Meet the Beilers

On September 25, we split up with the Hoffmans, and us Wongs left Virginia and headed down to Texas to meet up with the Beilers. Do you remember the conference we went to a couple of months ago in Wisconsin? There, we met a few people, including the Beilers, and they eventually decided to sell their house and travel with us, but more on that later.

On the way down to Texas, we stopped at a few places. You might recognize Hodge’s Vineyard (a place we’ve been to twice before) in the video below. Another of the places we went to was Carl Sandburg National Historic Site. Carl Sandburg is a well-known poet, and the house we visited is where he lived with his family. His wife kept goats at the place, and the exact breeds she had are still there today. We got to pet the goats and walk around the site.

Meet the Beilers. The Beilers consist of Chad and Katrina (both in their twenties), Kaleah (3), Caspian (1), and Clara (the new baby). Both Mr. Chad and Miss Katrina like games and playing music, so we enjoyed that together, in addition to the things we normally do with the Hoffmans.

The Hoffmans came down to Texas a month and a half later, and they stayed in the same RV park us and the Beilers were at. All of us occasionally had meals, sang, and gellowshipped together.

We have also been meeting with the Paynes (our friends in San Antonio whom we’ve known for years now). One weekend, they came to the campground we were staying at and visited for a few nights. Check out the video below to see what else we’ve done with them so far.

Us, the Beilers, and the Paynes have done some things together as well, including celebrating Tanner’s 11th birthday at Main Event.

While staying in an RV park in Hondo, we visited the Medina County Museum. There, we learned about the history of the area, and we got to see a bunch of historical items used when Hondo was founded.

This blog post has been a long time in the making. A lot of things changed these past couple of months, so I didn’t want to release it until I had the situation figured out. At first, we (the Wongs) thought we’d be traveling with the Beilers and Hoffmans together. Eventually, we decided to stay in Texas due to some personal reasons, including being able to minister to someone we met a while back while evangelizing. The Beilers and Hoffmans have moved on together since then, and we (the Wongs) are staying at Ramblin Rec RV Park in Hondo, Texas. I’m not sure what kind of blog posts you’ll be seeing in the future, but I expect most of them to be about us and the Paynes. I’m excited to see what God will have us do next!

Waiting for the New Baby Hoffman

While we stayed at Picture Lake Campground, we did a few things including going evangelizing and eating dinner with the Hoffmans on the weekends.  Also, for the birth of the baby, Mimi and Papaw (Mr. Josh’s mom and stepdad) came down with their RV and stayed a few weeks.

On September 2, us Wongs went to Richmond, Virginia and went to a couple of NPS sites.  The first was Richmond National Battlefield Park, dedicated to a bunch of battle sites from the Civil War (around Richmond).  We went to one of the visitor centers and watched a few videos about some of the main battles that happened in the area.

The next site we went to was Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, the home of an entrepreneurial black woman who lived during the Jim Crow era.  She is known as the first black woman to found a bank, and she set an example for others of courage, perseverance, and kindness.  She lived in her home with her big family (including adoptive children).  We were given a tour of the house, which even had an old-fashioned elevator.

On another day, we went to the Science Museum of Virginia (in Richmond).  The museum’s main theme was speed, and there were time lapse videos, a multitasking test, air hockey with a robot, and more.  The museum was built out of an old train station, so there were trains in the back, which we got to look at.

Anna Joy Hoffman was born on September 14, 2021, around 6:22 PM.  I included pictures of food we ate recently in the video below as well.

On September 21, we went to Pamplin Historical Park, which is really near by to where we were staying.  It was a homeschool group, and a guide at the museum took us around and talked to us about the Civil War.  Inside were displays, an audio tour, and artifacts, while outside, there was a battleground model, historic buildings, and more.  There were multiple buildings to look at and go into, and we went everywhere.

Last time we’d been here, Petersburg National Battlefield hadn’t been completely open (due to covid).  On September 24, we revisited the area and went to the museum in the visitor center.  We also walked around the battlefield and looked at where the crater (a failed attempt at winning during the fighting) used to be.

If you didn’t already know, during the Civil War, this is where a nine and a half month siege took place.  Grant was on the offence and tried to gain control of the railroads that went in and out of Petersburg, since the city was such a large supplier of goods to the South.  Lee fought to protect the city, and when Grant’s attempt to capture Petersburg failed, it led to a long and difficult siege.  Ultimately, the Union won, and Lee surrendered soon after.

Virginia History

On August 9, we moved to Williamsburg, Virginia.  Four days later, we moved to Harbor View RV and Camping Resort in Colonial beach, Virginia.  While there, we went to many NPS sites.

On one day, we went to four places, all of them connected to different Civil War battles.  These places contained stories of Jackson, Grant, Lee, and other historic Civil War heroes.  One of the places led to Jackson’s death, and another is where his arm is buried.  At two of the sites, rangers gave us tours and explained what happened at the sites.  If you want to read about them in more depth, click the links below:

Battle of Fredericksburg

Battle of Chancellorsville

Battle of the Wilderness

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

Another day we went to Piscataway and Fort Washington Park.  While Piscataway protects natural resources of the area, Fort Washington is dedicated to protecting the historical fort.  The fort was used in defense and training from the War of 1812 through WWII, but before that, other forts took its place.  After the American Revolution, America used the area to build a fort to defend its coast from the French.  Over the years, it was rebuilt, changed, and added on to.

The last place we visited while staying at the RV park was George Washington Birthplace National Monument.  The place has a long history, including George Washington living there and historians from a while ago digging up parts of the site.  As of now, the park isn’t too sure where the house Washington was born in was located.  They also aren’t sure what happened to it.  One theory is that it burned down on Christmas, but they can’t be too sure, since evidence was removed when historians decided a foundation they found wasn’t necessary.  As a result, they dug it up and placed a memorial there (which has been relocated since then).

