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.

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!

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.