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The Creation Museum & Ark Encounter. Or, Maybe the Most Overpriced Museum in the Country.

By Jen Martin
— 2 hours ago

*Billy says definitely biggest waste of money on the trip so far.

*Direct quote: “If this were the REAL ark?  I’d be flippin’ tables like the Lord Jesus in the temple.”

Okay so I have to admit that my expectations were maybe a little too high.  First of all, everyone we had talked to had raved about it.  Like, literally everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike.  So when I found out it was going to be around $240 for all of us, I sort of shrugged and figured it would be worth it.

Well, it felt like a tourist trap from the beginning.  From the extra parking fees to the (heavily sold) extra add-ons (zip line over the animals!  See a show in the Planetarium!), to the giant push to eat at their special buffet, it was a little over the top for us.

Don’t get me wrong, it had a lot to offer.  The museum itself was fascinating.  I would’ve loved to have my pastor (hi, Corey!) walking through with us, to point out opposing viewpoints and such.

Adam & Eve

There was a small petting zoo where you could see some friendly dudes.

The ark was also fascinating.  It was really enormous inside.  I’ve always wondered if the animals could all have really fit, and seeing it answered that. (Absolutely, it was massive)

I appreciated how they were decently clear when they were taking a little bit of liberty with their artistic representations.  (Which they did, quite a bit.)

So I feel a little bad coming down so harshly on such a cool idea/place.  I just think it’s outrageously expensive.  When your price point is so high, you eliminate massive groups of people who would enjoy it.  It also gave off this impression (to me) of catering to people who don’t question their belief in the bible at all.  (Which honestly, I personally think you should be doing if you’re a Christian, but this isn’t the place to talk about that!)

I guess in the end I’m glad we went, but I’d just like most of my money back 😉

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Happy Halloween!

By Jen Martin
— 20 hours ago

The KOAs have “Halloween Weekends” during September and October, where the whole campground goes all out.  People decorate their campers, there are costume contests, and of course trick-or-treating on Saturday night!

When I say they go “all out”…..

We started the morning with a little mini golf competition, followed by a magic show (that was really good!).

Rabbit out of the hat- impressive

We had originally planned on leaving Friday, but since there wasn’t availability at our next stop, and there was availability in our current spot, we stayed.  Which basically meant that I was caught off guard in the Halloween costume department, if the kids wanted to trick-or-treat, which, of course, they did.  Now I am a crafty lady.  I couldn’t bring my craft arsenal on the bus though, so my hands were a little tied.  The boys were easy, they threw on their Harry Potter robes and picked out a mask and a weapon from the dollar store.  Ellie, on the other hand, was not so easily pacified.  She was determined to come up with something amazing.  (The crafting/creating gene runs deep.)

What’s a mommy to do?

It went sort of like this:

“You know, corn could be cute.  Like, corn.”

“Corn?  Hmm.  You mean like a stalk of corn?”

“Yeah.  Just like, you know, corn.”

“I like it.”

A trip to the farm stand next door plus some face paint, and we had corn.

Six bucks, y’all!

It was a total hit.  People loved it.  They thought she was supposed to be from “Children of the Corn”.  She was constantly stopped and asked for her picture, and some people put money in her trick-or-treat bag.  Bless her heart though, I basically tied it all onto her, and her shoulders were completely worn out by the end of the night!

These hologram decorations were really cool!


So even though it was almost three weeks before the 31st, it was certainly a Halloween to remember!

There’s also a competitive gene in there somewhere 🙂


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Stop #22 – Cincinnati, OH

By Jen Martin
— 20 hours ago

Helllllo Cincinnati!

Our main point in stopping here was to A) Hit the Ikea and swap out our mattress topper (not the mattress pad that was on the roof of the bus in Toledo…) and B) See the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter in nearby Kentucky.

We stayed at Winton Woods Campground, which is a county park.  We had a small lake view (you can’t see it in the above picture), which was nice.

The campground turned out to be so pretty!  There were a lot of trails, so the kids biked a lot, I ran a lot, and Karlee got a lot of nice walks!

Actually one of the walks wasn’t so nice, mostly because a park employee failed to put a “wet paint” sign on a freshly coated pole….