On August 27, we moved to Picture Lake Campground in Petersburg, Virginia.  We will be staying here for around a month, while we wait for Miss Erin (Hoffman) to give birth to their fourth child.

Searching Together Conference

We moved to Camp Sandusky in Sandusky, Ohio on July 7.  On the way, we stopped at Cuyahoga National Park (also in Ohio).  The site had a lot of hiking and some waterfalls, but we were only able to go to the visitor center and read about them due to time restrictions.

The next day, we visited River Raisin National Battlefield (in Monroe, Michigan).  During the war of 1812, a battle happened there, and the town, along with its food supply, was burned down.  The people afterwards had to fend for themselves.  The lived off of boiled hay and muskrats.  Both were unappetizing.  The site bears witness to the perseverance of the people who used to live there.

In case you are wondering, the site is called River Raisin because the French found a river with wild grapes growing on its banks, so they named it that.

On July 15, we arrived at Bethel Horizons in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.  There, we attended the Searching Together Conference for a few days, meeting and eating with other believers in the Lord.

Last minute, we decided to upgrade to a new RV.  We drove from Wisconsin to Texas, got our new RV (a Talon), then drove to Ohio, where we met back up with the Hoffmans.  On the way, we stopped at three NPS sites.

The first was Arkansas Post National Memorial.  Arkansas Post is at the confluence of two rivers and has been a gathering place for different peoples over the centuries.  At first it was a trading post between the Europeans and Native Americans, but over time, it changed hands.  It belonged to the French, Spanish, Confederates, and US at different times over the years.

The second place was Fort Donelson National Battlefield.  In 1862, during the Civil War, this was a Confederate fort.  The Union battled for it and won, and that led to the surrender of parts of Kentucky and Tennessee to the North.

We stayed at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky on our way up to Ohio.  We went to attend a ranger program there, but it rained (it was an outdoor seating area), and we left.  The program was about historical tour guides of the caves.  We were learning about an enslaved man who explored, led tours of, and mapped the cave.

In Ohio, we saw Mimi and Papaw (Mr. Josh’s mom and stepdad), as well as Mr. Dom, someone we met while evangelizing in Zanesville.

On August 5, us and the Hoffmans moved from Ohio to Meadow Creek Campground in Meadow Bridge, West Virginia.  The campground was basically empty and had no hookups  It was very pretty, with the mountains surrounding the park and natural scenery everywhere.  It bordered a river which we swam, fished, and snorkeled in.  Nearby, there were state parks and a national park (New River Gorge National Park and Preserve).  We hiked at these places during the weekend, and took a tram up and down a mountain on one of the days.

And here’s some food we ate recently:

Battles, Floods, and Progression

On July 1, we moved with the Hoffmans to Death Ridge Brewery (Harvest Host) in Jeffersonton, Virginia.  It rained that night, and in the morning, someone had to tow us out with their tractor.

The next morning, we split up with the Hoffmans, and us Wongs drove to our next stop.  On the way, we visited Friendship Hill National Historic Site in Point Marion, Pennsylvania.  Friendship Hill is where Albert Gallatin lived with his family.  Born in Geneva, he moved to America and became the Secretary of the Treasury while Jefferson and Madison were president.  He helped with the Louisiana Purchase, and Lewis and Clark named a river after him, as Gallatin was a big political figure in his time.

Inside Gallatin’s house, we learned about the times at which different parts were built, and we got to see how it would’ve looked during Gallatin’s time.

We stayed at Christian Klay Winery (Harvest Host) in Chalkhill, Pennsylvania.  In the morning, we went Fort Necessity Battlefield, which is about the battle which started the French and Indian War occurred.

Accounts differ on whether the French or British fired first, but either way, French leader Jumonville was killed, setting both sides against each other.  Washington, 21 years old at the time, fought for the British and was in the battle at Jumonville Glen.  Afterward, he built Fort Necessity to prepare for the revenge of the French.  The battle at Fort Necessity ended up with Washington surrendering the fort to the French.  He also unknowingly signed a document claiming he was responsible for the death of Jumonville.

After that, we moved to 1889 Park in South Fork, Pennsylvania, where we met up with the Hoffmans.  The RV park had wild blackberries around the tree line, and we picked and ate some of those.

On the way to the RV park, we stopped at Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown, Pennsylvania.  The memorial told the story of 9/11 and a flight that was hijacked and meant to crash into the U.S. Capitol.  However, the passengers on the flight fought back, and the hijackers were forced to crash the plane short of their destination.  It was a suicide mission, and everyone on the plane died.

The museum had displays on what happened, artifacts, and information on how the FBI figured out everything.

On July 4, we (the Wongs) went to Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania.  The railroad was used in the early 1800’s to move boats over the mountains to the body of water on the other side.  Thus, it was part of the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal.  People also travelled on the railroad, and it was a way escaped slaves could flee to freedom.

After that, us and the Hoffmans went to Johnstown Flood National Memorial in South Fork, Pennsylvania.  The museum told us about how people built a city on the floodplain at the convergence of two rivers.  Spring floods were normal, and it was on one of these rainy days that the South Fork dam failed.  This was due to lack of maintenance and large amounts of water.  The dam crumbled, sending a big wave which rushed downstream, 45 minutes later wiping out Johnstown and killing over 2,000 people.

The museum had some survivors’ stories, as well as information on the dam, its owner, and Johnstown during that time.

Williamsburg, Virginia

We met up with the Hoffmans at Williamsburg RV and Camping Resort on June 18 in Williamsburg, Virginia.  There was a community garage sale at the RV park, and Aiden and Mason have gotten into fixing up and selling bikes, so those are some of the pictures below.

