It’s Cold, Give Me Some Sunshine! Part 4

As we drive into Indiana, with its green grass and sunny spring weather, I feel perfectly happy and content. It’s good to be back. This is the last in a four part series about our southern travels, a trip we have been taking every year since our family of 7 hit the road in our 36 foot RV back in 2016. I don’t mind winter, it’s just not my favorite season for RV life, so we try to avoid it by going to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma – you know, places warmer than Indiana.

Part 3 of this series ended with us in Cayuga, Texas where we had just survived the great Texas ice apocolypse of 2021!

I must say, after that crazy week it has been all sunshine and happiness. We even made friends with the local donkeys before we left!

We left that area and went to Waxahachie, to spend a couple of weeks with friends there and to minister in the Dallas area. I love that we have friends from all over, it is a treasure to be able to visit old friends.

We had an open Sunday when we first arrived so we visited the Upper Room Dallas. It was full by the time we arrived and we went to the Overflow room. I didn’t mind, I love to see a crowded church. We really enjoyed being there and experiencing the worship – it was powerful.

Busy with “Adulting”

We are currently preparing for tent revival ministry. We will be starting this new adventure next month and things are really coming together. Matt has been busy making sure we have all the things we need. While in Waxahachie, he was able to find a trailer, a generator, and a portable stage.

We love our Honda Pilot and it has endured being towed all across the U.S. and parts of Canada. It was in desperate need of new shocks and tires, the ride was getting very uncomfortable! So, while we had some down time in Waxahachie, Matt was able to change the shocks and we put on new tires.

Because we were busy doing all these boring grownup things, we didn’t end up doing as much exploring as we normally enjoy doing while in Texas.

Time for fun!

We did, however find ourselves making a special trip to the very entertaining Medieval Times in Dallas. Every now and again, you have to do something outlandish and crazy, and I feel like that perfectly describes the experience we had. It was super fun, all the kids loved it, especially our 6 year old, who transformed herself not into a princess, but a knight.

Ministry Time

Matt was also able to preach at two churches in the Dallas area. On a Saturday night he preached and we ministered to the young people at the Gardens DFW. We love the genuine family atmosphere here where they share a meal and Bible discussion after the service. The next morning Matt preached at Revelation Church in Dallas, this is the church of his former CFNI college professor. He has been such a help to us, offering wisdom and insight as an experienced evangelist.

Birthday Party!

The kids have some dear friends in this area, we only see them once a year, but it is a visit we greatly look forward to. This year we were able to attend a birthday party of one of those friends and the kids had a blast. I’m always amazed when that works out, birthday parties with friends seems like such a novelty when your life is on the road.

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, Oklahoma ,OK!

Our next stop was Norman, Oklahoma. This was our fourth year to hold revival services here, and it is always great to come back. The people here feed us so well, we are going to have to start back into a workout routine to burn off those calories. But, I’m not complaining, everything was delicious! Our Caleb played the guitar and our Olivia played the piano during ministry time, it is great to see them grow in their giftings. This was the first time for them to do that during a service.

From Norman we made our way to Miami, Oklahoma where we picked up our ministry tent! Yay! What an exciting day! The friendly workers that loaded up our tent also gave us a short tour of the factory where they make the tents. Impromptu field trip? Yes, please!

We drove about 4 hours after picking up our ministry tent and camped near St. Louis Missouri at Pin Oak Creek RV Park. I would recommend this campground. There was a fishing pond, putt putt golf, a cute little (slightly outdated but still fun) playground, swimming pool, and little store, and the staff was very efficient and helpful. We did not have an abundance of time to enjoy all of these amenities because we were just passing through. We did, however soak up some sunshine while playing on the playground and basketball courts.

The next day we made our way back to Indiana, our home sweet home. We parked the RV at Matt’s aunt and uncle’s house, they are super hospitable and always welcome us back. We look forward to seeing more of our family and Indiana friends as well.

It’s good to see you Indiana, thank you for having sunshine.

Thank you for reading all about our southern adventures. I hope you all are enjoying your own adventures!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org

It’s Cold, Give Me Some Sunshine! Part 3

Very funny Texas, verrrry funny. This blog series is called “Give me some sunshine”, not, “Let’s pretend Texas is Antarctica!”

This is part 3 of this blog series, documenting our southern winter travels. We are a semi-nomadic family of seven, traveling for ministry. We make this southern trek every year in our 36 foot RV to avoid the Indiana winters.

In part 2 of this series, we were leaving Louisiana and making our way to Texas. I will continue from that point.

Dayton, Texas

We arrived in Dayton, Texas (near the Houston area) on Thursday, February 4th. We were very excited to return to Old River Assembly of God where we would be having revival services starting on Sunday. We dropped off the RV at the church (where they have some great rv hookups) and made our way into Houston to run some errands/do some shopping.

We have been collecting supplies along the way for a necessary bathroom update. It is sometimes tricky to find just the right things for a bathroom that small. We had picked up a nice countertop back in Alabama but we were unable to find a tiny sink that would work. I saw this cute little sink on IKEA’s website so we decided an IKEA trip was in order.

IKEA is one of my favorite places, not just a favorite store, a favorite place to be. I’ve always loved magazines and as a kid I remember skipping to the end of my mom’s “Country Living” Magazine to look at the house floor plans and decide which one I loved the most, imagining how my future life would work in that house. IKEA is totally like walking through a magazine, and the little house setups feed my love of floorplans and furniture placement.

Our trip to IKEA was fun, we had swedish meatballs for dinner, strolled through the store, and in the end found a tiny sink(in the clearance section for $27.00!)

On Friday we did our regular school work, ordered some delicious pizza from Simple Simon’s (soo good), and watched a family movie in the RV.

On Saturday we did some much needed cleaning in the RV, gave the dog a bath, and spent some time outdoors on the church property playing basketball and exercising a bit.

Revival!

The reason we came back to Dayton Texas was revival. We ministered here last year and felt a real connection with the pastor and the people of this church. They invited us to return, but this time for extended services – revival. It is in our hearts to see God’s people revived in their love for Him, to see people delivered from oppression, to see hearts won for the Lord, and to be a part of the beauty that happens when God meets people reaching out to Him. From Sunday, February 7th to Wednesday, February 10th we had revival services at Old River Assembly of God. It was awesome.

Familiar Friendly Faces

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” -Miriam Adeney

Sometimes traveling is lonely, but other times, it’s wonderful. I am not naturally outgoing, and traveling has forced me even further out of my comfort zone to get to know people from all over, and it is truly a rich and rewarding experience.

One of the best parts of returning to a place is the friends that you make over time. The people of Old River are friendly and welcoming. It is really such a gift to our family to have friends not just for the grown ups, but for my kids too, that they can visit and just hang out with peers. The people here showered us with love and fed us well too.

On the Road Again

After our great week in Dayton, we head out and make our way to the small town of Cayuga, Texas. We knew a winter storm was coming, but we thought, “We’re northerners, no big deal”. Perhaps we were overconfident. So, instead of stocking up on extra milk and bread like you are supposed to in the event of unprecidented winter weather, we made a stop at the iconic “Bucee’s” gas station to fill up the RV with gas and ourselves with junk food.

“Bucee’s” is a Texas thing, totally fitting that stereotype that everything is bigger in Texas. It is a huge gas station, about the size of a regular grocery store, complete with a bakery, deli, and fresh barbeque (How good can barbeque be from a gas station you might ask, pretty good as it turns out).

We left there and made our way up Hwy 45, where we were surprised to see a giant (77 feet tall!) Sam Houston and snow covering the trees and green grass along the highway.

Cayuga, Texas

Where is Cayuga Texas? It is on the eastern side of the state, about an hour south of Tyler, Texas, or an hour and a half from Dallas. This is our third year to return to this tiny town, and we arrived this time just in time for their Valentine’s Banquet on Saturday. They had invited us to join their family-friendly event when they found out we would be in the area for a service in nearby Toole, Texas. We had a nice time visiting with old friends and making some new ones. Mostly the talk was of the winter storm set to hit just about all of the huge state of Texas.

The church service here in Cayuga, and the one in Toole, where we were scheduled to be, were both cancelled. We knew ice and snow were coming, but we weren’t too concerned, just preparing ourselves to be cold.

Sunday, on Valentine’s Day, Matt preached at Cayuga for a live-stream service. Matt was already scheduled to speak the following Sunday, but since we were already here, parked right next to the church, the pastor asked Matt to speak. It was a laid-back Valentine’s Day, and we all enjoyed the chocolates that Matt bought for us.

Texas Ice/Snowpocalypse 2021

And then it got cold. Like, really cold. It started with ice. Ice covered everything. The windows started icing over on the inside. Honestly, this has happened before in Indiana, but this is Texas!

We lost power at 2am. I figured it was because of the ice. Then we heard that it was some sort of rolling power outage thing to conserve energy and that it should come back on in an hour or two. The RV isn’t insulated like a house, and so it gets cold really fast without our electric space heaters going, we have a propane furnace, but we would run out of propane if we blast it on too high for too long.

So, Matt braved the cold, plugged in the RV to our onboard generator and put a heater down in the underneath bay by the water hookups to keep our lines from freezing. We also set an alarm for every half hour to turn on the water faucets (we can’t leave them dripping because it would burn up the water pump).

Monday was cold, but the ice was pretty and we were thankful for the generator. By Tuesday we had gotten quite a bit of snow. Matt took the older kids and decided to brave the elements and make a trip into Athens Texas to try to fill up the spare propane tanks and make a Walmart run. He said that he has never seen road conditions like that. It made us extra thankful for the snowplows and salt trucks in Indiana. They weren’t able to find any propane and by that evening our generator was running low on gas(it shuts off automatically at 1/4 of a tank).

We decided to turn off the generator after dinner and bundle up and turn the furnace down lower to conserve propane. Because apparently that whole “rolling power outage” thing was not what we were experiencing. We camped out in the back with the kids – we have 5 bunks in the back of our RV, and just enough floor space for two adults and one dog.

It ended up being a snuggly adventure of sorts, without the tv to entertain us, we turned to books. I started reading a biography of Billy Sunday as we all were tucked in for bed, we all learned things we didn’t know about this evangelist from years ago, and my youngest especially enjoyed the story time.

The power came back on for about a day, and then off again for another day in the midst of this crazy week. We did school work when we had power, enjoyed feeding the local birdies, and mostly sat around wrapped in blankets. By Friday Matt was able to get some propane and some extra gasoline. It was a cold week for us, but much worse for many Texans, I am thankful we made it through without any damage to the RV.

Here Comes the Sun

The sun came out and it has been glorious! We went from 4 degrees to 80 degrees in about a week’s time, and I’m so happy for sunshine!

More Revival? Yes, Please

After all this craziness with weather, we were able to hold revival services at New Beginning Assembly of God here in Cayuga Texas as planned. The impact of the weather, and covid did affect the amount of people that came. But it was a great time for those of us who were there, and we are grateful for the time spent this past week with Pastor Thom Taylor, his wife Wilma and the sweet friends at this church. They really welcomed us like family and we love ministering to them.

Thank you for reading along with this blog series, all about our southern adventures, I hope you are all enjoying your own adventures!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministy.org

It’s Cold, Give Me Some Sunshine, part 2

Backstory stuff: We are a semi-nomadic family of seven, traveling for ministry in our 36 foot RV. We are in the Midwest for most of the year, but we do make a trip down south, (snowbird style) to avoid Indiana’s cold, not-so-rv-friendly winter. This has become a pattern for us, beginning in January of 2017.

In part 1 of this series, we ended in Clanton, Alabama. This spot has become familiar to us, and we truly cherish the friends we’ve made here, and the churches where we minister. From Clanton Alabama we headed even further south, longing for sunshine, sand, and the beautiful gulf shores of Alabama. We only had a couple days to spare, as we were to be in Mississippi on Sunday for service.

Gulf Shores Alabama

Upon our Gulf Shores arrival, we checked into our campsite at Gulf Breeze RV Resort (I would recommend this RV park, it was not too pricey, had an outdoor and an indoor pool, full hookups, and laundry facilities). It was a rainy Tuesday evening, and we decided it would be a good time to take advantage of the rather large Tanger Outlet Mall, several of the kids had grown out of their shoes, and I am always looking for an excuse to shop. We ate dinner at the Shrimp Basket, where an adorable baby at the table next to us became our new best friend.

It was just one day, only a few hours really, but it was 70 and sunny and wonderful. I could live on the beach, just set up a tent on the sand, and I would be happy. We walked along the beach, with the distant pier as our goal, it ended up being about 4-5 miles and we felt it the next day!

Matt took the kids swimming at the indoor pool while I cooked dinner back at the RV. After dinner, Matt and I took advantage of the laundry facilities while the kids hung out and got cleaned up from our day at the beach. The long-term campers at this RV resort were very friendly, one older gentleman came in while we were doing laundry, he saw our Indiana license plate and told us that he was also from Indiana. We were able to pray with him before leaving, it was a special moment.

A quick stop in Mobile

These pictures of the sunsets along Mobile Bay are along one of my favorite scenic drives. Sometimes people ask us if we have a favorite state, and I have to admit that Alaska was probably the most spectacular. Really though, I feel like I have favorite spots, or certain moments that I will never forget. So, this is one of my favorite spots – Mobile Bay.

Mobile, Alabama, or more specifically Tillman’s Corner; I will forever be grateful for this place. This was our first “snowbird” location back in 2017. A pastor here graciously welcomed us to his church here as well as gave us a place to stay at his RV park. In those early days of traveling ministry, it was difficult. But the people of Tillman’s Corner became like a second family to us. Although we didn’t spend the same amount of time here this winter, we were able to stop in and visit some friends, and I wish I would have gotten more pictures of the days with our friends.

Ministry in Mississippi

From Mobile, we drove to Crystal Springs, Mississippi for ministry at First Assembly of God. The pastor and his wife were super friendly and welcoming. They fed us well, we all watched hilarious Tim Hawkins videos, they had a little girl Sophia’s age and they became great little buddies, and we just had a great time together. Sunday service was super amazing, I look forward to going back in the future.

Happy Birthday Mr. Caleb!

A typical question for our kids is “Where will we be for my birthday?” Their first choice is to spend the day with friends or family, but if we are traveling far away from family and friends we spend the day doing something special in a new place. So, we looked at the map to discover what was in between Crystal Springs Mississippi and Dayton Texas(our next ministry destination). Lafayette, Louisiana. We have driven through it but haven’t really spent much time here. We decided on this spot because of the abundance of tasty restaurant options.

So, we stayed at Cajun Palms RV Resort. If only it had been about 20 degress warmer, then we would have taken full advantage of the spectacular water park at this RV resort! We did use the nice weight room, play ground, and laundry facilities.

While looking at things to do in the area, we discovered that there were several swamp tour companies in Lafayette. We went with Champagne’s Swamp Tours. We decided that we would not risk ruining the tour with the members of our family that are prone to motion-sickness, and so I made my own “driving tour” around the lake while Matt went with the birthday boy and two of his lovely sisters.

It was a fun time, a beautiful sunny day, and the swamp exceeded our expectations. We walked a short distance down the levee trail before we turned around because we were feeling afraid. We did spot two smallish alligators while walking the trail, just off the shore. They spotted larger alligators during the boat ride (the tour guide told them that no alligators have jumped in their boat yet, but that they could – yikes)

Did I mention the swamp was more beautiful than we expected? It was. Jessica took this amazing shot while on the boat tour. The other two pictures were from the shore, it was just a really neat environment.

