Indian Creek Recreation Area – LA

We decided to change plans and head back to Colorado instead of continuing on to Florida for the winter.  On the way down to New Orleans we spent an overnight at an awesome campground in Louisiana so we made reservations and spent the workweek here on the way back north.

It was so peaceful and quiet except for these crazies (and their three little brothers)

Logan and I celebrated our 13 year anniversary.

And we witnessed some beautiful sunsets

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Gulf Shores, AL & Pensacola, FL

For Thanksgiving week we had a hard time finding reservations anywhere along the coast. Hurricane Nate caused a lot of campgrounds to shut down for repairs and we started looking way too late in the game but eventually we did luck out with a spot a Gulf State Park in Alabama.

Temperatures were a little too cool for solid beach weather but the park has a great bike path system that seems to be well used.

Kellen – camo hat, Toben – blue hat

And of course still made it to the beach for a couple sunsets and quick swim sessions.

Kellen – gray camo, Toben – black

The kids loved being back at the beach and it really is one of the most relaxing activities for us as a family.

Caiden, Rylan and Toben

Kellen – green/yellow, Toben – blue

On Black Friday we visited the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola.

The museum is free and has tons of planes and helicopters on display.

Rylan and Brennen

Caiden and Kellen

Flight training for the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard is all done here and it is home to the famous Blue Angels.

Marine One during the Nixon and Ford years

The museum was well done but we all agreed that we’re a little maxed on military museums at this point and were ready to move on.

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New Orleans, LA

We had a few things we wanted to see in New Orleans but #1 on our list was the National WWII Museum.  It’s contained in five separate buildings and was as well done and interesting as we had heard.

They had lots of different ways to see and engage with the information and the kids enjoyed it.

The scope of the war and so many different unbelievable stories is mind-boggling but they did a good job trying to walk through it all.

The war in Europe

The exhibit led you through time of what was happening and did an great job walking you through the changing landscapes and seasons as the Allies made their way into Germany.

And the war in the Pacific

The exhibit started on Navy battleships and aircraft carriers before heading into the jungles

Another exhibit showed what life was like back home in the US with food rations and news from the family radio

It talked about the factories and industry that sprung up as we fought to catch up from having the 19th largest military at the time (smaller than Portugal!) to fighting two major and separate wars against incredible adversaries.

After a day and a half at the WWII Museum we branched out to the other sites of New Orleans.

Beignets in the French Quarter – we tried them at both Cafe du Monde and Cafe Beignet and decided Cafe Beignet is slightly better with a way shorter line!

Cool shops along the streets

We went to The Presbytery which had a Hurricane Katrina exhibit and one for Mardi Gras.  The Katrina exhibit was well done and gave a good recap of what this devastating event was like.  The Mardi Gras exhibit fell short of what it could be in my opinion and we sped through it pretty quickly.

We hit the Gumbo Shop for a late lunch and thankfully during a home game for the New Orleans Saints.  The lines at many restaurants wrapped around the block breakfast, lunch and dinner and the Gumbo Shop had a line out the door by the time we left so we felt incredibly lucky with our 10 min wait even if we did squeeze 7 people into 4 chairs.  We tried shrimp creole, red beans and rice, jambalaya, grilled boudin with spicy mustard and chicken andouille gumbo.  It was all very good and almost everyone had a different favorite dish.

It is hard to believe how good most of the city has recovered 12 years after Katrina – the culture and unique style come through strongly and it’s easy to see why the people are proud of this place.

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CO -> NM -> OK -> TX -> LA

The weather was holding out well for us but in mid-November you just don’t know and we had reservations in New Orleans so we did a lot of miles over the next week.

Spending an overnight in Oklahoma (checking off state #40 for us!)

And driving by the Army base where my dad was born

Then stopping for a few days east of Dallas (with a very angry goose) so I could work

An awesome overnight stop in Louisiana!

Kellen – camo hat, Toben – blue

1300 miles in 6 days plus a work week, homeschool, grocery shopping, laundromats and cooking meals is pretty hefty for us but thankfully it all went off without a hitch.

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Colorado Family Visits

We started out our round of Colorado family visits in Golden with Logan’s sister, Jill, and her family.

Walking near their neighborhood

Learning how to make slime from some cousin pros

Trying on some scary Halloween costumes!

The five year-olds

And all too fast it was time to say good-bye

From Golden we drove to Colorado Springs to my parent’s house and prepped for Halloween.

From L to R – Policeman (Kellen), Laura Ingalls Wilder (Rylan wearing a prairie dress my mom made when I was her age), Cowboy (Brennen), Cowboy #2 (Toben who changed his plan last minute), WWII historian or a professor or an attorney (Caiden with his changing title throughout the night based on other’s comments)

We have had pretty great Halloween’s in FL for the last 7 years so we weren’t sure how it would go in Colorado.  The weather was cool but doable.  We drove downtown and the setting was perfect for trick-or-treating!

The rest of the week included more fall fun and playing with Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Laura.

On Saturday we drove up to Greeley to visit my Grandma a few days before her 96th birthday!

We met up with my mom’s side of the family some of whom I hadn’t seen in years.

The kids enjoyed seeing each other and we all had fun catching up.

Another week of fun around Grandma and Grandpa’s house

Kellen and Grandpa

And some doctor, dentist and tooth pulling appointments

Thanks for another good visit!

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#HaagVenture 2 Year – Alamosa, CO

As we inch our way north we heard about a free campground outside of Alamosa with power hookups in San Luis State Wildlife Area.  It was out in the middle of nowhere but the power and cell signal were good and the sites were well-kept.

The temperatures are definitely dropping and days are getting much shorter.

But after a work week at the free campground we moved 30 minutes down the road to the Sand Dunes RV Park where they had a nice pool/resort area and hot springs.

We thought a little extra fun was in order to celebrate two years of living on the road.

In the last year we have visited 11 new states, 2 provinces, 28 national parks, 3 Canadian national parks and travelled 30,000 miles.

We have really enjoyed our west coast run this past year.  We’ve done a lot more boon-docking, hiking, national parks, wildlife spotting and a little less big cities, museums and toll roads. 😉

To date we have visited 39 states, 3 provinces, 50 National Parks, 3 Canadian National Parks and driven over 60,000 miles.

#HaagVenture 1 Year

This life has provided amazing opportunities to see and do things we never could have done in our old life but it is not without its daily challenges and struggles like any other lifestyle.  Overall the good still outweighs the bad and we have more we all want to experience.

At this point we plan to head back towards Florida for the winter and will likely try to do a run up the middle of the country as the weather warms up – unless we change our minds and don’t!

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Northern New Mexico

Our spot in Cochiti Lake didn’t have power or sewer but they did have water and restrooms in the campground and very nice, paved spots.

Covers over the concrete picnic tables

It suddenly seems to be getting dark much earlier and we have to try really hard to eat dinner before we can’t see our plates anymore!

 

From Cochiti we drove through Santa Fe to Overlook Campground in Chimayo.  We parked in a spot along the road and right on the edge of a cliff!

At the end of the workweek, we meandered our way up through the rest of northern New Mexico catching lots of good fall colors.

This Catholic chapel was built from 1813-1816 and still has mass every day.  It is a popular pilgrimage site as its dirt is believed to have healing powers.  (You can can buy the dirt from the gift store in a petri dish for a few dollars)

 

Los Alamos – we learned a lot at this free museum about the research, creation and testing of the atomic bomb and how nuclear weapons are managed today.

“Hey Mom, take a picture of me” – the only picture we took inside didn’t really have anything to do with atomic bombs but was in a cool area of “brain games” that explored the ways scientists have to think outside of the box in order to invent new technologies.

Echo Amphitheater – Logan remembers stopping here as a kid and our kids loved yelling into the cliff and hearing their echoes.

Just outside Chama, NM Logan’s family owned land they camped on frequently when he was younger.  Amazingly Logan was able to take us straight to it and we couldn’t have picked a more beautiful time of year!

There is now a house where they used to park their trailer but the meadow remains untouched.

Logan remembers holding crackers in his mouth to feed the deer here and apparently that has continued over the years because this deer walked right up to our van and touched Logan’s hand with her nose looking for a treat.

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