Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Magic Kingdom

Wednesday, July 29, 2008

I am sitting here on the beach to the lake watching the boats transport people to and from the Magic Kingdom. They have a kids play area and Jake, Josh, and Jenni are playing tether ball with some kids that they met. I can’t express enough how much we love camping for this reason alone. If we were in a hotel, we would go to our room, and not even see other people. The kids are constantly meeting new kids. The people in the site next to us are from Texas. I just love the interaction with other people.

Today was my dream come true. At least one of them. We went to the Magic Kingdom. We got there early enough to watch the opening program. The mayor comes out and dancers and singers welcome you to the Magic Kingdom. Then at just the right time the old steam engine train pulls up with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Chip and Dale. It was so awesome. Then the whole bunch of people gathered there all try to enter main street at once. That was OK because we just took it slow. We have adopted a two by two approach. Each adult and Jessi holds a hand of one of the three littler ones. We haven’t lost anyone yet. We got into main street and there was Pluto and Chip and Dale. We got their autographs and pictures. I was a little disappointed there weren’t as many photographers today. Before we left Tim bought this deal where every time they take our picture in the park, they scan a credit card type deal. When we get home we order the disk and get all the pictures they took in the park on it. Every character has a photographer with them so we will have pictures of all of us with each character. The kids have already filled up one autograph book.

We headed down main street to the castle. This is every little girls dream. Even mine. It was so beautiful. We headed toward it and had our picture taken every few feet. Then we went into Tomorrowland. The futuristic section of the park. The first thing we hit was Stitches Adventure. You walk into this theatre thing as a new recruit. The stitch robot spits at you , burps in your face. Very wonderful. Josh loves stitch but started to cry. Of course later in the day Jessi, Tim and him went back again.

Next we walked down to the race car track. It is on a guided track. Josh was driving me and we bumped back and forth the whole way. He needs some driving lessons. Next we walked over to the Buzz Lightyear ride. You were in a car that spun at your direction all the way around. You had little lazer guns that you tried to hit targets inside the ride. It kept track of your score. It was painted bright neon colors. The winner was me with 306,000 points. The second ride Jake got 301,600 and Josh got 298,000. The rest of them barely got over 65,000.

The next ride was the timeless tea cups. I was just in pure joy here. You always associate those tea cups with Disney World.

Next we went to line up for the Cinderella’s Royal Table. We went inside the castle and met Cinderella. She signed the autograph books and took pictures with us all. Then up about 3 flights of stairs that went in a circle into the dining room overlooking the park. It was so awesome. They called us the Royal Family and the boys princes and princesses. Tim really outdid himself here. We ate and were visited by the other four princesses. Snow White, Aurora, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine. They all signed the kids books and did photos with them. Then they had a make a wish ceremony. It was so cool and the food was excellent. It was the highlight of my trip so far!
Then back out to the park. We road the Snow White ride, the Pooh ride, The flying Dumbo ride when it was starting to rain. Fortunately we were under the covered line when it poured. By the time we got to the front it was barely sprinkling. We toured Minnie’s house and Mickey’s house then rode the train that went completely around the park.

We decided to head back to the front and found a neat little Hot Dog baseball themed place to eat dinner. With our plan here at Disney we have a sit down meal, a counter service meal, and a snack each day. We really have been well fed. I think it is really worth the money. The princess dinner alone was over $240 which are plan included. I highly recommend it.

At the front of the park they had hula hoops and a girl with a bubble maker. The kids played out in the street for about 45 minutes. Then we loaded the boat that takes us back to the campground. It was a bit more crowded today than yesterday. We still didn’t have to wait in any line longer than about 25 minutes which was the Winnie the Pooh ride. Believe it or not we didn’t even get through half of the park. We decided to go back tomorrow and see the other half of the park.

We are bringing Tim, Josh and Jenni down to the dock tonight to see the boat parade and the fireworks.

My next post will be Friday night. I’ll catch you up on Thursday and Friday. Sorry but I don’t want to spend all my spending money on this crappy WIFI. Starting to miss everyone and home, but I’m having an incredible time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Animal Kingdom

WOW!! Today was our first full day and our first in a park. We decided to go to animal kingdom. We didn’t get a real early start but it was surprisingly light crowds. We never had to stand in any line more that 15 minutes and that was only once.

We road the Disney Bus to the park and entered with no problems. We went in and were surrounded by beautiful plush greenery everywhere. When you finally get into the park area, you see the beautiful Tree of Life. It is this huge tree with lots of carved animals all around the trunk. We headed around the tree to go to the safari ride. Someone told us to go early because the animals would be out. You get in these large jeep type vehicles and drive through to see all the animals. It was really neat. Mostly normal zoo animals but they have gone to incredible lengths to make it look like Africa. We also road this last in the day around 6:00 p.m. and we actually saw more animals then. We were held up by an ostrich in the road and the giraffe and rhino were like 7 feet from the vehicle. It was truly amazing.

After the Safari ride we went and had pizza for lunch. We skipped breakfast and it was about 11:00. The kids were finding the characters to get autographs and pictures. We saw Lilo and Stitch, some monkey, Donald, Mickey, Goofy and Minnie. Josh is really getting in to the autograph thing. We have also all bought lanyards and are collecting the disney pins. You buy some and trade for some. Tim even got one before we left the park.

Our next stop was the Lion King Musical. It was beyond awesome. The dancers, singers and animitronics were amazing. Highly, Highly recommend this one. Next we ventured to the it’s a bugs life 3d movie in the tree of life. Literally in the tree of life’s trunk. I thought the kids would love it. Josh hated it. You are spit on by a bug. A big stink bug lets one rip and it actually smelled. Then the bugs pretended to get even with you for all the ways we try to kill them. You are sprayed with fog like a fogger and a bee stings you which is a part of your chair pokes you in the back. Tim and I loved this. The kids were not impressed.

