Friday, February 3, 2012

road trip part six: the ozarks!

The delay in Florida gave us a choice to make. We could push through and make it to Wichita by Sunday night as originally planned, OR we could take our time and spend a night in the Ozark Mountains, getting us home Monday night instead. We figured missing another day of work & school would be worth a night in the mountains, so we looked online for somewhere along our route to spend Sunday night. I almost immediately found a cheap log cabin in the middle of the Aransas Ozarks, in a town called Jasper. We called up, thinking there was no way this amazing find would be available- but it was!
So Saturday we left Florida, drove through Alabama, Mississippi, and ended up in Memphis, TN, where we spent the night at Francis & Fred's house (my mom's cousins). We didn't have many adventures Saturday, but it was nice to have a home to stay in instead of a hotel. We got up early Sunday morning, drove for a while through Arkansas, and stopped outside of Little Rock, where we found a church to attend.

After that we had some more beautiful adventures!
We took scenic byway 7 into the mountains and stopped a lot to look around.

One of the routes Google told us to use was to go through this road...which was covered with swiftly rushing water. Jared scared the kids by telling them we were going to try to attempt it.
We spent much of the afternoon taking a 2 mile hike. 2 miles is a lot with 3 kids, a toddler, & a baby, but it was worth it.

After hiking a bit we came across this sign:

Yes, Jared is holding the baby next to that cliff.

After our hike, we drove to Jasper, grabbed some food and headed to the cabin. Here it is!

It was huge with a big library/playroom for the kids!

And there was a little hot tub in the master bathroom
The master bedroom. Before I could walk into it, I had Seth stuff the Elkskin rug under the bed.
I couldn't do anything about these little friends, though.

We hung around the cabin until we had to check out at 10, then we drove around the Ozarks some more, and eventually had to get back to reality and head to Wichita. Here is what we saw on our way home!

We made it back Monday night around 11:30, exhausted, but completely blessed and blown away by the generosity & hospitality of everyone that helped us along our trip. We never imagined how wonderful and memorable this trip would be. We are so thankful to our families and to God for allowing it all to go smoothly & safely, and for giving us such a fun vacation.
And our Gank-a-van didn't break down once!! Praise God!!

road trip part five: leaving Florida

Friday, January 27th, we said goodbye to our Florida family and started our trip home. We were really sad to leave, but we were also really starting to miss our family back home. We figured we would be able to get as far as Birmingham, AL, but we decided to take a more scenic route through some wetlands, and we didn't realize how beautiful it would be! We kept driving by places saying, "Hey, let's stop here!" the end of the day we hadn't even made it out of Florida!

Here are some of the beautiful places we were blessed to see that day!

So, we didn't make it out of Florida, as we had planned, but we were blessed to see this beautiful sunset on the ocean.
We got a hotel in Carabelle, Florida that night, and managed to wake up early enough Saturday morning to catch the sunrise. We were watching it from the road, but we drove by a little beach and stopped to watch it from the shore.

We found these Dwarf Cyprus Trees that only grow about 15 feet in this area, but if you take their seeds and plant them elsewhere, they will grow about 100 feet tall. It's a mystery.