Photo Credit: Jessica Eckart

To be continued…

We left Lafayette, Louisiana, and made our way to Texas, noticing, sadly, the hurricane damage in Lake Charles Louisiana along the way. I will pick up from here next time, telling you all about our adventures in Texas.

Thank you for reading all about our snow bird adventures! I hope you all are enjoying your own adventures!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org

It’s Cold, Give Me Some Sunshine! Part 1

We are a traveling ministry family, and since 2016 the 7 of us have traveled in our 36ft RV. Our home state is Indiana, and in the beginning, our home on wheels was all we had so, out of necessity, we went south in the colder winter months. Now we have a home base (a small lake cottage in northern Indiana) but we still take this southern ministry trip every year, encompassing Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma over the months of January, February, and March.

I thought it would be fun to do a blog series, telling what this southern trip looks like for us, giving you a peek into the life of a traveling ministry family, and giving me some documentation of memories.

In this first leg of what I shall call our “Give me some Sunshine” series, I will tell you what we have been doing the last two weeks.

Goodbye Indiana…

We left Indiana on January 6th, in the midst of the packing, I was attempting to watch the Senate debate about voter fraud in America in the recent Presidential election. By the time we were on the road, I was watching the Capitol being overrun with protestors. It was bizarre and frustrating to watch.

We stopped in to visit with some friends at Genesis Church in Seymour Indiana to plan some upcoming tent ministry outreaches. Our kids were able to attend youth group while we were there. After that we stopped over at Matt’s aunt and uncle’s house. They are always very welcoming and we stop over there frequently.

It was an easy drive down to Alabama, with one stop over in Tennessee at an RV park. There was a bit of snow in Tennessee, making for a beautiful drive.

Hello Sunshine!

Our first stop in Alabama is in Clanton, this friendly spot has become familiar to us over the years. The people here exceed the expectation of southern hospitality and always make us feel loved. Matt will be preaching at 3 churches in the area (Thompson Chapel Assembly of God, Sunshine Assembly of God, and Temple Assembly of God – all great churches that you should totally visit if you’re in the area) and we are able to keep our RV at Sunshine Assembly of God while here.

We are re-adjusting to the small size of the RV. We have spent quite a bit of time at our 900sq ft home in Indiana, and although that is not large, it is 3 times as big as the RV. The kids have grown too, so we are all adjusting. I like to think of it as character building. Being able to get outside and enjoy the mild winters of Alabama as well as the play area with a ball pit and a gymnasium, at Sunshine Assembly of God, has been wonderful and a huge help in the adjustment.

Happy Birthday Miss O

Our Miss Olivia turned 16 while we were in Clanton. I tried to convince her that the beach was only 3-4 hours away and would be a a great little getaway (perhaps I was selfishly suggesting this idea). But, she doesn’t really love the beach so we had a shopping day, went out for a delicious pasta dinner, and picked out a new keyboard as a birthday present. It was a fun day.

Learning stuff, Inauguration, and Church Services

A typical day for us involves a full day of school, learning takes time, and usually we are done with our school work by 3pm and have free time after that. Sometimes, if we are in a new place, we will end our school day early and do some exploring. That has proven a little more difficult with covid restrictions, but I look forward to those ending soon. These two weeks we have spent most of our time doing our regular curriculum and enjoying the ball pit, gymnasium and the warm weather here in Clanton.

We watched the Inauguration on Wednesday. No matter my opinion on the new President, it was an opportunity to watch history unfold, and so we did. My personal favorite moments were, the firefighter saying the Pledge of Alegance in sign language, the lovely young poet giving her poem, my youngest daughter refering to Lady Gaga as Cruella Deville, and the Bernie Sanders memes have been entertaining.

Our reason for traveling is ministry. We feel honored that churches welcome us to come in and minister to them. Covid has changed that too, we don’t have as many revival-style services, but Matt is still able to preach and pray for people and we are glad to have that opportunity. Returning to a church is such a blessing, we are able to see familiar faces that have grown in the Lord and it’s amazing how you can feel such a connection to people you only see once a year.

Family Fitness Challenge

It seems every January I feel inspired to make health changes. This year we decided to do a family fitness challenge. We are doing a simple challenge so that we don’t give up. For 30 days, we are making the committment to do 30 minutes of some sort of exercise. We are also doing a 30 day plank challenge, with the goal of a 5 minute plank by the last day! It has been a fun time for us so far, we are enjoying it and look forward to doing it each day.

Saturday Adventures

We have explored a little bit in the area. Last Saturday we visited “Peach Park”. Clanton Alabama is known for its peaches, but we are a bit early for peach season. Peach Park is a cute little tourist spot with a playground, shop and campground. The kids enjoyed the playground in spite of the cold weather.

This Saturday we made a short trip over to Wilderness Park/Bamboo Forest in Prattville, Al. It was super cool. There was a short walking path through 4 varieties of bamboo. It was perfect weather and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring. I took a ton of pictures.

After the Bamboo forest we drove over to Alabama’s state capital, Montgomery. We drove past the parsonage where Martin Luther King Jr. lived during the civil rights movement. There were many historical spots to see, it was inspiring to drive past where these American heroes once lived.

To be continued…

Soon we will leave Clanton, head to Mobile, and then on to Mississippi. I look forward to those adventures and telling you all about it.

Thank you for reading along about our southern adventures, I hope you all are enjoying your own adventures.

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org

4 Great Family Spots in Southeastern Indiana (and Kentucky)

Indiana, what a great state. There are so many little gems to see and explore. Small town charm is really a thing, friendliness adds to the experience when exploring a new place, and thanks to the smallish size of our state, each new Indiana adventure isn’t too far away!

Over the course of a month, our family visited several places in Southeastern Indiana. Versailles, Madison, and Vevay, specifically, with a short day trip over to Kentucky tucked in. My husband ministers at different churches every week, and as a family we travel there by RV. We were in this area of the state for about a month overall. But, you could easily visit all the places mentioned in one week-long trip or a few of the stops in a weekend.

 

1 – Versailles

For our first stop, we camped at Versailles State Park and met some extended family at the Ark Enounter in Kentucky (about an hour or so away). Versailles is marked with great trails and a beautiful lake. Normally they have a water park but it was closed due to covid. We enjoyed “trail 3” which crosses a creek a few times and has a beautiful stretch of stone “pavement”. Hiking is such a  great family activity. Even if the kids start out complaining, at some point they start to enjoy being in nature and exploring. Or maybe I am just pretending that they enjoy it because I am enjoying being in nature.  But hey, I pack snacks and they like that.

We also drove over the iconic red covered bridge into the small town of Versailles, Indiana. We have been coming to minister in this area for over 4 years now, how have we never explored this cute town? I love architecture and this town had some very interesting buildings, in some ways the downtown reminded me a bit of New England. We stopped at “Pat’s Bulk Food” downtown and bought some goodies for later that evening. Yum!

2 – Clifty Falls State Park/Madison, Indiana

Just south of Versailles Indiana, about 45 minutes or so, is the lovely historic town of Madison Indiana and Clifty Falls State Park. What a great combo! History and shopping, camping and hiking, I bet you could please almost everyone if you payed this area a visit.

We spent a day hiking the trails at Clifty Falls, and only covered a portion of them. The trails are extensive! Of the state parks that I have visited in Indiana, Clifty Falls is my favorite. Beautiful and challenging, these trails are no joke. But, even if you are on the less than fit side (like me, sadly) you will find some trails that you can enjoy without passing out from exhaustion.

As you can see, we had way too much fun at the Nature Center…

Madison sits on the Ohio River and it carries the history of a booming river town in days gone by. I love the old houses in this town, they are beautiful, and some have the same architectural style as homes that we have seen in Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans – interesting.

We spent an afternoon shopping in downtown Madison. Our first stop was the “Lumber Mill Antique Mall” and it was a hit with the whole family. The older girls and I enjoyed walking through most of the clothing shops. We all made a stop in at “G.H. Coffee Company” and my youngest was very impressed with the seating area and loved, in particular, the window seats. We also stopped in at “Scoops Ice Cream Shoppe” where our younger ones received a very generous helping of ice cream.

