cuyahoga valley national park

yesterday, father’s day, we hit up our first national park on the lidbom rambling road show. we are only about an hour from cuyahoga valley national park, so after a big fat breakfast, we loaded up our bikes and the kids and snacks to check it out.

a couple of family pics before our adventure…
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a selfie by derek. (the “best family selfie we’ve ever taken” according to derek.)
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we arrived in the middle of the ranger doing a demonstration of how the lock worked. i think they would have been more interested if we had been there from the start.
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we went into the canal exploration center, to pick up some national parks passports and get the booklets for the kids to start working on their junior ranger badges. anna is definitely interested, but it’s a little above her reading comprehension level. isaac is not very interested, but it’s exactly in his reading comprehension level.

anyhow, we came to bike, so we got to it… the plan was to ride along the ohio-erie canal tow path. you can ride along and then stop at one of the train stations for the cuyahoga scenic railroad, pay $3 a person, and load your bike up and ride the train back to where you started.
this was the view behind me. poor little anna on her tiny bike, peddling away. hazel, cruising in the trailer. and derek trying to teach ike about proper bike etiquette and how to not get his chain all tangled up by switching gears non-stop. 🙂
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we made it about 3 miles, when anna hit a wall. we found some shade, ate some apples and began working on the junior ranger badges. 🙂
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it was another two miles to the next train stop, so derek carried anna’s bike for a little way, while she rode in the trailer with hazel. just before we got to the next stop, she hopped out and made a go of it, which made for this cute pic. and spared derek from having to carry her bike any longer. and lightened my load by 40 pounds. for the time being.
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more scenery.
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at the train station, we realized the trains didn’t run as frequently as we’d hoped. it was an hour and a half until the next train. or we could ride 4 miles up to the next station, where the train arrived fifteen minutes sooner. but it would take us a good 45 minutes to get there, we figured. or we could ride 5 miles back to our start. so many options. and we had to consider super tired anna.
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we decided to ditch anna’s bike at the station, and i pulled both girls 4 miles to the next station. if no one stole our 16″ kids bike, we would pick it up when our train stopped there on the way back from the next stop. am i making sense?

the next two miles were smooth. then anna and hazel started bickering. and i was pretty tired. and it was hot. and i was grumpy. and i have no pictures during this leg of the ride because all i wanted to to was get off the bike and sleep. finally we arrived at the boston(?) train station, where were also able to buy some ice cream, go to the bathroom, and pick up some commemorative items.
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then, we waited for the train. no one was more excited for it to arrive than hazel. 🙂
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train riders.
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pic by ike.
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anna’s little bike was still at the station we left it at. and we made it back to our starting point. where we still had to ride a bit to get from the station to our car. soooo. tired. jelly. legs.
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we were all pretty much starving, so we went to the first place we found, quaker steak and lube. AND the daily special was $1.99 kids meals. that’s like the jackpot for us. then, full bellied and exhausted, we drove home. hazel was the first to go…
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and then isaac, who NEVER day sleeps.
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anna was pretty pleased with herself that she was the only one awake.
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and that’s the story of our first national park trip.
hopefully, we will be able to visit many more in our travels.
the end.

the rambling road show , , , , , ,

ohio. week 1.

at first glance, we thought our trip to ohio would be sort of boring. our site seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. we were mostly just trying to get a few free weeks in our network of rv parks that we are members of (thousand trails).

anyhow, on our first day, we did a bit of housekeeping. groceries. cleaning. settling in. and the kids started taking a typing class. anna is a fan. ike is not.
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after a bit of research, i learned that there are like 18 historic covered bridges in the county we are staying in. there are a couple of guided tours, but we found a map online and went on our own tour of a few near our campsite. this was the first.
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the second was actually not super impressive, so i took a shot out my window as we drove by and we made our way to the third, which was our favorite…
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like a big old drive-thru barn.
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the campsite we are staying at is near jefferson, ohio, which is a strange little town. (i suspect all little towns are strange). (also, i have a very good friend from here. jessica, mom of annie and sadie, who i used to keep watch over for a short little stretch before i had hazel, is from jefferson).

