I originally created this blog as a travel journal for my backpacking trip in Europe in May of 2006. Using the blog was such a positive experience--it became a log of my itinerary and allowed friends and family to follow me on my travels--that I decided to keep it going. My vacationing experience has evolved from traveling with friends to traveling with my husband to traveling with our children. I hope you enjoy reading about my travels, and please feel free to email me with any questions.

North America » United States » Texas » Llano April 8th 2024

I'm pretty sure I have a Travel Blog post with the exact same titlefrom 2017. In fact, when I'm done writing this blog post, I should compare the two. I suspect they'll be very similar! Just like in 2017, we hopped in our car to chase totality. We're staying in Austin, Texas. Our original plan was to watch the eclipse from the hotel to avoid having to deal with traffic afterwards. It was a great plan except for the clouds. Today, Austin is forecasted to have almost 90% cloud cover. I scoured the weather reports for nearby towns. Things are worse to the south and southwest of us. Cloud-wise, it's about the same directly west. North is slightly better. But northwest... northwest is where it's at! We decided our best bet was to head to a ... read more
The Testicle Festival
Fuel Coffee in Llano, Texas
Driving to Find Clear Skies

North America » United States » Texas » Austin April 7th 2024

This morning, Colleen drove us to the airport so we could pick up our rental car. Rental cars were getting crazy expensive in Texas due to the eclipse. We found a good deal for picking up today and dropping off Tuesday morning. If we picked up a car yesterday when we landed, it would have been twice as expensive! So, we were really grateful to my mother-in-law for driving us. After we got the car, we decided to head to Brushy Creek Lake Park to check out some wildflowers. Colleen grew up in Texas and new of some beautiful areas in Hill Country, but after a long day of travel yesterday, we wanted something close by. Brushy Creek Lake Park also has walking paths, so we wouldn't have to go stomping through the fields and possibly ... read more
Our Family in Texas
The Kids and Grandma Colleen
Prim Rose

North America » United States » Texas » Wimberley April 6th 2024

What a day! With so much travel, it's hard to believe this is one single day. It feels like two! Over a year ago, we began planning our trip to Texas for the total solar eclipse. We went eclipse chasing for the 2017 eclipse and loved the experience. However, there was one thing I learned from it: traffic is just terrible after the eclipse! So, we wanted to stay within the path of totality and hopefully see the eclipse from our hotel without having to travel on the day of. So, we booked our hotel in northwest Austin (that area was predicted to get 2 minutes and 58 seconds of totality). This location was picked because it was great for the eclipse. However, it made it longer to go visit family. Then came some discouraging eclipse ... read more
Fun with Cascarones
Confetti Eggs in Texas!
Confetti Hair

North America » United States » Indiana July 27th 2023

I love typing out that title! Indiana Dunes is officially a national park! I grew up going to the Indiana Dunes, as the dunes are a common beach destination for people living in the Chicago area. We always went to the state park and camped if we were staying overnight. The Gatehouse is still there and has restrooms and some snack food. On either side of the state park used to be a national lakeshore. In February 2019, it became a national park! The national park makes a U shape around the state park, with most of it on the east side of the state park. To the west of the state park, there is still some private development and even a steel mill, so those sections of the national park aren't as nice. I recommend ... read more
Tolleston Dunes
Indiana Dunes National Park - Porter Beach
Indiana Dunes National Park - Porter Beach

North America » Canada » Ontario July 26th 2023

Crossing into Canada yesterday went smoothly. There was a $5 toll for the bridge, and they only needed to see our passports (I had packed things like the kids' birth certificates just in case, but we didn't need them). Then, we finished crossing the border, and the kids became international travelers! Immediately, Andrew's phone switched to giving us directions in meters. I'd turned off my phone before the bridge, and we'd set Andrew's up for a $5/day international plan that Verizon offered. Our plan was to stay the night at the Sheraton, but we decided to check out the falls first. Remember how parking at the falls in New York had cost us $20 for less than an hour? Well, parking in the falls in Canada was $35 Canadian (about $26 US). Niagara Falls has definitely ... read more
Niagara Falls
The Kids at Niagara Falls
Falls View Room

We slept in a bit and had a relaxed morning at our hotel in Erie. Andrew found us some bagels and coffee from downstairs for breakfast, and then we took a family stroll along the lake. We had a short drive ahead of us, so left our hotel in Erie at checkout time (11am). We took Highway 5 out of Erie to New York, which is a scenic highway that follows Lake Erie. It was a lovely drive. There were a lot of trees, including quite a few weeping willows, so we didn't always have a view of the lake. Surprisingly to me, there were a lot of vineyards between Erie and Buffalo. We stopped for lunch at a Burger King along the way and made it to Niagara Falls around 2pm or so. Parking was ... read more
Scenic Drive - New York State
Niagara Falls State Park, New York
Niagara Falls - New York Side

After a fun- and family-filled few days at Hocking Hills, we had a new destination today: Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We set out from Hocking Hills around 9am. The drive was very windy at first as we were driving through all of the hills. Joanna started to feel car sick, so we stopped at a random gas station in Columbus and hung out there until she began to rally. The drive was all interstate after Columbus, so she fared much better from that point on. Driving from Columbus to the Cleveland area was an easy drive north, and the drive had plenty of trees to keep it feeling forested and interesting. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is just south of Cleveland, and the entrance is basically in the suburbs. In fact, it appeared to us that some ... read more
Brandywine Gorge Falls
The Brandywine Gorge Falls
Brandywine Gorge Trail

We had a slow start to our morning. I enjoyed coffee out on our screened porch and listening to little critters in the forest behind our cabin. By 10am, we were ready to hike and set out for the state park visitor's center. Yesterday, we drove by the visitor's center in the afternoon, and the parking lot to the visitor's center was full. There was an overflow of parking onto the shoulder of the road. When we pulled in today, we were surprised to see how big the parking lot is. It's huge! It's crazy to think it was completely full yesterday. Today, it was about half full. I'm not sure if it's because we were there in the morning compared to the afternoon or if it's because it's a Sunday instead of a Saturday. Either ... read more
Old Man Cave Hike
Floating Stairs at Old Man Cave
Old Man Cave Hike - Hocking Hills

My grandma was born 100 years ago today. Some of us had casually been talking about having a family reunion (our last was in 2016). My aunt mentioned that it might be nice to do something in honor of my grandma's would-be 100th birthday. So, we decided to plan a reunion in honor of her birthday! Last summer, I spent some time putting together possibilities for a reunion and sent it to my aunts and uncles. The idea they liked best was Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. We lucked out that a new lodge was opening at the state park in October 2022. It meant we could utilize that option for the reunion in July 2023! About half of our family opted to stay in the lodge. In addition to lodge rooms, there is a ... read more
Ash Cave at Hocking Hills
Ash Cave
The Falls at Ash Cave

Today, we're finishing our drive to Ohio. From Tinley Park, where we stayed overnight, it's about a six hour drive. I'd forgotten that we lose an hour and incorrectly estimated when we'd arrive! The drive was uneventful, which is a good thing. We pulled into Hocking Hills State Park around 6pm. We're staying in the state park cabins but needed to check in at their new lodge (the lodge opened this past October). At the lodge, I quickly found my parents, my brother, some cousins, and some aunts and uncles. Some of the kids were heading to the lodge pool, so our kids quickly suited up and joined them. There is an indoor and outdoor pool and hot tub. I loved that the kids got to move a bit after being cooped up in the car ... read more
The Crescent Moon at John Glenn Astronomy Park

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