Grand Adventure

This past summer we hitched up our trusty little Coleman Pop-up camper and headed west for a “Grand Adventure”.

All loaded and ready to go / Google Photos

We spent 16 days traveling and visited 3 National Parks with the camper. Our trip started in Smithtown, NY and headed first to Ohio to camp overnight at Barkcamp State Park.
It was a nice park but the facilities were a bit lacking.

First stop – Barkcamp State Park, OH / Google Photos

Glad we only stayed one night. Then it was up early the next morning to hit the road and make it to Cuba Missouri for our second stop.
We stayed at Meramac Valley Campground for two nights so we could do some sightseeing in St Louis.

Dinner at Meramac Valley Campground / Google Photos
Tour of the Budweiser Factory / Google Photos
St Louis Arch selfie / Google Photos

Then we were back on the road again. This time another long drive to make it to Amarillo, Texas where we stayed at a very nice state park called Palo Duro Canyon.

Stopping for dinner before Palo Duro Canyon State Park / Google Photos
Cadillac Ranch / Google Photos

After a single night at Palo Duro Canyon we hit the road again to drive to Sedona. I wish we could have stayed another day in Palo Duro, it was such a nice park.

We drove a good 10 hours to get to Sedona and stayed at Rancho Sedona RV Park. It was a very nice RV park and we all loved the amenities.
While we were in Sedona we did some hiking and then stopped at Slide Rock State Park and did some swimming in a VERY COLD river that had cut through the red rocks and made some natural slides. It was the highlight of our stay in Sedona.

Camping in Sedona / Google Photos

From Sedona we got back on the road for a short 3 hour drive up to the Grand Canyon. We stayed inside the park at Mather Campground which was pretty nice. The sites were good and the facilities were clean. It was amazing that we were so close to the actual canyon (5 minute drive) and yet you would have no idea that it was there.

We finally made it to the Grand Canyon! / Google Photos

When we arrived at Mather we had enough time to quickly set up camp and then we headed off to take a helicopter tour of the canyon. That was amazing! Everyone had a great time.

Taking off! / Google Photos
Flying high! / Google Photos
Views from the helicopter / Google Photos
Our helicopter / Google Photos

Then we spent another two days exploring the Grand Canyon. We had some great weather and took lots of photos.

Grand Canyon Selfie! / Google Photos
Family shot at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Family shot at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Relaxing at the campsite / Google Photos
Sunset at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Sunset at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos

After our 3 days at the Grand Canyon we packed up and headed up to Zion National Park. While at Zion we hiked the famous Angels Landing Trail. It was a tough 2.5 miles to the top where we stopped for lunch.

Zion National Park – Angels Landing Trail / Google Photos
Zion National Park – Angels Landing Trail / Google Photos

We only got a single day at Zion which was a shame, there seemed like so much to do there. Perhaps one day we will get the chance to go back.

From Zion we drove up and over the Continental Divide and into Rocky Mountain National Park where we stayed for two days in Glacier Basin Campground.
It was amazing the sights we saw, the animals and the scenery. I couldn’t get used to the elevation and how it affected everyone. Just the simplest thing would get you short of breath.

Rocky Mountain – Red Fox / Google Photos
Our campsite at RMNP / Google Photos
Hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park / Google Photos
Rocky Mountain – Elk / Google Photos
Highest Elevation – Rocky Mountain National Park / Google Photos

While in Colorado we took a quick trip down to Boulder to show the boys where we used to live and just check out Pearl St.

We had a great time seeing all the National Parks and camping in our little camper, but now we had to start heading home. It was a long drive and everyone was tired so we ended up spending our last two nights of the trip in hotels, we would drive as far as we could and then just pull off the highway to find a hotel.

It certainly was a “Grand Adventure”! Everyone will have great memories of the trip and we are already planning our next one!

Newport, RI at the Fo’c’sle

This Labor Day weekend we took a ride up to visit Loren and Peter at their house in Newport, RI. The house is aptly named “Fo’c’sle” and it was built in the 1800’s. It is within walking distance of the main area of town and all the shops and restaurants. It was really nice getting to see their house and spend time with Peter and Loren. We took a walk (4.93 miles) down along the cliff in front of the huge mansions. You can see the track here on Google Maps (Cliff Walk). On Sunday we spent the day driving around and seeing more of the island. We also visited Fort Adams and got to tour the inside of the fort. It was really amazing to see all the interesting defenses that were built. We even got to go down into tunnels under the fort that were used for listening for invaders trying to tunnel under the fort. And then on Monday we took a tour of the mansion called “The Breakers”, which was owned by the Vanderbilt’s.
We really had a great time and are looking forward to when we can go back again.