On June 19, we went to Fort Monroe National Monument.  Fort Monroe was built in the 1800’s as a defensive location for the Union.  Freed slaves came to seek refuge here, and the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, was imprisoned here.  We got to walk around the fort, look at the historical weapons, and see the graves of the pets that died at Fort Monroe.

After that, we went to Colonial National Historic Park, which is dedicated to the beginnings of America.  At one of the visitor centers for the park, there was a living history demonstration going on.  There were three people dressed as they would have around 400 years ago.  The blacksmith showed us how he was making metal tongs, while the cooper showed us how he was making barrels.  There was also someone dressed as a Native American, and he told us about how the Native American responded to the intrusion of Englishmen upon their land and hunting grounds.  In front of him there were tools, weapons, and materials the Native Americans would have using during that time.

Afterward, we went to the Glasshouse, which is the ruins of where people used to make glass in the 1600’s.  At the Glasshouse, there were semi-modern furnaces where workers make glass to sell to visitors of the park.  We got there after the Glasshouse was being shut down for the day, so we only looked at the ruins of the old furnaces.

We visited Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia.  Inside the museum, there were all kinds of fish and other water animals, as well as animatronic dinosaurs.  Outside, there were all kinds of animals, including otters, beavers, birds,  a bobcat, an alligator, cayotes, snakes, and foxes.  There were more dinosaur displays as well, and one even sprayed water from its mouth.  While we were looking at the otters, someone (not us) dropped a toy dino and sippy cup into the water, so the otters were taken out while the workers fished out the foreigners.

On another day, we went to the Virginia Air and Space Science Center in Hampton, Virginia.  The museum had displays on flight and the progression toward space exploration since the Wright brothers made the first plane.  One of the rooms was full of flight simulators and space-themed video games, and another had a movie which talked about modern scientists’ progression towards taking humans to Mars.  On the museum’s ceiling were different models of airplanes.

East Coast History and Crabbing

On June 1, we moved to Chesapeake Bay RV Resort in Gloucester, Virginia.   The boys crabbed and fished while we were there, and they also played in the swimming pool.

On June 11, we stayed the night (and bought some donuts, pie, and other things) at Morris Farm Market in Barco, North Carolina.  The next morning, we moved to Oregon inlet Campground in Nags Head, North Carolina.  We dry camped at both of these places, meaning we had no water, sewer, or electricity hookups.  The campground at Oregon Inlet had dunes which you could walk over to get to the beach, so we had a lot of fun playing there.  We also flew kites, crabbed, and played in the sand.

On the way to Oregon Inlet, we stopped at Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.  There, we learned about Orville and Wilbur Wright, the two creative and innovative brothers who started out as bike builders, but eventually made the first plane.

Us Wongs went to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which was near the campground.  The NPS site was made to protect part of three of the barrier islands, along with the lighthouse and animals.

Another place we went to was Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in Manteo, North Carolina.   We learned about Roanoke Colony, the first place the English settled in America.  Roanoke Colony is also known as the “Lost Colony,” because the colony mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind only a few letters on a tree for their returning governor to find.

The museum taught us about how the English decided to come to America, and how they fared in the new land.

Centuries after Roanoke Colony disappeared, Freedman’s Colony took it’s place, sheltering and becoming the home of freed slaves.  These people stayed here, under the protection of the Union Army.  We went to a ranger talk and learned about some of the injustices the freed slaves faced due to prejudice.

Due to the lack of AC and electricity, we moved four days later to Northwest River Park and Campground in Chesapeake, Virginia, while the Hoffmans stayed behind.

First Trip With the Hoffmans

On May 20, we moved to an RV park on a private property in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  This was our first trip with the Hoffmans, and we caravanned the entire way.

While in Baton Rouge, we got to visit some friends, Mr. Jack and Mr. Ron, who are fellow believers in the Lord.  We also got to meet some people from their church.

Two days later, on May 22, we carravaned to Hodges Vineyards and Winery in Camp Hill, Alabama.  (We stayed here on April 26 as well).

The next day, we carravaned to Poinsett State Park in Wedgefield, South Carolina.  On the way, we stopped at Congaree National Park, where we took a 2.6 mile boardwalk hike.  Congaree was protected by the NPS because of its historical floodplain, once lived in or used (at separate times usually) by Native Americans, escaped slaves, and loggers.  Now, it is a great place to explore the outdoors, hike, and canoe and kayak.

While at Poinsett, we walked to the small waterfall, lake, and playground.  My brothers and Mr. Josh went fishing, and Mason caught a catfish.

On May 25, we moved to Threads Run Thru It, a quilting shop in Rustburg, Virginia (also a Harvest Host).  On the way, us Wongs stopped at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in North Carolina.  This is where, in 1781, the Patriots lost a battle to the British, but ended up escaping almost unscathed.  Meanwhile, the British suffered a loss of over a quarter of their men.  The battle fought here weakened the British and helped win the freedom of America.

After that, we stopped at Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia.  This place honored the African American boy born into slavery who was freed after the Civil War, excelled in school, and became a first principal of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School.  He became an author and orator, looked up to by many people of all races.

We met up with the Hoffmans at the Harvest Host, where we ate dinner with them and stayed the night.

The next morning, we got on the road again and went to Appomattox Court House National Historic Park (in Virginia) with the Hoffmans.  This is where General Lee (of the Confederate army) surrendered, marking the beginning of the end of the Civil War.  The reason it wasn’t the end was because the other generals of the Confederate army still had to surrender.  However, Lee’s surrender persuaded the other Confederate leaders to do the same.

At the Park, we walked around and looked at the different buildings, including a prison, the McLean house where Lee surrendered, and the tavern.

After that, the Hoffmans made their way to the Harvest Host we were staying at that night, while us Wongs went to Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia.  This is where a nine month siege took place, ultimately ending in the Union cutting off Petersburg’s supplies and the Confederates losing.  About a week later, Lee surrendered.