Next we walked over to Dinoland. Not much interesting here. On our way to Asia we stopped at the Finding Nemo musical. It was almost as awesome as Lion King. Basically followed the movie in 30 minutes.

We only got to see the end of the parade. Then circled around and did the safari again. Kids weren’t interested in the Everest Roller Coaster thank goodness. I sure wasn’t to keen on getting on it.

This park was really neat. We all had a great time. Of course we are all exhausted!!!! We made it back to the RV and ate sandwiches. The kids and I went over to the pool. After the pool Jake, Jessi and I went down to the boat dock and happenend by chance to catch the boat parade. Neat lights set up on a series of boats, and the fireworks from Magic Kingdom. They truly are magical beyond measure.

I forgot to download the pictures off my camera before making the trek to the WIFI hotspot so I'll add pictures tomorrow.

Yes mom I know I should have gotten the card for my computer.


Today is the day!!!! We got up and messed around this morning. We can’t get in to Fort Wilderness till after 1:00 and check out time here is 11:00. We only have a couple hours traveling left so I made pancakes for breakfast. Cleaned things up and then we were on our way.
The drive was really quick. And somehow Rita (GPS) and I came in the back way. There was hardly any traffic at all. It was so thrilling to drive under the arch that announced that you were at disney world!

We drove right up to the Fort Wilderness entrance. We were only behind one other trailer. Everything was set we got our cards and away we went. Out site is incredible. Nice and roomy! We backed in with no problems at all. Set out the awning, hooked up the electric and water. We needed ice so Jake, Tim and I walked up to the trader’s outpost. It is only about a block and a half from our site. Got the ice went outside and it was pouring. Now if we hadn’t had the ice we could have waited it out but instead we decided to go. We were soaked to the bone!
We decided to go see if we could get our golf cart a day early because this place is really really big. We are close to the pool and campground fire sing along place but getting to the bus stops that take you to the other places would wear you out. They had some in so we were able to get one. We drove around to explore for a while. This place is truly amazing!!! Then we decided to go to the downtown Disney and eat dinner.

The downtown Disney area was awesome. All the stores are Disney themed. It was really cool. There is an area of night clubs. Tim wanted to eat at Bongo’s. This is the restaurant owned by Etevez lady. Anyway the appetizers were great but the main dishes were only OK. Of course this was my first try at Cuban food.

After dinner we walked around. Tim and the kids got candy. It has really been hard controlling their and my spending. I want it all. They have so much really cool stuff. I got each of the kids one of the autograph books for the characters and each of them the lanyards that the pins go on. Pin trading is a really big deal here. I even got me one.

I came back to try to get on the interenet to leave posts for my blog. I was so disappointed to find out that it would cost me $10 a day and I can’t even get on at my campsite. I don’t know what I’ll do. I think the kids are excited but I think I’m probably the most excited. Tomorrow we are off to animal kingdom.

Travel Day Problems

Well today we got up to a rocky start. We wanted to get an early start. We were ready to pull out at 8:45 and the generator wouldn’t start. We had no idea what to do. We drove up the road to a camping world we had passed coming in. Tim went in to get someone to help us. As I was getting back in the coach, I noticed the electric battery disconnect was off. I turned it back on and tried to start the generator only I was pushing it to turn off. Tim and the guy from camping world came out and he pushed the button on the generator and it started right up. Tim said I looked at him and asked what did you do. That was all it was. So yeah!!!!

We drove on all day. It seemed like forever but in reality it was only about 6 hours. We even ate in the RV going down the road.

Tim had picked out this little RV park in North Ocala Florida. The web page looked awesome! In reality it was a little run down. Still pretty nice. When I got out to go get our site registration off the door, it was so quiet. Eerily so! Our site was a really nice pull thru. The moss in the trees was really neat looking. It really wasn’t that bad. The pool was really nice. It was almost 7 feet deep in the deep end and we were the only ones swimming. Heck we were the only ones here except for about 10 other people. The park was full of trailers that looked like people just leave them there and come on weekends and winters.
Tomorrow is the big day! On to DISNEY WORLD!!!!

Disney's crappy WIFI

Ok friends and family. Sorry it has been so long. The wonderful world of disney sucks when it comes to WIFI. They charge you $10 a day and it doesn't even reach the RV. So I have a new revised schedule of posting. I paid the price tonight at 11:00 which gives me 24 hours. I will catch you up todate tonight. And post again tomorrow night. Then I will skip Thursday and post again Friday night and Saturday night. Skip Sunday and post Monday and Tuesday night then it will hopefully be Friday night on our way home. I'm sorry! I loved doing this. It helps me remember everything we did each day. Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Our Day at the Beach

We let the kids sleep in this morning. Last night while I was at the beach with the little kids, Tim and Jessi worked on the laundry. So we are back to all clean again.

When we did get around, we headed for the beach. The city had the two chairs with umbrella for rent. It was $25 but well worth it. I didn't want to go buy a couple of chairs and umbrella. We wouldn't have room for it in the RV. The kids played and played in the surf. It was low tide so their were tons of sea shells for them to pick up. We got each of the kids boogie boards and me an air mattress. We sat there for about 4 hours. Tim even got in the ocean today. He also got a terrible burn on the bottom of his legs. He put sunscreen on his chest and back but not the bottom parts of his legs. They stuck out of the umbrella shade and he didn't even notice. He almost got the whitest guy on the beach award. He was in the lead until a couple of old guys showed up. I think Tim would make a really good beach stud!!!

I could have photographed and made a book about what not to wear to the beach. There was one grandmotherly lady that had on one of those white one piece suits that splits all the way down to the navel and has practically nothing on the back except the back of the pants. She was horridly pudging out of every open spot on the suit. Jake and Josh even commented how gross she looked. I have teased them all day that I was going to buy a suit like that. It was so funny tonight at wal mart they had one. I held it up in front of me and told Josh I was buying it. He wrinkled his nose and pretended to throw up. Later when they were acting up I told them I was going to get that suit and wear it every time they fight. They quit fighting.