 

Montauk Trip

The family took a trip to Montauk for the day to see all the sights and to sort of celebrate Paula’s birthday.  We climbed the Montauk Point Lighthouse and spent some time on the beach.  It was a long day but everyone had a good time.

Washington DC trip

We spent the July 4th holiday vacationing in Washington D.C. We got to see a lot of sights and enjoyed learning about our Nation’s capital. We toured the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and went to the top of the Washington Monument. We tried to get a tour of the White House but unfortunately you need to arrange that at least 6 months in advance. We watched the fireworks display visited all the Smithsonian museums. But my favorite part of the trip was when we went to Mount Vernon and got to tour General Washington’s residence.


Annual Camping Trip

This past weekend we took our annual camping trip. We stayed at the NYS DEC campground “Little Pond” which is in the Catskills in NY. It is a nice place, with well maintained facilities and very picturesque views. This year we chose to camp in a more remote site on the back side of the pond. The site was perfect, nice and quiet and natural. We were situated right up at the edge of the pond and the boys had fun catching fish, and salamanders. Alex spent his time out on the pond in the Kayak and Paula and I just enjoyed the quiet. The only down side was that since it was a remote site all our provisions had to be hiked in. We were about 1/4 mile in from the parking lot so all our gear was carried or wheeled in. And since it was bear season and the rangers had warned us that bears had been seen recently by our site that we should make sure to pack up all our food and put it in the car each night. The weather was a bit of a bummer but we survived and had a good time.

Family Cruise Vacation

The entire family just returned from a nice cruise in the Caribbean. We left out of Port Liberty, NJ which is in Bayonne and spent nine days enjoying the warm weather and the activities on and off the ship. Our cruise ship was the Explorer of the Seas from Royal Caribbean Cruises and our first port was San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The first two days we were at sea which gave us time to explore the ship and take advantage of all it had to offer. It was amazing, they had a nine hole mini golf course, ice skating, a movie theater, a rock wall and of course four pools and just as many hot tubs. Alex and Nicholas really liked the ice skating rink. I enjoyed the rock climbing and the pools. Paula liked the hot tubs and the fitness center. So, basically there was something for everyone.
Our second port was St Thomas, USVI where we got to visit and swim with dolphins. It was so much fun to actually be up close with the dolphins. They gave us rides and we each got a kiss from them. Even Grandma, who is afraid to swim, got in on the act and got a ride too. It was something we all will remember fondly.
After St Thomas we headed to Samana in the Dominican Republic where we got to spend the day at the most beautiful beach, Cayo Levantado. The water was warm and the scenery was breathtaking. The whole family swam and snorkeled in the ocean. I found a huge star fish and brought it in to show everyone. I think that was one of the best days of the entire cruise.
The final port was Labadee, Hati which is a private resort that Royal Caribbean owns. The resort was nice and had lots to do, but we chose to just relax by the water and enjoy the sun.
The return trip home was another two days at sea. As the weather started getting cooler we spent more time inside on the ship, but that was OK because we already knew the best places to hang out and have fun.
We were sad to have to leave the cruising life behind and return to school and work but we’re already planning our next trip and have plenty to look forward to.

 

OBX Vacation 2009

Well, its come and gone. Our 2009 Outer Banks vacation was a success and everyone had a great time. We ran into a small snag just before we left. Our 2007 Honda Odyssey was in the shop the week before to fix a small transmission leak and on the Friday before we left we were told by Honda that it wouldn’t be fixed until the Tuesday AFTER we were supposed to have left. So much for planning ahead!! We ended up driving my Dakota down to NC which was a bit of a squeeze with 5 people but it worked out better in the end. We had the bike rack to bring our bicycles down and we even took the truck on the 4×4 beach twice! The house was beautiful and the weather couldn’t have been better. All in all everyone had a great time. We’ll be heading back next year, that’s for sure.

Annual Camping Trip

We just came back from our annual camping trip. This year we went up to Woodland Valley Campground in Phonecia NY. Although it rained a bit, the boys really had a great time. They enjoyed fishing on the Esopus River and just exploring the wooded campground. Due to the weather we didn’t get a chance to do any real hiking but we did go on the Catskill Mountain Railway. I’ll try and get some pictures up when I get a chance.