Saturday, April 5, 2014

"What Do You Get When You Load Six Kids and Your Mother in a Van, Then Take Off On a Vacation With No Reservations or Even an Idea of Where to Go?" TToT Week 42

People, we had SO MUCH FUN!

Adventure and intrigue and amazement and doubt and laughter and awe and silliness and a boatload of photos to document it all.

Be prepared, because for the foreseeable future, every post I write will be about this vacation.

So, to answer the question in the title, you get lots and lots and lots of stories and photos!

Lucky for you, since everyone knows there is nothing more fun than to sit through the vacation photos of another family.

Ten Twelve Places We Are Thankful to Have Found

1.  Hodgenville, Kentucky - birthplace of Abe Lincoln.  About 10 states claim good ol' Abe in some way, but he really was born in Kentucky.

Cuckoo put himself in charge of the map of the park.

They went all out to impress and protect.  All that's in that building is the little, empty log cabin in which Lincoln was born.
2.  Horse Cave, Kentucky

We've been in lots of caves, but this is the first time we've been in one where the cave didn't have lights to guide us.  There were 3 flashlights for 14 people.  Caves are dark, ya'll.

Back to fresh air, freedom, and light!

My mom and Cuckoo taking a break after climbing the 203 steps to get out of the cave.

3.  Memphis, Tennessee

3a.  Shelby Farm Park - There are gobs of things to do at this park; riding horses, paddleboating, disc golf, hiking, biking, and observing buffalo to name a few.  We spent most of our time here at the gigantic playground.





Half an hour alone was spent playing this game of "Catch the football I toss to you as you slide down".  The slide was really slick, so half the time, the slider landed in a ball at the bottom.

3b.  Island Queen River Boat/Beale Street Landing


The roof of the gift shop/ticket booth is a huge hill of grass.  As Giant says, "Rolling down that hill will mess you up."  He would be the kid in the photo who can't stand up straight.  :)

I do believe the wind was in Star's eyes.  
 3c.  Huey's Restaurant

The food was good, but the atmosphere was better.  People were encouraged to use their straws to shoot their frilly toothpicks into the ceiling...




and sign every surface in the building.
4.  Near Little Rock, Arkansas - Bryan and I lived in Little Rock for the first 7 months of our marriage, so these things weren't completely new to me.  Some parts were very, very different, though.

4a.  The Big Dam Bridge wasn't there 19 years ago.


That bridge isn't for cars.  Walkers and bike riders only.



4b.  Pinnacle Mountain was, but back then a person could drive to the top.  Not so today.  There are two trails up the mountain, and the kids chose the "more rugged" one.  "Rugged" my butt.   

The first 10 minutes of the climb was peaches and cream.  Full of skipping and hopping.

Rocks got real real quick.

Big, helter-skelter rocks as far as the eye could see.

We took several breaks and sent photos down to my mom, who wisely decided to skip this activity.

It took us about an hour to scale that mountain, but we did it!  The kids were troopers, especially those little boys.  They didn't complain one time.  Until we got to the top.  There were so many bugs at the top, we could only stay and celebrate for a minute.  So many bugs!

We chose to avoid death by going down the less rugged side.  

5.  Hot Springs, Arkansas 

Inside one of the luxurious bathhouses.

There is a reason the town is called Hot Springs.  This is Cuckoo after he put one tip of one finger in one of the springs.  For 10 minutes, he hopped around yelling, "It's hot!  It's hot!"

The big kids thought the water felt great.

  6.  Cairo, Illinois

The only reason to visit Cairo.  The town is just plain sad, but it is the best place to see where the Ohio River dumps into the Mississippi.  It was awesome.



- Apple Valley Hillbilly Gardens and Toyland, near Paducah, Kentucky.  Just go to their website to see more.  This place is fantastic.  For so many reasons. 

The "sorry we're open" signs are for his neighbors.  The neighbors and the county took him to court, wanting him to take down the one building he put up to start a toy museum.  After he won, he went all out to turn this property into hillbilly heaven and annoy the neighbors as  much as possible.

He's all about giving the hillbilly version of famous art.  In this case, Cadillac Ranch has become Lawnmower Ranch.


- Jungle Golf, out in the middle of nowhere, Kentucky - We stopped just to play some miniature golf, but when we went to pay, the woman asked if  we were going to do anything else while there.  Anything else??  Um, yes.

First, we golfed...


