The Sights Unseen

Sensenig Family RV Adventures


Traveling from West to East

Traveling from Nevada to Illinois within a week–whew! What a challenge! Then, from Illinois to North Carolina within a few days. Lots of miles and lots of sights were seen.  Sharing a few with you :

Entering Utah...what a beautiful state!

Entering Utah…what a beautiful state!

We had to stop at this overlook along our journey. It was just too gorgeous to pass up!

We had to stop at this overlook along our journey. It was just too gorgeous to pass up!

A sweet family offered to take our picture for us....and we returned the favor :)

A sweet family offered to take our picture for us….and we returned the favor 🙂

Splash pad at the campground in Grand Junction, CO.

Splash pad at the campground in Grand Junction, CO.

Hannah's anniversary gift to us <3

Hannah’s anniversary gift to us <3

Our campsite in Rifle, CO. Gorgeous state park. One of our faves!

Our campsite in Rifle, CO. Gorgeous state park. One of our faves!

A closer view of the lake at Rifle Gap State Park in CO.

A closer view of the lake at Rifle Gap State Park in CO.

View in Vail, CO at 11,000 feet above sea level.

View in Vail, CO at 11,000 feet above sea level.

Nebraska...and tornado watches. Not our fave place.

Nebraska…and tornado watches. Not our fave place.

Iowa...we enjoyed an overnight stay in the Bass Pro Shop parking lot.

Iowa…we enjoyed an overnight stay in the Bass Pro Shop parking lot.

Hannah's Happy Father's Day gift for Steve :)

Hannah’s Happy Father’s Day gift for Steve 🙂

Lost another tooth along the way!

Lost another tooth along the way!

Ahh...finally to our destination!

Ahh…finally to our destination!

Sweet cousin time!

Sweet cousin time!

Our spot in The Nicely's driveway.

Our spot in The Nicely’s driveway.

After leaving Illinois, we traveled through Indiana and Kentucky and then finally arriving in North Carolina. We traveled through 9 states in less than 2 weeks. We definitely had our share of recuperating to do, but it was wonderful to see the sights that we did, although we wished that we could have stayed a bit longer in AZ, UT and CO. We had a wonderful time seeing our precious family in IL and are so glad that we made that trip happen. More to come about our time in NC….

Beauty and Blessing Awaits.

May 22, 2014

Traveling to California

Leaving Sedona, AZ was difficult, but we were very anxious to get to California. We had plans to visit with friends and also make our way to the coast. It had been so long since we had seen the ocean and we were so close, so we made the decision to head west, even though our time there would be short.

As we were making our way out of Arizona, we realized that there were not many places to stop overnight. We recently bought a membership to Overnight RV Parking so we could easily find places that allowed RVs to park overnight, but we were not having much luck in the area that we wanted to stop for the night. We noticed a McDonalds that was open 24 hours had RV parking, so we asked if they would mind if we stayed the night. A few ice cream sundaes later bought us a spot in their parking lot. It wasn’t the best night’s sleep since we were next to the highway, but it was a place to rest as much as we could.

The next morning, we headed to Blythe, CA, just over the CA line.

First sunset in CA

First sunset in CA

Overlooking the Colorado River

Overlooking the Colorado River

Entrance to the campground

Entrance to the campground

Hannah found the sprinklers!

Hannah found the sprinklers!

Hidden Beaches Campground was a nice little stopover before heading to our destination. Nice views with everything we needed for the evening.

Looking forward to moving even closer to our destination in southern California.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits!

April 09, 2014

Hueco Tanks State Park

We had one more opportunity to stay in a state park in Texas before entering New Mexico and Hueco Tanks was our destination.

Hueco Tanks is not your ordinary state park. Located not too far from El Paso, the view is amazingly beautiful. The landforms and mountain ranges are just breathtaking. This particular park has some sacred qualities as well and the park rangers make sure to give you guidelines as you enter the park. In fact, we were required to watch a 15 minute video regarding the sacredness of the park and some of the important things to be aware of while staying there. Once we found our site, we were in awe with all the beauty surrounding us. Lots of time rock climbing and exploring the area. It was one of those places that you just don’t want to leave.

At the entrance to the park. We were waiting outside while Steve and Dylan watched the video.