We came back to the RV and all took a shower to get the sand out of every known crevice on our bodies. Jenni was the funniest. She said "uh mom, I have sand in my butt" I told her it would probably be there for days.

We rested a while then drove over to the Wharf in Orange Beach. Kind of a neat shopping area with a couple of restaurants. A Build A Bear Workshop was there and my kids didn't even ask to stop. Yeah!!!!

We then decided to go try LULU's again. This is the restaurant that Jimmy Buffets sister owns. We still had to wait about 35 minutes and it was 3:30 in the afternoon. It is really neat and well worth the stop. The outside has a gift shop, bar, sand play areas for the kids. Lots of chairs and picnic tables to wait at. They have live music at 6:00 p.m. We got a table right on the water. It is on the inter coastal waterway. Lots of boat traffic. You can even dock your boat right at the restaurant. There was a big sign that said she was going to be on the TODAY show Monday. I assume its for her cookbook or something.

Tim and I had these wonderful mango colodas. Oh my gosh. I was in heaven. We had fried okra and chips and salsa for appetizers. I had a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" literally! It was so good. You could add anything you wanted. I had grilled onions and pineapple. Tim had another fish dish of some kind. He loves it and where better to get it than down here where it's fresh. The kids played and played in sand even after dinner.

Then we were off to Wal Mart to get some more milk, cereal and water. Tim is busy looking for our next stop. The kids are really getting excited. Now they know Disney is just around the corner. We will try to drive the rest of the way into Florida tomorrow only leaving a couple of hours for Monday's drive. I am doing another load of laundry to get all the sand out of our beach towels.

So this is the last post from Gulf Shores, Alabama. This really is a neat place. Not too commercialized but lots to do. I am definitely thinking this will be another vacation just in itself.

Answers to comment questions.

Someone asked who we brought along to take all the family photos. Most of the pictures of all of us are the automatic timer on the camera. The picture of us in front of the fish was taken by the deck hand. Occasionally I will ask a passer by to take our picture. I haven't lost a camera yet...

Mom stated I should keep a list or something of what the kids think of the trip each day. I have done one better. Every night we are having BNN (Beebe News Network) each kids sits in the chair and reports their day. I always ask each one what their favorite part of the day was. These have been hilarious. I tried to upload the first day on the blog but I couldn't get it to work. I plan to make dvd movies. Josh has been hilarious. He gets a coffee cup and starts. He talks in the third person, like he was an observer of us during the day. He may have a career in this area.

Love you all! Heading to the beach!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Deep Sea Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico

Oh my what a day!!!! We got up this morning without a real plan. I guess we were going to the beach. Tim started looking through some brochures and called about a deep sea fishing trip. The big charter company was all full but he found an advertisement for Ty's Fishing Excursions that had the afternoon cruise open. Now to say the least this was pretty pricey but Tim has always wanted to do this so we went for it.

We get directions and pull down this street called Marina Road. I'm thinking we are going to a Marina until we see a sign out in front of a house. We pull in the drive and of course my mind is thinking what have we gotten ourselves into. Some kid pulls up in a car and we go wait by the back yard dock. There are some absolutely beautiful homes and boats. Really neat area. This was just a typical house. We wait on the dock for about 10 minutes for the boat to get back from the morning cruise. They had caught about 30 fish. Good size ones too. Mostly Spanish Mackerel. The captain was a 65 year old guy with a white beard. He really fit the part. We climbed aboard and out the channel we went. Of course I loved seeing the beautiful homes and giant yachts. We got out in the ocean and the deck hand put the lines in the water and away we went. The fish started hitting the lines. There were several times when all six of us were pulling in fish. As soon as the line went back in the water another fish was on. This went on for most of the 3 1/2 hour trip. The only time it slowed down was when the captain would pull out further away from the shore.

It is hard to believe but even Josh really got into this. He would run from pole to pole reeling in fish. I think he probably caught the biggest one of the day but don't tell Tim or Jake. At one point Tim and Josh were up in the crow's nest, and a couple of fish hit the lines and Jake and I struggled like crazy to get them in. We all had a great time. Jenni was very reluctant at first about the whole fishing boat deal but she made fast friends with the captain and deck hand. It really was alot of fun. Jake can't wait to tell grandpa Bill about his fishing excursion.

We ended up with about 47 fish. This is about half of what we caught. We through back about 50 bar jack fish. She said they weren't good eating. Jake's hands actually got sore from reeling in the fish. They cleaned the biggest ones for us and we donated the rest to them. They said they take them to churches and fire departments. These people were wonderful. We had the best time. If you are ever in this area I suggest you look up Captain Ty's Landing. They are good people with lots of experience.

After fishing we stopped at a place called Gulf Shores Steamers. We had great steamed shrimp for dinner. It was really good.

We came back to the RV and the kids were playing in the sand outside the door. I thought they deserve to play in the ocean when we are this close. So Jake, Josh, Jenni and I walked down to the ocean and stayed till dark. They were so fun to watch. They would stand and wait for the waves and then just jump up and over it. Tonight they had their suits on so they would fall in the water. The beach was pretty crowded for being that late in the day. The funniest part was Josh came to say he was ready to go. I asked why? He said because the sand was itching in his pants. I about died laughing. I'll be cleaning sand out of the RV for months to come.

Travel Day to Gulf Shores

Sorry I didn't post last night but I was so tired and stuffed from dinner. I just went to bed.

OK so not much happened yesterday. We left Biloxi and headed on East. We stopped at a rest stop just inside of Alabama to waste some time. It is only about a 2 hour drive to Gulf Shores and we can't get into our RV park before noon. There were lots of vegetable stands along the State Highway into Gulf Shores. I kept telling Tim to stop but he just kept on driving.