Buttercup is a little bit a lot less than good at putting.
and then we climbed on golf carts to tour the little zoo they had in the woods behind the golf course.



We could stop as often as we wanted to visit and feed the animals.

Emu photo bomb.

They thought I was going to crash into them with my golf cart.

Anyone still with me??

Wake up!  I'm done! 

Future posts will not be quite so photo heavy.  I promise.

Now, I'm sure you have quite a list of things for which you are thankful this week.  Tell me about them.


Ten Things of Thankful


 Your hosts

55 comments:

  1. (ggreat pitchas ….no time)
    FRIST!

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    1. Ah, looks like you had 8 minutes to spare. :)

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  2. Fun, fun, fun! Can't wait to hear more!

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    1. Good, because there's plenty more!

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  3. Ok… now that I've had time to go through the photos…
    nice!

    "So many bugs!" considering your personal history with multi-legged creatures, I shuddered at the image.

    Lawnmower Ranch… excellent!

    caves would probably come in a close second to extremely tall places in the 'nah, I'll wait here and watch the vids later' category of things to do on vacation.

    Total '10' for 'A Vacation should be an Adventure'

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    1. No joke. We are not a family normally bothered much by bugs, but these things were awful!

      To borrow a phrase from Giant...I know, right?

      Oh, caves are so interesting! And so pretty! You must go in one once in your life. I'm sure there are plenty to choose from in New England.

      It was an adventure for sure.

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  4. Cairo, Illinois! Huck Finn and Jim! I love it.
    Looks like an awesome trip - next time the Hub and Zilla and I venture out of town, we may just have to do the no-plans version. How cool!

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    1. I didn't know about the Huck Finn connection! I did know it was a stopover for Lewis and Clark before they crossed the Mississippi for the first time, but nothing about Huck Finn.

      I highly recommend a vacation like this. We had a blast.

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  5. Loved the pictures, Christine! This trip looks like so much fun!!! Can't wait to hear / see more about it!!

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  6. Clark may have been FRIST, but he definitely wasn't FIRST. You have to have some substance. You can't simply just BE first, you have to put some effort into it ;)~

    Good evening! I love your new Header/Banner! Did you make it, or did someone make it for you? I'm almost pretty sure it didn't exist a few months back. That or I'm incredibly forgetful. I wouldn't put it past me.

    This seemed like on epic road trip. Where is C.O.W.? You are lucky that you have such awesome children that you can take all of them on such a vacation/trip with very little issues, complaints, fights, etc. Very impressive. I hope you load them up for "being nice" come Christmas!

    Those are great pictures. I really like the one with your hike up the rocky mountain. I may have just chilled with your mother down below and listened for death cries... Yikes. I especially like the picture from the top. At first I was thinking Cuckoo was displeased with the jaunt, but I'm assuming the picture is capturing his bouts against the swarm of bugs you describe. That seemed weird to me. What kind or why were there so many bugs up there?

    Both Huey's Restaurant and Apple Valley Hillbilly Gardens and Toyland are among my favorite highlights, and are definitely placed I'd like to visit at some point!

    Glad you all made it back in one piece :)

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

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    1. Um, Jack, you don't get to disappear for months and then just jump in and make rules. ;)

      Thanks! I did not make it. Julia from Minivan Dreams made it for me about a month ago.

      It was one heck of a road trip. COW (I revealed his name a couple weeks ago. Bryan is his name.) had to work, so stayed at home to pay for our fun. I was actually shocked at how few issues we had. No more than 5 minutes of annoyance per day. Total.

      Thank you. Oh, he loved the climb. He was very annoyed with the bugs. They were awful. I have no idea why there were so many bugs. There were a bunch of different kinds of flying bugs. Some I had never seen before. It was very weird.

      If you ever get the courage, (and a car. Did you ever get your car situation figured out?) I highly recommend both places.

      Me, too. :)

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    2. I'm pretty sure I made the rule that I very much could do exactly that!

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  7. AWESOME PHOTOS!!!! DId I read disc golf??? what IS that?

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    1. Thank you!
      Disc golf is basically golf with a frisbee. There are tall basket type things you aim for, trying to make it there in the least number of throws.

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  8. Oh I LOVE IT! And I loved seeing all the photos on Instagram as they happened. Very cool, especially the mountain climb :D

    Is it okay that I LOVE the Hillbilly heaven but am also annoyed because it looks like the 'big dam bridge" is missing a ' from the front end....?

