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!

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.

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.

Holidays in Zanesville – Ohio

Zanesville blog

For the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s), we went to the Hoffmans’ to fellowship, break bread together, and continue in reaching out to the neighbors and community around us.  Over the past few months, we have met many neighbors living in Zanesville and have been able to minister to some of their needs.  It has been a great opportunity to learn more about the people in this area and how we can best serve them with the love of Christ.

In the video below, you can see us and the Hoffmans playing Hedbanz and other games, as well as the younger kids playing in the leaves near Thanksgiving time.  The last picture in the video is of me, Miss Erin, and Tanner knitting.  Recently, I taught my two youngest brothers and Miss Erin how to knit.  When we are sitting around and talking, a few of us will pull out our crocheting/knitting projects and work on it.

It snowed a few times in December, which provided many opportunities for snow-fun!  We constructed caves and forts, had snowball fights, and sledded.  Aiden and Mason made a huge walk-in cave with Mt. Rushmore-esque heads on the side of it.  We woke up on Christmas day to many inches of snow, piled up and ready for us to play in.  It’s fun to play in the snow, but getting our truck de-snowed was a bit of work which we are not used to.  Two of the Hoffman kids (4 and 2 years old) enjoyed sledding with us down their side hill.  We also had a fun time sledding in the RV park where we are staying.  Although we have experienced snow before for fun, short outings, this is the first time we have been living in it.

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.

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!

The Mississippi River Again – Wisconsin and Iowa

On August 9, we moved to ​James N. Mcnally Campground in Grantsburg, Wisconsin.  That week, we got to visit the Zens.  Mr. Jon is a Christian and writes books about the Bible.  His wife, Miss Dotty, painted our faces or arms.  She is very skilled at art, and she actually illustrated some books with her paintings.  We enjoyed spending time eating and talking with the Zens that day.

On August 16, we moved to Little Bear Campground in West Liberty, Iowa.  Driving through the area where a derecho (a very bad storm with high wind speeds that is like a hurricane) had hit earlier that week, we saw a lot of damage.  Trees were knocked down, crops of corn looked stripped, tall plants were bending in one direction, and RV’s and houses were damaged.

On the way to the RV park, we stopped at a visitor center for Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway in Prescott, Wisconsin.  The visitor center was where the Saint Croix and Mississippi merge to make the Mississippi river.  The river was full of boats, and some areas looked like a traffic jam, except on the water.

There was a program at the park with “Bruce the Bug Guy,” where he showed us bugs that he kept, such as moths, millipedes, and cockroaches.  I didn’t watch the entire show because I couldn’t stand to see the condition the moths were in, but everyone else watched the whole thing and got to see and hold the millipedes and cockroaches.  The moths were very pretty, with vibrant red bodies and legs, and mostly black and reed wings.  In order to keep them from flying away, they were kept in a cooler with ice, in what looked like small wax paper bags. This caused their muscles to not work, so that little kids could hold them.  The one I was given had wings that were torn.  Even after I warmed it up, it couldn’t stand, and it couldn’t lift its wings.  In fact, I thought it was dying.  I tried to allow it to stand on my finger, but after struggling to do so, it flopped back down into my hand, its scales rubbing off.  I felt really bad for it.  On the other hand, it was really cool to see the moths.  The moths in the pictures below that seem to be in good condition are different moths, and I think they were males, unlike the one I was holding.

More of the U.P. – Michigan

On August 2, we moved to Green Light Resort & Campground in Chassell, Michigan.  After setting up our RV, we went to see our friends, the Guilis, who we met our first time visiting San Antonio, Texas in 2015 before moving there in 2016.  They had recently moved to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan from San Antonio.  We got to spend that evening and the next evening with them catching up.

On August 8, we visited A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum of Michigan Tech in Houghton, Michigan.  There were many displays about rocks, some precious or semi-precious, and copper, silver, and gold.  There was a lot about copper, because there are lots of copper mines in the area, and in the late 1900’s, there was a copper rush.  This place is one of the Keweenaw National Historical Park sites.  We also visited other ones this day, which I will talk about later in this post.

After that, we went to Isle Royale National Park’s visitor center in Houghton, Michigan, where we did junior ranger books and watched a short film about the islands.  The park is a wilderness that has many canoeing, kayaking, and hiking opportunities.  It is a big island surrounded by many small ones, and it protects animals such as wolves, moose, and bald eagles.  We weren’t able to go to the island because the ferry boats were cancelled for the summer due to COVID-19.

Then, we went to a few other sites of Keweenaw National Historic Park.

Quincy Mine in Hancock, Michigan:  This is an area of copper mines, which were operated from the mid 1800’s to the mid 1900’s.  We did not go into the mine itself, but we were able to see some of the old buildings and structures that were part of the mining operations there.

Copper Country Firefighters History Museum in Calumet, Michigan:  There were historic fire engines, some of which had hand cranked sirens.  The fire station was in use during the time of the copper rush.  It used to have stables for horses to pull the fire engines, which were horse powered at that time.  The upstairs was set up to show how things would’ve been set up for the firefighters, with beds, tables, and a bathroom.