anyhow. after we found the covered bridges, we came through town and i made derek pull over so i could take a pic of this cathedral “barn” quilt, in front of an old church.
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on day two, which i think was wednesday, we headed northeast to conneaut (pronounced “conny-ot”) town park, for some beach time.
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it was sort of gross. with trash and driftwood and dead fish. hazel was smitten with this tractor that was combing the beach for extra large drift wood.
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we hunted long and hard for sea glass. hazel was my best helper.
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she was super fantastic at finding the cobalt blue pieces. this one is pretty big compared to the nano sized pieces she kept bringing to me.
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hazel also loved the water. she’s not usually a fan, but the lack of ominous, encroaching waves worked in her favor.
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sand fun with all the lidkids.
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as usual, isaac was willing to brave the frigid waters.
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all three kiddos. the great lakes are sooooo big.
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finally, everyone was starving, so we began a quest for lunch. first, i picked a spot that was #1 on tripadvisor, but it was PACKED out, so we doubled back to a mexican restaurant that isaac was willing to eat at. then, we made our way back to the “park” that we had originally planned for… but had missed by a few hundred yards. it had an actual merry-go-round, which i was pretty sure were banned by super-safe-moms-of-america. my kids were drawn like moths to a flame. and i looked on, reminiscing about my own childhood.
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after much merry-go-rounding and frolicking, we went back to the beach for a bit, where i struck up conversation with a local, who told me that beach combing was a bit scarce since they had recently drug the beach and water for the body of a teenager who drowned. sad. then isaac threw a rock at anna and there was a lot of screaming so we decided our day was over and made our way back to get some ice cream. the kids opted for sponge bob popsicles, which was fine by me, since they were decidedly cheaper than real ice cream. hazel went to town. this combined with her sand face, made for THIS.
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post ice cream crazel.
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our sea glass haul.
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then there was a rain day. lots of movies. play-doh. school.

and then yesterday. friday. whatever. we made plans to hit the road early and head into cleveland to visit the great lakes science center. the science museum passport is the best money we have ever spent. the first exhibit was all about some NASA.
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out on the deck. some frog back riding.
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back to nasa. astronaut ike.
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the nasa part was actually a bit advanced for the kids, so we moved on to another area, only to find it was infested with summer camp kids.
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i made the executive decision to go eat lunch and loiter about until the various summer camps loaded up and headed out. then we had the place to ourselves. ike was completely obsessed with this hot air balloon. and how long it took to heat up and rise.
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the girls and i went back to the water fun area. on a balcony. overlooking lake erie. and windy.
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ship captain.
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crazel.
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back in to the ball pit area. crazel.
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gear wall.
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plasma ball with ike.
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lightning tube with anna.
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hang gliding simulator.
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giant magnifying glass. i think.
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we debated touring this giant great lakes cargo ship, but in the end, decided that hazel wasn’t game for it.
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pic with kids.
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we wandered around the grounds, and the rock and roll hall of fame next door, before heading back for some photo ops with the neon wolfpack on the front lawn of the museum.
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pic with the annababy and cleveland in the bg.
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after a LONG drive home, including a random detour through downtown cleveland and an accident clogging up the highway on the way home, we decided to beat the heat by visiting the campground pool.
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and then today.

with very high hopes, we headed into jefferson for a “strawberry festival”, which was more like a craft fair with a stop for strawberry shortcake. either way, we had some strawberry shortcake.
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at least me and the girls did. they love strawberries.
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isaac went with a rootbeer float. which i am ok with. 🙂
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on the way out we snagged a pic with this old train.
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and that’s pretty much all i can blog about at this point. it’s late. and hazel is losing it.
we have big plans to hit up a national park in the morning….

so, see you soon!

the rambling road show , , , , , , , , , , ,

letchworth to ohio, via angola.

so, after a couple of weeks at letchworth, we packed up and made our way to ohio. i left and went west on route 20a, through crazy hills and twists and turns. derek’s fancy rv gps took him north to the nice flat, wide, straight thruway. i was just pulling into my sister’s house (to retrieve a forgotten elephant blanket) when derek texted me that he had a tire blowout on the thruway…
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after some back and forth phone calls and waiting for the coachnet (AAA for rvs) folks to change the bad tire, we decided to get derek to my sister’s in angola, where we would hang out until monday to get some other suspicious tires replaced, before heading to ohio.