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    1. I'm glad! That instagram is a handy little app, isn't it?

      Hahaha! I noticed the same thing when I looked at the photo. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and going with the explanation that part of the quotation mark fell off.

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  9. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! SO EXCITED the trip was a hit! These memories, these memories. You'll treasure them (as if you need me to tell you that). I loved the photos so don't apologize!

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    1. Me, too! The best part was that my mom was able to join us. She had so much fun, and the kids loved spending the time with her. I'm grateful that we all had the time together.

      I'm relieved to hear so many are enjoying the photos and not just scrolling through them.

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    2. I dunno about anyone else but I love photos and captions... they are often the best part of blogs!!! I never scroll past them!

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    3. Good to know, Zoe! I'm glad I took the time to post them, then. :)

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  10. I actually really did enjoy your photos. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE little, old, unknown touristy places. But I can never actually get people to visit me. Whenever we visit my brother in California, we get down from the airplane in San Francisco and drive six hours north. We always pass Confusion Hill (Google it!) and the tree you can drive through, and the World Famous Treehouse and the One Log House and other stuff, and I always want to stop at these places, and everyone says, "No, those are corny tourist attractions from the 60's," and I'm like, "But I love them," and they're all like, "No we're not stopping," and I'm like, "You all suck."

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    1. Oh good. I'm glad.
      How in the world do people NOT want to stop at those places?!?! They do suck. Sorry, I don't know them, but shoot. They are making you miss out on some good fun!

      At least Confusion Hill. (I googled it.) That place looks like a hoot!

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  11. Oh how I loved this!! I smiled and laughed. It looks like y'all had such a blast. Hubby and I have already decided to do something similar one day - you have inspired us! By all means, keep posting about this vacation - what fun! :D

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    1. Yippee!!! Do it! Do it!! It is so much fun.

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  12. Fantastic photos Christine, and it looks like you all had a blast - keep them coming!

    I like the photo of Cuckoo and your mom, with their faces both turned in the same direction you can see the likeness in them.

    The one of Buttercup with arms outstretched on top of the rock mountain reminds me very much of a place we have here - Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire. A large area of huge and peculiar-shaped rock formations, many of which you can climb up, and the views from the tops are amazing - some of the scenery looks very much like that in your photo and I got some great pics from there.

    Can't wait now for your next instalment :)

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    1. Thank you! We had a great time.

      Funny how two places so far apart can look so similar.

      I'll get right on it. :)

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  13. What a wonderful vacation...I loved seeing your pictures on instagram as it was happening ...so how many states again? This times are truly treasured, you are building memories and future conversation not only to each other but to everyone they will meet....it is awesome! thank you for sharing, TY for reminding me that its OK to be a mom and have fun, TY for showing us that vacations don't need to be fancy, luxurious, and in one place~ Awesome!

    Marisa

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    1. I love instagram. It was a fun way to let people know where we were each day.
      We made it to 5 states. :)
      Funny you should say that. The same time we were traveling around, my sister and her family were living large at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Throughout the week, we kept comparing our trip to theirs and noting how different our idea of fun is.

      Wow, Marisa. You totally understand me. I love telling and reliving a good story, and I'm doing my best to give my kids as many stories as possible. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  14. I have so been looking forward to this post! I knew you would come back with tons of photos and you didn't disappoint. Wow! You guys saw and did so much and I'm sure this isn't all of it. I'm glad you had a great time on your adventure and you'll hear no complaining from me. I can't wait to hear more! Welcome home!

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    1. Ha! You know me well. :)
      We had so much fun exploring, so I'm glad to hear people want to hear about it. I want to talk about it. :)

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  15. Seriously, I am so glad I follow you on I stag ram, because I love that I knew many of the faces and places, too. Glad you all had such a fun, wonderful trip and hope you are getting to relax a bit now, too :)

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    1. You've been to some of the places we stopped? Which ones?
      I got a few hours to relax. :)

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  16. What a fun trip and it looks like just going without reservations works just fine. Well that and you have some great kids. That shows too.

    Have a fabulous Sunday. :)

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    1. With the right attitude, this kind of trip is fantastic. Aw, thank you. I agree. :)

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  17. I've been to Lincoln's birth place! I remember climbing all those stairs to find that itty bitty log cabin inside (and it's not even the REAL THING, but just a replica). I bought a cheesy ashtray from the gift shop and I still have it. Have you been to his boyhood home in Lincoln City, Indiana? Cool place! So pretty!