There is so much stuff to do around here. We past several go-kart/putt-putt areas and lots of the souvenir/junk shops. After arriving at our RV Park, we decided to go ahead and rent a car. It just makes it easier to get around and so we did. The kids and I went swimming while Tim secured the rental van. It took a while because the rental place was all the way in Foley. This is about a 15 minute drive.

When he got back we loaded up and went exploring. This area is very different from Biloxi. The whole beach front is hotel after hotel after condo after condo. Then you get down to the beach houses which look awesome. So Laura this is definitely an awesome place to vacation next year.

The kids kept wanting to go out and explore in the sand but Tim and I were hungry. We tried to go to LULU's a popular tourist place. This is Jimmy Buffet's sister's restaurant but it was so crowded you could not find a place to park. So we came back up by the beach and ate at an awesome place. It was called De Soto's Seafood Kitchen. OH MY GOSH!!!! It was so awesome. Even better than the French place last night.

We ordered fried sweet potato fries and alligator bites for appetizers. The kids loved the sweet potatoes. Jake and Jessi both tried the alligator. It was kind of tough but really did kind of taste like chicken. I finally bribed Jenni with a $10 bill to try it. She did. I thought for a couple seconds she was going to make herself throw up but she didn't. Josh was the hold out. The last piece on the plate and he bargained for a $10 too. He just made a funny face when he ate it but he thought it was like chicken too.

I had a Hawaiian steak tonight. (Sorry mom didn't mean to rub in the beef availability) It was so succulent and juicy. It was seasoned with pineapple, soy, and ginger. This is a recipe I'm going to try at home. I also had sweet potato pie and fried green tomatoes. Quite the southern dinner I think. It was all so delicious. Tim had some Cajun seafood platter with coconut shrimp. It looked really good too. Of course my ever adventurous kids stuck with grilled cheese and corn dogs.

After dinner we walked across the street to the beach. The sun had set but still had a little light. It was so beautiful. I gave the kids the speech about the undertow and how you could get pulled out to sea if you went in too far. Jake and Jenni wouldn't even come put their feet in. I felt bad but I'd rather them respect the ocean than drown. I finally got them both to come out and stand where the waves would roll up over their feet. To me there is nothing better than to stand on the beach with the sound of the rolling waves coming in. I could have stayed there all night.

Jessi and Josh on the other hand were running and laughing. They would try to find where the most water was coming on beach and stand in it. Josh crouched down one time and the wave actually knocked him over. I think it scared him at first but then he started laughing and we all started laughing. Then Jake decided he was going to get wet too. I made them strip out of their clothes before they got in the rental car. They weren't too happy about that but I didn't want sand in the van.

They are already planning their day at the beach tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Hi all! This is actually Tim posting. Today was awesome!

I will start with the bad news first. I am worried about Bengi. She hurt her back last night when she was helping me fix the toilet. I could not have done it without her. It was leaking all over. At the bottom it was running out all over so we replaced the seal. It still drips at the back a little and I have figured out that the vacuum breaker probably needs to be replaced. Everyone says that this sealand toilet is "top of the line" but we have had nothing but trouble!

My kids made me really proud today. They were very good today. Then tonight we ate at Mary Mahoneys. The food was so good. A beautiful restaurant, very HT! (For those of you who don't know me that stands for hoity toity!) It was expensive, but my family really made me proud; all ladies and gentlemen. Sometimes I take them for granted and I don't remember how lucky I am. The Lord has really blessed me when it comes to family. I mean, come on, how many wives would stand and hold a toilet up while their husband replaced the seal at the bottom?? (o.k. I was the one with his hands down there, but still!!)

I had better go for now. Another day of travel.

Day at the Beach

Wow! I knew today was going to be fun but not this much. We got the mini van around 10:00 a.m. We drove directly to the beach. We got out and walked the beach for a ways. The kids played in the sand and walked in the water.

We drove on down the coast and found a great pier that went out in the water. We walked all the way out. People were fishing the whole way and lots of bait fish swarming around the pier. We got to the end and a young couple had caught a ray. It was about the size of a dinner plate. It was really cool. As we were standing there another of her lines started going crazy. She fought to reel it in. It took her about 5 minutes to get it in. We were all waiting with anticipation to see how big a fish she had caught. When up out of the water squirmed an eel. Oh my gosh!!! We were all freaked out. It was about 3 1/2 to 4 feet long. It was about as big around as the top part of an adults arm. The girl was afraid as were we. The gentleman took the eel and knocked it unconscious against the piers. That was the only way they could get the hook out. It was so weird. Everyone around said they had never seen one caught that big.

Then as we walked back up the pier another man and his grandchild had a crab basket and as we walked by they pulled up a crab about the size of a cereal bowl. Jake wanted to fish so bad. It was definitely an awesome trip up the pier.

We ate lunch at a little buffet. Nothing too exciting. They had really good fried chicken and everybody could get what they wanted.

Then we circled back around to the beach. We went to a little souvenir shop and purchased sand toys and a football. We went across the street to the beach and rented for $20 two lounge chairs and let the kids play. They had a sand castle contest and played catch in the sand. Tim (I told him I thought he really looked like a hick on the beach with his jeans and tennis shoes) enjoyed laying in the shade watching the kids play.

We came back swam in the pool for a little while and then got ready for dinner. OH MY GOSH!!!! This place was totally awesome. Mary Mahoneys is a really nice French restaurant. It has been around for a very long time. The sign said circa 1767 I think. The food was out of this world! Tim and I had seafood of course. Jessi had catfish, and the other kids had cheese sticks and chicken. We tried to get them to try the crab. Jake did and he loved it. Josh and Jenni wouldn't have anything to do with it. The kids were so good. They all put their napkins in their laps. Jenni was so cute. She was quite the little lady. They didn't fight and were very polite to each other. We even let them order dessert for a reward for good behavior. There was a sign outside the building that said the water from Katrina came up this high. It was about 12 feet off the ground. Their menu said they were only closed for 65 days after Katrina. It was an amazing dinner and evening.

After dinner we ran to a Wal Mart since we have a car today. We bought a fishing pole for Jake to use in Alabama the next couple of days. I told Tim he just wants to throw his line in the water. So at least we have a pole for him to use.

All and all today was totally awesome. The kids didn't fight about anything today. It absolutely warmed my heart to no end when Jake and Josh were throwing the football back and forth on the beach. It was my favorite part of the day.

Gulf Coast

Tuesday was a short driving day. We only had a couple of hours to go so I made pancakes for breakfast. We then headed for the Camping World just up the road. Today it wasn't all for fun. We needed some parts for the commode. When we took our first trial trip to OKC last month we noticed a small leak. Tim had it looked at and they thought they fixed the problem. It is just a small leak but none the less we got the parts and spent part of the evening working on the commode. Still leaking a bit but we figured out it is the sprayer hose and it just needs to be tightened. We don't have a screwdriver with us that is small enough so that is on the shopping list for tomorrow.

Back on road and we were in Biloxi in no time at all. We drove along State Highway 90 along the coast. The kids were crazy with excitement. Jenni kept saying that is the biggest lake she had ever seen! The only time she has been to the ocean was when she was 18 months old.

Our campground is about 1 mile away and I don't feel safe walking up to the beach. We have rented a car for tomorrow (because I was too cheap to get it two days at $65 a day). We will go up to the beach and see what all is here. Tim talked to a gentlemen last night who works for FEMA. He said things are really slow getting back after Katrina. I didn't think it looked that bad but of course I didn't see it before.

The campground we chose is touted as an RV Resort. Your rig has to be newer that 10 years old to be allowed in and the management has discretion whether you can stay or not. Their add says "Raising the Standard of RV Travel" Sounded like my kind of place. It is gorgeous!!! Lots of landscaping and there are some bus motorhomes that are out of this world in here. There are lots like us too so I feel right at home. However, the pool is really small and NO PLAYGROUND!!! I can't believe I didn't ask about that when we called. In my defense though the other one we were considering didn't have WIFI and their pool had a pool float caught in the pump and it was being repaired. They couldn't tell me how long before it was done. We are staying two nights here so I thought a pool was a necessity.

We swam right after we got all set up. Tonight Tim grilled hamburgers out on the grill. They tasted so good. I don't know if I was just hungry or if just being near a beach has enhanced my senses all together (I love a beach!). We watched movies and turned in pretty early for me. That is why this post is going on this morning instead of last night.

Today should be a full day of sightseeing. Can't wait for the rental car to get here!

Monday, July 21, 2008

2nd day on the road

Wow! Already two days into the trip. Today was pretty uneventful. We got up made coffee and Tim and the boys walked up to the little taco shack for breakfast burritos. He asked the lady last night what time they opened in the morning. She told him 8 a.m. At least that is what we thought she said. Neither of us speak Spanish and I'm not sure she spoke English. They weren't open and I had some awfully disappointed boys. We had cereal and pop tarts instead. Not quite the breakfast burrito but close.

We headed out of Canton, Texas at 9:05. Easy to get on the highway and we were in Louisiana before we knew it. Rita (the GPS system) steered us around the downtown Shreveport so we had no traffic at all in Shreveport.

We stopped in Alexandria at a Wal Mart Supercenter. It was listed in my Next Exit book as RV friendly. Well it was a mile off the interstate and road construction all the way and would you believe they didn't have a gas station. We had already gone through a loaf of bread and 1/2 gallon of milk. I also got some juice and fruit. These kids are snack monsters!!!! I had a basket of chips, cookies, fruit chews etc... They almost cleaned it out. I am of course rationing the loot. We had several people comment on our matching shirts. Jessi was dying of embarrassment. I loved it.

Rita (the GPS) directed us to take a state highway to Baton Rouge. We contemplated both ways and it did look shorter. For the most part the road wasn't bad but we did have to go over two really high bridges. One over the Mississippi and another big river we didn't know. Tim never took his eyes off the road. He really doesn't like those high roads. He has done a super job driving. When we got to Baton Rouge the interstate was really busy. We were barely moving for about 5 miles but then it cleared out. We are always wondering what the hold up is.

FYI We named the GPS just like they did in the movie RV. Theirs was Lola. I'm not sure how Tim came up with Rita, but I say its because when we get where we are going we'll have a big margaRITA.

I don't think I'm going to pick a campground the rest of the trip. This is really a nice place. Great beautiful lake, nice pool, and great site. However, I'm always the one saying I want cable TV and WIFI. This place has neither. Well the WIFI you had to pay for through the internet. Not very expensive just a pain.

We swam when we got here and had dinner. The girls and I played card games while the boys played the Playstation. All and all we had a great day. Tim had his first sandwich going down the highway. We had lunch on the road!!
Again I want to repeat how awesome traveling this way is. The kids have not once asked "are we there yet" They keep busy and Jessi slept again today. The set up is also awesome. Tim commented today what took us 10 minutes (and that is rounding up) would have taken us 30 to 45 minutes in the fifth wheel. We literally pull in, Tim pushes the auto leveling buttons, gets out plugs in the electric and water and we are good to go.

Can't wait to see where tomorrow takes us.


Hi all. We made it to Lakeside R.V. Park. Traffic on I-10 and I-12 was hectic for a few miles. Then Rita (our nickname for our GPS navigation deal) had us save some time by sending us on another route. While it did save time, the roads were quite bumpy! Most of the roads were bumpy in Louisiana, come to think of it!