At the entrance to the park. We were waiting outside while Steve and Dylan watched the video.

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The sunset on our first evening there

The sunset on our first evening there

On a walk to check out a few of the trails

On a walk to check out a few of the trails

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Some of the pictographs were covered in graffiti, which is one of the reasons why there are strict guidelines now about visiting the sites

Some of the pictographs were covered in graffiti, which is one of the reasons why there are strict guidelines now about visiting the sites

Hannah and I went on a evening walk around the loop at our campsite

Hannah and I went on a evening walk around the loop at our campsite

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Our campsite at Hueco Tanks

Our campsite at Hueco Tanks

Our view as we went rock climbing

Our view as we went rock climbing

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Quite the motley crew...

Quite the motley crew…

I just love this picture...

I just love this picture…

The visit to Hueco Tanks was a time to connect and just enjoy being together in a beautiful, amazing place. Moments such as these are just so precious to us. This is why we do what we do.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits.

November 18, 2013

Our Trip to PA

I have been neglecting this post for awhile, no particular reason except that there was so much packed in this trip that I really didn’t know where to begin.

Our reason for coming to PA was for Steve to provide a concert for the church that he grew up attending, but there was so much to experience in that reason alone. The family that brought him there had been very blessed by his music over the years and wanted to share it with the church again. It was a very precious time and a very beautiful concert. We knew after that concert that coming to PA was absolutely the right thing to do.

A few days before the concert, we were able to reconnect with some friends and make new ones as well.  We spent some time at Circle M Campground near Millersville, PA and had a great time enjoying campfires, potlucks, laundromat parties and farmer’s market trips. We also connected with family and celebrated Halloween with them.

 

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The following week, we parked the RV in Steve’s parents driveway in Gap, PA. We were very fortunate to have everything that we needed and the hospitality that they displayed was so amazing. We had a problem happen with the transfer switch in the RV, which meant we couldn’t use the generator. The temperature dipped into the low 30’s at night and we ended up relying on them a bit more than we intended. We are incredibly thankful for their generosity.

We were so amazed at the fall foliage that we were seeing. When we traveled through TN and NC and even VA, the colors were just not very vivid. But in PA, the colors were amazing. Many rides were taken just to admire the scenery 🙂

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We took at trip to Hershey, PA to visit a friend that I have known for quite a while online. We have been wanting to get together for a long time, but this trip we were able to make it happen. It was SO wonderful to connect and meet her kids. We ended up meeting at Chocolate World, but made out way to Pizza Hut, the local library and finally out to finish the day with some ice cream. Good times 🙂

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We stayed in PA long enough for Steve to perform in another church concert. It was a great concert and thanks to a friend bringing her daughter for Hannah to be with, I was actually able to sit through the entire concert! It was wonderful!

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There is so much to be said about the trip. So many emotions were felt by us all…lots of happy connecting times with friends and family, but also some sadness because of some illnesses that were very much a part of Steve needing to perform the concerts urgently. So many more blessings that were given to us that would take many other posts to explain.

All in all, we were blessed and in return many people were blessed by Steve’s music. We are thankful and have deep gratitude for it all and are looking for opportunities to share and give back to those we come in contact with in our travels.

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

November 01, 2013

An Unexpected Surprise

We managed to make the trip back from Alabama to Bluff City, TN in one day and had a wonderful time reuniting with some friends there and enjoyed some pizza and great conversation. It was really great to be back among friends…although it seems we are never far from friends to connect with in our travels. We love that. I think Hannah had play dates for all but one of the 5 days we were there.

We loved seeing the leaves changing colors on our trip east and it was even more vivid and beautiful the further north we traveled. Although, by some standards, they were not as vivid in some locations as previous years. it was so nice to see the color.

During our stay in TN, we took a drive to visit my parents in Boone, NC and had the added surprise and pleasure of seeing more family than we intended. It was so wonderful to see everyone that came out for a meal and fellowship. I just love my family. Beautiful people, they are.

Road to my parents' house in Boone

Road to my parents’ house in Boone

Another view from the pond in front of their house

Another view from the pond in front of their house

Hannah was so excited to spend time with my cousin's daughter!

Hannah was so excited to spend time with my cousin’s daughter!

My family...well, some of them!