 

3 – Vevay, Indiana

Named after a quaint mountain village in Switzerland, Vevay Indiana is the county seat of Switzerland County. While not mountainous, the town is nestled between the lovely rolling hills of southern Indiana and the Ohio River. It has many of the same features that we love about Madison Indiana, similar architecture, history and cute shops, but it is a bit smaller, and I would argue that the small size only adds to its charm.

Over the past few years we have made the trip down to Vevay Indiana to hold revival services at Vevay Assembly. During these trips we have enjoyed exploring the town and staying at the campground right along the Ohio River.

Vevay is loaded with history and one of our most memorable historical site visits was to the old jail on the courthouse lawn. It was a bit creepy if I’m being completely honest. Thinking about being a prisoner or even the jailer in that place all those years ago led to some interesting conversations.

 

4 – The Ark Encounter (Williamstown, Kentucky)

We visited the Ark Encounter while camping at Versailles State Park, but you could make the trip from any of the campgrounds in this post. We met my parents and sister and her family and made it into a cool (homeschool) fieldtrip to start off the school year. Noah’s Ark did not disappoint and I highly recommend making the trip. I also recommend going through the week to beat the crowds.

There was so much information to learn and read about. I particularly loved the scale model inside the ark that showed how things may have been laid out to accomodate for practical things like food, water storage, and waste removal. There were plenty of things for the various age groups, and videos to sit and watch when we were tired of walking.

The kids really liked the petting zoo area outside and the amazing playground.  They were also very impressed with the shuttle bus ride from the ticket counter to the Ark.

At the end of our exploring we shopped at the Answers in Genesis Resource Center. Science and History books from a Christian perspective? Yes, please. It was a great day.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures in Southeastern Indiana (and Kentucky). I also hope you are able to go and visit some of these places as well.

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org

Dear Kansas, I’m Sorry For What I Said About You

Dear Kansas, 

     I’m sorry for what I said about you in the past.  On roadtrips across the great USA it is often necessary to drive through Kansas. So, I have been through Kansas quite a few times. With the destination in mind, it seems that it has always been a rush, with no time to stop and explore. I have been guilty of complaining about the seemingly endless farm fields, flat lands, and wide open spaces.

     But something happened this week, this week we are driving through Kansas with time to spare. Our journey is taking us from southeastern Colorado to North Central Missouri. The trip is about 800 miles and we have almost a whole week to do it.  

     Upon entering Kansas from Colorado, we stopped at the welcome center to enjoy some free coffee, stretch our legs, get a photo with Dorothy and the rest of the Wizard of Oz cast, and pick up a couple of travel brochures. I am a sucker for welcome centers and travel brochures/magazines. Even with my handy smart phone, I find these old-fashioned paper sources of information much more informative and I like the tactile feeling of flipping pages as opposed to staring at a screen.  Anyway, we were able to find some great information about some places that we would stop at later. 

kansas

     We drove a little further into the state and stopped along a rest stop. I had read on my RVParky app that Kansas rest stops offer free dump stations and overnight parking was allowed. The rest stop had a large circle drive past the dump station. There was adequate space for us to park and have a picnic and run around in the yard. It really was a park-like setting and we decided to stay for the night. Thankfully the extreme heat from last week had passed and we stayed cool with our windows open.  

     The next day we made a pitstop at Walmart and then drove on to the town of Oakley.  We stopped at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center. I didn’t know much about Buffalo Bill apart from his famed wild west show.  Apparently it was near the city of Oakley that William F. Cody earned his nickname after winning a Buffalo hunting competition against William Comstock where he killed 69 buffalo in one day! Poor Buffalo, but there was a purpose for all that hunting – the meat was used to feed the railroad workers.  

Buffalo Bill Oakley Kansas

     We enjoyed taking a few photo opps with the giant sculptures and face-cut-outs of famous western figures outside of the center. Inside the center we talked to the friendly, helpful workers and did some shopping at the gift shop. I found an interesting book about Annie Oakley (but no, the town was not named after her) 

     Also in the town of Oakley is the Fink Fossil Museum, housed in the same building as the public library. This museum has a very impressive collection of fossilized shark teeth and various sea creatures. These sea creatures’ bones and teeth were found right in the middle of Kansas!  I am often amazed that there is no mention of a world wide flood in museums around the USA, as the evidence seems to point to that possibility, but there is only one accepted viewpoint on the history of things and I wish alternative theories were mentioned. Nevertheless, the fossils were very interesting to look at, even if I disagree with the timelines that were given.  

Fink Fossil Museum Oakley Kansas

     In this museum there were also several displays about the local history of that area, including a sod house, a replica of a train station, local shops, an old firetruck, and a nice collection of artwork by local artists. Before we left we bought a few pieces of candy and the nice lady at the counter gave each of the kids a fossilized shark tooth.  

     The area where all these fossils were found is near Oakley and is called Monument Rock. It is kind of like a minature version of the Badlands. Is it terrible that we didn’t actually go and explore it? The kids were much more excited about the playground next to the library, and I figured I had given them enough learning opportunities for one day. Maybe next time we come through.

     We made the trip into Kansas City for some famous bbq. It was difficult to choose where to go, there are so many choices and they all had great reviews.  We decided on Arthur Bryants for pure historical/nostalgic value. Technically they are in Missouri, oh well, close enough. Arthur Bryant’s did not dissappoint. Yum! Everything was messy and delicious.  

     After our bbq adventure of yummyness we spent the night in the Cabella’s parking lot just west of Kansas City (we actually left our RV there while we drove into the city for dinner). This particular Cabella had a wildlife museum and the world’s largest collection of mule deer. It was interesting to see all of the varieties of animals and the large aquarium. It is funny to me that sometimes we seem to enjoy boondocking in store parking lots just as much as a campground.

Cabela Kansas City

     An amazing perk of full-time travel is there is plenty of time to explore small towns all across the globe. Even if you don’t travel full-time, there is always something new to experience and explore if you look hard enough. It is worth the effort, who knows what kind of adventure you will have!

     The lesson I learned in Kansas could apply to other areas of life.  Complaining about boredom is never a good idea. I don’t let my kids do it, so maybe I should take my own advice. I remember reading somewhere the words of one wise mother who would reply to the classic “I’m bored” complaint from her kids “There’s no such thing as boredom, only a lack of creativity.” True.

Thank you for reading along, I hope you are all having wonderful adventures! 

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries check out www.kpministry.org.

Family Fun in Colorado

So we spent some time in Colorado recently. As a wonderful perk, my parents drove out from Indiana to meet us and explore for a week. Apparently we were not the only ones who thought of Colorado as a great summer destination, it was a bit more crowded than I remembered. We have visited this beautiful state three times now, once in the winter, to ski with family and friends, once in mid-August and this last time it was in the middle of July. I was very surprised to see the difference in crowd size from July to August! 

     As a traveling homeschool familiy we have fully taken advantage of the perks of visiting places in the off season. I should have planned out this trip a little better, and booked some campsites in advance, it was very difficult to find a last minute campsite for two RV’s and Colorado is not a dry-camping friendly state. 

     In spite of my poor forsight, we had a lovely time in Colorado. There is a reason it is so crowded, it is beautiful!  

Colorado

    We started our visit with my parents at the Cheyenne welcome center in Wyoming.  It was a great spot to meet and plan the week ahead.  Wyoming is super relaxed about boondocking, we drycamped with my parents in this parking lot and picked up some supplies at the Walmart in town.

Cheyenne Welcome Center

     We knew that we wanted my parents to experience Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park so we were able to find a campground somewhat close to that area. We stayed at Eagle Campground at Carter Lake. We found the sites to be spacious with just enough shade to help keep us cool. 

