Monday, September 29, 2014

DAY 22 - Sep 29

We've finally made it to New Mexico! So much to write about since the last post, but so little time. I will just put in the highlights of the last few days.

Evalie's artistic talent has grown a lot in the past 2 months, here is her latest masterpiece, Princess in a Castle.

I read about this place in a National Geographic magazine when i was a kid, The Cadillac Ranch. Now i finally get to see it in person! It hasn't aged all that well, especially since people have been spray painting the cars for years... so much paint that there is at least a cm thick of paint in most places! I guess the paint will preserve it for a long time :-)

Here we see a couple of graffiti artists caught red handed!

We drove along a 20km stretch of windmills in Texas, there was at least a hundred of them!

The famous Route 66

Marianne drawing up a sketch of our route so far while we paused on the way up a long and steep mountain road in New Mexico on our way to Toas. We weren't sure the car would make it!

The view in our camp ground. We are on a plateau at 2000m elevation surrounded by mountains on all sides, some as high as 4000m. Very nice view!

A visit of Earthship Biotecture's headquarters.

A test building where they will attempt to have 25 interns live in the building and grow all their food indoors (including chickens).

One of the many earthships in the community.

Rio Grande Gorge, really deep gorge right next to the earthships.

 Evalie took on a few kg... she's been eating a lot lately ;-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DAY 17 - Sep 24

Today finds us in Oklahoma City as i spend some time in the library working and July does some laundry. We spent a noisy night in a Walmart parking lot way to close to traffic. Evalie had a hard time sleeping, she was also sick yesterday. After sleeping in late this morning she seems to be OK.

Yesterday featured a fun visit to the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City. Very interesting and educational for everyone. The girls had a blast learning about the internal structure of vertebrates. The video showing how dead animals where prepared for de-fleshing the bones and cleaning them was a bit to much for Evalie though... but Marianne found it very interesting :-)

They have some cool specimens on display, including a whale and a giraffe

Evalie possing in front of her favorite display.

Marianne in front of her favorite, proudly showing her quiz paper she filled in during our visit. She got all answers correct! Ok we helped, but she did all the writing! Evalie wrote down a few answers but got bored... then had a fit later that night when she remembered that she had'nt finished the quiz... 4 years olds... sigh... :-)

Monday, September 22, 2014

DAY 14 - Sep 21

Two weeks and 3200km into our trip, and everything is a-ok. I'm typing this from a picnic table under the stars in our camping spot. We found a decent camp site in the Little River State Parc, just bellow Oklahoma City, in Oklahoma! We're going to stay here for a few days, the weather is great... very warm actually, it was 30C yesterday and little cooler today (or maybe we are getting used to the heat). There is a beach here with orange/brown sand that made for some fun sand castle building with the girls :-)

We left Springfield friday afternoon, after running into a homeschooling group in the parc having a pirate party. We chatted with one of the moms and had a fun conversation, she became our first fans on the road and is probably reading this right now!

Once we left Springfield, which it is not where the Simpsons are located much to my dismay (they are in Springfield Illinois apparently) we stopped in Branson. A very interesting town full of steep hills and covered in tourist attractions. Yes that is a Titanic hotel and King Kong is climbing a fake Empire State building!

We tried in vain friday night and again saturday to find a camp site that had an available spot... no luck. Apparently it's not the off season yet here, at least on the weekends. We spent some time in Lake Fort Smith State Park where we took a skinny dip in the lake to cool off... after several days of low 20C weather and some rain, then suddenly having a 31C and very humid day was a bit though!

Evalie knocked out cold after an exhausting day :-)

Today (sep 22nd) is a work day for me. Just before breakfast we said goodbye to our camping neighbour Bruce, a retired dentist off on a 900 mile bike ride (that's 1500km!) back to his hometown in Kentucky.

Friday, September 19, 2014

DAY 12 - Sep 19

Nothing much to say today, still in Springfield catching up on work, laundry, mailing postcards, showering :-) This afternoon we head back on the road, in 2 or 3 days we'll reach New Mexico, can't wait!

Here is what breakfast looks like on a typical morning (in a Walmart parking as usual). The white tarp in the back is the tent that pops out the back of the camper.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DAY 10 - Sep 17

Today and the next few days will be spent in Springfield Missouri while i catch up on work and Julie and the girls take a break from traveling. No sightings of Homer or Flanders so far... stay tuned.
DAY 9 - Sep 16

Today featured a visit to the Meramec Caverns in Missouri. A guide tour took us inside the bowels of the earth where Jesse James and his gang once hid from the law. He escaped though an unknown (at the time) part of the cave while the lawmen where waiting by the entrance hoping to starve them out. 

