After the previous blog post we continued driving (for a few hours) and eventually camped at a KOA in holbrook.
The next day my mom felt sick but decided to try to drive for a couple of hours. On the way we decided to go to a crater (called Meteor Crater) that was advertised as the worlds best preserved crater and the first crater identified to be from a meteor (see pictures). After leaving Meteor Crater, we only got to flagstaff before my mom felt too sick to drive (she says it is a stomach virus) and we went to a hotel there (hilton garden inn, $65 (same hotel in Washington D.C. cost 109$, see hurricanes hotels and the capitol
post for more info on that hotel stay)) where we spent the night.
Today my mom felt like she could drive ("probably at least 200 miles" she said) so we are continuing our journey towards home.
top left: a rainbow we saw;others:the Meteor Crater
a panoramic photo of the crater
another panoramic of the crater (sorry about panoramic cutting the crater in half, that is beyond my control
Yesterday we drove to the Ozarks (mountain range) in northwest Arkansas where we camped (kamped as they say at KOAs) at a KOA. After setting up (much easier with the trailer (no tent, etc.)) we wanted to ride some paddleboats, but they said that you couldn't because the water level in the pond was too low, so we had to settle for swimming in a pool. After swimming we fed some ducks and played in an old fashioned playground (picture group 1)
Today we slept late because someone sent a spam text to us in the middle of the night (supposedly "Chase" is giving us $1,500 for no reason).
When we got up we decided to take the shortest route (I-40 (aka route 66)) through the southwest. Today we drove through Oklahoma and most of the way through Texas. We are hoping to camp in Vega, which is only a few minutes away (it is 8:32 here).
EDIT: the Vega campground didn't take VISA so we are driving to the next town, Tucumcari, an hour away (it is now 9:22, so we will be driving until 10:20 (if all goes well)). (we have driven 500 miles today (will be a bit farther when we arrive at campground), 1320 miles remaining)
EDIT 2: it is now 8:43 as we have entered New Mexico and the mountain time zone, we still haven't arrived at the campground (33 minutes left)
The day before yesterday we went to the Cabildo museum which has exhibits about the history of southern Louisiana (see picture groups 1&2). We then went to the Presbytere museum, where they had exhibits about hurricane Katrina.
The next day (yesterday) we went to a nature preserve (my mom said it is called the Barataria Nature Preserve). There, we went on a walk on a boardwalk thorough a swamp. We suddenly saw a raccoon on the boardwalk, walking towards us (picture groups 3,4), he then jumped into the swamp and walked away. We also saw lizards with blue tails and blue and green dragonflies. We then drove along the Mississippi river, through some sugarcane plantations. We drove north for several hours, before camping at a national forest (we were the only ones there, even though it only cost three dollars.
Today we had breakfast (toast) and continued north, into Arkansas (we are now 2000 miles from home (according to the iPhone).
P.S. please comment if you are still reading this.
We finally left Florida and went to New Orleans and stayed in a hotel that had two floors for our rooms (my bed on top, my mom's bed and other rooms on bottom level! (see first picture group)). by then it was getting late so all we did was get food at a restaurant and went to bed. The next day we went to French Quarter where we first had breakfast (beans and rice), and went to Jackson Square (see picture group 2). we then had food at Cafe du Monde (cafe of the world, in french (according to my mom)) while there, we saw some pigeons eating (and throwing it everywhere) powdered sugar left by someone else (picture group 3). when we left we went to the zoo (it was free due to my mom being an Audobon member (it was an audobon zoo) (see remaining pictures and captions for details (click read more to load all pictures)
the pictures above aren't the only pictures from the zoo! click read more below to load all pictures. even doing this, there are too many photos to put in one post, so I will put the remaining photos in the following post.
sorry to get so far behind, but I will try to catch up now.
The day after the thunderstorm, we went to the beach and looked for sharks teeth (unsuccessfully)
The next day we went to the M.O.T.E. aquarium where we saw several animals, including sea turtles, dolphins, fish, and jellyfish (and much more). When we left the aquarium, we went to the neighboring bird sanctuary, where we saw parrots, egrets, pelicans, and macaws. The macaws are surprisingly smart, when their caretaker left they yelled "Back!", when that didn't work they resorted to yelling "I love you!", and when the caretaker still didn't return, they called "Bye-bye!". later, we saw that caretaker giving each macaw a half eaten chicken bone, they seemed to appreciate them (although one walked onto the far end of a branch, and had to have his bone put in a cup for him, and another dropped his bone immediately). We then drove to clearwater, to see the clearwater aquarium which is where winter the dolphin (from the movie Dolphin Tale,
see winter on a webcam at seewinter.com
) lives (and where the movie was filmed). It was getting late, so we camped overnight at an nearby RV park. The next day we went to the aquarium (which seemed to be thriving, despite being near bankruptcy before finding winter (and filming the resulting movie) where we first went up to see winter who was swimming in her tank with the trainer and she did tricks like find ring with echolocation while blindfolded and jumping up to touch the trainer's hand (as well as a few kids whose parents paid 60 dollars for the experience) after the performance we went downstairs, where we saw and touched the wings of stingrays "flying" through the water. we then took a trolley to a separate building all about making the movie, including a hurricane room (a sign warned us about up to 20 MPH winds and realistic images) where we encountered two snakes an an alligator, lights going out, etc..