lucky for us, leslie’s house has a thousand things to do. goats and chickens.
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during a dip in the pond, anna somehow came up with this super tiny frog.
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a penny for reference.
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picnic with eliot and luka.
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dune buggy cruise.
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pond fun. (leslie dyed her pond, if you’re thinking it’s a weird color).
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hazel, the lone ranger.
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this peacock. roams the property. making noises like kevin from “up”. trying to get the ladies to notice him.
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so much excitement when we found this snapping turtle. leslie, posing with her best snapping turtle face.
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more fun with goats.
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and bantam baby chicks.
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and goats again. (they think they are humans).
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finally. derek called. the tires were fixed and we were ready to go.
we left leslie’s and drove to our spot in ohio. despite some time in the pond and baths at leslie’s the bottom of anna’s feet looked like this:
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anyhow. we settled in. finally with water and sewer and all the luxuries. and lake view.
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ahhhh…
we are here for another week and a half or so. originally, it looked like there was nothing to do, but after scouring the internets and various travel apps, i have found a zillion activities. so stay tuned, for north east ohio adventures!

the rambling road show, to categorize , , , , , ,

letchworth. week 2.

our second week at letchworth was a little more low-key than the first. after all of the weekend campers cleared out, we took over the bathroom to get this grubby kid all cleaned up. since the showers only blast scalding hot water, we opted for the sink.
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we went to warsaw, to laurie’s diner or cafe, where i consumed yet another beef on weck. this one was pretty good, but also pretty pricy.
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we had some rainy days, where we were pretty much camper bound, but that didn’t stop derek from grilling away.
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on our way home from somewhere (maybe the hidden valley animal thing?) we saw this sweet park in perry. so, on a particularly nice and slightly windy day, we loaded up and made a day of it. anna is an avid kite flyer. the wind was strong and crazy and super fun until it snapped our five dollar kite in half.
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all three kids hit up the splash pad spray park. so fun.
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i’m not sure if i should be more concerned that hazel thinks its ok to drink things out of the mouth of a cow or that she thinks it’s ok to drink water from public fountains. either way. blah.
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on one nice evening, i convinced (dragged) everyone to go hiking. we had already seen the upper and middle falls twice. and stopped along all of the overlooks. but, we had yet to hike down to the lower falls and the foot bridge. so, off we went. the first view that shows up on the hike is this one of the foot bridge.
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we slowly made our way down a TON of stairs to a little overlooky place, where we stopped for some pics. derek took this shot of me taking a selfie with kids.
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the aforementioned selfie.
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we pressed on. i was determined to get to the footbridge. the trail down looks up the river to the lower falls, as we made our way down to the foot bridge.
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we made it! this is the only spot inside the park where you can cross the river.
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from the path, derek snapped this of us.
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this is looking downstream from the footbridge. the water almost seems stagnant. also, iphone pics don’t even begin to do the massiveness of the gorge justice.
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from the bridge, we headed up to the lower falls.
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so massive.
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a little terrifying. i kept ushering the kids away from the edges and on to the insides of paths. and with my center of balance a little off because of the thirty pound toddler on my back, i was hesitant to get very close to any edges myself.
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derek took this pic, and i would not have posted it, except that later in the week, as we were leaving the park, we heard the news that a family had gone over the waterfall in this same spot. it was clear that plenty of people had gone past all of the warning signs, as there were worn paths scattered about in all of the restricted areas. the family that was swept over the falls had somehow gotten down to the river and they were playing in the water. sadly, someone slipped, causing a ripple effect and they all went over. two little boys, age 9 and 6 died. it was very surreal and sobering, having just been there with our 9 and 6 year olds. 🙁
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more scenery.
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on one night, we drove to meet my mom, step dad and little bro in warsaw for dinner. this was the only pic i took to commemorate.
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back at the site. s’mores.
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it actually got a bit chilly one night. which called for puffy hooded vests.
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on the thursday night before we would pull out on saturday, i took the kids back to batavia, to leave the older two with my mom for a sleepover. of course, we went a little early to have some delicious lunch.
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and we dropped in with my friend julie varland, where the big kids ran rampant around the neighborhood and these two played princess doctor.
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the next morning, with no big kids to tend to and convince to go to breakfast, hazel and i drove into perry for a delicous morning meal at john and sarah’s restaurant. this was my omelet. seriously. so good.
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hazel entertained everyone and slowly made her way through sausage, eggs and pancakes.
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later, i went back to batavia, to collect my kiddos. anna and my mom had made a fairy garden. isaac had played the ipad non-stop.
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the next morning, we packed up. and headed to ohio. sort of…..

