Thursday, August 26, 2010

Washington DC . . . . Our Nations Capitol

We spent 3 days in DC and sadly the first day we took all the memorable photos, and they were corrupted on the disc, the 2nd day we took photos and we share them here, and the 3rd day (of the rally) we forgot the camera, and are waiting for friends we met at the rally to share the ones they took with us.

During this trip, I couldn't help but lament that my children were not "getting it" we studied American History in Home school the year before we made this trip, and we learned about the names & dates, but I still felt like they were not understanding, it was just information to them, and it was not sinking in.
I bore testimony of the necessity of these wars, and sacrifices, I shared with them how they had benefitted from our Founding fathers' sacrifices. but I still felt like it was not sinking it. and then , after we touched the Vietnam Veterans Wall memorial, and we sat through the most moving rally where we were incited to ignite our desire to teach, represent and facilitate HONOR throughout our everyday lies, The kids got a rare and special treat;

A decorated Vietnam Vet approached our blanket after sitting for more that 6 hours for the rally, the kids & I were lounging and visiting when he approached us, He asked the girls how they liked the rally, and if they had seen the Vietnam Memorial Wall, he shared that those names on the wall were his buddies, his comrades, and that they
did not get to come home, they lost their lives in the battle, and then he said to them, "Those boys gave up their lives for you, and let me tell you something, Your Worth It"
He then went on to tell them that the one and only way for my girls to pay back those men for their sacrifice was they had one job to do: "get an education" that is it, you pay them back, you honor them by taking your studies seriously and learning, doing their best in school.
I was in tears, The girls were speechless, And It Sunk in,, the girls "got it" , What a blessing it was to have met that man, to have the honor of shaking his hand, and looking him in the eye to say Thank You. I cannot thank every single solder who has put his life on the line for us, but I can honor their memory and their efforts by studying, teaching and sharing what I know.

New experiences, and overwhelming gratidtude for our Freedoms, and the Blood spilt to ensure those freedoms.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Valley Forge

Leaving Williamsburg VA we traveled to Valley Forge, after a long drive, Wes navigated through the crowded and traffic riddled streets, to arrive at 11 p.m. at the National Park.

It was so late, and we were ready for bed, so Wes parked in the visitors parking lot and laid down, I knew we were going to get visitors so I suggested Wes prepare for it when sure enough a Spot Light was directed to our bus and 2 patrol vehicles pulled up next to us.

Wes got up and talked with hem, they notified us it was illegal to park in this park (as they do not offer camping faculties) Wes apologized, they took our ID and we proceeded to visit with them as they ran my ID.

They said they normally would ticket campers, but felt like we would be OK to stay for the night since we had "FAMILY" painted on the side of the bus, and didn't want to bother the kids who would be sleeping.

Incidentally they asked how many kids we had on the bus and we told them 6, they asked if they were all ours? (grin) of course!

The next morning, we readied for the day, and walked around the Park, we took a tour, and learned about Washington's Army. We were in awe and humbled by what pains and sacrifices were made by our American Brothers of 1776.

They also offer a "once upon a Nation" Story telling bench, throughout the park (which is 3800 acres) they have park benches and story tellers who teach the kids in great narrative voices about stories from that time and place.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Williamsburg, VA Yorktown Battlefield

We boon docked (slept in the bus, not plugged in) saved money... I like that :D

and then we got to see Yorktown Battlefield, the kids talked e into walking down the path to the White Flag of Cornwallis



After we were done (and crispy sun burnt) we had to walk back to the picnic area, I swear it was a 4 mile round trip... in the open air (read: SUN SHINE & HUMIDITY)

but the kids had fun (who knew they had cactus in Virginia!?)

the view was spectacular, the company was lovely, and the historic reminder of the preciousness of FREEDOM was poignant .

We talked to the kids about the significance of this part of the country, just as the precious blood spilt in Nauvoo for our religion, the blood spilt for our Nations freedom it is hard NOT to be humbled by the magnitude of sacrifice.

Thank You America....

I Love You

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tender Mercies of the Lord

While waiting for Wes to get here, the gang & I decided to pack up and enjoy the beach. We got everyone loaded up, set the GPS and headed down the highway, about 15 min after hitting the road, we had a problem.

A Major problem, all our radiator fluids were boiling out and our temps hit the roof.

We luckily had 3 gallons of water on hand, and with the help of Carmin the Garmin we found the phone number to a Auto Zone. We set the directions and tenaciously set out for our destination, where at minimum we would get antifreeze, and possibly see if they carry the hose that we suspected was leaking.

En route to the Auto Zone, I saw a NAPA and KNEW we needed to stop there.

The guys at NAPA were super helpful, but doubted we would make it far with a leaking radiator, they suggested we talk to an Auto shop next door and see if they could diagnose the problem. One patron at NAPA Paul stopped and spoke with us extensively, he offered to fix the radiator and anything else he could do.What a saint!

now what are the odds that in Williams burg VA, on recommendations of NAPA crew we would find an honest and caring mechanic. 100% if the Lord is on your side!

