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Year In Review Number Two

Posted by on May 10, 2017

Y’all! Today is our second nomadiversary! Another year has already passed!

You might have noticed we’re doing our #50statetour in loops. We have to spend some time each year in Texas where all of our doctors are. Even though we’re nomads, we still have to go to the dentist and get check-ups.

For our second loop/year we headed east. We made our way from Texas all the way up to Maine and then we worked our way down the east coast to Florida before returning to Texas.

It was quite the year! We added 22 states to our map during our second year! 22!

I thought we could talk about some of our favorites from year two during our #easternloop2016.

 

We can’t talk about our second year without talking about Niagara Falls. The American side of the falls was kind of a bust for us, but the Canadian side was ah-mazing!

We stayed until the fireworks and guys…it was such an awesome experience!

Now, y’all know we’re foodies…so it should be no surprise that we’ve got some foodie things on our favorites list. Our favorite burger place also scores our favorite poutine place. We found this place when we ventured over to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Everything we had at The Works was delicious! We would go back to the Niagara Falls area just to cross the border for this place!

Our favorite state capitol building of our second year is the New York State Capitol Building. In fact, this is probably our number one SCB of all 38 SCBs we’ve been to so far. It’s also the place I developed a thing for staircases, but a staircase called The Million Dollar Staircase will do that. I could’ve spent hours walking around taking pictures of this SCB.

Out of all the National Parks/Memorials/Historic Places we visited this year three really stood out for us. We couldn’t come to a unanimous decision as to which one was best so we’ll talk about all three. Acadia National Park in Maine was great for all the wild places and hiking it offered and the views weren’t bad either.

Cape Cod National Seashore is probably at the top of the list for me when it comes to National Parks for year two of our #50statetour. Beaches, hiking, lighthouses, and amazing views. The only negative for me would be all of the people. It was crowded. We had to search out the empty places, but the effort was worth it.

The last National Park to top our list for this year is Everglades National Park in Florida. We didn’t get to do much hiking here due to the wildness of the park, but we learned so much and saw so many diverse biomes.

So, this next favorite surprised us in the best way.

The Newport Mansions in Rhode Island! Guys, they were breathtaking. We want to go back during the Christmas season to see them all decked out for the holidays!

It was so neat to see the opulence of that era and hear about their daily lives.

Even though they’re no where near each other, we kind of group The Biltmore in with the Newport Mansions. The Biltmore was built by the Vanderbilt Family who also built two of the Newport Mansions, but where the Newport Mansions were really made to show off all of the opulence and wealth of the era, The Biltmore was made to be more of a home and to entertain friends and family. It took us almost six hours to visit this place and we had to rush. It’s crazy big!

Another foodie favorite was the Crème Brûlée Shake from Burger 21 in New Jersey! It was eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head good! I’ve got to give a shout out to my friend Nicole and her family for introducing us to Burger 21!!

We caught this sunrise in North Carolina off the coast of Kitty Hawk. We had the beach pretty much to ourselves that morning. Luckily, we didn’t have to get up too early since all we had to do was walk across the road to get to the beach.

We’ve also had some pretty spectacular sunsets, but this one really stands out for me. We were having dinner with some friends of ours in Alabama and this was our view. *waves at friends* It was a great evening filled with friends, food, and views.

We ate a lot of BBQ during our #easternloop2016. Way more than we should have. Our favorite place is a little joint in Kitty Hawk, NC called High Cotton. Everything we got here was finger-licking good! It was so good that we ended up getting a family pack the night before we left the area just so we could have more of it!!

The boys all loved Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. Those light and airy pillows of fried dough were pretty good!

 

Y’all knew this one was coming, right?

We spent four days in HarryPotterverse aka Universal Studios living like wizards and it was totally awesome!

We ended our 2016 year with a snorkeling trip to The Keys in Florida. It was cold and windy and the snorkeling was a total bust, but we all loved it! It gave us island fever. We’ve been planning our next trip down to The Keys since we were driving away.

What did we learn during our second year as nomads? We learned quite a lot! Let’s chat about a few of the lessons we learned this past year!

1. Big cities aren’t really our thing. During our first year of nomads we didn’t hit too many cities…and none of them were what I would call big. Now, we’d been to big cities before. We are from the Houston, TX area so we knew what we were getting ourselves into.

We only spent a handful of days in various big cities

so we could see some of the iconic, historical landmarks,

but we didn’t really enjoy any of the days we spent walking endless miles in a concrete jungle.

We knew when we started the #easternloop2016 that there would be more cities and less wild places. We didn’t know how much we would miss the wild places. While we are grateful for the chances to see and experience the big cities we are glad to be done with them.

