Start Cheering ... THIS IS OUR LAST BLOG!!!
Soon it was time to leave the fun filled Disney area & see some of the beautiful parks & scenery in the US. Checking in at the Orlando airport with cases, strollers, carseats etc & getting through security, most of the kids with hand luggage & backpacks was an interesting time. Darrens case was overweight, so rather than pay $100 excess
, they opened it in view of everyone & pulled out a few heavier items! At security the line was so long & we had to take off shoes, get out computers, Jaxons bag had to be checked twice, due to the fact he had a toyskeleton that must have looked sus!
We then got onto a train to go over to the departure gate, with no time for a coffee or anything, the plane was boarding
! A lot of people were on the plane by the time we walked on, 8 adults & 9 noisy kids trying to get down the narrow aisle, mums with rugs & bulging backpacks on one arm, little ones under the other
, kids with cases & back packs, carrying thick jackets & Shane with skate boards (without the wheels) tucked under his arm. The hostesses are NOT allowed to help put cases up in the compartments,
so we are blocking the aisle, trying to find room for cases, help the children find their seats & put the bags, coats, skateboards & computer bags etc up into the luggage compartments! We certainly provided entertainment for those around us. VERY FUNNY!
When we arrived in Dallas Fort Worth, while waiting for the luggage, Declan and Oakley pressed the buttons on a pay phone, next thing a policeman walks up with his two guns strapped to him, and said 'Someone has called 911'!!!
Just one of the many fun things when travelling with 9 children under 10!We hired 3 vans, and made our way to Abilene, Texas, a 3 hour drive, where we spent 5 wonderful days with the families of the Abilene meeting. We stayed with Lance & Pattie Wolfe along with Liam, Jaxon & Levi, and the rest stayed at the home of Kent & Ginger Irons. They normally rent out their home for weddings, check out the website: www.lytlecovecottage.com It is a beautiful home, the little boys & Zahara thought they were in a castle
. They are such lovely people, and it was so kind of them. Ginger cooked us a beautiful meal the first night which we all enjoyed in the reception room
. A visit to the Abilene zoo was particularly enjoyed by the children as well as to the fire station, Jeremy patiently showed us through & all the children had fun trying on helmets & uniforms etc. At night we enjoyed a bonfire & the kids went on a hayride and had fun in the 4x4 car with Seba. Such a nice evening.
Shane, Mick & Darren really loved visiting Lances shop, and trying out the bows & arrows & rifles. They went on a pig hunt, & had a fantastic time. On Sunday the members of Abilene put on a magnificent Thanksgiving meal for us, our first ever, roast turkey, ham, & all the trimmings. Brilliant! All of our little kiddies loved Sarah, Seba, Andrea, Leah & Morgan, Ginger and 'Ant Pattie'
(as they called her in their best American accent ) everyone made us feel so welcome. They all loved to hear these little Aussies talk with an Aussie accent!! We enjoyed Pizzas at Jeremy & Leah's & when all together we were a noisy bunch! Mike gave a talk on Israel at the Abilene hall, which went off well with a number of friends attending.It was sad to say goodbye to them all. We would all have loved to stay longer.From here we drove to Albuquerque, New Mexico, a 600km trip and went up the Sandia Peak tramway, the longest in the world.
It was very cold up the top, but a magnificent view of the lights. The next day we continued to the Grand Canyon, another big drive. A walkie talkie in each van proved handy, quite often one or more of the vans had to stop for one of the little boys to run into the bushes on the side of the road
! We were all overawed at the views over the canyon & spent time walking along the rim, constantly telling children to get back from the edge, all the while their fathers & grandpa trying to find ledges they could go out on
. The next morning, Darren, Mel, Zahara, Shane, Kat, Jaxon, Liam, Mick, Jules & Levi were gone by 5.30am to do a walk down the Kaibab trail into the Canyon. It was dark & very slippery in parts when they first left so used torches & had to be very careful on the narrow track with a drop deep into the canyon. They were down at 'Ooh Ahh Point' for the sunrise, an amazing sight, then it was the strenuous uphill walk to the top again, they made it back in time for breakfast. An awesome morning, the little ones did very well with no complaining.
