us. I probably barked at them more than I should about no jumping or running inside the trailer. Yes I was paranoid. I don't think it's too much to ask for everyone to tip toe, do you? Ok more about this place. There was a really nice lake on the property with a huge cement area with covered seating & benches next to the rails for fishing. All it was missing was a playground. The roads were smooth for bike riding, which the girls did. Dalton still had no interest in learning. They also had a nice spacious dog park next to the entrance of the campground, which was close to where our site was, but I saw more than one dog turd in there so we didn't stay long. My kid's feet are magnets for poop & all other stuff gross. Why don't people pick up their dog poo? Laziness I tell ya. 

I was so glad we made it to Kyle in time for my daughter's 9th birthday & my dad's 71st birthday. I wanted to celebrate them together since I'm always missing my dad's birthday. My sister was so nice & went out to get some birthday decorations & I picked up a cake & had my daughter's name put on it. We had gotten her an early gift, a small laptop, and said it was for homeschool purposes then games afterward. Unfortunately we discovered that it wasn't Windows & she can't play her online horse game that she's all crazy about. I point the finger at hubby on this one. He said this one would be better so I went with it. Oopsie. Oh well live & learn I guess. Hey at least she can still do schoolwork on it...haha!

Unfortunately there wasn't too much celebrating going on because my dad's two Labradors had gotten out of the back yard the day before & only one was found & back home. Cadie, the female, was still missing. Sadly on my dad's birthday he found his dog in a ditch area with her bottom half submerged in mud. She was old & had arthritis and he said it looked like she got stuck in the mud & simply couldn't free herself. So sad & not a pleasant way to spend your birthday. Sorry dad :-(

On the flip side my son was in heaven during our 2 days in Kyle. He is sandwiched between his sisters so he has no boys to play with, poor kiddo. He's always asking for a brother, which I'd gladly give him, but we gotta get the daddy on board with that. In the meantime he was playing up a storm with his cousin. They wrestled all over the place for hours & when it was time to leave my son had a big 'ol frown on his face and kept hugging his cousin. It was so sweet & kinda sad at the same time. I told my son we'd be back at Christmas & he could play again & for a longer period of time. That didn't seem to make a different. He just hugged his cousin & wouldn't let go.

On our second night we went out to eat some TexMex food. Ohhhh how I was so ready for that. When my folks lived in Corpus Christi we would always go to this one TexMex place called Kikos. Every time we came to visit we'd go there. I remember years ago when the whole family, spouses & children would go. At that point we were a party of 14 I think, but now if we all get together it's more like a party of 21. Our family has grown fo sho! This place in Kyle, however, was a bit different & well it just wasn't the same. I had some expectations & they just didn't measure up. It was ok & filled my craving, but it just wasn't like Kikos. Oh well at least we got some good tortillas & I showed my youngest how they were made right there in the restaurant. They had a machine that did it all so it was interesting. Of course no one makes tortillas like my mom, but these were still good.

We said adios to my folks, my son got more cousin hugs & set out for San Antonio to see my mom & brother. 

Junction, TX 9/26/16

So so close to Kyle & San Antonio, but we decided to stop here for the night. There were 2 other people checking in ahead of us & hubby was already inside. As those two folks left to get into their site I decided to get behind the wheel. Eeck! I slowly pulled forward about 50 feet. I was all excited & happy with myself for “driving” the truck & “hauling” the trailer that short distance. While I did that awesome trick the kids were playing at the playground right in front of the main building where we were parked. When hubby returned I made sure to show him my big accomplishment. Hey it was a big deal to me. Anyway, talk about a nice place next to the river! It had a nicer park then the previous place with an old school merry go round, swing set & those ride on swaying horse things. The kids were so excited to play & I was happy they released that pent up energy. Once we set up the trailer they rode their bikes to the playground then back to our site when it started getting dark. I keep saying I'm going to get a bike too so I could ride alongside them, but for now I walk/run with Dalton by my side. Once he's riding without training wheels then I'll get my bike. We walked over to look at the river, but I know I wouldn't get in that even if it was warm outside. Looked too marshy for me. They had all kinds of cute little cabins throughout the park & I made a mental note in case we ever found our way back thru here. We were kinda off the highway, but not close enough that I heard any traffic noise. Nothing a fan can't drown out. Hubby had to venture out to get jugs of drinking water & of course he brought back doughnuts. Oh boy, can you say sugar rush. Back to the playground we go! Overall a nice place to stay, but again it was a one nighter. I gotta say at this point we have become professionals at setting up & closing the camper. Next stop…..my parents!!