A lot of the park was closed due to COVID, so we only got to see the graves of people who died during the siege (due to clashes between the two sides).

Finally, we drove to Keystone Truck and Tractor Museum in Colonial Heights, Virginia.  We went into the museum and stayed the night with the Hoffmans.  The museum had hundreds of vehicles.  There were tractors, trucks, bikes, and decorations.

The next morning, we moved to Virginia Landing RV Campground in Quinby, Virginia.  At the RV park, we clammed, crabbed, had campfires, and found different sorts of sea creatures like conch.  We went door-to-door in a neighborhood near the RV park.

On Saturday, us Wongs went to Assateague Island National Seashore, a NPS site dedicated to preserving the seashore, island, and wild horses there.  It was a drizzly, cold, windy day, soo most of the time, we stayed in our truck.  We got to see three horses from afar, as well as the ocean and a river (where we tried catching crabs and failed).

We moved after almost a week, but for now, here are pictures of some of the stuff we ate in this blog post:

Wongs, Paynes, and Hoffmans – Texas

Due to delays in the making of the Hoffmans’ RV and a shortage of gas where they were staying, the Hoffmans weren’t able to get to us until much later than they’d thought.  Meanwhile, we moved to Lake Conroe RV and Camping Resort in Conroe, Texas, and went to a few museums in Houston.

On May 9, we went to The Health Museum (in Houston).  The museum was had a section about diseases, one about the human body, another about bikes, and one filled with interactive brain puzzles.  There was even a real lab with professional equipment, where we got to do a few experiments.  Mason and I did one where we extracted DNA from raw wheat germ, and another where we looked at chromosomes from a fruit fly.

On May 13, we went to Buffalo Soldiers National Museum.  The buffalo soldiers were African American soldiers who fought for the US after the  Civil War.  They were given their name by Native Americans who fought in the Indian Wars.  

That same day, we went to Holocaust Museum Houston.  There, we learned about the Holocaust, heard stories from survivors, and saw art and artifacts.  We learned how Jews, along with a few other groups of people were persecuted by those who thought them less than human.  The persecutors thought of the Jews like a disease.  They wanted them killed.  Adolf Hitler shared this view and  started to bring the vision to life—creating a race of “perfect” people.  This resulted in the death of millions of people—men, women, and children alike.  They were abused, forced to work in inhumane conditions, and killed without mercy.

The Paynes (if you don’t know yet, they are a family we met while living in San Antonio) came to stay at Lake Conroe for a few days with us.  We had a lot of fun with them.  We played basketball and pickleball with them, ate together, and swam.

The Hoffmans arrived with their new RV on the day the Paynes left.  The Paynes and Hoffmans both knew about each other, and they got to meet for the first time that day.  Since it was raining, we spent the day at the RV park’s clubhouse.

In the video below, you can see pictures of the Hoffmans’ 20-foot toy hauler.

Back to Texas to Register Our RV

food in texas

On April 19, we moved to a Harvest Host (the program allows you to stay at any of their places free for one night; it is normally dry camping, which means no water, sewer, or electricity).  The place we stayed at first was a farm called Sharonview Farm, in Monroe, North Carolina.  They grow shiitake mushrooms in logs, which we were shown how to do.  We also were able to help plant zucchini squash, peppers, and green beans.  We bought some of the home-grown lettuce and tomatoes, which we had in a yummy salad a few days later.  We were allowed to paint some dried-out, empty gourds, which were turned into birdhouses.  We hung them on the trees outside our RV.

The next day, we moved to Kings Mountain State Park in Blacksburg, South Carolina.  We visited Kings Mountain National Military Park, which was a few minutes away, where we learned about the battle that  happened there during the Revolutionary War.

As the Loyalists strove to keep the colonies in check, more and more Patriots were causing disruptions among them.  Patrick Ferguson, an officer in the British army, warned the Patriots that if their behavior didn’t stop, he fight them.  The Patriots ignored him.  Ferguson then recruited Loyalists to join the battle on the British side.

Ferguson was on Kings Mountain when they were suddenly attacked by the Patriots.  The Loyalists hadn’t anticipated the attack, and they were at a disadvantage.  While the Patriots were able to shoot from below, covered by trees an rocks, the Loyalists’ shots went high above the Patriots’ heads.  Ferguson knew they were losing, but he urged the Loyalists on anyway.  The Patriots won, killing Ferguson and taking hundreds prisoner.

We went to Cowpens National Battlefield the next day, which was around forty-five minutes from the RV park we were staying at.

During the Revolutionary War, Cowpens was turned from a place to trade and take care of cows to a battlefield.  The Patriots staked out Cowpens, awaiting the British army’s attack, which happened on January 17, 1781.  When the British arrived, the Patriots were ready with a strategy that depended heavily on the British’s confidence.  During the battle, two of the three Patriot lines drew back.  This caused the British to falsely assume the Patriots were retreating.  Instead, the Patriots waited for the British to fall into the trap, then the Patriots surrounded them.  The battle was over in less than an hour.  The Patriots were the victors.

We got to take a short walk through the battlefield, reading signs along the way about the armies and what happened during the battle.

On our way back home, we stopped at Kings Mountain NMP, where we watched a weapons firing demonstration with a couple guns.  My brothers got to give the commands for firing, such as “prime and load” and “fire.”

On April 23, we packed up our RV and hit the road again.  We stopped two hours in at Ninety Six National Historic Site.  At the site, we took a short walk around the park and did junior ranger books.  Like many of the other NPS sites we’ve been visiting recently, this one was also a place where a Revolutionary War battle happened.