the rambling road show, to categorize , , , , , , , , , ,

hidden valley animal adventure

yesterday (saturday), we decided to have a family outing. after lunch, we left the friendly confines of letchworth state park and made our way to varysburg, ny to the hidden valley animal adventure. it’s a lot like a place in nc that i have been to a few times (lazy 5 ranch).

first up. giant stuffed bear, guarding the formal dining area.
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we checked out the small animal petting zoo area while we waited for our “trolley” – which is a bit fancy for what was essentially a hayless hayride.
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hazel wasn’t super sure about the whole thing.
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anna was good to go. my little animal whisperer.
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the animals were very aware that we came bearing food. the ones that were roaming free were not afraid to come up to the tiny folks and shove their faces into the feed cups. when you tipped your cup over the fence for the non-free-range animals, this was the face you were met with, while they awaited the feed to cascade down over them.
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i will say that the overall state of this part of the “zoo” was a little sad. the fenced in areas were very small. and there were a lot of lethargic looking animals. maybe they were sunbathing. that’s what i’m telling myself.

this tiny horse or pony or whatever was pretty much the cutest.
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and here’s just a pic of the sassy pants crazel nut.
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finally, we were ready to board our tour trolley. while we waited to leave the gate, hazel and i took some selfies. 🙂
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our first stop on the trail was to a pit of muddy water buffalo.
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then some scottish highland cattle.
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we didn’t get a chance to feed the zebra. he was hoarded by the jerks in the back of our trolley (not just because they hoarded the zebra, there were other deciding factors. like talking trash about a guy who was smoking before he boarded our trolley. and poking the ostrich on the head.)
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bison.
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more bisons with a scenic backdrop of the rolling hills of wyoming county.
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i have no idea what this animal is. looks like a plain cow to me. anyhow, we fed it.
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reindeer.
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isaac was very uninterested in feeding the animals. thankfully, he was uncharacteristically well behaved in his boredom.
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this guy was attempting to catch any stray feed coming his way. i guess the animals at the end of the ride are either ridiculously overfed as people just dump what they have left, or ridiculously underfed because people ran out of feed.
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these guys were pretty aggressive.
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crazel and a creature.
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llamas.
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the final attraction was randy the camel. i only know his name is randy because my mom told me later. he was the only one we were allowed to pet. everyone was a bit surprised when he poked his head all the way in. our tour guide had some specialty snacks for him and he totally knew it.
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as we pulled away, he trotted alongside us for a bit, before giving up and taking a rest.
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trolley selfie.
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hazel fell asleep on the last leg of the trolley ride. she stayed asleep until we got to the car. and slept through an ice cream trip. and a grocery trip. petting and feeding animals is hard work.
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so that’s our big day trip. today (like i previously mentioned) is stupid and rainy. we are here for another week and then we leave saturday. the kids and i are hoping to hit up a local park, do some hiking, maybe some fishing, and hopefully some biking. we might have to check out the sights one more time too.

the rambling road show , , , ,

letchworth state park. part 1.

so, on memorial day, we packed up and left my mom’s and headed to letchworth state park. it’s only about 35 minutes or so from batavia, so it was a pleasant commute. we’ve been pretty busy exploring so far, and i have been forced to take an excessive amount of picture due to the majestic scenery and cute kids, so this is a rather long post full of pictures.