My family…well, some of them!

Just how did my son get to be THIS tall!

Just how did my son get to be THIS tall!

Girls just want to have fun!

Girls just want to have fun!

My beautiful Monnie!

My beautiful Monnie!

Hannah's the horse this time!

Hannah’s the horse this time!

The view from my parents' front yard.

The view from my parents’ front yard.

My mom and dad. The best there is!

My mom and dad. The best there is!

It was really hard to leave that day. We’ll see them again, I know this. But still…well, I love my family and it was a beautiful day with all of them and I just didn’t want it to end.

Before we left TN to head toward PA, we were able to get one more campfire chat in with some dear friends. What a way to end our stay!

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Blessing and Beauty Awaits,

Christy

October 02, 2013

We are in Texas…for now

It’s been a few weeks since I updated, so I’ll try to give you a synopsis of everything that has occurred since we left Alabama.

We traveled through Mississippi and Louisiana before landing in Livingston, TX. While there, we were able to get our car registered, yay! and get a few library cards. We stayed at the Escapees campground. This is also where we receive our mail, so it was nice to be able to be close to what we consider our place of residence and get to know the area a bit.

Our new TX tags!

Our new TX tags!

After about a week in Livingston, we moved on to Lake Conroe, which was about 30-45 miles North of Houston, TX. We had a great time getting to know the area as well as some new friends. I had joined a facebook group for Texas unschoolers and through them, found the Houston group. What a great group of awesome people! We made many new friends at a Not Back to School Party in Katy, TX and then at a gathering at Lake Conroe. Lovely, lovely people!

Lake Conroe Meetup

Lake Conroe Meetup

Some other sights while in the Houston area:

Hannah making some windchimes

Hannah making some windchimes

At Candy Cane Park in Conroe, TX

At Candy Cane Park in Conroe, TX

Sunset behind a busy street in Conroe

Sunset behind a busy street in Conroe

Sunset at Lake Conroe

Sunset at Lake Conroe

Hannah really gets into her photography!

Hannah really gets into her photography!

Hannah taking in the view

Hannah taking in the view

We also celebrated Dylan’s 21st  birthday in the Houston area. It started off at a party and the plan was to take him to a certain restaurant in The Woodlands, but traffic and a Maroon 5/Kelly Clarkson concert put a slight damper on those plans. So, we went out the following night to restaurant of his choice. So hard to believe that my baby is 21 years old! _DSC0003

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Dylan is very happy with his new tardis mug!

Dylan is very happy with his new Tardis mug!

We left Lake Conroe and stayed at Colorado River, which was in Columbus, TX. Not much there, but a really nice campground and we did get some Texas BBQ, so Steve was happy!

Lots of deer at the campground in Columbus

Lots of deer at the campground in Columbus

We found a great local farm that sold raw milk and cheese, so we took a trip there (about 30 miles) and picked up a few cartons. It was so nice to be able to drink raw milk again! Thanks Michelle and Stacy for the recommendation!

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Our next stop was Medina Lake, which is just outside of San Antonio, TX. The plan was to stay here for a few weeks, but it looks like we’ll be heading East for a concert that Steve was asked to play in PA. It is a definite change in direction for us, but we’re excited to be able to see friends and family again, at least for a short time! Looking forward to enjoying the journey of traveling and taking the time to savor the moments we have with the ones that are in our lives at this moment.

Sunset at Medina Lake Thousand Trails

Sunset at Medina Lake Thousand Trails

This guy likes to get up close and personal

This guy likes to get up close and personal

Cactus spotting!

Cactus spotting!

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Thanks for joining us on this journey! I’ll update again as soon as I can!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 06, 2013

Horseback Riding in TN

Since about a year ago, about a day after Hannah’s 6th birthday, Hannah told told me that she wanted to learn to ride a horse. First, it was to become a singing cowgirl, then she wanted to teach other kids to ride horses on her own farm….now, she has ditched the farm idea for now, but has really been wanting to ride a horse.

I was finally able to find someone in TN that she could learn from and it was well worth the wait. We found Blue Ridge Riding Academy in Piney Flats, TN, which is about 30 minutes from where we are staying. Ms. Vicki is simply amazing. She is so attentive and aware of Hannah’s specific needs,  making her feel safe and secure and we couldn’t be happier.

One happy girl before her lesson

One happy girl before her lesson

Hannah telling Jasper to back up

Hannah telling Jasper to back up

Getting ready to mount the horse

Getting ready to mount the horse

Riding inside the barn

Riding inside the barn

After her riding lesson, she groomed Jasper and ended her session. It was definitely a great first lesson! Ms. Vicki, Hannah and Jasper make a perfect match!

If you are looking for lessons for your child, I would HIGHLY recommend Blue Ridge Riding Academy. Wonderful, wonderful find!!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

 

 

 

July 03, 2013

Myrtle Beach, SC

Every summer, we try to visit Myrtle Beach with my parents at their condo. This year, I contemplated not going because honestly, I really didn’t want to leave Steve for an entire week (he had to stay in TN because of his work at Barter Theatre). The kids really wanted to see the beach, so I decided to go ahead and go, plus it was going to probably be the last time I would be able to visit there for quite a while, since our plans will be taking us to the Pacific Northwest in a few months.

Steve had a concert to perform in Blowing Rock, NC, so taking us to my parents’ house in Boone was not a problem. We arrived a day earlier and spent some time with my parents and I even was able to visit my grandfather, see my aunt and enjoy being in the NC mountains, even for a short time!

The mountain view as we were driving through Elizabethton, TN

The mountain view as we were driving through Elizabethton, TN

I seemed to be falling in love with the mountains all over again as we were driving  to Boone. Maybe because we took a different route (via Newland, Grandfather Mountain area)… the view was simply breathtaking at just about every turn. I’ve seen the view before, in fact, this area is very familiar to my family and I spent much of my early 20’s driving this beautiful route, but I was viewing it all with new eyes and it was so gorgeous to me.

Little Laurel Rd in Boone, NC

Little Laurel Rd in Boone, NC

My parents' front yard

My parents’ front yard

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Strawberry Shortcake...yum!

Strawberry Shortcake…yum!

The following day we drove to Myrtle Beach, SC. It seemed to be a long drive, between bathroom breaks and filling hungry tummies, but we were able to arrive in time for Hannah to take her first dip in the pool.

Hannah and her new friend

Hannah and her new friend

Beach Fun!

Beach Fun!

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Happy kiddos :)

Happy kiddos 🙂

We always have to take a trip to the “fair”, otherwise known as Pavilion Nostalgia Park. Hannah loves riding the teacups (and so do I), so we always ride together. Fun times!

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Hannah saw one of the advertisements for the mermaid show at Ripley’s Aquarium, so we made plans to go there. Dylan chose to stay at the condo, so it was a Mommy/Daughter date for us. We had a great time!

Touching the horseshoe crabs

Touching the horseshoe crabs

Posing with one of the mermaids

Posing with one of the mermaids

Crab Crawl in the Kids Area

Crab Crawl in the Kids Area

Broadway at the Beach

Broadway at the Beach

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Trying on masks at a store in Barefoot landing

Trying on masks at a store in Barefoot landing

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The weather was fairly decent during our stay, but most of the time, it was sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon. We did get a heavy rain over the weekend and there was a tornado sighting fairly close to us, but we were safe.

the parking area next to the condo after the heavy rain

the parking area next to the condo after the heavy rain

We had a great time in Myrtle Beach. We got lots of sun, time at the pool and at the beach and took in the activities that were important to the kiddos. For Hannah, it was mostly pool time. For Dylan, it was mostly reading time and playing golf with my Dad. For me….well, I am just glad that I was able to spend some time with my family before we head out in a month or so. And I hope there are a few more days spent together before that time comes.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

June 23, 2013

What’s Happening in East Tennessee

Hannah has been taking gymnastics in Kingsport, TN and we decided to visit Warrior’s Path State Park, while we were in the area after one of her lessons. This is a beautiful park that has an amazing playground. It was built with kids all of abilities in mind and is called a boundless playground. The theme of the park is based on the story of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and you are able to experience the story as you walk through the park. There are audio recordings of the story with visual representation and braille is also used for those that are visually impaired. There is also a sensory garden and a guide to find native plants. Along with the playground itself, a treehouse, disc golf and a stream running through the park, it makes it a favorite place to come play.

