Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. 

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

By Jen Martin
— 37 mins 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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Family Time

By Jen Martin
— 3 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!

First cousins once removed – google it!

Adding some fall decorations to my grandma’s room!

We are so thankful for the time this bus trip has given us with family that live far away!

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Stop #21 – KOA Toledo North, MI

By Jen Martin
— 5 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
— 5 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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By Jen Martin
— 1 month ago

You guys.  The adjectives do not even exist to give this store its due praise.  We went at least four times during the week.

Pure amazement

Seriously, I can’t even.  They had everything.  I would live here if I could.  Can you imagine living near a place like this?!

This concept would totally take off in the States.

And just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, I happen upon the SPRINKLE WALL.

My cup runneth over with love sprinkles

The kids did great with weighing their stuff in grams and converting from USD to Canadian dollars.

See what I did there?  I made it an educational field trip.  It was really just a cover up to buy more sprinkles.  Billy saw right through me.

I love you, Bulk Barn.

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Stop #20 – Niagara Falls, Ontario

By Jen Martin
— 1 month ago

We left Kingston early, filled up with gas, and were on our merry little way.

Oh fuel tank, why art thou so large? Ah, yes, so we don’t have to stop very often. Thanks for that!

Lake Ontario!

We found a sweet little spot about 9 miles upstream from the falls.  There was even a bike trail along the river!

The dog got sprayed AGAIN by a skunk in the middle of the night!  At least it was warm enough outside to give her another hydrogen peroxide-baking soda-dish soap bath.  There were other critters hanging around too.

The temperatures were beautiful during the day, but come nightfall we started to experience our first taste of fall.

There’s a human hiding under those warm covers

It made for some downright COLD early mornings!

Not that the kids would know anything about cold mornings, since they get to stay snuggled in bed whilst I get up and walk the old lady.  I’m actually not complaining.  These morning walks are so beautiful, and I’d be seriously missing out if I slept in!

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More Kingston

By Jen Martin
— 1 month ago

The rest of the week was filled with more fishing and relaxing.  There weren’t any additional skunk visits, but there was still plenty of wildlife hanging around.


We took the ferry to Wolfe Island one day.  It was cool to see the wind turbines all over.  There wasn’t much to do on the actual island, so we just hung out with these folks and walked around until the return ferry came for us.


The kids caught a crazy amount of fish.

He is completely dressed, with socks and tennis shoes, in case you’re wondering

Finn also caught a leech, in his pants to be exact.

Ewwww!!!!  Get it out of the bus!

Think fast!

We met a sweet family on our last night (Hi Emma and Turner!), and joined them for a fire.  The guys talked video editing, and we talked school, kids, and laundromats.  It was cool to find people our age!  We said our goodbyes in the morning and packed it up to head south!

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Stop #19 – Kingston, Ontario

By Jen Martin
— 1 month ago

We wanted to make it to Niagara Falls, which was too far for one day of travel, and the weather was playing along nicely, so we stopped for the week at the halfway point in Kingston, Ontario.

Despite looking promising in our initial research, internet turned out to be non-existent from our campsite.

Cell towers in the area – not many, but close enough to our spot to make us happy

Testing out our cell signal boosters

While Billy and Ellie ran out to look for poutine food, the boys and I walked around with the T-Mobile phone, AT&T jetpack, and the Verizon jetpack, testing out signals in different spots.

We found the only two sites with a decent signal, and ran to the front office to inquire about their availability for the rest of the week, since they both had RVs on them.  (I’m sure we appeared totally normal standing in their campsite holding our devices up in the air.  We’re good at seeming normal.  See above pic.)  To our relief, the spots were open as of the following morning.  Oh, and we got a major view upgrade.

It turned out to be one of our favorite campsites to date!  Even with all of the skunks.  (The poor dog got a good spray the first night, and it was SO gross!  It woke us up in the middle of the night!)  The views every evening were killer, and the kids spent the entire week fishing from the tree right on the lake.

It was nice to be able to keep an eye on them while I cooked!

There were plenty of trails to follow, and they even had a little “beach” where you could rent kayaks and boats.  I finally made myself dig out my running shoes and go for some runs.  Highs were in the 80s, which felt amazing.  I laughed so hard when someone called out, “You couldn’t have picked a hotter day to run!”  I imagine they’d probably melt if they had to endure a Richmond summer!



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