    I'm definitely going to visit Hillbilly Gardens on one of my trips through Paducah. Looks like a hoot!

    OHMYGOD, we both wrote about Cairo, Illinois (mine was in last week's TToT). You're right; it's just plain sad.

    Love the emu photo bomb!


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    1. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it was a replica! I don't know how we've missed it, but I don't think we've ever been! I shall add it to our list of must-sees.

      You absolutely must go! I left directions for you on last week's TToT. I read it yesterday and was shocked that we wrote about the exact same places.

      Me, too. :)

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  18. Looks too fun! Can't wait for more! And please...not that I don't want to read your writing (because of course I do!) but the photos are fabulous. Include as many as you want!

    I think you must be the best mom ever. No way would I ever be so adventurous. Love you, friend! :)

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    1. Thank you for the lovely encouragement. More photos will be coming soon.

      Aw, you are so sweet. This trip certainly isn't for everyone. (Although it should, 'cause it is so fun!) I shall have to help you break out and be more adventurous. We can take the kids on a day trip one day. :)

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  19. Very nice Christine! Who said family vacation pics were boring? LOL Looks like you guys had a most awesome time. Busy, active, exciting, fun...all the things vacations should be:)
    Gotta ask - what's up with the brown water in that pond?!

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    1. Thanks! Um, I think just about everyone in the history of vacation pics said so. :)
      We had a fantastic time. With this many kids, and the majority being boys, anything but an active trip is frowned upon.

      My guess about the pond: It must be a pretty shallow pond, and the gazillion turtles living in it are constantly keeping the mud circulating.

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  20. What a hoot of a vacation! Crazy Huey Restaurant, an kudos for getting up Pinnacle Mountain! Stopping by to say thanks for visiting me. Your family looks incredibly awesome. Gail

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    1. Well, thank you. We did have a great time.

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  21. Oh...em...gee.... I WANT to find that cargo net and climb all over it like I'm 7 all over again. Thanks for taking me along on your fun filled trip. Looks like you all had a great time!

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    1. If there weren't so many kids and parents underneath the net, I would have been up there with the kids. No doubt.

      Thanks for sticking with me though it!

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  22. What an awesome trip! It looks like you guys had SO much fun and you did SO much. I've been to a few of those places - Lincoln birthplace, Hot Springs - enjoyed seeing your pics - looking forward to more. :-)

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    1. It really was a fun trip. Getting this post ready was good for me. I had forgotten about some of the things we had done at the beginning of the week.

      When were you there? Did you take your kids? What did you think of Hot Springs?

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  23. I'm STILL WITH YOU!!! I was mesmerized by your entire post- photos, stories and ALL!! What an amazing trip!! LOVE.

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  24. After seeing the later post, I had to come see this one because I SO WANT A ROADTRIP now please. I love it. Although I was surprised there were so many bugs at the top of that mountain. It seems like there'd be less at the top for some reason. Huh. Awesome that everybody made it up the rugged path with no complaints. Also the lawnmower exhibit is now on my bucket list. I love how he made it bigger because of hit neighbors. Ha!

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    1. No one was more surprise about the bugs than me. It wasn't just one type of bug, either. So many varieties, all flying and landing on us and irritating all the victorious climbers. Perhaps it was the sweat that attracted them.

      Every since the climb, Turken has asked when we can climb another rocky mountain. When Mommy recovers from this one, Honey. Maybe in 5 years. :)

      If you are ever in the Paducah, Kentucky area, you must stop. Must. You would love it.

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  25. Such fun pics! What an adventure you had! Your kids are so willing to be in pictures...what a blessing. My kids always groaned and made faces, I never got many good ones. Looks like loads of fun!

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    1. I was actually surprised at the number of photos a couple of the kids were willing (and even excited) to be in. Giving them the lead on the funny photos helped, I think. I pray they stay so enthusiastic and non-sullen.

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  26. Looks/sounds like you guys had a great trip!! Heck, Shelby Farm Park sounds awesome all by itself! Love that you got photo bombed by an emu. :)

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  27. NEVER too many pictures!! OMG...the toothpicks in the ceiling are hilarious!!! Looks like you guys had an awesome adventure. I'm off to catch up on the rest of it. :D

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!