Update from the road: We have had an extremely busy last few weeks full of very different locations and experiences.
After leaving Austin, we spent time searching for Diamonds in Arkansas, learning about the country’s first spas in Hot Springs, zip lining through the forest, touring a plantation in Louisiana, visiting friends and seeing live music in New Orleans, climbing an historic lighthouse on a Naval base in Pensacola, FL, hiking through Fort Pickens (a military fort built in 1834), and working on a goat and sheep ranch!
Instead of writing a novel, I’ll share the highlights.
Crater of Diamonds State Park, AR
Although we didn’t find any diamonds, Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas was a very interesting place. It’s their slow season, so we were only 1 of a few people camping there, and the mine fields were wide open. We learned about a variety of rare stones found on the property over the past 100 years, the history of diamond mining in Arkansas, how to pick the right area to dig in, and how to wet sift for diamonds.
Hot Springs, AR
Hot Springs is the city built around some of the country’s first bathhouses and rehabilitation centers. The natural spring water comes out of the ground extremely hot and is known to treat major ailments. The historic bathhouses are now a national park, and the girls got their Hot Springs Jr Ranger badges after learning about how a city was built around this area of tourism and why the government built a military vet rehab center right next to bathhouse row. Ellie and I took a learning break and did a 12 zip line tour through the forest.
Cane River Creole National Historic Park, LA
This site is home to two of Louisiana’s oldest and most well kept French cotton plantations – Oakland and Magnolia. We had a unique opportunity to get a private tour of the Oakland home by a Park Ranger. Slaves lived under the house and came up through trap doors. This was definitely an eye opening experience for two kids from the suburbs.
New Orleans, LA
This was a place none of us had ever visited before and it was exactly as described. The city was preparing for MardiGras with parades about to start and decorations covering all the homes. We saw street acts on just about every corner, had a crawfish lunch by the bayou with our friends Carolyn and Alex, and the girls even had a sleepover at Carolyn’s giving me and Tracy the chance to get some alligator dogs and see a brass band.
We stopped in Pensacola for a few days on the way to our weekend at the Goat Ranch. This was surprisingly a fantastic location. Our campsite was actually on the Alabama side of the bridge (giving us a night in Alabama and therefore another sticker on our map!). We could walk to the beach and were a short drive to the Naval Airbase, an historic lighthouse, a military fort built in 1834, and some of the best beaches we’ve been on so far. Even Sydney got to take her first swim.
Golden Acres Goat and Sheep Ranch, FL
And last, but certainly not least, we spent a weekend volunteering on a goat Ranch near Tallahassee. Golden Acres Ranch is a family owned, working ranch, that produces eggs, meat, jelly, wool and more. They are part of the Harvest Host network, which lets RV’ers stay on the property for free. The girls spent a lot of time helping with the baby goats, newborn chicks, and feeding all the animals. Tracy and I spent some time cleaning up pastures, preparing wool, and helping with misc. ranch tasks. It was one of our best stops so far and the girls spent a good deal of time begging us to take a baby goat home. Lainey made a plan to have it live in her bunk bed and Ellie thought maybe we could pull a trailer full of hay. We left all the baby goats at the ranch.
For a ton more pictures visit: www.WhatRVup2.com/photos