Mark cleared his schedule (he was OBVIOUSLY BUSY!) allowed our 16 kids to sit in the air conditioned waiting room and diagnosed the problem right away. We only waited for around 20minutes when he came in to notify us of the, "Bad News"

The radiator had a huge crack in it. Parts alone should cost around $300 and labor for 2 hours estimated at $75.00 per hour.

Annie Laurie was the one who needed to make the decision, and we waited for Mark to call around to find the best price on the radiator.

He gave us an end quote of $285.99 for parts and labor. We felt it was an extremely fair price and asked him to schedule us for that afternoon.

Meanwhile we were looking for a place to deposit 16 kids who were dressed in beach attire, none of them had brought clothes, and a few were missing shoes. We asked 4 hotels along the path if we could swim for the 2 hours it was going to take to fix the van. No Go. there were a few willing until they found out the size of our group.

No problems, we phoned Paul and let him know what we were planning, and he offered to help us find a place for the kids to play while we waited.

he met us at Food Lion, and then led the way to a beautiful park called Quarter Park, where the John Smith trail, passed through and where an original plantation settlement was in 1757.

When Paul took Annie Laurie back tp pick up the van at 6 p.m. we were pleasently surprised that the total bill for the Van was $200.00.

The Lord knows us, and blesses us! we are so grateful for his hand in our experience today!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Adventures in West Virginia!

We left Indiana and headed into some pretty steep mountains of West Virginia, I was pretty tired from driving through the harrowing hills, and needing to use low gears to keep from going to fast down the hills and too slow up the hills.

By the time we made it past Charleston, I was spent, I had been sweating and tense for 4 hours, and needed a break, we pulled into a tiny town with a sign stating it had a state park, I was looking forward to hooking up the AC and sleeping COLD.

The $#% State Park was closed (GRRR) and we had to keep looking.

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My BRILLIANT Idea was to split up and find a place to crash or the night, I turned right and headed towards a school and race track, Annie Laurie turned left and headed towards another State park (that may or may not be closed we had no idea)

I had the GPS (which had been horrible about sending us off into the abyss of lost-ness) I trusted that with little fanfare I would be able to check out the camping spot and reunite with Annie Laurie.




I was locked out of the parking lot I anticipated going into, and phoned Annie Laurie, she told me the general direction she headed and I turned around to join her.

I wound through a small town, staying on the main road, and headed into the mountains. Did you know there are mountains in West Virginia? I felt as if I was on a road leading to the family cabin in Fair view.... in a 40 ft bus, with 11 kids sleeping on the bus, and the GPS telling me to wind around down and back again. The switchbacks got so hairy, I had to back up to keep my tail end from getting hung up on at least 7 turns..... imagine this:

Dark, tree lined one lane path, 40 foot bus, and drop offs that made the tail scrape and grind...

Imagine the GPS telling me to do a U-turn at my earliest convenience,U turn, on a switchback, in a FOURTY FOOT BUS!?

I found a driveway WAYYYY up in the hills, after I called the Sheriff dept and asked for advice on how to get out of this pickle with no incidents...they had no idea where I was, or how to help me... Their suggestion was Set the GPS and follow it! (Let me mention at his point that the map on GPS as I was following it was literally winding back ind rejoining the previous route, I know I went down on hill twice, and looped back onto it.)

So I pulled into a driveway, and was turning around, trying desperately not to start crying, having a breakdown and giving up, sleeping on the mountain top and attempting to find my back in the morning.

One last try

I turned the bus around (or rather attempted to)
and got the bus rear end hung up on the embankment opposite the drive way.




in the
Mountains of West Virginia

at 2 a.m.

I knocked on the door (poor fellow being awoke at 2 am) and got no answer.

I went and knelt in the road, next to the bus begging for help to come get me out the embankment with out paying exorbitant fees for a wrecker needing to drive from 45 miles away.... up a mountainous road, into the middle of no-where....

I went back into the bus, turned off the ignition, and sat.

The Friendly guy who lived in this house woke up had the feeling he needed to look out his window. (where he saw a Yellow School bus stuck in his drive way at 2 a.m.)

He called his buddy from down the way and 20 minutes later a 4-Wheeler pulled up, with this little old man (had to be 80) with no teeth and a Hill Billy Accent....

He had to unhook his tractor from his bailing rake, and come tug my rig. it didn't take much, but his help was definitely what saved my can.

then they went the extra mile (or 4) and drove down the mountain showing me the least treacherous path towards the city nearest the state park. After commenting several times that there was NO WAY I could have gotten my 40 Foot bus down Bald Mountain Cut Back. as it was way too narrow and steep.

MMh HHM The latitude of Pipestem is 37.544N. The longitude is -80.96W.

needless to say, I was so thrilled to pull into the Camping spot and go to bed (at 5 a.m.)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Moving down the road

After leaving Nauvoo, we took the scenic route down S96 and meandered through gorgrous riverside towns, stopping in Wayne City, IN, where a nice fellow at te time he service station gave us directions to a city park with power. It was midnight by the time we rolled into the park, ready to sleep, we were not succesful getting power, but there was no complaining from the kids (all 16 of them) and they made ther nests and fell asleep on the picnic tables under the pavillion.

Moving right along....