Ninety Six was a town and trading post for the Loyalists, Patriots, and Cherokees alike before it became a battlefield.  However, in 1781, the Patriots laid siege to the town.  The British had built a star fort right by the town, and they made the town into a stronghold for themselves.  The Patriots kept the fort under siege for almost a month, but they eventually had to give up, since more British reinforcements were on their way, and the Patriots weren’t able to carry out their plan as quickly as was needed.

After the battlefield, we drove to Hodges Vineyards and Winery in Camp Hill, Alabama.  It is a Harvest Host, so we bought wine and cheese straws and stayed the night there with full hookups.

The next day, we drove a few hours to another Harvest Host, this time a gator ranch with airboat tours.  The place was in Moss Point, Mississippi.  We went on a tour, and we got to ride around the marsh in an airboat.  We spotted a couple of gators in the marsh, but we saw most of them in the cages near land.  In the cages, there were big gators, baby ones, and a “zombie gator,” who was rescued from saltwater.  It was given the nickname since it was blind, and it’s eyes were all white, with red streaks in them. 

On April 25, we moved to Rainbow’s End RV Park in Livingston, Texas, but more on that in the next post.

Atlantic Ocean – North Carolina

RV North Carolina

On March 20, we moved to Lanier’s Campground in Holly Ridge, North Carolina.  During the weekend, we drove around Topsail (pronounced Topsul) Island, bought seafood from an outdoor seafood market, and ate the seafood, which Daddy cooked at our RV.

The Hoffmans drove down to North Carolina the next week with all their belongings in their passenger van.  They are staying at a condo near us while they wait for their RV to be ready to pick up.

When the Hoffmans were in North Carolina with us, we went to their condo a lot and spent time with them and ate meals together.  We also went to the beach (right by their condominium) and their condominium’s outdoor pool.  Aiden, Mason, and Mr. Josh went fishing in the ocean a few times and caught a stingray and whiting.

On one weekend, when the weather was warm and sunny, the Hoffmans came over to our RV.  We ate lunch and dinner together outside, and afterwards, Aiden and Mason tried fishing at our RV park’s pier but caught nothing except seaweed.  Mr. Josh took us to a nearby place in the afternoon, where we gathered fallen trees to turn into fire wood.  Aiden and Mason had a lot of fun sawing the wood into smaller pieces.

We got to meet a bunch of Miss Erin’s family when we visited the Hoffmans’ condo, including her sisters, one of her brothers, her parents, and the Hoffman kid’s two cousins.

Mr. Josh’s son, Joshua Cole Hoffman (aka “LJ” for Little Josh), also visited us in Topsail for a little over a week.  He lives an hour or two away in North Carolina with his mom, stepdad, and half-sister.  He turned 17 the week he was visiting.  

The Battle at Moores Creek Bridge

On Friday, April 9, we went to Moores Creek National Battlefield in Currie, North Carolina with the Hoffmans.  We walked on a couple of trails, ate hamburgers and hotdogs which Daddy had grilled at the picnic area, and learned about the battle that happened in 1776.

During the Revolutionary War, North Carolina was a British colony.  The Royal Governor wanted to put a stop to the rebels’ (Patriots) uprising, so after negotiating which got them nowhere, both sides prepared for war.  Some Highland Scots who’d settled in North Carolina joined the Patriots, while the others waited for the British army to arrive.

After both sides were ready for war, events led to a battle at Moores Creek Bridge.  The Loyalists, being about six miles away from the Patriot encampment, sent an ultimatum to the Patriots by courier.  While the Patriot leader read and refused the ultimatum, the courier noted the Patriots’ position.  This, he reported to the Loyalists upon return.

That night, the Loyalist planned an attack based on the courier’s information.  They however were missing a big part of the picture, a mistake that would cost them many lives and the loss of the battle.  When the Loyalists went to attack the Patriot encampment, they found it empty, so they crossed Moores Creek Bridge (which the Patriots had dismantled).  They were met with earthworks and Patriots battle-ready.

Now with the swamp behind them and Patriots in front, the Loyalists fought—and quickly surrendered, after their leader was killed.  Most say the battle lasted only three minutes.  While only one Patriot died and one was wounded, many Loyalists died.

The Hoffmans will not be able to get their RV as soon as they’d previously thought, so we (the Wongs) will be moving on without them, hoping to meet up with them in a couple of weeks.

On our last weekend with them before we moved, we spent some time with them outside our RV, at the house they’re staying at temporarily, and at a U-pick in Murraysville, North Carolina.  We picked a bucket of strawberries at the strawberry farm.  When we took it back to our RV park, we ate a lot of them, and the rest Mommy turned into jam, which we had on PB&J’s.

Here are some pictures of food that we ate while we were in North Carolina.  Some of the food was from restaurants, but most of it was made by either Daddy or Miss Erin.

Mason, Aiden, and Mr. Josh went fishing a few times in the ocean.  Once, they caught a lot of fish, which Aiden and Mason cleaned and Daddy smoked.

Update On the Hoffmans and Us

At first, we thought we’d be living in Zanesville, Ohio with the Hoffmans, but when we thought about going door-to-door and running out of places to evangelize at, the Hoffmans decided to get an RV, live in it full-time, and travel with us in order to go door-to-door in different places.  Before I continue on with updates on what we’re doing now, I’ll insert a video of what we did for Aiden’s, Mason’s, and Daddy’s birthdays.

For these three birthdays, we spent them at Mimi and Papaw’s house, where we broke bread and celebrated together with birthday cakes (red velvet, tiramisu, and cheesecake).  Now on to the updates.

So, the Hoffmans and us have a desire to share the gospel with others.  Traveling in RV’s and going door-to-door seems like the best way to do it for us at this time.  We know that the church is not a building or services, but the body of Christ (meaning all believers), so we meet, fellowship, break bread, sing praises to God, and evangelize together.  We have a very close relationship with each other, and we build one another up when we are together.  Although it is a very unconventional way of Christian living, I find that it is very upbuilding to my faith, more than anything we’ve ever done before.

Now, here is something you might not know: our RV (a Crossroads Volante) is in need of repairs, and we just recently were able to get things moving along so it can be repaired.  In the meantime, we bought a smaller, new RV that we’ll live in for 3—6 months (or longer) while our Volante is being fixed.  Here are pictures of us moving into our new RV (a Grand Design Transcend):

We moved to North Carolina recently (temporarily; we will be moving around), and the Hoffmans will be joining us, living in a condo until they can pickup their RV (at a dealership in North Carolina), but more on that in the next blog post.

Oh, and here are some pictures of the National Road campground cat we named Zaney (short for Zanesville) and her recently-born kittens.  We saw them right before we left to North Carolina.

Turning 16 and Museums – Ohio

kayla wong

We’ve been meeting with the Hoffmans like usual, but we haven’t been able to evangelize due to snow and/or cold weather.  We’ve also been seeing Mr. Josh’s parents, whom we call Mimi and Papaw (because the Hoffman kids do).  In the video below, you can see pictures of when we celebrated Mimi’s birthday at the Hoffmans’ house, then when we celebrated my 16th birthday.  Also, there are two pictures of our pets.  Mommy recently took the pictures after she’d dressed up our cats.  Julius doesn’t mind the necktie, but Tennessee really didn’t like wearing the clothes or bows.

On February 13, we went to First Ladies NHS in Canton, Ohio.  There, we learned about the roles of the First Ladies of the United States over time.  We learned about the White House being built, and how it was decorated, and how it was mainly the First Lady’s role to decorate both the outside and inside of the White House, as well as host parties and celebrations there.

Afterward, we drove to McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, which was a few minutes away.  It is a science museum/historical museum/museum about the McKinleys.

The museum had a special event for the Mars 2020 space mission, where a rover and helicopter will land on Mars on February 18.  As a result, we got to learn about the mission when we went to the planetarium show.  You can actually watch the landing live on February 18, 2021 here: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/landing/watch-online.  There will be some options to choose from on this page.

In one section of the museum, a man showed us some cool things that were used during the McKinleys’ time.  One was a stereoscope.  The stereoscope is a device used to view two slightly different images, resulting in a 3D image.  The other thing the man showed us was a Reginaphone.  The Reginaphone is a music box that plays a disk, creating music that has a deep, echoing quality to it.  It sounded really nice.

Another part of the museum was a fake, old-fashioned town, with a blacksmith, a dentist, houses, a firehouse, and more.  We could go into some of the buildings, as well up some stairs to a few other buildings.

More Fun in Zanesville – Ohio

Russo's Pizza Ohio

On January 16, we went to The Works, which is a museum in Newark, Ohio, with interactive exhibits on science, the history of the area, and other things.  The museum had cool simulators, two car simulators, and one airplane simulator.  For a lot of the time, us four kids used the car driving simulators, which really challenged our attention and reflex skills while driving.

There was a glassblowing demonstration, where a glassblower with 40 years of experience demonstrated to us how he makes a glass olive oil dispenser.  We watched him take molten glass onto a metal rod, make it expand, and shape it into a bottle.  He even added colored pieces of glass and texture to the bottom half of the bottle.  It was very cool to watch.

Also, we went to the planetarium show, where we watched a show on other planets and galaxies.  According to the show, scientists are trying to find another planet like Earth that can support life, but haven’t been able to yet, given that Earth is such a unique planet, and it has so many factors that make it able to support life.  Earth is just the perfect distance from our sun, is able to trap the perfect amount of heat to sustain life, and has the perfect atmosphere, air, and temperature.  No other planet has been found that has the same conditions.  I think this shows just how intricate our world is.  This proves just how precisely God has planned everything, making Earth just the right place for humans to live.

Before going to the museum, we went to a restaurant called Skorpios Gyros (for lunch), which had Greek food:

Another day, we went to Russo’s Wood Fired Pizza and ate pizza for lunch:

Of course, in all these places, they were taking precautions to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, including wearing masks, using plexiglass, wiping/cleaning everything, and only letting a certain amount of people into closed spaces at one time.

Getting Things from Storage – Texas

Kayla Wong

We drove down to Texas to get things from storage, like next year’s school books for us children.  On the way down, we stopped at two different RV parks, a NPS site, and Buc-ee’s (a favorite roadtrip stop).

The two RV parks we stopped at were Tanbark (in Dickson, Tennessee) and Home Sweet Home (in Texarkana, Texas).  Tanbark had very pretty trees in fall colors, and there was a horse that we looked at.  The RV park we stopped to stay at near our storage was called Medina Lake RV Campground (a Thousand Trails RV Park), and it was near Medina Lake in Lakehills, Texas.  There were lots of twisty trees and friendly deer which were used to being fed by humans, and it was hilly in that area.

The NPS site that we visited was Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Arkansas.  We went there on October 21.  Central High is where the U.S. began an experiment to start integrating black people into white schools.  The ranger at the visitor center gave us a tour of the outside of the school.

In 1857, Central High allowed ten black students with perfect grades into the school (out of 200 students who had applied).  A lot of white people were upset about it and showed up at the school to protest integration.  In order to help the ten children more smoothly in their new school, Daisy Bates (also black) was chosen to help them.  The night before the ten were supposed to go to school, Daisy called all of their families with a plan, except for Elizabeth Eckford, since she had no phone.  The plan was to escort the children to school, along with both black and white ministers in hopes that the mob would be less likely to attack anyone.  Daisy planned to get Elizabeth early the next morning.

But Dasiy Bates forgot.  So Elizabeth, only fifteen years old, showed up at school the next day on September 4, 1957, unprepared for what she faced.  The governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, called the National Guard to block all African American children from entering the school, which directly defied federal law.  They did their duty, and Elizabeth, very confused, walked away from the school with a mob following her.  They called her mean things, spit on her, and threatened to kill her.  Eventually, with the encouragement of a few nice people and a bus, she was able to get away.  However, that day greatly affected her, and she suffers from mental health issues because of it.

Meanwhile, the other nine children went to school as planned.  However, at the door, they were turned away.  For the first time in their lives, these children had missed a day of school.

On September 25, 1957, President Eisenhower sends the 101st Airborne Infantry Division to escort nine out of the previous ten students into the school.  These nine are known as the Little Rock Nine.

On October 1, the National Guard, which had previously been ordered to block blacks from entering the school, took over the 101st Airborne’s duty.  They were sent to keep watch over and escort the Nine to the school.  However, the National Guard was able to be in basically only the school’s halls, so the students who didn’t like integration harassed and even tried to kill the Nine.  Eventually, the National Guard were removed from the school.  The Little Rock Nine went through the school year bravely.

Rather than repeat the previous year, Orval Faubus got Arkansas’ schools shut down, since he didn’t like integration.  This caused the state’s economy to be affected negatively.

Down in San Antonio, we saw our friends, the Paynes at both their house and the campground we were staying at.  We did a lot of things with them, including playing basketball and card games, visiting parks, and reading the Bible and singing with them.

On November 2, we drove up to Hickory Creek, Texas, where we stayed at Hickory Creek Campground.  We visited the Pattons for dinner a couple of times.

On November 4, we moved to Hot Springs RV Park in Arkansas, right near Hot Springs National Park.  On the way there, we stopped in Hope, Arkansas to go to President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site.  We weren’t able to go inside the home, due to COVID, but we were able to read signs about Bill Clinton’s childhood and family in the visitor center.

Afterwards, we drove on to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

When we had set up our RV at the RV park we went to look around the national park.

First, we went to Bathhouse Row, which is a street with bathhouses built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s which use water from the hot springs.  Fountains with hot spring water were scattered throughout the area, and we tried the water.  To me, it tasted like normal but hot water.  There was no sulfuric scent to it, like there had been at other hot springs we’d seen in the past.

We also went on a short walk and a scenic drive, where we could see the city and beautiful fall colors

The next day, we moved to Cross City RV Park in Corinth, Mississippi.  On the way, we stopped at Mississippi Final Stands Interpretive Center in Baldwyn, Mississippi, where we read about Civil War battles.

On November 6, while on the way to a Cracker Barrel in Florence, Kentucky, we stopped at Shiloh National Military Park.  We had visited there a year ago, looked around the park, and done junior ranger books, but we hadn’t been able to turn our completed books in due to COVID.  This time, we turned our books in and got badges in return.

On November 7, we drove up to Zanesville, Ohio to National Road Campground.

Zanesville – Ohio

Zanesville

In the last blog post, I wrote about the RV park we were staying at.  Well, this RV park had a few trails that were very pretty, so with our new bikes (some of which my brothers had bought, and another which the owner of the RV park gave to us), we explored the trails.

Fall in Zanesville is very pretty.  There are beautiful red, orange, yellow, and pinkish trees.  In Zanesville, we went to a roadside farmer’s stand, where they sold produce.  We also went to a weenie roast event with the Hoffmans, where we roasted hotdogs and my brothers participated in a cupcake eating contest.

We see the Hoffmans a lot to evangelize and fellowship with them.  For evangelism, we go door to door and talk with the people we meet about the gospel.  One day while we were evangelizing, a stray cat followed us to the Hoffman’s house, where my brothers pet and played with it.  We named her S.C. (stray cat), but we haven’t played with her again, but we have seen other cats that look like her around the neighborhood.  At the Hoffman’s house, we eat and sing together.  Us children like to climb the trees in the front and back yard and give the Hoffmans’ kids rides on our backs (hence the picture of Aiden with the two oldest Hoffman kids on his back).

For Tanner’s 10th birthday, September 28, we ate cake and gave him presents.  Some things he got were painting supplies, rock painting kits, and a bike.  We video called our family in Hawaii who got to sing to Tanner and talk with all of us.  It was nice to see our family on the video calls.

stinkbug

Oh, and here’s a pesky insect that we found was planning on hibernating in our RV for the winter.  It’s the brown marmorated stink bug.  There were tons of them in our RV slides which came out when we recently moved our RV (we killed them), and I’m guessing that there are dozens more still.  When they are dying, they release a stench, which smells like stinky watermelon.  It turns out that our pets don’t like the smell.  Tennessee, our kitten, was playing with one and got sprayed and ran away, and another stinkbug sprayed my bed where Ruby usually naps, and Ruby avoided sleeping there for a while.

Back in Ohio to Stay – Indiana and Ohio

“Back in Ohio to stay…wait, did she write stay?”  Yes, I did.  As a matter of fact, we are planning to stay in or near Zanesville, Ohio, by our friends, the Hoffmans (I wrote about them in this post).  Some reasons for this choice is wanting to fellowship with likeminded believers in Christ and to share the good news of the Gospel with people in this area.  But more on that later.

On the way to Zanesville, we stopped at George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes, Indiana.  George Clark was the older brother of the famous William Clark (if you don’t know who that is, maybe the phrase “Lewis and Clark” will trigger your memory).  George Clark is known mostly for his success in gaining the Northeast territory for America, from the British.

In the late 1700’s, the British claimed land west of the Appalachian Mountains and proclaimed that no one should settle in the land there.  When settlers did not listen, and the Revolutionary War was intensifying, the British sent Native American groups to fight the disobedient people.  As a result, George Clark took a party of Kentucky militia to fight back where the raids were happening the most.  This went on for a while, but when Clark learned that the British would be attacking in the spring, he organized a group of tough, persistent Americans and Frenchmen to travel through the freezing, flooded lands of Illinois to get to the British fort of Hamilton, believed to have been where the park now is – Indiana.  They captured the fort, the British surrendered, and the British had been stopped from achieving their goal of stopping Americans from gaining the Northwest.

The park had a very tall memorial that was circular, made of granite.  According the the NPS website, it is 80 feet tall, 90 feet wide, and the walls are two feet thick.  Steps led to the memorial’s inside, where a statue of Clark stood, just a bit taller than he was in real life, and seven murals painted on Belgium linen lined the walls, depicting Clark’s mission.  The memorial was completed in 1933.

We took much longer than we’d expected to get to the Hoffman’s house, due to traffic, bumpy roads, and construction.  We arrived around 10 o’clock, but we took long to park.  The neighborhood had steep streets and narrow roads lined with vehicles, which made it difficult to navigate the area.  We got stuck a few times, had to ask neighbors to move their vehicles, and in the end, we couldn’t make it into the Hoffmans’ driveway.  The neighbors were really nice and accomodating, and the people at the bar down the road offered to move their vehicles out of a parking lot so we could park there.  We parked, but the space was too unlevel to take out our slides, so we stayed in the Hoffmans’ house for the night.

The next day, we moved to Campers Grove RV Park in Hopewell, Ohio, about 10 minutes away from the Hoffmans.  We are here right now (check the published date at the top to make sure you don’t get confused when “now” is), and we plan on staying here until we can find some land to buy.

More updates will come later!

Butterfly Metamorphosis

Monarch Butterfly

We got three monarch butterfly caterpillars in Michigan (I wrote about them briefly in an older post).  We named them Big Billy Buchanan, Bibimbap, and Busy Bee.  Now, here’s what happened to each one.  By the way, I don’t know the genders of any of the insects.  I am guessing.

Big Billy Buchanan was the biggest caterpillar.  He ate and grew, and eventually, he turned into a chrysalis and emerged as a monarch butterfly.  He was the first of the three to come out.  He took a while to dry, and when he felt like it, he flew out the window in Wisconsin, glided for a few seconds, then landed in the grass.  He stayed there for a few hours and left towards nightfall.

Busy Bee was the second largest caterpillar.  She ate and grew bigger, but while she was hanging upside-down, turning into a chrysalis, she died.  It was a short but sweet life.  RIP, Busy Bee.

Bibimbap was the smallest of the three.  She ate and grew, and after a while, turned into a chrysalis and became a monarch butterfly the day after we arrived in Zanesville, Ohio.  When Bibimbap emerged, she took off quickly.

Here is a slideshow of the butterflies, from when we found them on a plant in Michigan and took them home in a red plastic cup, to when they became full grown butterflies and flew away.

Food – Wisconsin, Missouri, and Ohio

spam musabis

Here are pictures of food that we ate mostly in St. Louis or with the Hoffmans.  You can also see the cheeses and salami that we got from Wisconsin.  The main picture above is of spam musubis (in this case, spam fried in teriyaki sauce, sandwiched between two blocks of rice, wrapped in nori or sprinkled with sesame seeds) that Uncle Dean made when we were visiting him and other family in Missouri.

Saint Louis – Iowa and Missouri

On August 17, we moved to St. Louis RV Park in St. Louis, Missouri.  The RV park was in the middle of the city, and it had a pool, which my brothers played in.

Before leaving, however, we stopped at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa.  It is where Hoover was born and lived until he was nine and was orphaned.  He became our 31st president, and he was president during the Great Depression.  It surprised me that his family was Quaker, and they lived in a Quaker community.  The site had buildings which Herbert and his family would’ve lived or worked in, such as a blacksmith, their cottage, and their Friend’s meetinghouse.

After that, we went moved to the RV park in Saint Louis.  We set up our RV, then we went to Gateway Arch National Park, which has the iconic arch of Missouri.  The arch itself was closed because of COVID-19 (you can usually take a tram to the top of the inside of the arch for a price), but we were able to view it from the outside, learn about it in the visitor center, and stand inside a replica of the top of the arch.  The replica was a very small sliver of what the arch would be like inside, and it had “windows” on it that were actually screens that showed live feed from cameras up on top the arch.  The screens were bigger than the windows would actually be.  We could even see our truck from the cameras.

The site included the Old Courthouse, where the famous first two trials of the Dred Scott case were held.  The case was about freedom of enslaved black people, Dred Scott and his wife specifically, because they filed suit for their freedom in the mid 1800’s.  In the end, Dred Scott and his wife lost, but it helped bring on the fight for enslaved people’s freedom in America, which eventually gave freedom to black people.  We weren’t able to go there, however, because it was closed.

After that, we ate at a restaurant and drove around the city.

The next day, we went to Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site.  The site had a home and some other buildings on it.  Grant’s future wife, Julia Dent, and her family lived here.  Grant met her here, married her later on, then lived with the Dents on the property (which was about 850 acres) in the mid 1800’s.  He tried out farming, but that didn’t work out for long, so he rejoined the army (he had been in the army earlier in his life).  He eventually became a high ranking leader in the army during the Civil War, and later, the president of America.  Grant helped to win the Civil War for the Union side, and he valued African Americans as human beings, even allowing them to fight in the Civil War when others wouldn’t, and he fought against discrimination against black people.

We got to take a tour of the Dent house, called White Haven, even though it is now bright green.  We also got to see Budweiser Clydesdale horses, which are a rare breed of horses.

For dinner, we went to Uncle Dean and Aunty Jeanette’s house.  They are actually Daddy’s uncle and aunt, and we hadn’t seen them since we lived in McKinney (years ago).  I met their son, Evan, and his wife, Emily, as well as their son.  We talked, ate, and played Splendor with them.