This is a very nice park. Fairly new, and as the name implies, right beside a lake! It is nicely kept, but no cable t.v. and quite a ways from everything. However, a few miles on down the road is a Camping World!! My family hates it when we go to Camping World!! I can stay in there for hours! Seriously, I need a propane connection for my grill setup and a few other things.

We are hoping to stay a couple nights in Gulfport, MS. There is a place there that is close to the beach and has a rental car place. Hopefully we can get a car and do a little sightseeing and go to some shops and GOOD restaurants.

I have been happy with gas mileage and the performance overall of the motorhome. The air conditioning in the main living area struggles at times, but it has been near 100 degrees at all the places. Going down the road with those big windows for the windshield makes it kinda hot too.

The kids have been having fun and I agree with Bengi that we should have done the motor home thing years ago. This is the way to travel with 4 kids! However, we really need to find a vehicle to tow behind. Thinking of a Dodge Durango 4 wheel drive with 3 seats. Should work.

We are truly very lucky. One day I hope the kids will realize how lucky we are. I enjoy this a great deal and as I said, this is the only way to go. I think Bengi is going to post with some pictures. See you later.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

On our way!!!!

What an awesome start to our vacation!!! We got up this morning and left the house at 7:45. We checked and double checked to make sure we had everything. We honked at Amy's and Albert and Jeri's. So for all my family and friends aren't you glad you don't live near us!!!

The trip was so comfortable. Jake, Josh, and Jenni sat at the dining table to begin the trip and played games. Jessi slept on the couch. Later the other three went back to the bedroom and watched movies. Tim and I had plenty of leg room and we weren't shoulder to shoulder with each other. We should have done the motorhome thing a long time ago!!!!!

Kids can be so funny. We were about 1 1/2 into our trip and I went back to check on the kids. The boys were both laying on the bed in their underwear. I asked them where their clothes were. Their reply was "we are laying in bed do we need them" I just shook my head and came back to the co-pilot seat. We stopped in Gainsville at the rest stop and had lunch. I made sandwiches and we ate right here in the trailer. So convenient.

Back on the road and heading into Dallas. Oh my goodness. I was a wreck. I felt like we were right on top of the cars in the lane beside me. It was Sunday afternoon and the traffic wasn't horrible but I was scared to death. I think next time even though it will add a little to our trip, I'm going to drive through Ft Worth. We know the roads better and it can't be near as scary.

We stopped to fill up about 25 miles outside of Canton, Texas. We had driven 340 miles and it took 43 gallons to fill it up. We figure that is about 7.5 mpg. This is a little more than we expected so yeah!!!!

We decided to call it a day in Canton, Texas. Tim had found a place on the internet that looked really great. It is called Mill Creek Ranch RV Resort. It is totally awesome. It is close to the Canton First Monday Flea Market thing. Luckily it isn't this weekend. We are one of about 6 campers here. It is so beautiful. There is a series of 6 little pond/lakes around the property. The pool, playground, and club house are really NICE!!!! These are my kind of places to stay. The whole bill was $36. Works for me!

We pulled in and Tim went through the tedious job of setting up and leveling the coach. It is actually just pushing two or three buttons and tada!!! Then he goes out and plugs in the power cord and water and we are good to go. The kids and I went directly to the pool while Tim took a quick well deserved nap. They had a couple of hula hoops and I giggled as the kids tried to see who could go the longest.

For dinner Tim and I walked up to the entrance of the park where there was a little taco shack. We got some great mexican food. The little kids of course ate macaroni and cheese.

So far we are having a blast. We can't wait to get back on the road tomorrow and see where we'll stop tomorrow. Tim is actually looking right now for our next overnight stop. Kids are in the back playing the playstation. This is definitely an awesome start to our vacation.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

One more day!!!

One more day!!!!! I am so absolutely excited!!! I'm also tired as can be!!!!! We have spent the last two days packing the trailer. I wouldn't let anything go in unless I had inspected it. The kids and Tim said I was worse than the airline check points.

We have almost everything packed. Just a few last minute items to go in. Like us and the kids!!! Jessi was tired and fed up with the packing.

This morning we got up really early and went in to town to get the groceries. We stopped by Richards Barber Shop so Tim could get a cut. He looks really nice. Ready for all the pictures I plan to take. We then headed to Wal Mart. One of the items on our list was one of those cushions that go on top of the bed. They had one in a queen size. We bought it and brought it home. I placed it on the queen bed and it was 4 inches short in width on both sides. The length was OK but not wide enough. I figured that would be really annoying and at $70 I was taking it back. So I had to go back into town to return it. Sears had one that fits perfectly. I sure hope that makes the mattress feel better. It was a little hard for me.

I have loaded all nine of the shirts I made for the trip. Jessi is not thrilled about us all dressing alike but I figure for a few days we can. The rest we can wear whatever we want. It is so much fun making and designing shirts.

We are leaving in the morning. I can't wait. After the grocery trip I realized it was almost here. I have been looking forward to this trip more than any other I've been on. Three weeks with my family and no distractions. Or should I say lots of distractions!!!

Well I better get the house cleaned up a bit. Just need to put up the rest of the laundry and do tonights dishes.

Amy just came by to get Poochi and I showed her how to do the pool. She is going to keep an eye on things for us.

The next post will be on the road. Yeah!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More to Get Ready!!

Got motor home back today from the oil change. Filled it up with gas; not too bad, only $130. My father rode over with us and rode in it back. To my surprise, he picked up the gas bill! I really appreciated it!

I also wanted to clear up something in my last post. I was rather negative about my wife. I apologize for that. Let me put it this way: without Bengi, I would not have half of the life I have now. I would not have any of my wonderful children. Too often I take her for granted and I shouldn't do that. She is so talented in so many ways. The embroidery exhibited in this blog is just a very small portion of the talent she has.

I say all of this to illustrat e some very valuable lessons I learned. First, don't compose a blog post when you are having a bad day. Don't blog when you are tired. Don't blog when you are at the office. Don't blog when you are mad. I thought I knew all of that, but I didn't. Again, I apologize.

Now back to the preparations. I had to reset the leveling system. Worked on this for at least 2 hours! Got it back in working order. Put out the slides. Found our lanterns. Tomorrow I plan to plug into shore power only to get the refrigerator running and cold. Will begin the tedious process of packing. Big thing will be not to forget any necessity, and also to keep the kids limited. I am feeling better about going; less nervous and more excited.

Tonight Bengi got a lot of the clothes washed and put away. She also embroidered a beautiful panda bear and Josh's name on his new school backpack. It is cool. I guess I will close for now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Are We Ready?

We took the motor home to get the oil changed and all of the fluids checked. I am still somewhat nervous taking a tank like this out for such an extended trip. I hope everything checks out.

Trying to make sure everything is ready so that things don't totally fall apart when we are gone. Getting bills paid, arranging for pets, house and all. Of course, this gives Bengi new ground to gripe about. Jessi has been at basketball camp this week and it is docket week at the courthouse. Things are stressful all the way around. Precisely why I need a vacation. However, sometimes a wife can't see those things. I feel as though I get blamed for a lot of things out of my control. I mess up a lot, but being reminded of it continually doesn't help either. Then when I try to actually catch up and stay on top of things, I just get yelled at more. Oh well.

I am a bit nervous about what we might do in between leaving and actually arriving at Disney. But I guess that is what vacation is all about. Being spontaneous. That is difficult to do with 4 kids and a wife.

We have stocked up on snacks at Sam's, but with the eating machines that my family are, it won't last long. Also need to talk to Bengi about what we will take in the area of food etc. I don't want to eat every meal out. Oh well, until next post, we will see what happens!

Friday, July 11, 2008

We Are In!!!!

Well I called this morning to the Luxury RV in Gulf Shores, Alabama. This is the park that is a block from the beach with lots of souvenir places and restaurants within walking distance. When I first tried to make reservations they were completely booked for the 24, 25, and 26. Today we got in. They had a cancellation! Yeah!!!!

Since we aren't taking a car with us this trip I was really worried about being close to things to do. This was the perfect place.

Tim came home last night and said his last thing he had on Monday was not going to happen and we could leave as early as next Friday. Can you believe it that is a whole week earlier than our original departure date. I think Sunday or Monday should be early enough.

Packing lists are going well. I even stocked up yesterday on our medicine kit. Replaced Tylenol for both kids and adults, antacids, band aid's, neosporin, etc... I should probably stock up on sunscreen and bug spray too. You never know what you may encounter and I'm sure these items will cost three times normal in Disney!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

First Time to Blog!

Hi all. I have never done this before but Bengi wanted me to give it a try! So here goes!

You have probabhly already read the posts about our motor home and the trip. I am excited, but at the same time nervous. I have never driven a motor home across the country. I have never been to Disney World. I am keeping my fingers crossed that things go well. But I guess that is part of the adventure. One of these days I will learn that.

I want this to be a good memory for the kids and Bengi. I worry about money, keeping the family safe, etc. I want everyone to have fun too. I want everyone to feel good. This trip is probably the longest we have ever taken in an R.V. and I am nervous about that as well.

At the same time, I am excited. The chance to get away from work is overdue. I have recently moved the office yet again, and that has been stressful. It seems that people of late have really been getting on my nerves. I NEED A VACATION!! Everyone I talk to says we will love Disney World. But what if we (I) don't? I mean, I have no reason to doubt people, but you know, different people like different things! And while I THINK I will like it, 10 days is a long time to vacation in a place you don't like!! As Bengi has said, we have built in time at the front to take our time getting to Florida. I believe that will be fun and relaxing.

With all of that said, Bengi was really excited tonight to be able to get our folding recliners into the basement storage of the motor home. We have given up some storage space for the ease and comfort of the motor home going down the highway. Bengi has been great at paring down all of the stuff in the RV to just what is necessary. Even with me: to the point of curtailing my Camping World shoppiung sprees. It is amazing what you can narrow down when you just stop and ask: "is this really necessary?" It will be interesting to see how we manage the conflict between that and convenience.

I look forward in the next few days of checking off items on our lists; making sure that the necessary items are loaded and that the coach is in the best shape possible. I believe that the closer the time gets to actually leaving, the nervousness will leave and fall away. And I invite all of you to follow the journey!

New Countdown Ticker

Isn't that cool! Instead of me trying to count up the time by days and hours and minutes, I now have a ticker on the side to do it for me.

Now if I could figure out how to get this computer to pack for us I'd be in good shape. I printed out some lists so we can start writing down all the things we need to take. I'm limiting the kids to their Nintendo DS's and 4 books to read. Jenni is already mad because she wants to take her littlest pet shop. She keeps arguing that they are really little. I'm really going to try to stand my ground.

Can you think of anything that we shouldn't leave home without. Let me know by leaving a comment.

Stuff for RV

Well I think there is a joke between all men. They automatically know when you get a new RV you will soon see a parade of new bed linens, towels, and kitchen accessories. I mean really what girl can just use the same ones from the last RV.

I definitely downsized the kitchen. We had accumulated a bunch of stuff that we never used in the old RV. So when moving things over I did a little weeding. We had broke a few of the Corel plates and bowls so I went ahead and purchased some all white ones. That way I won't have to get new ones next time.

One of the first things Tim ask about. "Are we going to need new towels?" Of course to him the light blue towels from the 5th wheel would work fine. In all honesty, they wouldn't have looked bad. They were getting a bit old and not very soft any more. Now remember, we use our RV like a mobile hotel room. I just love the feel of the big fluffy towels you get in a hotel. So I have been on the hunt for just the right colors.

I decided to go with the white towels this time. I embroidered Beebe on them in a grey color. I found a wonderful steel blue bed in a bag. The colors are perfect and Ross had some sheets that matched the comforter perfectly. Then I had a great idea. I'd get all the pillowcases the same and embroider our names on the pillows. They turned out so cute. Now everything matches again!

13 days 15 hours 30 minutes till departure

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pictures of the Motorhome

Here are a couple of photos.

Time of departure 16 days 15 hours 10 minutes

Delivery day

Ok so now you have a little background on how we ended up with the motorhome. We waited anxiously last month for them to deliver the coach. They were bringing it from South Carolina. Oh were we excited! When we had finished going over the coach, my mom and her husband had stopped by to pick up the boys. We all couldn't wait to go for a ride. It was almost on empty so we thought we'd run to Garber and fill it up. We were half way there and Tim looked at me and ask if I had brought any money. Neither of us grabbed our wallets. We were so excited to get in it and go that neither of us brought any money.

We turned around came back home and decided to drive to Perry to fill up. We also ate dinner there. The kids were back and forth from the bedroom to the front. It was quite the first cruise. Luckily everything worked great. I even drove from I-35 home. I can honestly say it wasn't too bad.

I secured reservations last week in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We have decided to stop off there for a few days to make the drive to Florida a little less long. We have reservations at a RV park called Island Retreat. We wanted to stay at Luxury RV but they were booked for that weekend. This park is three blocks from the beach and lots of stuff near. We aren't taking a car with us this trip so it is kind of important to stay close to things to do. The lady said to keep calling back because they often have cancellation. I am really hoping we can get into this place. Island Retreat is about 3 miles from the beach. I think we would have to rent a car if we have to stay here. I'm sure it will all work out!

Official Countdown Clock 16 days 23 1/2 hours

Friday, July 4, 2008

Trailer to Motorhome

We purchased our first RV back in 2001 just before Jenni was born. Our first real trip was to Branson, Missouri. We stayed at a wonderful campground out by Silver Dollar City called Compton Ridge. We have been back there every fall break since then.

Our first was a 32 foot travel trailer with four bunks in the back. We really loved it but it only had one slide out room in the living/dining area. There just wasn't any room in the bedrooms and the bathroom/shower was an extremely tight squeeze.

Next Tim's dad took a 5th wheel in as a down payment for a house. Tim purchased the trailer from his dad and we got an extremely good deal. We have loved it also. It had three slide outs and lots of storage space. The draw back to both of these was the travel to and from our destinations in the front cab of a truck. Of course as the kids were younger space wasn't as tight. Now Jessi is 12, Jake and Josh are 8 and Jenni is 6. We were beginning to sympathize with sardines. Oh we could have been fine another couple of years but it was definitely stretching the seams of our patience. Not only was space an issue but I'm sure most of you can imagine the fussing between siblings over all the stupid stuff.

We started looking for a motorhome this spring. Not really actively looking but keeping our eyes open. After the spring break trip to San Antonio, we decided that the time to get a motorhome was drawing closer not further in our future. We shopped the local dealerships. I'm not sure if you are aware or not but RV's that come from dealerships must have gold hidden in them somewhere. The prices they were asking for a 10 year old motorhome was ridiculous. My want sense was pretty high, but not high enough to fall for there sales pitch of how great their RV was.

One night while searching on EBAY I ran across a great looking motorhome. We had passed on a few before and Tim had dealt in earnest for a couple. None of the deals came through. It just wasn't right. I would have reservations or Tim would have reservations. It was weird. When I found this one I told Tim the next morning. "I think I found our motorhome." Of course it was Friday the 13th. I wouldn't let him make a deal for it. I told him if it was meant to be it would still be for sale on Saturday. Let me tell you the look of "she has lost it now" in Tim's eyes was hilarious. But he loved me enough to respect my hang up and waited. They delivered it from South Carolina the following Sunday! It was everything we hoped for and more. When I figure out how to get pictures on this thing I'll post some.

So now we will be able to travel without breathing down each others necks. Even Tim's dad thought we got a good deal. That is saying alot coming from him. The time we will save from having to stop for potty breaks should knock a couple hours off our trip alone. Tim is anxious to say "Someone fix me a sandwich and bring me a pop" and have it done while traveling down the road. I'm looking forward to being with my family and making memories that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Beebe's go to Disney

Well here goes my first post. I thought my family and some friends might enjoy reading about our daily adventures. I'm starting this a few weeks out because I don't want you to miss any of the preparation for the big trip.

We have been planning this trip now for three years. We were originally supposed to go the summer of 2006. We had reservations and everything planned. Then we decided to move to the farm and there was no way to get everything done and move and go on the trip of a lifetime. So we postponed it a couple of years.

We made the reservations last January. We will be spending 11 glorious nights at the wonderful Ft. Wilderness RV park on Disney property. Now I know some of you must be questioning my sanity at this point. Why in the world would we drive to disney instead of just flying and staying in one of the hotels. Well the answer to that is simple. $$$$$$ Cashola!!!! I priced the trip for the family of 6 and let me tell you now I almost died from heart failure. You see according to Walt and his gang, 6 people in one hotel room is too many even if we are all related. So the basic price for a "normal family of 5 or less" doubles because we would have to rent two rooms. This made the trip ridiculously expensive. Thus the idea (I'm sure it was Tim's) to take the 5th wheel and just drive was born.

Now I assure you we both have had second and third thoughts about this. As we see it, this is the only way to get all four children to this magical playland and back. I offered to stay home but some how Tim didn't find that as amusing as I did!

Date of departure (July 22 which has just today moved up from July 23) is fast approaching. When we started planning it seemed like years away. Now we are down to 19 days. The kids are getting anxious but I think Tim is looking forward to this more than anyone.

Not bad for my first post ever. Hopefully there will be many more to come.