We then left clearwater and went to Rainbow Springs State Park, where we camped. After setting up camp, we swam in a river that came from a spring (it was cold!). because of the current, I developed a routine in which I enter the water, swim to the deep part with the current, look for fish as I float downstream, and get out at a nearby boat ramp. I then repeat.
The next morning I swam again even though I was starting to feel sick. Later I had a fever an rested in the car as we drove towards suwanee river state park. on the way, the GPS froze, and when restarted took us to road covered in pine needles, and dead ending, with no sign of a state park (the iPhone agreed on the location). We then resorted to the low-tech method of using a map, and finally, 30 minutes later, arrived.
The next morning, we left for Saint Andrews State Park, on the way there was a thunderstorm, that caused us to briefly pull over because we couldn't see, as well getting the mattresses wet in the (completely closed) trailer. we were late to arrive because the GPS froze again. When we arrived I had a high fever and could barely walk, so the next day we went to a hotel. The next three days, up to now, we have stayed at the hotel except when my mom insisted we go to the beach so she could snorkel (despite the fact I was still sick). Today she insisted we go again but this time she didn't see any fish because she was stung by jellyfish (she says it feels like nettles, but stops hurting right away, and says they were three or four inches long, and were a translucent brown, and there were hundreds of them.)
Tomorrow we hope to go to new orleans and stay in a hotel (I am getting better but still sick).
Yesterday we left Titusville and drove to Miami, on the way we encountered traffic and almost ran out of gas, once we found a gas station we couldn't find our way back to the freeway, wasting 45 minutes driving in circles. We had to pay for two toll roads, one in the wrong direction. We eventually found a nice hotel with a pool, which I swam in.
Today we are going to drive to key largo, where we will hopefully camp at John pennekamp corral reef state park.
Photos of the NASA VAB (vehicle assembly building, see previous post for more information), edited with fx photo studio (for iPhone), original in bottom right.
After leaving Ocracoke Island we rode a ferry (picture group 1)for 2.25 hours (according to the brochure(I don't know if it meant 2 hours 25 minutes or 2 and a quarter hours (2 hours 15 minutes))), despite the long ride I enjoyed the ferry ride enough that I would ride it again for fun, it was like a huge airplane that you could go in your car, sit in soft, airplane-like seats, or even stand on the deck outside, on the second floor!
After the ferry ride (I was sad that it ended) we drove to a KOA near charleston, where it was just getting dark, so we just cooked noodles (instead of going to a resturant).
The next day, we went to the magnolia plantation where we saw a peacock (picture group 2), took a tour of the plantation (picture group 3, pictures of things seen on tour, forgot to take photos some of the time), solved a maze (group 4), explored and crossed a bridge (group 5),saw some animals at a small zoo area (groups 6,8) where I was licked by a deer (it licked me just like a dog (a dog that loves licking people!)) (group 7). We then left the plantation. Note: in order to make the blog load more smoothly I have separated the past few days into 2 posts and will start working on the other one as soon as this one publishes.
the ferry ride
photos taken during the tour
Licked by a deer!
top left: a deer; others: ducklings
Last night, just after posting on this blog we went swimming. After swimming in the pond, we saw one of my mom's shoes was missing. First we searched the bottom of the pond, when that failed I asked my mom to put the other one in the water to see what to look for and how far we could see (it was very murky water) when doing so we saw it floats! We then searched on the surface, after a few minutes we found it (on the other side of the pond (first group of photos, below) most of the rest of the day was pretty uneventful, we left the KOA (second group of pictures),and visited another historic town (third group of pictures). At the end of the day we were heading to the campsite (not a KOA) the gps said 9 minutes to our destination on mari osa delta st when- wait a minute, this route stops on bald hill road- not mari osa delta, we checked the iPhone (fourth group of pictures), same result. We called the campground and they gave us directions. The next problem came when my mom took interstate 50 west instead of 50 east. After heading back she took the wrong exit. After calling for directions again she took the wrong path and went in a circle eventually, after calling the campground two more times we found our destination (wasting over an hour total).
The runaway shoe hiding (top photo) and exposed (bottom photo)
The KOA from last night
A historic town
Top left: iPhone guiding us the wrong way; Top right: GPS guiding us the wrong way; Bottom: the signs were not much help.
Today we saw some historic sites and the prairie. First, we visited an old town and saw a restored mill (first picture group below) then we looked around some of the historic town (second group of pictures) after that, we went to the tallgrass prairie national preserve (third picture (of stamp) below). We then went to the konza prairie overlook (my mom's idea) and took some (rather booring) photos (final picture group, below). Then, finally we (k)camped at yet another KOA (they're everywhere!)
The mill (of Lindsborg, KS) Top right: the outside of the mill; Others: interior machinery.
Old kansas town (Lindsborg, KS) top: the great hall; bottom left: a train at the station; bottom center: outside the schoolhouse; Bottom right: inside the schoolhouse.
Cancelations from tallgrass prairie national preserve ( for national park book)
Top: a monument to the tallgrass prairie; bottom left, right: the prairie
Left:me with the trailer Right:my mom with welcome to Kansas sign (she's never been to kansas before, so was excited)
Today we reached Kansas and went to the prairie museum in Colby (pictures below) and saw a restored neighborhood of the pioneers.we are camping (kamping ;) ) at another KOA in Salina, Kansas
The prairie museum top: Me (left) and my mom (right) in a painting bottom left: a barn ( from pioneers) Bottom right: me ringing a bell in front of a school house