on the way in. it’s a bit surreal that between here and the blueish horizon is a massive gorge.
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our first site was terrible. we couldn’t get level. so, we drove around to look for a new place, while derek checked availabilities online. we finally found a better spot, but the kids were very much over sitting in the car at this point, so while derek set us up at camp, we hit up the playground.
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on our first full day, the kids and i headed out to check out the overlooks and scenery.
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more.
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more.
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on our way to the middle falls, we stopped to pose with a tiny little stream flowing down across the path.
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the middle falls. and the crazel.
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on our walk from the middle falls to the car, anna plucked a colorful bouquet of tiny wildflowers.
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the upper falls. isaac said “take a picture of me looking through this” — even though we hadn’t paid money to make it work.
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three lid kiddos and the upper falls and train trestle.
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girls only selfie.
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on our way back to the site, we stopped at “inspiration point”, where you can see up the river to the middle and upper falls and the train trestle. the pics don’t do it justice.
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more selfies.
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back at camp, derek performed his duties as grill master.
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after dinner, we went exploring on our bikes. the kids are getting pretty good with trails. isaac struggles a bit with his new bike because it’s still a little too big (and too much bike). and poor anna, with no gears, has to work hard to get up hills.
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meanwhile, i have this little passenger bumping along behind me. she loves it.
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anna has become a great reader and loves to read to hazel at bedtime. hazel doesn’t seem to mind.
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the next day, we decided to check out the “wolf creek” area of the park. it’s a creek that comes from silver lake nearby (which, incidentally, is where i went to summer camp as a youngster), and flows into the genesee river, via a slightly terrifying waterfall. again, the pictures don’t do it justice.
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further upstream, the water just barely trickles by, so we hopped out to do some exploring.
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we flipped over a bunch of rocks to check out some wildlife, and of course anna, the animal lover, was the first to find a salamander.
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rock stacks.
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this is next to the bridge overlooking the falls. it looks so innocent, but drops of fast and long. you can see the edge behind the kids and then see how deep the gorge is by looking at the trees in the distance. kind of nerve racking with a crazy 2.5 year old running about.
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the next day was super rainy and blah. there was a lot of screen time. after dinner, the weather had cleared up, so derek finally escaped the campsite with us to go sightseeing.
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more gorges.
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old cemetery.
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upper falls, from the top. (the kids and i didn’t venture up this far the first time).
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and then, even higher. i’m on a little bridge that goes over another treacherous waterfall into the bigger more treacherous waterfall.
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and derek took this from where he was in the previous pic.
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a train passed by while we were up there. so that was pretty sweet.
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more gorge.
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on friday, i decided that we would go tour the mount morris dam. we had to go up and out of the park and then back down the other side of the river to get to the dam area. it was just us and another older couple. we walked out onto the top of the dam. here’s isaac looking downstream.
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and the girls. still looking downstream.
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a pic with the dam wall, before we headed down inside it. i wasn’t allowed to take any pics inside, for security purposes. or whatever.
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inside, we saw the hydraulic “heart” of the dam. and two big pumps that lower the gates. and we looked up and down creepy, narrow, steep staircases that go up to the top and under the river bed. we learned about water seeping into the dam. and that the concrete is still drying after 60 years. it was pretty cool, for me at least, and maybe ike a little.

back at the top, isaac got a mini lesson about one of the times the genesee river flooded. the guide/ranger is showing him the water level that the river reached.
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there was a little visitor center, where we did a bit of reading about how the dam was built, but the kids mostly just wanted to play on the playground. while they did that, i strolled over to get this pic of the dam. (there was a big field trip group, so they never noticed i was gone). that tiny car, next to the tower on the near side of the dam is where we were when i took all the previous pics. the elevator that took us down under is in that tower.
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after our big learning experience, we stopped for pizza (and a chicken finger sub) at “the leaning tower of pizza” in mount morris.
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on our way back to the campsite, i made the kids humor me for one more pic. we stopped at the dam overlook from the northwest side of the river and there was a giant chair for whatever reason.
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the view of the dam on “our” side of the park. (most of the stuff to do it on one side. our side. the campsite. the overlooks. the park road. the visitor centers. etc).
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another overlook. i was on my own for this one. the kids waited in the car. i guess gorges are not as exciting for them.
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on friday night, we had a campfire. and roasted marshmallows.
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we even put up the tent and the kids and i attempted to sleep in the tent for the night. hazel only made it for about 30 minutes. isaac got up at sometime in the night and went to bed because it was too cold.
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this little bundle of blankets with a head was the only one to make it until the morning. 🙂
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anyhow, this is my stopping point.
we had a little family outing yesterday that i’ll blog about later.
it’s rainy and blah today so i might have to surrender the computer screen for movie watching soon….