2. Secure the kitchen sink faucet before leaving. Cats. Why are cats such big jerks? We have two cats…

a fat one and a fluffy one. Don’t let them fool you, they’re menaces…both of them. The fluffy one likes to jump up on our kitchen counter when we’re gone and look out the window. We usually close the window blinds when we leave to keep him off the counters, but the day we went to New York City we forgot. Fluffy cat turned on the water at the kitchen sink while we were gone which eventually filled up the front grey tank which caused the grey tank to back up into the shower where we keep the litter box. I should point out…the grey tank is just rinse water from the sinks. But still…it gets stinky.

We got home from NYC about 10PM to find a note on our door that our water had been turned off because there was water pouring out of the bottom of our RV. We walked in to find the entire bathroom flooded.

The shower was disgusting. The entire bathroom floor was disgusting. And to top it off, Fluffy cat was afraid to use the litter box because of the water so he decided to use our beds as his own personal litter boxes. It was a looonnngggg night.

I spent the next day sanitizing beds, showers, floors, counters… We now have a way to lock the kitchen sink faucet in the off position. Lesson learned.

3. I (Jennie) have a slight obsession with flowers. I’ve always enjoyed pretties. During our first year, I had tons of pretties to photograph everywhere!

During the second year, the pretties were harder to find and I started going to greater links to get to them.

That’s when I knew I had a problem…is there a step program for this?

It doesn’t matter if the pretties are actual flowers or weeds.

And…if I’m being completely honest, my obsession isn’t limited to pretties…it just needs to look interesting for me to lay on the ground and snap a picture.

4. We kind of love National Forts, Battlefields, and Historical Sites. So, we really love them. A lot. Confession: When we started this nomad life I didn’t think we would really be interested in any of them. Boy, was I wrong! I can’t even begin to tell you how much history we learned during our second year of nomad life.

One of our favorite forts is the Old Fort Niagara in New York, It sits right on the shore of Lake Ontario. We watched a big rain storm come in across the water while we were there…it got a little wet…and cold.

The first time the boys heard a canon fire they about jumped right on out of their own skins. I’m laughing at the memory as I type this. I really wish I’d caught it on video. If you’ve never heard a canon fired, it’s loud. Depending on the size of the canon…it can be very, very loud.

We’re cautious about period actors. Sometimes they’re fun and sometimes they can be…tiresome. These guys were great! They stayed in character just enough to make it fun, but not so much that it was weird.

You don’t need a time machine to travel back in time. All you need to do is visit one of the many National Parks/Memorials/Historical Sites. The NPS does a fabulous job of recreating life of days-gone-by and of teaching anyone interested enough to listen. We learned so much about the founding of our country, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War during our #easternloop2016. Our history lessons were very hands on.

5. We (Jerl) learned how to fix a pulley system slide. It was the last couple weeks of June and we were in New York when we started hearing a weird ratcheting sound while bringing our main living slide in. On June 24th we decided to leave the slide in because we were afraid of getting stuck somewhere because the slide wouldn’t come in. This reduced our living space by quite a bit. We learned to dance around each other anytime we were in the kitchen/living area.

We lived with the reduced space until September 8 when we made it to the DC area. It took all five of us to push the slide out so Jerl could work on it. Things were going ok, until there was a big pop and the slide tilted out. You can see the angle of it in the photo above. It was about this time that I got out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and started stress eating. I kept picturing the entire side of our RV sliding right on out and onto the ground. Luckily, it stayed put and Jerl was able to get a new motor put in and the pulley cables all reattached. So really, I guess we learned two lessons that night. How to fix a pulley slide system and how much Ben & Jerry’s I (Jennie) can eat in one night.

8. We can eat lobster for days and not get tired of it.  This lesson is one of our favorites. Lobster.

While we were in Maine we found some really decent priced lobster and we found a recipe. We ate on that lobster for several days!

We also ate lobster when we went out!

Lobster was everywhere in Maine! Everywhere! We even tried a lobster roll from McDs! It was…ok…and very pricey. The lobster rolls we made were 100 times better and way cheaper.

We even found lobster mac-n-cheese in the grocery stores. Guys, it was soooo stinkin’ good!!!

 9. Not every state sells postcards. This one was a shock for us. We had the worst time finding postcards to send out to the postcard club in most of the states along the east coast.

I even had to resort to buying some state postcards from Amazon. *gasp* I know! Postcards are not expensive. Every gas station should have a small selection of state postcards. Postcards are such a fun and inexpensive way to stay connected to friends and family while on the road!

Well, that’s it! We wanted to share with y’all some of the highlights and bloopers of our second year as nomads! We love having y’all along for the ride so stay tuned for year three!!

See y’all down the road!

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