The Guilis joined us after the Firefighters Museum and took us to see a waterfall in Eagle River, Michigan.  From there, they took us on a tour of the Keweenaw Peninsula.  We stopped with them at some lookouts, beaches, and playgrounds along the shores of Lake Superior.  One of the places we stopped at was Fort Wilkins State Park in Copper Harbor, Michigan.  The U.S. army built and occupied the fort during the copper rush to keep peace in the area between the miners and Ojibwas, as well as help with law enforcement.  The fort had buildings which were set up to look how they would’ve when the fort was occupied.  After the fort, the Guilis took us to Brockway Mountain.  It was a bumpy ride all the way up the  mountain, but well worth the view at the top.  The main picture above for this blog post is the view we had of trees and lakes below.  We ended the day back in Houghton at a city park named Chutes and Ladders because of the huge wooden play structure that was made up of many slides (chutes) and stairs (ladders).

A Great Lake – Michigan

On June 22, we moved to Ohio.  We stayed at National Road Campground in Zanesville, Ohio for a week, visiting with some friends, the Hoffmans.  We had met the Hoffmans over 4 years ago in 2016 while we lived in McKinney, Texas and they lived nearby in Richardson, Texas.  They recently moved to Ohio a few years ago to be closer to family.  We went over to their house a few times, and they came over to our RV park once.  The RV park had a playground with swings and a cornhole (bean bag toss game) area, so we played there.  Mr. Josh made his famous bacon grease popcorn.

We also saw our first Tim Horton’s here in Zanesville since Canada last year in 2019.  We didn’t realize Tim Horton’s was in the states and were thrilled to get coffee there!

On June 28, we moved to Bear Cave RV Campground in Buchanan, Michigan.  This general area is known to locals as Michiana (a combination of Michigan and Indiana) because the areas blend into each other around the state boarder here.  Locals go back and forth to shop, eat out, and recreate.  In this area, there are lots of fruit farms (blueberries were in season when we were there as well as cherries) as well as fruit farm stands and U-picks.  It’s a very pretty area but also very crowded as many locals and tourists flock to the beach along the shores of Lake Michigan during the summer heat.

On July 3, we went to an Indiana Dunes National Park in nearby Indiana.  The national park stretches 15 miles around the southern shore of Lake Michigan and is known for its sand dunes.  The state park area with beach access (which is within the national park) was packed this holiday weekend with a huge line of cars down the main road, so we opted to drive to a different area of the national park: the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education.  Here we learned more about Indiana Dunes and did junior ranger books.  Later in the day, we took a scenic shoreline drive within the national park and got to see the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair Century of Progress Homes, which were built at that time to show the modern houses that could be built, with materials like glass, and with things like dishwashers and air conditioners.

After that, we went to Pullman National Monument in Chicago, Illinois.  We were given a tour by a ranger and learned about the Pullman area.  George Pullman designed sleeping cars that were comfortable and luxurious for railroads.  As demand for his cars grew, Pullman bought land and started a model town.  He designed his town to be beautiful, clean, and orderly, and he allowed only his workers to live there (while paying rent).  By the day’s standards, it was a very nice town, far above other towns’ standards.  However, Pullman put strict rules over the town, even to where tenants had to ask permission to plant flowers in their front yard.

When the demand for Pullman’s cars went down, Pullman decreased his workers’ wages without decreasing their rent.  This led to strikes and boycotts, which were sometimes violent, and they spread across America.  Pullman died in 1897, the Pullman Company was ordered to sell all non-industrial holdings, and Robert Todd Lincoln became the new president of the company.  Eventually, sleeping cars on railroads were no longer needed.  Pullman’s model town was a failure.

At the town, we looked at the historic homes and some of the old buildings.  We didn’t go inside, however.  The houses were being rented out.

On July 4, we visited Grand Mere State Park in Stevensville, Michigan.  We took a hike through a marshy forest, over hot sand dunes, and finally arriving at the shores of Lake Michigan.  The sand dunes were really big, and they were also super hot.  Climbing up them was difficult, but running down was fun.  The water of Lake Michigan was refreshingly cool and there were fun waves to swim in (just like the ocean).  However, unlike the ocean, it was freshwater, meaning that it didn’t sting my eyes.  The sand here was very fine and soft.

When we were going back home to our RV park, we found people doing fireworks right outside the park entrance in the residential area.  We were able to pull over and watched them set off tons of big aerial fireworks for about an hour.  There must have been thousands of dollars’ worth of fireworks.  It was like a professional firework show.  At the end, they did a grand finale, which is the video below.  It was a nice ending to our Independence Day.

The next day, July 5, we went to Local Harvest Michigan Fruit Stand, where we bought some local Michigan vegetables, blueberries, and cherries.  (We recently tried the Michigan grown onions from there, and they were super sweet and delicious!)  After that, we went to Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer, Michigan and stayed on the beach for a few hours.  Just like Indiana Dunes and Grand Mere, Warren Dunes is known for its huge sand dunes and the cool waters of Lake  Michigan.  The sand here was more rocky than the last beach, with small pebble-sized rocks mixed into the sand.