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: