September 23, 2015
Soon enough it was time to leave Norfolk for Columbus, GA to visit with Natalie’s Gramma and Grampa Ferring, Aunt Tracy and Uncle Todd in Georgia. We spent one night at The Barnyard RV Park on our way south because it was far too hot to boondock. We arrived after the office closed and it was getting dark so we just settled in for the night with the A/C blasting. We didn’t really understand why it was called The Barnyard until we took a walk the next morning.
Sully fed the geese and ducks at the Barnyard RV Park
We arrived in Georgia on July 24. I was interested in visiting the Civil War Naval Museum. It was cool to see the large paddleboat they have on display, and the remains of a large river boat from the Civil War Era.
Visiting the paddle steamer at the Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, GA
We took Sully to his second movie, Minions. We should have read the reviews and checked the content before we went because it was all about the minions finding a new bad guy to serve. It wasn’t as kid friendly as we would have hoped, but Sully enjoyed it and lots of popcorn.
We went to see the Minions movie with Sully’s Great Grandma Ferring
The balloon lady at the Columbus farmers market
Aunt Tracy took us to play Sully’s first game of mini golf
Playing Legos with Great Grandpa Ferring
Three generations all together (and Aunt Tracy’s dog Roe snuck in the picture)
It wasn’t all fun and games in Georgia. We had a major ant infestation while parked in the driveway. The night before we left Georgia we were packing up the camper and discovered nearly a thousand ants crawling under our sink where we store our pots and pans. Apparently tiny ants LOVE cast iron skillets. We tore the camper apart finding more ants up in our food cupboards and under the stove. We spent the rest of the night evicting our unwanted stowaways.
Our next stop on the trip was to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. We stopped to see what kind of cool stuff turns up in people’s unclaimed bags. All the bags that airlines can’t reunite with their owners end up there. Once there, the bags are opened up and sorted through, and then arranged in the store. It’s like a thrift store – you never know what will be inside. We found some new pants and shirts for me and a Verizon iPhone 5S and bought it so we can take better cellphone pictures for our travels.
At the unclaimed baggage center in Huntsville, AL
After we left Scottsboro we headed to Huntsville, Alabama to check out the U.S. Space and Flight Center and visit our friends Andy and Caroline. First we stopped by the Verizon Wireless store to activate our new to us phone. Unfortunately, they were unable to put our new phone on our plan because it wasn’t a Verizon Phone. It was a T-Mobile phone mislabeled by the store. Verizon uses special phones on it’s network so we were out of luck with that phone and needed to make a trip back to the Unclaimed Baggage Center to get a refund later.
We parked our camper at the U.S. Space and Flight Center’s on site RV Park, only a 10 minute walk to the Space Flight Center. The RV Park was littered with model rockets from the Space Camp Program. Sully and I started collecting rocket parts and made a bunch of complete model rockets.
We built complete rockets from the parts we found littering the RV Park at The U.S. Space and Rocket Center RV Park
Most of the rockets we found
The kids from Space Camp were there launching rockets and we got to watch them launch. Sully and I counted down with the kids each time, “Three, two, one, blast off!” I felt like a kid again playing rockets – smelling the rocket motor smoke and hearing the puff as the rocket opens and the parachutes come out with rockets slowly floating back to earth.
We enjoyed catching up with Andy and Caroline and sampling some southern BBQ. We went back to Andy and Caroline’s house for some tasty homemade peach ice cream. Sully loved it so much he had two bowls!
The next day we toured the Space and Flight Center. Sully liked playing in the play place, checking out the capsules and seeing a real Lunar Lander like he read about in one of his nightly story books, Roaring Rockets. The centerpiece of the museum is a life-size Saturn V rocket and the story of the American Space Race to put a man on the moon.
Sully and Nate are ready to explore Mars!
Natalie and Sully with a lunar lander and Saturn V rocket in Huntsville
Saturn V Rocket, like the one that took men to the moon
Sully’s still too little to reach the switches laying down
Sully and a lunar lander, just like in his book Roaring Rockets
On our way out of Huntsville we decided to make a beeline back to Nicole and Karl’s place, but to stop at interesting campsites along the way. I found Dixie Caverns along our route right off I-81. It was cool to tour the cave. What makes Dixie cavern special is how it was found. Two boys were our playing in the woods when their dog, Dixie, fell in a hole in the ground. They dug and discovered that it wasn’t just a hole, but an entrance to a cavern. The cave goes up through the mountainside so what makes the tour unique is that you enter the bottom of the caverns and head up through the side of a mountain. Usually cave tours start at the top and you go down. Sully’s favorite part was meeting the cat that lives outside the cave. He really is a cat person! He petted the cat outside the cavern and they walked down the walkway from the cave together.
The Magic Mirror at Dixie Caverns looking in to Fairyland. The water is so still that the reflection from above makes a mirror image fairyland under the water.
Inside the caverns
Some of the major formations
Inside the cave it was cool and slippery so Sully held our hands and got carried around
Sully and the cave cat
Our drive north from the caverns took us near Skyline Drive through Virginia. We took our time driving 35 mph with the windows down over the winding mountaintop roads taking in the scenery and counting butterflies (51). The most unique thing happened when we were driving down a mountain. I was riding the brake with overdrive off on a windy hill when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. We got passed by a cyclist going about 45 mph down the hill! I hit the brakes and he continued zooming ahead of us.
Road tripping down Skyline Drive
Green mountain views
Wildflowers along the drive
Smiling in the front seat so Sully could see some of the great views