Many years later the caverns where used to mine saltpeter to make ammunition for the Civil War. After mining was abandoned it was turned into a dance hall by the local townsfolk.

Nowadays there are occasional concerts and daily tours. Here we see two adorable girls enjoying the tour:

The most interesting part of the cavern was the Wine Room, with grape like formations i've personally never seen before. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

DAY 8 - Sep 15

Today is another work day for me while the ladies visit St. Louis, Missouri. The Gateway Arch is pretty cool up close, funny seeing it after watching the tv show Defiance that is set in a post apocalyptic St. Louis!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

DAY 7 - Sep 13-14

Already a week and 2000km since we left! We're starting to loose track of what day it is and the states are flying by. We've even crossed a time zone earlier today, we're 1 hour behind the Montreal region.

Yesterday we stopped in Columbus Ohio so i could get a few hours of work done. The ladies meet a fun couple in the park searching for buried treasure with a metal detector. They found an eager assistant in Marianne who had a blast trying her hand at finding various bits and pieces of metal and assisting in a lucky find of a gold ring.

A funny moment i had while searching for some Soya Milk in a Walmart: i asked one of the cashiers where i could find some non-dairy milk... she said she had no idea and flagged over another cashier... no idea either... so i ask where the health food section is... i get a blank stare, then one of them says "i don't know nothing about healthy" and laughs... that's when i realize who i'm asking about health food, the ladies, while very nice, put together would probably weigh more that a small car! 

Today was a driving sprint towards St-Louis Illinois with a few stops along the way. Here we are taking a break to stretch and play tag on a small street off the highway. I just realized there was no picture yet of our camper on the blog, so here it is!

Before (or after, not so sure anymore) the game of tag we encountered a curious lama by the side of the road. We weren't sure if he was friendly or would decide to spit on us so we abstained of petting him.

The day ended with a visit to Driftstone Pueblo, in St. Elmo Illinois. The girls, being big fans of american indian culture, we're jumping with joy at the sight of the tipi and the animal sculptures. 

The store was filled with fun trinkets including a $5000 tam tam made from a huge tree stump and most likely a buffalo hide (the only animal we could think of that would have enough skin to fit on that). A sign said "If you try the drum, you buy the drum. Don't touch!". Needless to say we kept a close eye on the kids! We left with a few books and a couple of postcards for a lucky few people to get :-)

The lady at the store was nice enough to let us camp behind the store where there is a lake and soothing cricket sounds... almost loud enough to bury the sound of the highway and the trains nearby...

Evalie insisted on helping lower the legs of the camper, and she has even been sleeping in her own bed (and sometimes with Marianne) with relatively little fuss. I think she is going to grow allot during this trip!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

DAY 5 - Sep 11-12

Yesterday was a relatively quiet day. I worked at a Starbucks on my contracts while Julie and the girls bought some groceries then visited the local family center. Today i worked again at the coffee shop in the morning while the rest of the crew went to the library.

The afternoon was a return to family activities (at least for me!) as we boarded a scenic train in the lovely Cuyahoga Valley National Park, just south of Macedonia Ohio. It was a surprise for the girls and they where very happy when they saw the train coming.

The two hour train ride followed the meandering river, through forest and small villages. The girls had a blast but at two hours long the trip had us all happy to get outside and blow off some steam!

The best part of the day, for me at least, was the walk on the Ledges Trail not to far from our train station. It featured some very interesting rock formations and a bat cave that was closed to tourists due to the white nose syndrome decimating bats across the continent.

DAY 3 - Sep 10

Time for the beach at Presque Ile State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania. After an uneventful border crossing in Buffalo we headed for the beach to relax after 2 days of driving and dodging dinosaurs. The weather was grey and the water very cold but we had fun none the less harassing the sea gulls and building sand castles.

Unfortunately Evalie came down with a rare case of stone claws...

DAY 2 - Sep 9

Made it late to Niagara Falls, aka tourist trap Ontario! The Falls are certainly nice and wet, but the streets are filled with cheesy touristy attractions and expensive treats. Not our cup of tea but the girls loved it of course, a feast for their eager little eyes and ears. 

They especially liked the dinosaur miniput with a fuming volcano and a dangerous and hungry T-Rex!

DAY 1 - Sep 8, 2014

And we are off on our 3 month journey through the United States! The house is in order, the tenants moved in and the camper loaded up. 

First stop, somewhere between Laval and Niagara Falls for a first night of sleep.