the rambling road show, to categorize , , , , , , ,

buffalo science museum plus friends.

earlier this week, we put our science museum passport to work again, this time hitting up the buffalo museum of science.

stuffy the stuffed bison.
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rocket launching.
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giant galapagos turtle.
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photo opp.
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archeological dig.
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sarcophagus.
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body “factory”.
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isaac, practicing his construction skills.
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yellow jacket hive.
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bug works sign. spelled out with dead bugs.
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water current/erosion. always a favorite.
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storm simulator.
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weather reporter.
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play doh.
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more water play.
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outside, i was hoping for a pic in front of the cool old building. but there were cones and signs blocking us, warning us to not enter. so this was the best we could get.
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we had a quick snack picnic in the park nearby.
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and then we went to see our old friend’s the browns.
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they fed us delicious fajitas. and the kiddos had fun with their old pals. and all was well.
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thus ends my posting of our day in buffalo. and i’m all caught up. stay tuned for our next adventures.

the rambling road show , , , , ,

batavia. random. to date.

we have been in batavia for about a week and a half. it’s mostly been very chill. we will stay through the weekend and then on memorial day, we will pack up and head over to letchworth state park for two weeks. i’m looking forward to it. but, here’s what’s been happening in batavia for the last 10 days or so…

well. before batavia. we stopped at leslie’s for eliot’s birthday. and anna rode a donkey.
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and then we made it to the lake and set up camp in the side of my mom’s yard.
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one day, we ventured out to the park. and found a train.
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and a bird’s nest.
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we’ve eaten a lot of delicious batavia food. like pizza.
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wings.
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hazel even tried a hot wing. she didn’t make it very far.
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more eating. tully’s buffalo chicken sandwich. gigantic.
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miss batavia diner breakfast selfie.
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cute crazel.
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we’ve taken quite a few bike rides to feed dan, the friendly horse, who lives around the corner from the lake.
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the bike gang.
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flying crazelnut.
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there was a surprise birthday party for my stepdad.
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butterfly whisperer.
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backlit pok-a-dot gang.
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dandelion seed spreader (inhaler).
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bubbles one.
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bubbles two.
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bubbles three.
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there was a bit of excitement one day when someone noticed a squirrel dangling from a tree branch. a small crowd gathered to try to free him. it looked like he had some fishing line caught on his tail that had then gotten caught on a tiny twig on the tree. folks were trying to reach branch cutters out and hurl anchor lines over the branch. finally terry got his gun and shot the branch, freeing the terrified rodent, sending him plummeting to the ground and scurrying off into the brush.
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my aunt eleanor flew in from oklahoma, so my mom had a little gathering for her. and there was beef on weck.
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julie came out and there was fishing.
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and kayaking.
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my gramps came from the nursing home.
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family folk.
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the view.
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then on a particularly warm day, we made our pilgrimage to north side deli to get slush puppies. sadly, they were either very watered down, or strawberry flavored. oh well.
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ice cream trip to dave’s.
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biking at the county park. this was after anna bit it in the parking lot and bloodied both knees, elbows, and her chest. she’s tough. on the way back, we rode trails instead of road and both kids did fantastic. there’s mountain biking hope yet!
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south side deli sub. another thing we get every time.
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i got the italian assorted. but not impressed. low meat ratio. and the bread is not delicious. oh well again.
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bedtime. with this grubby kid.
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the anna baby all bandaged up and scabbed over and bruised and dirty.
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kayak rides with my mom.
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my passenger for the kayak ride. in need of a bath.
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ice cream party at lickity splits.
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yesterday, we took the kids to the post office to apply for passport cards so we can roll the rambling road show into canada. it was a long process and the kids weren’t super cooperative. and i have these commemorative photos to remember the day by.
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after the long passport morning, isaac and i rode to buffalo to test drive and purchase this bike we found on craigslist. it was a little more expensive than we had planned to spend, but it’s a pretty sweet bike and so much better quality that what we would have gotten for that amount brand new. he loves it, but might need to grow an inch or two to truly be comfy with it.
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anna ended her day with a little fishing. all on her own, she captured a sunfish with her net. and then used it for bait (she put the hook through it’s belly. gruesome.). and caught a giant bass. she could barely lift it, but managed to flop it onto the dock, and derek came to the rescue to unhook and hold it for a super fisherman pose.
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and that brings me to this morning. 🙂

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may 17th.

well. we are in batavia now. and i’ll post a generic post about that soon. but first. allow me to post about may 17th.

it began, with a little drive to medina, to visit a toy train museum. which is apparently owned by the one and only “fireman marty”, a local fireman, who used to come to our school when i was a kid, and terrify educate us about fire safety. he was there and we chatted for a bit and he was very sweet to my kiddos, taking the time to show them some magic tricks, and loading them up with freebies. but, more about the train museum.

we got there early, so we milled about outside. we happened to go during the week squeezed between two weekends full of thomas the train, so there was some thomas memorabilia around and about and some photo opportunities for my grumpy kids.
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but once we were inside, we were witness to the coolest toy train setup EVER.
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it was HUGE!! we walked around several times and kept finding new little secrets each time.
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the kids favorite part was the carnival. there were little buttons for them to turn the rides on and off.
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the trains were in the middle of the room, running the entire length of a super long building (perhaps an old train station?).  the outer walls were jam packed with memorabilia.  so much of it was donated, which was pretty sweet.  i didn’t take many pictures, but i wish i had.
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after our visit, we asked fireman marty where to get a delicious meal in medina, ny.  he suggested rudy’s diner, so off we went.  :).
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beef on wick.  obviously.IMG_0789

ice cream for the kiddo’s.  obviously.IMG_0792

may 17th also happens to be our anniversary. 13 years ago, we were getting hitched. so, my parents agreed to hang with our kids, while derek and i went out to celebrate. we struggled to make a decision, but finally decided that alex’s place was our go-to.

while we waited (because alex’s is ALWAYS busy), i had this ginormous beer. southern tier ipa. mmmm.
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anniversary date selfie.
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super crazy delicious prime rib sandwich. or ribeye. or something. i can’t remember. it was awesome, though.
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on the way home, i made derek stop to let me take pics of this old tree at the va hospital.
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knobs.
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after dinner, we stopped in o’lacy’s for one more drink. i spent a lot of time at this little pub back in the late nineties.
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it looks exactly the same.
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so, that covers may 17. our time in batavia has been pretty chill and uneventful, so far. this was by far one of our more busy days. look for a post soon with lots of pics of kids fishing, kayaking and riding bikes. 🙂

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west virginia. mountain mama.

the first leg of the official official lidbom rambling road show was to a little spot in west virginia, about ten minutes north of charleston.
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we arrived late at night and had to navigate some super windy, dark, narrow country roads. but we survived. this was what we were dealing with, only in daylight. and a kind of straight stretch so i wouldn’t die snapping the pic.
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we spent the first day exploring the campground, registering, organizing our crap, and assembling a bunch of storage items from ikea. the site we were at was called rippling waters. i think it’s part christian camp and conference center and part rv park. the tiny little church behind the lake made for a good “we are here” instagram post.
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the older kids rode bikes A LOT. hazel was dying to join them. so, ike took her on a couple of spins around the loop.
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the official campfire pic. it started raining like crazy about 20 minutes later.
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so, derek had told me that when we drove through charleston, isaac told him that he wanted to go back to see the capitol building. not wanting to miss an opportunity to indulge a non-minecraft interest, on our second day, i drove him there.
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so many steps.
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looking out over the river from the top.
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wv capitol building selfie.
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one last pic with honest abe. (we decided against posing with stonewall jackson).
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the capitol building visit was short and sweet and then we grabbed some lunch before putting our astc passport to good use and getting free admission to the clay center museum. it was pretty cool. not a TON to do, but all the things they did have were very awesome. one exhibit was “earth city” and everything was about the earth science of the landscape of west virginia (and some other locales).

river currents.
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fog.
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isaac was obsessed with this. it was a manual boot scooping water elevator? he turned the wheel. the boots scooped water. carried the water to a platform. dumped it. it splashed everywhere. repeat.
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more fun learning about currents.
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i’m not sure hazel was retaining any info about erosion here, but the sand/water play was fun.
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in another room, there were a bunch of tables set up, each with a challenge to be completed. anna was on a mission to complete five to win a prize, until a school field trip rolled in and took over all of the tables. oh well.
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hazel was hard at work, too.
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just when i thought we were ready to leave, we happened upon this giant maze. so, we spent thirty or so minutes being mesmerized by the balls racing through the track. it was pretty sweet.
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please note how wet ike is from the boot water scooper.
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lid kid teamwork on the giant propeller crank.
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back at camp. more biking.
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they loved riding their bikes down a big hill near our site.
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on day three, a hike was in order. i researched like crazy, because i was definitely not interested in being lost on the side of a wv mountain with three kiddos as night fell. we found the kanawha state forest and took a very strange drive through the backroads to get there. at the ranger office, a friendly lady told us to try the “overlook rock” trail. it sounded promising, like maybe with lots of views. so, we gave it a go…

pre hike selfie.
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the hike was pretty much straight up. and then straight back down. and the straight up part ran along a little stream for a bit.
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anna is an all-star hiker. i was pretty much dying. i’m fat and out of shape and i had a 40ish pound backpack on. isaac grew a bit grumbly after a good 1/2 mile of going uphill. but anna. she just bounced along, singing a little song the whole time.
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isaac insisted on wearing flip flops. he would never admit that some of his frustrations stemmed from poor footing. he made it to the end, but when we stopped at subway for lunch, he had a blowout getting out of the car and had to put sneakers on after all. i’m just thankful that the blowout didn’t happen on the trail. i can’t even imagine the whining.
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during the lengthy uphill, it was determined that walking sticks should be procured and put into use.
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obstacles.
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and then, back down. a little more treacherous. it seemed steeper than the path up.
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finally out of the woods and on the road back to the car, we stopped for a post hike selfie. hooray, we weren’t eaten by a bear! and no one fell off a cliff! and we didn’t get lost (mostly thanks to hazel’s keen eye – watching for the yellow diamond blazes, and loudly announcing them for all of the wilderness to hear).
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back at the camp, we had to go to the bath house to shower because we ran out of propane. here is a fresh and clean crazel, who did not want to get dressed in the bath house, so opted to wear a towel back to the camper.
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we were all pretty tired from our adventures, but hazel had skipped a nap for two days in a row, so she didn’t make it past 6pm. little did we know…
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…that she was actually sick. she woke up at 10pm or so and vomited everywhere. she had a little fever, so we medicated her and put her back to bed. and then she vomited again at 530am.
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we decided that since it was almost the weekend, and we were going to be traveling, and she had that one ridiculous uti at christmas, and she’s been having lots of accidents leading up to being sick, that we should try to get her into a doc. we spent all morning trying to find a place that would take a “new” patient. finally, we found this little gem. yes. a doc’s office in a double wide. but, i’m not judging. because they accepted us and fixed us up. but still. a double wide.
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hazel was pathetic while we waited, but i think she was just tired. she was a champ during her check up. and then showed no signs of uti in her urine. but the doc, based on my description of symptoms and her history, went ahead and prescribed an antibiotic and sent her urine off to be cultured. we decided to wait for the culture results before starting her, and lo and behold, on monday morning we got the call that she did have a uti and i’m not a crazy person. (that’s my own assessment).
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anyhow, when derek got off work that night, we got on the road to as far north as we could get without falling asleep and running off the road. here’s the big old rambler pulling out of rippling waters campsite in wild and wonderful west virginia.
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ike rides with derek. the girls with me. so, we stopped at mexican for dinner, since isaac in never down with going to mexican. never. and this place happened to have a cool donkey statue for us to pose with. 🙂
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anyhow, we drove for awhile to a cracker barrel in ohio, where we spent the night before making the rest of the trip to western new york. we were reminded that 1) week night travel is miserable. 2) driving more than 2 hours at a time is miserable. and 3) driving two days in a row is miserable. but i’m sure we will do it again…

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