The Entrance to the playground area

The Entrance to the playground area

The wardrobe

The wardrobe

sensory garden

sensory garden

Tumnus' Cave

Tumnus’ Cave

A new friend joined Hannah

A new friend joined Hannah

The Beavers' House

The Beavers’ House

Native Plants

Native Plants

The plants are labeled so you know what you are looking for

The plants are labeled so you know what you are looking for

View of the playground

View of the playground

At the RV park, Hannah is really enjoying the pool being open. We go just about every day and she is becoming an amazing swimmer. We are working on freestyle now, but she mostly just enjoys being in the water, especially if she is able to play with friends.

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We had the opportunity to visit another park in Bristol, TN called Steele Creek Park. Hannah requested to visit the nature center there and we hung out a while and enjoyed as much time as we could. It’s a great park that we love and the view of the lake is absolutely stunning.

Don't you agree?

Don’t you agree?

Inside the nature center

Inside the nature center

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden

Paddle Boats

Paddle Boats

On the train ride

On the train ride

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The amphitheater

The amphitheater

Dylan had the opportunity to do some pet sitting for some friends in Abingdon, VA. These are the dogs that he took care of last fall and he was super excited to do it again. Of course, Hannah wanted to help him take care of them 😉 Thanks to Susan for letting us use your trampoline while we were there….much fun was had!

The Dog Whisperer

The Dog Whisperer

Hannah sang songs to the dogs that she wrote for them on the spot....too cute!

Hannah sang songs to the dogs that she wrote for them on the spot….too cute!

We had some beautiful weather, with a beautiful view!

We had some beautiful weather, with a beautiful view!

Trampoline fun!

Trampoline fun!

So, there you have a wrap up of what we have been up to lately. There’s more to write, but I’ll leave it for another post!

Thanks for reading!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

June 11, 2013

Bristol Public Library

I want to share a bit about where we spend much of our time while we are in East TN and SW VA. I’ve talked about how much Hannah loves to be with other kids. As far as options for finding friends and spending quality time with them, we can plan play dates with friends, but that can’t always be an option every day. So, we have outdoor play areas, indoor play areas, museums, finding friends at the campground or visiting the Bristol Public Library.

We turn to the library often and are so in love with it.

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Here are our reasons for loving the library:

1) It is so very welcoming. The children’s section is actually separated from the rest of the library. When you enter, it feels like you are walking into a very fun, open place for play, reading, connecting and activities.

2) It is a magical place. Hannah can find a book on just about anything in this special library. Whether she wants to explore fairy tales, dinosaurs, cats, castles, princesses or possums, she can find it there. And not just the books…there are games and other items to encourage her to explore those things that interest her and the space to create lots of imaginative play. And Dylan can go to the lower level of the library and find what he is looking for….and space to read on his own there, or join us in the children’s section.

3) Activities. Story time. American Girl Book Club. Summer Reading Program. All of these things draw our kiddos in. It is a place to connect with others and create friendships based on play and interests of similarity. A place to learn and grow and just be.

4) Resources. If I see and hear of an interest that my kids have, I can spend my time at the library finding things that will help them explore those interests further. Reference books, books on tape/cd, videos, games, computer access, magazines and helpful librarians that have become our friends.

5) Citrus. The bird that talks to us as we enter the library and helps our kids engage in speaking to and caring for animals.

6) Caterpillar Crawl. An actual walk through Downtown Bristol TN/VA to discover certain characters from Eric Carle‘s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, to tell the story of this wonderful book.

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Currently, the library has just begun their Summer Reading Program. We joined them this evening for story time, which included a few stories about gardens, digging and gnomes; an art activity of creating their own gnome and a gnome home….and eating mud, dirt and worms. Really…it was just pudding, oreos and gummy worms. The kids LOVED it!

Tomorrow, we will join them for another story time and the movie, Gnomeo and Juliet.

I am sure that there is more to tell about this library and all they have to offer, but I will finish by saying this:

It is a place that my children constantly ask to go visit. That tells me that it is offering them something that makes their heart happy and their imagination and creativity blossom and grow.

That is worth more than gold to me.

Many thanks to the Bristol Public Library for all that they offer my family and many others that walk through their doors.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy