Saturday, August 25, 2007

Shelburne, NH (Sat.8/25)

Today we had some training in knot making: fisherman's knots, slip knots, Reef knots and the like. This area is hard for me as I'm not a great knot maker – I've always lived in the shadow of my brother, who, like my dad was in the Navy - they've mastered their knots (yes, the counseling has helped me cope). I think we did all right, however.

Burlington, VT (Wed.8/22)

I finished 6th or 7th in my group of 10 people. My excuse list is long: starting with how little I've exercised in the last 4 weeks, my 12 year old bike, not having any carbon fiber on my bike, or rear suspension, or a “camel back” to provide me water on demand, or, or... well... I would have had a better time if I hadn't run over my tongue with my front wheel... Man, was I tired... I was thinking of my father-in-law in his 60's who goes and goes while reffing basketball, biking or whatever he's doing. Or my Uncle Al (Super Al) in his 70's who won the world championship for his age bracket for disc golf (Taking a little break from tennis, biking, wind surfing, juggling – you name it! - even barefoot hiking). Anyway, it's humbling not to be able to keep up with people older than I am, sigh...

We all raced, we all had fun...

Georgia, VT (Thur.8/23)

Another look at the Powell family

Pretty crazy having 8 boys together, yikes, but it was good. I think we were getting some strange looks when James couldn't make it on a hike and so it was me, 2 moms and 8 boys... looking kinda' Mormon I think... The Powell's - What a great family and a joy to be with!

At 8, Calvin is the leader of the pack. He is very inquisitive, always asking good questions. “Why are you doing that? How does that work? How does THAT work?,” etc.

Cole is the smiley-est 6 year old I know. This picture does capture him in a rare contemplative pose. We were on a hike along a river which met up with some falls. We splashed around on top of the falls and the pic is from our way down. I was helping Cole down some of the tricky spots. There was a bottleneck – one point where you had to go down single file to negotiate a steep narrow section. A husband was helping his very large wife down this section – telling her where to put each foot and hand, what to avoid and such. While Cole was sitting with his hands on his cheeks he said very quietly: “I think that lady is pretty heavy isn't she” I couldn't do anything but agree with him. “Yes” I whispered. Then he said “I don't think she's going to make it”. “I'm not sure either” I replied.

#3 is Elliot. Elliot is Kobe's counterpart at 4 years old. He's a bit like Shae, higher highs and some lower lows – very passionate.

Noah is #4. He has an awesome nickname “No-No”. But being 2 years old and with a nick-name of No-No, we of course heard from his parents no-no No-No. Sometimes when I'd say something he didn't understand, he would just go “hmmm” and so when he would say something I didn't understand I would just smile at him and go “hmmm”

Burlington, VT (Wed.8/22)

This scenario made us hoot – doesn't seem like there's much need for that warning.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Jeffersonville & Waterbury, VT (Thurs.8/16)

Group hike at Jefferson Falls -- the big boys went right up the river, lower because of the dry weather, while Sara and I took littler ones up on the trail adjoining. We made another family very nervous when we reached the falls and the boys continued climbing up and up and up!

We took the scenic route through Stowe, Vermont (big skiing town) to Waterbury where we stopped in little shops and got to sample 8 kinds of cheese, chocolate, apple jellies and spreads. Cheap lunch! Top it off with the Ben & Jerry's sample at the end of the factory tour. Yummmmmy. All six of us highly recommend Cinnamon Buns, a new 2007 flavor. Elan is pictured in the "flavor graveyard" -- whenever they introduce a new flavor, they retire an old one. Luckily, I never met a flavor I didn't like!!

Georgia, VT (Wed.8/15)

We are visiting college friends, James and Sara Powell in Georgia, VT, just north of Burlington, Bless this dear family -- four boys of their own (2, 4, 6, 8) and they open their home to the Nelson zoo! At least we travel with our own bedroom. After a day of catching up on laundry and enjoying their pool and farm, we went to the mountain bike race that James does every Wednesday evening. There was a 3 mile course for Levi and Elan (took them about 20 minutes and it was HARD) and Shae did the "cub" race where everyone is #1. It was supposed to be two laps but he kept on going -- we lost count around 7.

Poland, NY (Sun.8/12-Tues.8/14)

Fun little pit stop between western New York and our friends in Vermont. West Canada Creek campsites, just north of Utica, NY, had all the amenities of the KOA (including wi-fi!) but less crowded, more wooded, a cute caboose ice cream shop, a creek with fishing, tubing -- what a treat! The weather was just ideal which always improves my mood and outlook! Levi and I walked into the little town of Poland to the post office, marveling at the homes and buildings, many from the late 1800's, imagining what it might have been like to live here, then.

Niagara Falls, NY (Sat.8/11)

(Graham) The JetBoat “pilot” guaranteed us that every person would be completely soaked when done with the ride, but described the first 3 rows as "controlled drowning." We were too far back in line to get into the first 3 rows (and you need to be 12 or older) so Levi and Elan ended up in the middle and Shae and I in the back. Going upstream we slowly skirted the rapids, then steered to the middle of the class 4 & 5 rapids to begin taking on water. The water would spray up over the front of the boat as large walls of water wrapped around us. There were times of a second or two of complete water coverage then flowing water up over your knees as the water on the boat made a rush toward the drain holes. It was quite the ride, I highly recommend it. Thanks again to Ardy who allowed us to go!
Here are the boys very excitedly describing the experience to Ardy after the ride (they were both talking a million miles a hour as I'm sure you can picture)
Last attraction from our Niagara Passport was the rock wall. Kobe was too short -- story of his life! We explained to him, though, that he'd probably get a few vacations with just mom and dad when the other boys are grown up and gone. Never mind that he probably won't like it at the time -- it was some consolation now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Niagara Falls, NY (Fri.8/10-Sun.8/12)

Niagara...God showing off (right Bart?)

Has anyone done the Cave of the Winds before? – where you take an Elevator down to the bottom of the falls, then walk right to the edge of the falls. Not only do they give you a yellow rain coat but you get little paper-thin water sandals. This is the best way to fully experience the falls. On one section (the Hurricane Deck) the wind about knocks you over as the water pulses, with a punishing force. The boys loved it. The boys did more FULLY experience the falls as they didn't have their hoods pulled tight over them... After removing his rain coat, Levi was proud to show me that he found a dry spot (small section under one arm pit I believe).

When the boys have to go to the bathroom - “think about something else” doesn't really cut it at Niagara...

I snapped a picture of Elan after he was swept under water (while he was still happy)... or maybe it's through my Blue rain coat protecting the camera on the Made of the Mist

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lewis Center, OH (Mon.8/6-Thur.8/9)

More friends -- historical sites are great but I think the people will be the highlight of this trip! Graham and I have known Rob and Karen since Univ. of MN days when Karen was my bible study leader. I'm so glad the Lord gave us this friendship too -- including hubbies and kids! We spent a steamy afternoon on Tues. at their local beach before the Naim girls had tennis practice and Karen and I loaded up on snacks for the Columbus Clippers baseball game (triple A farm team). Yes, in Ohio, they let you bring snacks into venues like this. Plus tickets were buy one/get one AND Donatos pizza was $1/slice. The home team won and everyone had fun -- we did take an awful lot of trips to the air-conditioned gift store without buying anything.

Wednesday flew by -- Graham and our three oldest and Rob and Mitchell traveled to Dayton, OH to the Wright Patterson Air Force Base and Museum. The girls and Kobe had "office time," a nice lunch and a little craft time before the guys came home. Despite the heat, we got the backyard fire pit going and had smores after supper. As the kids were heading to bed, Karen pulled out a picture book that is one of their family favorites and had me read it out loud (I always wanted to be a librarian). It's pretty entertaining, especially to read out loud, if you can get your hands on it -- Skippy JonJones. They even had a spare copy to add to our RV library.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, OH (Wed.8/8)

This is a picture of a Nazi plane with a lot of color and personality!

Below is a picture of me, Dad, Levi, and Shae standing in front of a cool plane from one of the World Wars.

Wow! is an understatement of what I saw at The Wright Patterson Air Force Museum in Ohio. There were 5 different exhibits; the Korean War, the Vietnam War, World War 11, the Cold War, and this one about space stuff. They were all very fun and informational, and I came home having learned a lot more than I had when I left. All in all, my trip to the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum was awesome!

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, OH (Wed.8/8)

The Nelson boys (excluding Kobe) went to the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum with Mr. Naim and their son. We saw a World War II exhibit, a Vietnam War exhibit, and a Cold War exhibit. We saw some authentic planes including an actual B-51 and a B-17 and many others. Now we will see what Elan has to say, over to you E...
By Levi
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Friday, August 10, 2007

Superior dip

This is from Lake Superior a couple of weeks ago but we just figured out how to get it to our blog. Shae's response cracked us up.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

With the weather so nice (mostly) and visits with friends, we haven't had tons of time just hanging out in the RV. Below are some pics of RV activities we've enjoyed...

...okay, "enjoyed" might be a stretch! But truly, there is plenty of room to prepare a picnic lunch. I'm a white bread girl but Graham likes wheat and has always thought the boys might too so we're making the two-sided sandwiches using a slice of each. Going over pretty well.

Kobe and Shae (Levi pictured here with Kobe) love to line up their matchbox cars on the floor and then I don't know what they do except laugh when the rest of us trip over them.

Elan is our faithful journal keeper. He's figured out how many sheets of notebook paper he needs to write one page a day for the year. We'll have to start transcribing some of those for the blog.

We're trying to keep up with our US map and the state maps, routing our journey and learning states and capitals as we go. Here Shae is updating his blank maps using the US atlas and daddy's brain.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Detroit, MI (Sat.8/4-Mon.8/6)

What a study in contrasts! We left rustic northern Michigan and arrived in suburban Detroit at Camp Dearborn, with every imaginable amenity (water/electric, showers, laundry, 5 lakes on site, a swimming pool, evening dances!, canteen with hotdogs, ice cream, etc.) On our way, we stopped near Bay City for a bike rack suitable for the 5th wheel, that Ardy had researched online before she came. Yeah! Sunday we spent at the Henry Ford complex - seeing the museum and Greenfield Village. (Discount ticket vouchers also through the campground).
Above is the actual vehicle that Presidents Ford and Reagan were in at the time of the asassination attempts on their lives. Behind is the car President Kennedy was in. Amazing history...
We could be camping in this...

Greenfield Village is an amazing historical experience -- Henry Ford had actual buildings brought here (Thomas Edisons's workshop, George Washington Carver and the Wright brothers' childhood homes) and many other reproductions built. You can take a ride in an actual model T Ford. Above Grandma Ardy sits with the boys in a tintype photo studio (photo taken with modern digital camera!) The workers didn't dress in period dress (they all had Greenfield Village uniforms) BUT they are actual apprentices and professionals in the arts of the time -- from spinning pottery on a wheel and selling it in the shop (fifty pieces formed a day) to running an entire farm using the technology from the 1700's. The boys were amazed!
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