     As soon as we got checked into our sites we made the trek to Estes Park.  Going down Hwy 34 proved to be much more scenic and curvy than we thought it would be. Big Thompson River winds through the rocky canyon right along the highway. There were lots of people fly fishing and lots of things to see along the way We were happy to get out and stretch our legs in the scenic and somewhat touristy town of Estes Park.  

      Back in 2016, we had made the trek to The Rocky Mountain National Park, once there we drove on Old Fall River Road through the park. It is a crazy, hairpin, unpaved road that leads to the Alpine Visitor Center. My parents have been hearing about this exciting road ever since. My dad was so excited to drive it for himself, I think my mom was second-guessing her decision to come out and visit the mountains with us!

     Unfortunately (or fortunately if you ask my mom), the Old Fall River Road was still closed for the season. We took the still-scary-but-paved Trail Ridge Road to the top. We found out that altitude changes are no joke, some of us were feeling bad up there at 11,000+ feet. Matt and my dad took two of our kids up the 120+ steps to the peak.  

the rockies

     We drove around a bit more, enjoying the scenery and anticipating to see wildlife when the sun began to set. We were not dissappointed. On our way back down Trail Ridge Road, we saw a herd of over 100 elk! They were pretty used to tourists, people were approaching them and everyone was taking pictures. It was a magical moment with these beautiful creatures at the top of the mountains. 

herd of elk

     We got back to our campsite pretty late, and we decided it would be nice to spend the next day at the camp with no driving. We spent a few hours on a rented pontoon boat on Carter Lake, it seemed to be a perfect solution to the extreme heat.  

     The next few days we stayed in Loveland at the fairgrounds. We explored a few places by car from that location, including a nice church on Sunday; Focus on the Family, Garden of the Gods, and Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs.  

colorado springs

     We decided to head even further south in Colorado and stayed at Lake Pueblo State Park. Special shout out to my mom for persevering and calling many campsites and finding one that had available space! Thanks mom for letting me revert to my childhood and rely on you to do all the grown up stuff. Did I mention that Colorado Springs is exceptionally crowded in July and it was impossible to find a campsite there?

    Lake Pueblo State Park is very nice. Most of the sites have lake views and all of them are spacious and have lovely views. We were sad to hear from the camphost that someone had drowned in the lake the same day we arrived and were warned not to swim in the lake. This information along with the 100 degree weather helped us to decide to do indoor, air conditioned activities.    

   Matt found some interesting things to do nearby so the next morning we set out for the Royal Gorge. We stopped at some antique shops along the way in the cute town of Florence. The Royal Gorge is a pretty spectacular sight! There is a fantastic suspension bridge over the gorge, apparently the Empire State building could be placed in the gorge and there would still be 10 feet between it and the bottom of the bridge!  We drove up to see the gorge, and walked along some of the trails at the top, but we didn’t actually go out on the bridge. Several in our group are a bit terrified of heights, and that, coupled with the fact that they were charging $28 a person, made it easy for us to say no thanks. 

skyline drive

    On our way back to the campground we decided to take Skyline Drive. It is a short drive with steep dropoffs on both sides. There are some cool dinosaur fossils along one portion of the road.  

     We had such a great visit with my parents, we have been driving so much this summer, so it was nice to be in one state and to take the time to explore, and to be with family.

great week in colorado

Thanks for stopping by and reading along about our adventures in Colorado!

     If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org

Epic Road Trip to Alaska – Week 7!

  This will be the 7th and last week of the series “Epic Road Trip to Alaska”. It was difficult for me to find a stopping point on this series because our life is a road trip, we travel most of the year, and there are always new things to discover and talk about. But, this week we left Alaska, so it seemed a good point to end this road trip series. Honestly, I was a little sad about leaving. Alaska is such a beautiful place, and I have enjoyed documenting this adventure. I did find comfort in the fact that we are going home the long way, going down the Pacific Northwest, an area we have never seen before. I won’t be documenting these travels week by week, but I will probably give some highlights once it is all said and done. If you are just joining us on this epic road trip, be sure to check out Weeks 1-6!

Wednesday, June 12th – Chickaloon to Tok 

     Today before checking out of our RV site at Pinnacle Mountain RV Park near Chickaloon Alaska, I bought some homemade fudge from the RV park cafe and then Matt filled up at their propane station. After talking to the owner, Matt grabs a couple of the kids and walks over with the owner to where she is keeping some baby ducklings that she rescued. There were also a few alpacas on the property, the owner weaves with alpaca wool in the winter season – she was quite the industrious lady!

pinnacle mountain rv park

     We stopped in a little IGA on our route north and discovered why people say groceries are expensive up here in Alaska. I don’t blame the grocery store, I’m sure it is expensive for them to get supplies shipped this far out.

     After our quick grocery stop we drive for a while along yet another beautiful scenic highway. I can’t think of one time on this road trip where I would have been bored with the scenery. I am not exaggerating when I say that around every turn, there was something new and amazing to see!

Rainy mountain view

     We stopped at a rest stop so that I could cook dinner in the RV.  While we were parked, we noticed a man with his two boys, changing a tire on his trailer. It seemed to be taking him some time, so Matt went out to see if he needed any tools we might have on board. Come to find out, the man was removing one of the axles on his trailer.  He was coming from the opposite direction and he warned us that the road up ahead was really bad – it bent his axle.  Matt was able to find some extra-long bolts to help the man attach his leaf-springs back onto his trailer.  

     As we got back onto the highway, we were able to see, first-hand, how that man’s trailer was damaged. There were parts of the highway under construction where the gravel had completely washed out and only mud was left. Thankfully, Matt is an excellent driver and we did not get stuck or damage our RV. It was by far the worst road conditions we had seen on this road trip! 

     After we made it through the road construction, we found a spot just south of Tok, Alaska to park and sleep for the night.  

Thursday, June 13th – Tok, Alaska to Destruction Bay, Yukon Canada

     We have made the loop around Alaska! I remember planning out this voyage and thinking that the triangular-shaped route from Tok, to Fairbanks, to Anchorage, and back seemed so small in comparison to the large state of Alaska. That is only because the state of Alaska is Huge!  As one man at a church we visited told us when we were asking what we should try to see, “If you want to see all Alaska has to offer, it will only take you about 50 years.”  He’s right, there is so much to see and explore, we will have to come back.

     Tok is a small town, but has some great souvenier shops, we stop back in at one of them and pick up some small gifts for family back home. There is also a large gas station with a dump station and RV wash facilities that we make good use of.

      Before crossing the border, we stop at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge visitor center. We had stopped here on the way in, but it was evening and they close at 4:30. It is open this time, and the kids enjoyed exploring the various educational displays inside the center and chatting with the friendly volunteers who work there. We also went out back and took in the views from the deck.

Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge

     We make the trek back across the border and say goodbye to the USA for now. The drive back through that stretch of road that had made us all feel a bit sea sick on the way in doesn’t seem so bad now. We have either gotten used to the wavy roads, or they have done a good job repairing this portion of highway in the last month.  

     As we were driving through this beautiful scenery, I was reflecting on our time in Alaska and the wonderful ministry opportunities we had while there. Up ahead, in the sky is this most unusual and beautiful cloud streaking down across the sky.  It seemed like we watched it for the longest time, creeping closer to it, and then under it. As we passed under it, we noticed a full rainbow arching over us, it was like we drove through it. It was such a beautiful moment.

clouds and rainbows

     We spent the night in the Destruction Bay area. The name sounds like it would be an unpleasant area, but it is a really beautiful area, with the large Kluane lake and huge mountains all around. 

kluane

Friday, June 14th – Destruction Bay to Whitehorse, Yukon Canada

     We have arrived in Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon Territory, Canada. It is a nice city in the midst of the wilderness. Matt will be preaching here at Bethany Church on Sunday. 

     We get settled in and then make a run to the Canadian Superstore to pick up some groceries. This store reminded me of a mix between Aldi and Sam’s Club back home. I have missed those two stores, so I really liked this one – I will talk about it more at the end of this post.

     We went back to the RV hungry and looking forward to homemade pizzas and family movie night. I was busy cooking with our convection microwave and I forgot to turn off the air conditioning when the power went out. Some things about being in an RV full time are inconvient, one of those things is having to think about what sort of power source we have. Matt had just made a comment about not being able to run both things at the same time or we would pop a breaker…

     We were able to use the generator as a backup source of power to finish cooking, but we didn’t want to run it for hours to watch movies. We changed family movie night to family game night. We had a blast, and our son Caleb discovered a new love for the game of Yahtzee. 

     I forgot to mention – today was also our last day of school for the summer!  We homeschool/roadschool so I guess you could say we are learning year-round. But today, we finished up our curriculum for the year(for the most part) so we are looking forward to some relaxing, less-structured days.

Saturday, June 15th – Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

     Today we decided to explore the city of Whitehorse. It is the hub of activity for the Yukon Territory, and people drive in from all over the Yukon to stock up on supplies. There are plenty of things to occupy your time in this city. Our first stop of the day was the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site. This old stern-wheeler was built in 1929 and used to carry silver lead ore and other cargo as well as passengers up and down the Yukon River. There has been an excellent restoration on this boat and it is now open to tours. It was fun and free.

S.S. Klondike

     We picked up some drinks at Tim Horton’s and then prepared for a scenic drive to Miles Canyon. We saw some great little planes docked in the water and enjoyed our drive. Miles Canyon is such a cool spot. As we got closer to the spot where you can get out and walk to the awesome bridge that crosses the canyon, we kept seeing teenagers in prom outfits. Apparently this is a popular photo opp. 

     I am glad they were there as we are all a bit scared of being eaten by a bear. The more people, the less likely we will startle some wild animal. We crossed the bridge and walked the trail a little bit. It is such a beautiful area, the water is a vibrant blue and it looks like the perfect setting for a fairy tale.

Miles Canyon

Sunday, June 16th – Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

    Today Matt preached at Bethany Church in Whitehorse. This church is very diverse and we enjoyed ministering to all the different people here. The people were all very friendly and made our family feel very welcome.  

bethany church

     After church, the pastor and his family took us to BP’s(Boston Pizza). It was super yummy.  We had a great time visiting, laughing, and talking about Canadian and American culture and politics.  

     After lunch we went back to the RV to have a little nap time. I am not sure why the kids don’t enjoy Sunday afternoon naps, I always think it is a great idea.

     After our nap we decide to go to A&W’s for a little Father’s Day treat. A&W’s are surprisingly common in Canada, almost like Burger King in America. We had some excellent onion rings and Root Beer floats. Don’t ask me about how the Keto diet is going…

Monday, June 17th – Whitehorse to Junction 37

     Today Matt and Caleb took the laundry to the laundromat and apparently I need to be worried because some older lady offered to marry him if he ever got a divorce! She was very impressed with his awesome clothes-folding-skills. Back off ladies, he’s mine.

     Before we leave Whitehorse we decide to stock up on groceries for the week at the Canadian Superstore. We all decide that it would be best if I go in by myself and shop while everyone hangs out in the RV in the parking lot. It is rare that I get to go grocery shopping by myself, so I had a lovely time.  

     The Canadian Superstore was super indeed! I told you already that it reminded me of a mix of Aldi and Sam’s Club, my go-to grocery stores back home. Feeding 7 people is expensive, I am all about saving money, and coupon clipping just doesn’t work for me on the road. 

     I bought so much food, and other stuff we needed, and maybe some other stuff we didn’t need. The only thing I couldn’t find were paper plates. But don’t worry, as a bonus for buying sooo much stuff at this store, the cashier told me at the checkout that I qualified for a free gift – a cute paper plate party set! What!?!?! So cool. I was apparently having too much fun at the Canadian Superstore to stop and get a picture of it, but here is a picture of my deluxe paper plate gift set.

paper plates

     Even though we left quite a bit later than planned because someone spent too much time in the epic grocery store, we were still able to drive for about 260 miles. We found a spot to stay just before Junction 37 for the Cassiar Highway.

Tuesday, June 18th – Junction 37 to Iskut, British Columbia, Canada

     Today we are excited to drive on new uncharted territory for us – we had been backtracking from Tok to this point.  The Cassiar Highway is a much smaller highway than the Alaska Highway and is a bit more narrow, with most of it feeling more like an Indiana County Road than a highway. It is a beautiful drive none-the-less and we spot several more black bear along the highway today. 

     In my limited experience, I would say that British Columbia is the place to see bear. We saw 18 in British Columbia on our way up to Alaska and we saw 5 more today!  

black bears

     We stop at Jade City (it isn’t really a city, but it is the center of the Jade industry for this region). According to the Milepost, about 1 million pounds of Jade is produced each year from the Cassiar Mountains, and about half of that is exported. Jade City was a fun stop to stretch and look at all the large pieces of jade in rock form. We also enjoyed the gift shop and bought some little jade pieces.  

jade city

    Tonight we stay at Mountain Shadow RV park.  If you are going through this area, I would rate this RV park as a must stay! I picked it because they advertised wifi in the Milepost magazine and we hadn’t had any signal since we had left Whitehorse. We were pleasantly surprised that they had fantastic views and our site had nothing between us and those fantastic views! We had a very pleasant overnight stay, enjoying the majestic surroundings.

     I feel like this picture is a great conclusion to this road trip series. It represents what this trip has been for us: an amazing, majestic, and wonderful adventure from the comfort of our motorhome. 

window mountain view

Thanks for reading along with us!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org.

Epic Road Trip to Alaska – Week 6!

 This is the 6th week of our Epic Road Trip to Alaska, I hope you have enjoyed following along with us. If you are just joining us, be sure to check out Weeks 1-5.  We were talking last night about this trip and how there hasn’t been one time that the drive was boring, some areas are more majestic and beautiful than others, but it has all been beautiful, there is something new to see around every turn. If you love to road trip, I would recommend this trip for you. It has truly been an epic adventure!

Wednesday, June 5th – Anchorage to Nikiski 

     Today we left our spot in Anchorage and drove south toward the Kenai Pennisula. There is only one way to drive from Anchorage to the Kenai and part of that route is a scenic byway called the Turnagain Arm. It was a fantastic drive, the road skirts the mountains, which are butted up against the inlet. There were plenty of turnouts and scenic spots to stop. 

     We stopped at Beluga Point. It was a really cool spot, the train ran in between the parking lot, the rock formations and the water where the Beluga whales can be spotted. We didn’t see any whales, but it was still a nice spot to get out and look around.

Turnagain arm

     We kept driving south for a bit and then turned onto the Sterling Highway and then the Kenai Spur Highway towards Nikiski. Matt will be preaching here Sunday, and it will be our landing pad for the next few days while we explore the Kenai Pennisula.  

     Once we got the RV settled, ate dinner, and stretched out a little bit, we decided to explore Nikiski. It is a small town and the last one going north on the Kenai Spur Highway. We decided to test it out and see how the highway ends.  It took us to Captain Cook State Recreation Area. The highway turns into an access trail of some sort for the pipeline according to my phone navigator.

     We drove back into Nikiski and took the beach access road.  It took us to a rocky beach overshadowed by a ginormous oil rig setup.  There were several people fishing and families enjoying the beach and so we figured it was safe and we wouldn’t be eaten by a bear.  We had a nice time beachcombing and found some cool rocks. On our way home we spotted a moose and her twin babies – so cute!

Nikiski beach

Thursday, June 6th – Nikiski to Kenai

     After we did our school work in the RV today, we made the 15 minute trip back to the city of Kenai to run some errands and explore their city a bit. We were out of food at the RV so we ate fast food and then drove to the historic old town center of Kenai. There are amazing views from Kenai of the Kenai River and the Cook Inlet. There was also a Russian Orthodox Church from 1895 that has been kept in excellent condition. 

Kenai

                                                                                       
    After exploring the historic area, we went to an awesome park to let the kids run off some energy.  We had been playing for a little while when, all of a sudden, a moose comes running out of the woods!  We were hoping that he had just been startled by the airplane that had just flown overhead, and that he wasn’t being chased by a bear. The moose didn’t seem to care about all the people in the park, he just wandered over to a thick patch of grass and have a bite to eat.

moose playground

     After the park, we drove down to the beach and I was pleasantly surprised to find it sandy and beautiful.  We even found some cute pink seashells. The view from the beach was perfect, there were several mountains and volcanoes across the inlet.  I always love going to the beach, and while this one was much too cold for us to swim (not for the locals, there were some swimming) it was a lovely evening.

     After the beach we made a trip to Walmart for groceries and such and we noticed that the prices are a bit higher down here on the Kenai pennisula.  It ended up being a more active day than we had planned, but in a good way – so we head home tired and happy. 

Friday, June 7th – Nikiski to Homer

     We were excited today to make a day trip down to Homer Alaska. One of the unexpected benefits of these long hours of daylight in Alaska has been the ability to explore much later into the night. Sometimes when we are traveling south in the winter, it is difficult to get our school work done and explore because it will start to get dark at about 4:30pm!

     Our first stop on the way to Homer is Ninilchik Village. The old town center is tucked along the base of some cliffs overlooking the Cook Inlet. We had a picnic lunch overlooking the water and the volcano in the distance. After lunch we stopped in a little gift shop and I bought a cute little necklace made by the artist who lived there. 

Ninilchik Alaska

     Our next stop is Anchor Point. I read in the milepost that there is a sign that reads “The Most Westerly Highway in North America”  so we decided to stop for this photo op. Little did we know that Anchor point is also a spot where bald eagles gather on the beach!  We spotted about 10 of them, gathered around some sort of dead animal/sea creature turned eagle-feast. We unhooked our tow vehicle because you can also drive on the beach. This is great for us, another excuse to run around on a beach!  We also spotted a tractor driving out into the water to pick up a boat on a trailer.

Anchor Point Alaska

     We arrive in Homer about 3 or 4 in the afternoon.  This little gem of a town lives up to all the wonderful things the people in Alaska have been telling us. It is yet another beautiful spot where the water meets the mountains. There are amazing views in every possible direction.  

     We make a stop at the free “Island’s and Ocean’s Visitor Center”.  It was a really cool place with interactive exhibits that the kids really enjoyed.  We didn’t stay very long because we knew we wanted to explore the Homer Spit.  

Exploring in Homer

     The Homer Spit is a long stretch of land with beaches, restaurants, shops, the harbour, and all kinds of stuff.  It sounds like it would be touristy, and although the prices were a bit higher, it didn’t feel too touristy or crowded.  While we walked around the board walk and shops, we spotted otter swimming out in the water – I love otters, I wish we could have gotten a closer look.  We also saw some fisherman preparing their fish for a tasty meal.

     We ate dinner at a little restaurant on the beach.  It was super good, I had the halibut taco and a side salad. Homer is the Halibut fishing capital of the world, so we had to try halibut from here. I am glad we did – yum!

homer spit

   After dinner, we did some more beachcombing. I had read that you can find seaglass in this area.  We did find some more cool rocks, Caleb found a fossil, but no seaglass.  

homer alaska

It has been another wonderful day, and we drive back to the RV tired and happy again.

Saturday, June 8th – Nikiski

     Today we slept in and relaxed with tv and super mario brothers for a while.  A friendly and hospitable couple, elders at the church, invited us over to their house on Island Lake.  We had fun kayaking and canoeing and I realized how out of shape I am after peddling the paddle boat around the lake for a bit with the kids.  The family have 3 golden retrievers who quickly became Hannah and Sophia’s new bffs.  We then enjoyed pizza and our older girls made cookies for all of us.

lake day

Sunday, June 9th – Nikiski

     Matt preached today at Aurora Heights Assembly of God. They are a friendly group and were in high spirits as they had just voted in a new pastor. There was another family there with lots of kids and our little ones enjoyed playing with them.

     After church we went back to the couple’s house on the lake and enjoyed lunch and a visit. We didn’t do any boating today, instead we went back to the RV for our day of rest. We did see a mother moose and her baby wandering around the neighborhood tonight, she walked right past the RV.

Monday, June 10th – Nikiski to Seward to Whittier

     Today we leave our Nikiski spot and decide to do a little sightseeing on our way back towards Anchorage.  We make the trek down towards Exit Glacier and Seward.  It is a detour south but we have heard that it is worth the drive. Exit Glacier is huge and there were signposts along the way that indicated how far the glacier had been in former years.

     The town of Seward is lovely.  It was a tad bit busy with people coming in off of tour boats and the RV parks were almost full as well.  We found a place to park the RV for an hour or so while we explored.  We walked the docks around the harbor, keeping our eyes peeled for sea lions and otters, but they remained elusive.  We did see a couple huge halibuts being weighed on the docks – they were well over 60lbs. I think there was some sort of competition going on. 

Seward Alaska

    After exploring the harbor we drove over to a cool playground with views of Resurrection Bay.  It was a beautiful spot and the kids enjoyed running around.   

      After we left Seward we decided to stop by the town of Whittier. This town is very unique. There is only one road in and out, part of this road goes through a mountain – a tunnel that is one lane about 3 miles long, that tunnel is shared with the train. So when you go through the tunnel, after they tell you it is your turn, you are driving on the railroad tracks! Crazy! I was feeling a little claustrophobic riding through this tunnel.

crazy tunnel

     The population of Whittier is about 250 and more than half of the residents live in the 14-story high Begich Towers. This highrise is also home to a church, the post office, and an underground tunnel that leads to the school. At one point the town was a military base and the large building where the military lived is now abandoned.  

Whittier Alaska

     We had an amazing dry camping spot for the night, we were surrounded by mountains and overlooking Prince William Sound. It was peaceful and majestic. I really enjoyed our stay in the fascinating town of Whittier.

Whittier Alaska

Tuesday, June 11th – Whittier to Chickaloon

     We left back through the crazy tunnel, but not before seeing the train come through, which was pretty cool.  We drove back up along the scenic Turnagain Arm and into Anchorage.  We stopped back at Cabelas to buy Matt an early Father’s Day gift.

    We drove up through Palmer (where we should have stopped for groceries because they were way more expensive in the smaller, isolated towns). We ended up staying at Pinnacle Mountain RV Park just south of the town of Chickaloon. The Camp owner also had a cafe and shop where Matt bought some homemade cookies for the kids.  

     We have had such a wonderful week, Alaska is such a beautiful place, I feel so blessed that we have been able to go on this adventure. If you are considering an Alaskan road trip, do it! You won’t regret it. 

     Thank you for reading this weeks post in our Epic Road Trip to Alaska!

     If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org.

Epic Road Trip to Alaska! – Week 5

Sled Dog

 In this fifth week of our Epic Alaskan Road Trip we finished exploring Denali National Park, celebrated a birthday in Anchorage, and got to see what life is like in Houston Alaska.  If you are just joining this road trip story, be sure to check out Week 1, 2, 3, and 4!

Wednesday, May 29th – Denali to Houston

      We have another day to explore Denali National Park. The park offers a bus tour on a converted school bus, it is the only way back into the park past mile 15 in the summer. We considered doing this tour, but then decided against it when we discovered it was 6 hours long. Maybe when the kids are older and excited about a 6 hour long bus ride.  Instead, we went to the visitor center, gift shop, sled dog kennels, and drove around in our personal tour vehicle – our Honda pilot.

     The visitor center was really cool, there were a large variety of interactive displays that the kids really enjoyed.  We also stopped by the gift shop and picked up a cool vintage-looking print and some fun animal magnets for the kids.   We ate our lunch in the RV and then left the RV in the large parking lot there while we explored the park.

denali national park visitor center

     After lunch, we went to the sled dog kennels in Denali National Park.  We parked and then followed the wooded path to the kennels.  The woods are very thick and hidden about 20 feet off the path was a moose, lying down and watching us walk by.  We were hoping it wasn’t the aggressive moose that we had heard about – the one that likes to charge people on trails – I don’t think it was because this moose seemed to want to hide.  As we got closer to the kennels, we saw another moose, it was moving fast, but not towards us.  We decided to name Jessica our official scout because she has an eye for spotting wildlife – she saw both the moose and had to point them out to us.

     The sled dog kennel experience was a total win.  They have some very well behaved dogs that you can pet and they were very friendly.  I’m not really a dog person, but I couldn’t help falling in love with the sweet sled dogs.  There was also a sled-dog demonstration – a ranger explains all about the sled dogs and the dogs pull a cart around a track.  It was really interesting.  We learned that there are some areas of the park that they do not want machinery or vehicles driving through, and so the sled dogs are vital for carrying supplies back into the park.  We also learned that the dogs use their tails to cover up their faces to keep warm while curled up sleeping – cuteness!

Denali sled dog kennels

     After a bit more exploring and driving through the park, we left and drove south towards Houston, Alaska where Matt would be preaching on Sunday.  We stopped along the way at a turn-out spot and I made dinner.  We arrived at the church around 9:00. The pastor and his wife met with us and fed us all some snacks at their house, which was on the church property. 

Thursday, May 30th – Houston to Anchorage

     Today is our oldest child, Jessica’s birthday.  While on the road, we try to make birthdays special by letting our kids decide what type of day that will be.  Jessica wanted to go out for a birthday dinner and do some shopping, we decided that Anchorage would be the best option.  We left around lunchtime and the hour drive from Houston to Anchorage was very scenic. The area south of Wasilla is very pretty.  

     We went to a bookstore and Kohls and Jessica picked out her birthday presents.  After shopping, we went to Benihana’s for a fun dinner (they offer a free birthday meal if you sign up online).  It was entertaining and delicious.

Birthday fun in anchorage

     After dinner we did a scenic drive just outside Anchorage to let our food settle before we had birthday ice cream cake.  We saw two moose very close to the road.  We do a lot of scenic drives in our tow vehicle, it is able to go places the RV is not.  I think if you live in an RV, you have to like to drive (or ride in my case) and we do.  The kids do too, as long as the drive is kept interesting with stops at a park or for a snack. 

Moose

   Back at the RV we had super-yummo cookie dough ice cream cake and Jessica and Olivia watched a late-night movie with us.

Friday, May 31st – Houston

    This small town of Houston Alaska is what I had pictured in my mind when I thought of us coming to Alaska.  It is rugged, and I imagine that life here in the winter is difficult.  The pastor and his wife are pretty tough, although they would downplay this and consider themselves normal by Alaska’s standards.  We enjoyed listening to their stories of hunting adventures and were amazed by the ginormous woodpile outside their house for winter heating. 

     The church is having a garage sale today and tomorrow.  We don’t really do garage sales very much any more because of our limited space.  The younger three really wanted to go check it out and so I took them.  We found some doll clothes and some pretty doilies to use for the Barbie family that live in the RV with us.

     Today the pastor took us on a short walk through the woods, it was cool and a little scary.  These old cars were swallowed up by the wilderness. I think he said there used to be a mining camp here.

Exploring Houston Alaska

     We had heard the stories of the notorious Alaskan mosquitos and up until this point, we had seen mosquitos, and while they were bigger than the ones in Indiana, they hadn’t bothered us that much.  In this thickly wooded place of Houston, Alaska the mosquitos were fierce.  We put on bug spray (or dope as they call it here) when we went outside and they just swarmed around us but didn’t really bite when we kept moving.

Mosquito attack

Somehow, the mosquitos found a way into the RV.  Even if we were diligent to open our door and enter/exit quickly, they still managed to find a way.  They struck us at night, those little jerks.  I’m a pretty sound sleeper, but a mosquito buzzing in my ear is enough to wake me up.  Our poor kids were waking up with bites on their faces, hands, and feet.  I was getting bites through my clothes! Crazy. Anyway, we ended up spraying on bugspray before bed, to prevent more bites, it helped a little bit.

Saturday, June 1st – Houston to Wasilla

     Today we made a quick trip over to the town of Wasilla to run some errands.  We stopped at Lowes to pick up some beadboard to fix up the dresser at the foot of our youngest’s bunk.  We also picked up a cute rug to replace the one that has lost its luster after 7 people have wiped their shoes on it for 3 years.  

     We also made a trip to Walmart to pick up some groceries.  

Sunday, June 2nd – Houston

     Today Matt preached at Hilltop Assembly of God in Houston, where we have been parked.  It was a good service, the people were open to ministry at the altars after the preaching.  

     There was a pitch-in meal after the service.  The congregation brought some delicious food, including moose, elk and salmon, and homemade bread. We had a great time talking with the people, and hearing about their life in Alaska.

     Later in the evening, we gave the pastor and his wife a tour of the RV, it is always fun for us to show people our tiny home for the first time. We had a nice visit.

Monday, June 3rd – Houston to Wasilla

    Matt helped the pastor pick up a load of garage sale stuff today while the kids and I did schoolwork.  We are almost done with our school work for the year, and it feels like a milestone because this will be the first time since we’ve been on the road that we will be able to take a summer break.  The first two school years on the road we ended up just doing school year-round. It was difficult to learn how to schedule school time on the road.  We have settled into this life and I would say that our kids are able to work in all sorts of situations.

     After school we drove to Wasilla to visit Newcomb Park.  It had been sunny all day and it started to get cloudy right as we were leaving the RV. We were hopeful as we left because it looked sunny towards Wasilla.  When we got to the park, we noticed there was a little beach there for swimming or fishing.  It was maybe 60 degrees outside, but there were kids running around in their swimsuits and people wading in the water.  I would say these particular Alaskans had a different definition of swimming weather than me. 

scenic road to wasilla

     After the park, we drove to Three Bears Alaska to pick up a couple of things.  It was an interesting store, there were groceries, camping and hunting gear and household items.  They also had some stuffed animals on display.

     When we got back to the RV, the pastor stopped by for a visit and then gave the kids (and Matt and I) a music lesson.  He taught us some chords on the piano, and helped the kids to learn to play together in time.  We have a keyboard, two ukeleles, two guitars, and a tiny tamborine on board the RV, the pastor gave us some music to work on together, I am looking forward to hearing us all improve and learn more.

Tuesday, June 4th – Houston to Anchorage

     Today we said our goodbyes to the pastor and his wife and prepared to move our RV south to Anchorage for the night.  We stopped by Millers Market on the way out of Houston and had some lunch and ice cream – yum! 

ice cream collage

     We drove to Cabela in Anchorage for a boondocking spot for the night.  The kids always enjoy walking around Cabela, there are so many stuffed animals and interesting things to see. Hannah and Sophia were really excited about the large fish in the aquarium.  

     Tonight we met a lovely lady and her two daughters.  Matt gets to talk to all sorts of people when he calls churches, and this lady is a book-keeper at a church in Anchorage.  We had a connection with her in that she knew some of our friends in Iowa.  Anyway, she invited us over to her lovely home with amazing views for pizza.  We had a great visit and Sophia really enjoyed playing with her tiny dog.

     After dinner we went back to our boondocking spot for the night.  We are very excited for tomorrow because we are going down into the Kenai Pennisula.  We have heard so many things about this area being the most beautiful part of Alaska. Next week I will tell you all about our Kenai Pennisula adventures!

     Thank you for reading this week’s post about our Epic Road Trip to Alaska!  If you would like to know more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org