Carlsbad, NM 9/25/16

You'll start to see a pattern here. We hit the road & I start Googling to find a place to stay. No exception this time around. Flying by the seat of our pants. It was another one night stay just to rest up & hit the road again. We were on a time crunch to get across country (I'm sure I've mentioned that a few times already, apologies). This particular campground was pretty dated & filled with oil field workers who looked like permanent residents. I was excited about the indoor pool, but was advised not to use it since the whole outside was aluminum & they were expecting a thunderstorm. Bummer deal so that let to an explanation to my kids on why you shouldn't be in water during a storm, especially when there's lightening. Instead we played on the very outdated metal playground. There were only a couple of metal swings & one of them had the rubber seat torn off so it wasn't very safe in my opinion. They did have these 4 tire swings on a rotating pole so each kiddo could sit in/on the tire & I was able to push them around. I always had visions of a tire swing hanging from a big tree in our backyard for them to play with. Maybe some day, although they may be too old by then. Anyway, here was a laundry room, but it was locked & since I didn't do the check in process I had no idea if there was a key or after hours thing. No biggie, I wasn't plannig on using them, I just wanted to check them out. There was this guy sitting outside next to the laundry room & when we walked passed him he asked if we were they new people staying in site # whatever (I can't remember). I said “no sorry not us”. Even if it was us I wasn't about to let him know. I like to do my best to keep my family safe so I don't volunteer info. I'm sure he was harmless, but you just never know, right? There was a dog park close to our site, but it was not very appealing. The grass was overgrown around it & it was just plain ol muddy. I didn't want to take our pups in there because I didn't want to have to bathe them afterward. Needless to say this place was bare minimum & the standards were met, but that was about it. The spaceing in between sites was ok, but could have used a little more room. However, we were on the end & didn't have anyone next to us so that was a good thing. It did start to sprinkle, but there was never a thunderstorm. Dang it, we could have used a nice dip in the pool. Oh well, not much else to say about this place so on to the next.

Tuba City, AZ 9/22/16

Once we left Camp Verde I started Googling Antelope Canyon to get the scoop on tours & where to stay. Seemed like Page was the place to be, but of course everything was booked in Page. Surprise surprise. I don't understand why there aren't more rv campgrounds in Page. Antelope Canyon is like one of the biggest tourist spots in all of the U.S. & Page is right there to capitalize on all of it & there were only a couple campgrounds. I tell ya what they really bank on the hotel rooms though. Geez talk about pricey! This is why you reserve in advance & not wait until last minute. The closest place I could find was in Tuba City & thankfully there was a hotel with a rv campground out back. Since hubby's parents were traveling with us this was perfect so we could all be in one spot, them in the hotel & us out back. I gotta say this place was bare bones. Nothing spectacular about it. The ladies at the front desk were nice so that was something. It did have a bathroom & laundry room, but we didn't use either. We weren't planning on spending a lot of time here so we took what we could get. I did have the privilege of seeing a guy pee on the fence outside his tent. He was literally across from the bathrooms. Good grief & ewww. We ate inside the hotel restaurant & I ordered a taco fry bread. Holy smokes it was huge, but oh so good! Service was a bit slow, but what can you do. We filled our bellies & got ready for our morning tour of Antelope Canyon. My father in law volunteered to stay behind & watch our dogs while we all went to see the spectacular canyon. He had already been on the tour before so we would take my mother in law with us since she hadn't seen it yet. Another site for my bucket list to check off. Woohoo!