The Holidays and More

The main way I realize how quickly time is going in the van is to look at our blog and think, wow, is that really the last time I updated? I thought I made a post last week! We are a month away from being halfway through our trip and we are both in serious denial. Life is very different from the last time I updated, as we now sit in the RV parking area at Crystal Mountain. We are in a completely different part of the country and fully immersed in winter mode. For the sake of keeping a record of what we’ve done, I’ll do a quick recap of the holidays and everything in between first.

Sunny Florida

We spent a couple weeks in Florida enjoying really the only hot weather we’ve had so far in the van. Looking at these photos now makes me long for the feeling of the sun on my arms. We spent most of our time on Casey Key at David’s Grandma’s house. We left for a few days to meet up with Meghan and Vinny (friends from Portland) and take a mini tour of the Keys and Everglades. We had so much fun hanging out with them and experiencing traveling as a group after so much time as just the two of us. They joined us for Thanksgiving on Casey Key with lots of David’s family. We alternated between beach walks, eating, playing with David’s cousins, and chatting with family. Casey Key is a reminder to me of how dramatically diverse the United States is. While I don’t think I’d ever be happy living in Florida, I can see its appeal (especially since the highs are in the 80s on Casey Key right now).

Tennessee Touristing

After a quick stop in Atlanta for another visit with David’s aunt and cousins, we continued to Tennessee and stopped in both Nashville and Memphis. We both agreed we preferred Nashville, especially enjoying some live music we caught at a brewery one evening. We toured the state capitol and spent a lot of time just walking around and exploring. Our main stop in Memphis was the National Civil Rights Museum, which is partially housed in the Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. I’d previously visited the museum while in Memphis for a work conference. It is hard to describe a museum about a tough subject that is well done. Typical adjectives aren’t fitting. The museum made me sad, outraged, and reflective.

Arkansas – Bikes, Nature and Art

Arkansas impressed us. I didn’t realize just how much we did in Arkansas until going through my pictures and realizing I have so many I want to share. I think these cover most of our time in Arkansas.

Oklahoma

We continued our museum streak with the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa and Fred Jones Jr. Museum in Norman. Both were incredible and well worth the stop. David spent a year of his childhood in Oklahoma City and remembers searching for rose rocks at a nearby lake. With some internet researching he found the spot and we went back to find tons of rocks.

After talking about visiting for years, we spent a couple days with David’s college friend Leif and his family. His wife Laci was so welcoming and warm and we had a blast playing with his two young daughters. We can’t wait to visit again.

Bend Again

We very swiftly made our way from Oklahoma to Bend, with David excelling behind the wheel. David likes early driving so we started most days at 5 a.m., allowing me to do lots of napping. Soon after we arrived in Bend David took off to spend Christmas with his family in Marblehead. I enjoyed over two weeks of sleeping in a bed, cuddling with Scout, making huge lunch salads with my mom, brewing beer with my dad, running with my sister and her boyfriend, making and eating lots of cookies, showering, shopping, and organizing the van. It was glorious and I’ll admit I didn’t want to leave. Maybe I will be ready to return home once this adventure is over.

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