From here it was on to Monument Valley, and at night it got down to a cold -10 (10F). We drove
through the valley, stopping at the various points along the way, had a picnic lunch, built a fire, and also did a reading and had a meeting. So nice
. Next stop was Durango in Colorado, where we went on the Steam Train to Cascade Canyon
. Amazing views over the gorges. We stopped at the Canyon for lunch, then back on the train again. Poor Zahara was sick just before we left, but came on the train anyway. After an hours sleep, she was ok again. We drove the scary windy road to Silverton & Ouray, getting to a height of 11,000 feet,
there was quite a bit of snow, so the children had their first real experience of what it is like.
Levi fell over, Oakley sunk to his waist,(not hard for this little midget man to do) Zeke fell over, Zahara was cold, so there were a few tears, the other boys had snow in their shoes, so their feet were freezing, as we were not really properly dressed for snow
. They soon realized how cold it can be. We all walked out on to a frozen lake, all the boys desperate to try & crack it, without success, by throwing rocks onto it. It was such a fun day
In Moab the boys & some of the older children drove 2 of the rental vans up Potash road on the side of the mountain & had a great afternoon '4 WDriving', once again standing out on scary ledges. Us girls & younger ones went shopping. We all went on an amazing 'Sunset Hummer Tour' going on a scary trail called 'Hells Revenge' (the name says it all)
the kids loved it. At one stage we were going down such a steep rock, the hummer was balancing on 2 wheels, the back wheel high in the air! Consequently there were lots of screams! Such a fun experience.
It was cold at Bryce Canyon, and looked beautiful with quite a bit of snow.It is hard to describe Zion National Park
to anyone who hasn't been there, but in our experience we have yet to find a place quite like it on Earth .... In Zion NP the 6 parents had a fun day walking 'the Narrows' where it was necessary to wear a dry suit, as the walk is mostly through water at 8C degrees (46f). They loved their child free day,
in fact I think they all acted like kids themselves!! We also had a great day minding all the grandchildren, grandpa telling scary stories, exploring & playing near the river, driving through the 1 mile Zion tunnel again. Well our trip of a lifetime all together has come to an end, and it has been the most wonderful experience.
At times during the past 7 weeks, it has been very busy & noisy, whether in the airport, restaurants, theme parks, national parks, but we have loved it all
. We have created attention wherever we have gone, and their final flight was no exception. After checking in at the last minute (6 adults, 9 children, 17 cases, 1 Bow Case (Mick bought a bow & arrow from Lance) & only having 15 minutes to get through security, onto a tram & run to the boarding gate, they must have looked a sight.
In fact they heard someone make the comment 'They look like they are from the Home Alone movie'. They only JUST made it, got onto the plane, only to sit there for 45 minutes and watch their cases being taken off the plane & the pilot said 'we will be delayed due to cargo problems!' During the 3 hour wait in LA, little Zeke knocked himself out cold after hitting his head on a metal pole
, anyway they survived the 14 hour flight back to Brisbane, even though it was a rough flight. Kat & Mel wanted to sit with their life jackets on!! All the children slept well
.We thank our God that he has watched over us all and kept us safe & pray for his guidance to bring us all home safely back to Adelaide again. It was very sad to say goodbye to them all, but God willing it will only be a few days till we are home again as well. We have met some wonderful people during out travels in this beautiful country & would like to thank you for making this year a truly memorable one, please keep in contact. Also thanks to those who sent emails, it was always so exciting to wake up in the morning and have some news from home & from friends in America. When so far away, the smallest
bit of news is always great.
Anyway, this is our last blog, thanks for reading it over the past year, we have enjoyed your comments
. ON A SAD NOTE:
At this stage Boofie & Dummar are staying in the US for further travels, they have enjoyed themselves so much, they want to stay, we were unable to include
Boofie & Dummar in this blog. They are inseparable,
The last time we saw them was on the Tower of Terror in Orlando! Ha! Having too much fun! Maybe we might have to come back to visit them! Stay Tuned!!!!!!Bye everyone