Beautiful yellow and purple. Go JMU?

With Ikea checked off our list, all that remained was to hit the museums!

I love you, Ikea

Oh.  And C) Eat Skyline Chili – how could I forget?!


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Family Time

By Jen Martin
— 4 days ago

What a fun week we had.  Hanging out with my aunts and uncles and cousins at the bus, painting pumpkins with my cousins’ kiddos, walking to the nearby farmer’s market together, enjoying my Uncle Dave’s homemade brew, more visits with my grandma, and we even took in a football game on Friday night at my aunt’s alma mater!  My cousin’s son DJ was playing tuba in the marching band!  Get ready for family picture overload!

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Stop #21 – KOA Toledo North, MI

By Jen Martin
— 6 days ago

Yes, Toledo is in Ohio, and we stayed in Michigan, at the Monroe County/Toledo North KOA, which is north of Toledo over the state line, in Michigan.  Got it?  Good!

We had wanted to drop down into Ohio by way of Canada and Michigan, but as it turned out, we had an offer we couldn’t refuse.  Don’t get too excited.  Goodyear in Buffalo, NY offered to buy our extra, unused, space-taking, life-sucking, in-my-way spare tire back from us.

Border Patrol – Welcome Home!

The border corssing line was long but we made it through fine.  An agent did come on board to inspect things, but he was incredibly impressed.  (Which was good because it took us a long thirty seconds to untie the door that wouldn’t stay shut and had therefore been jimmy-rigged closed.)  He peeked in the shower and the sound booth, very amused by the whole thing.  The kids answered his questions (politely, whew!) and he seemed satisfied, so he went back to his station and waved us on.  (Imagine me discreetly tying the door closed behind him.)

We made it!

After filling out some paperwork, we said adios to the tire that saved our butts (but had outworn its welcome).


Toledo had been at the top of our list of places we wanted to visit.  My dad is from Sylvania, and so almost his entire extended family lives there, including my last living grandparent, my grandmother!

When I was little, we would spend a week visiting in the summer or over Christmas, but since then the visits have always been much quicker trips.  So this was really special to be able to spend an entire week living in town!

The KOA was big and had a huge fishing lake

We had several days to just hang out with my grandmother, Mimi.  She loved seeing the kids!

Midweek, Ellie had a big recording job– her first national commercial!  It was for CBS, for a show called “Courage in Sports”.  The session time, however, coordinated perfectly with a huge downpour.  Now Mis’Hap is very well insulated, and we rarely pick up any outside noise, even if we’re right by a highway.  Ironically, heavy rain had been one of Billy’s nightmares leading up to this whole bus adventure.  Because the sound booth is top notch, we had pretty much eliminated the rain as a concern.  But this was literally torrential.

We considered moving, but looking at the radar map, we decided it was a pretty big distance to travel to fully escape it.  So, we problem solved.  We’re getting good at that these days 😉

You do what you gotta do

Totally normal

What you see here is a mattress pad (it wasn’t working for us anyway) on top of where the booth is on the inside, being held down by a few large boards.

It did the trick!  The session was a success.  Perfectly silent, Ellie did great, and nobody washed away.

Like a pro

The sun finally came back out and we were able to resume life as normal!  (Did you like that?  I made it sound like living on a bus and traveling around the country was normal!  Gotcha!)

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Niagara Falls

By Jen Martin
— 6 days ago

When we weren’t at The Bulk Barn, or the library –

Or playing soccer –

We were at the falls!  They were beautiful!!!  I had seen them several times, but for everyone else, it was a first!  They’re no less spectacular the fourth time as the first.

The area around the falls sure was commercialized.  It made me appreciate our public lands, and places like Acadia where the beauty has been preserved!

Like, seriously, what the heck is that

It was still incredible.

We didn’t look even a bit out of place taking selfies!

I made everyone trek up through the mist to see the water before it tumbles down.  Which is why you won’t see any more pictures of Billy, ha (mist is the enemy of good hair, you see).  We were all kind of really wet after that!

We went once at night because they light them up in different colors, though we all agreed they were much, much better in the daytime, with rainbows 🙂

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