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.

July 02, 2014

Las Vegas, Nevada

We decided to visit Las Vegas solely based on the Thousand Trails campground located there, but when we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to meet up with some wonderful new friends and we spent our entire time connecting with them and simply having an amazing time.

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View from our campsite...not too bad!

View from our campsite…not too bad!

When we first met our new friends, they came to our rescue in an amazing way! The lock on our door broke and we could not open it at all. Luckily, three of us were outside while one was inside, so windows could be opened to get in, but once we were in, we could not get out unless we used the emergency window. Not exactly ideal. We were looking to stay inside the RV over the weekend (100+ degree temps, by the way) until Chris and Jen came to our aid. Chris helped us get the door open (not an easy task, mind you) and get the new lock on. Amazing people to do so much for people they barely knew. We were SO grateful for their help! The next day, they parked across from us and we enjoyed getting to know them more each day we were there. It was such a blessing to meet this precious family.

They took us on quite a tour of Las Vegas and we saw parts of the city that we probably would not have seen otherwise.

View of the Wynn Hotel and Casino from the parking deck

View of the Wynn Hotel and Casino from the parking deck

Beautiful mosaic floor

Beautiful mosaic floor

Kids in the casino

Kids in the casino

Tulips

Tulips

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As we walked through the Bellagio Hotel, we came upon a beautiful garden area with sculptures consisting of gorgeous flowers.

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Chocolate Fountain in the cafe in the Bellagio

Chocolate Fountain in the cafe in the Bellagio

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In the lobby of the hotel

In the lobby of the hotel

Bellagio fountain

Bellagio fountain

Bellagio hotel

Bellagio hotel

Outside the Wynn

Outside the Wynn

Our new friends, Chris and Jen

Our new friends, Chris and Jen

Inside the Venetian

Inside the Venetian

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At the Pinball Hall of Fame

At the Pinball Hall of Fame

Fremont Street was our next stop. So much music and entertainment. Loved it!

Sax player on the street...he was very talented!

Sax player on the street…he was very talented!

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Praying mantis at Container Park

Praying mantis at Container Park

At the campground, lots of pool time was happening….and gaming and movie night. Lots of fun was had by all!

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Thanks so much, Jen and Chris, for making our time in Las Vegas so fun! It was very hard to leave  you guys, but we know we’ll cross paths again!

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!

May 05, 2014

Tucson, AZ

There is so much to wrap up in this post as we spent quite a bit  of time in Tucson, but I will try to tie it together somehow!

We arrived in Tucson with some time to kill before the World’s Best Roadschool Convention, so we stayed at Voyager RV Resort before making our way over there. It was a gorgeous park with lots of activities, several pools, a library and beautiful scenery. It was a fabulous place to park for a few days. The peak season was coming to a close there, so it wasn’t very crowded at all.

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As we made our way to the convention at Lazy Days/KOA Campground, we prepared for all the events that were getting ready to happen. Seeing lots of friends, making lots of friends, giving a presentation on our product, My Homeschool Transcripts and taking part in an unschooling panel for the convention. There was also a rally happening at the same time, so there were lots of festivities in the evening as well.

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A couple of very cool things that happened while we were at the convention/rally: an air show could be seen overhead from the campground and the lunar eclipse could be seen very clearly from our campsite. These are the types of things that make living on the road so incredibly fulfilling…those serendipitous moments that allow us to reflect on the beauty of where we are at any given time.

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After all our connecting with friends and enjoying the festivities, it was time to leave. So, we headed back over to Voyager to regroup and make some decisions about our travel plans. We spent enjoyed the pool some more, decorated eggs and took in some more beautiful evenings.

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Upon leaving Voyager, we decided to take another trip over to Lazy Days and check out a camper that we were particularly fond of! This one is totally going on the vision board! We really love the layout of the living area. The two couches fold out to create one huge sleeping area…a co-sleeping dream!

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All in all, we had a fabulous time in spectacular Tucson. There was so much that we wanted to do, but didn’t have the opportunity or ability to do, so we really hope that we can make it back again soon. It is a beautiful place to be!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits!

 

 

Benson, AZ

We had some time to kill before arriving at our next destination and as we were researching places to stay, we came upon an Escapees Park in Benson, AZ.  SKP Saguaro Co-op was an incredible find! As first time visitors, we paid only $50 plus electric for an entire week and it was probably the friendliest park we have stayed at in a long time. We were guided to our site and greeted shortly after by a resident in the park letting us know all about the area and what the park had to offer.

Our site in Benson, AZ

Our site in Benson, AZ

We had access to an incredible clubhouse with a wonderful library and many classes and activities to attend.  Hannah was very excited to take a line dancing class with her new friend, Ms Linda ( the resident that greeted us when we first arrived) and I was able to take advantage of the beading group that met 3 days a week. These ladies really know how to bead and challenged me to learn more and advance my skills! We were also able to watch Saving Mr. Banks for their movie night and took advantage of the pool room and other recreation area. There was also a shuttle that went through the town of Benson and we found the people of the town to be just as friendly as the residents of the rv park. Just a great place to visit if you are passing through….oh, and only about a half hour drive to Tombstone!

View from the clubhouse

View from the clubhouse

In the clubhouse during our visit

In the clubhouse during our visit

Line dancing class

Line dancing class

My project during the beading group

My project during the beading group

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We had some time to explore some interests that the park provided and some interests we explored on our own. Hannah started telling some elaborate stories on her own, so I asked her if she wanted to put them into a “book” and draw some pictures to go along with the stories.

Meet Crayon, the fire breathing dragon

Meet Crayon, the fire breathing dragon

We also explored the scenery at the park by hiking to the water tower and the view was amazing. A beautiful place to be, for sure.

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Each site had it’s own special flair, decorated with whatever interested the owners of the lot. Some had elaborate train tracks or painted rocks. They all showed a little bit of the personality of each person living there.

This is a site we walked by every day to get to the clubhouse

This is a site we walked by every day to get to the clubhouse

And we visited with our new friends…

Hannah and Ms Linda

Hannah and Ms Linda

Even though there were no other kids to be found, Hannah had the best time at this park. In fact, Hannah and Dylan (and Steve and I) are really looking forward to the day that we can return. Everyone…and I do mean everyone here was a joy to know and a blessing to our family. It was very refreshing to be somewhere that truly welcomed everyone into their community with open arms.

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.

Monahans Sandhills State Park

I have completely fallen in love with Texas state parks. We have loved every single one that we have stayed in, which begs the question…”why did we wait until NOW to enjoy these places?” One reason is that the campgrounds that we stayed in provided a place to stay that had everything we needed and at low cost. But I am starting to wonder if it is worth it to save money, if we miss out on some of the best places to see. Either way, it is a good thing we found them!

We had a couple of friends suggest Monahans Sandhills State Park in Monahans, TX and it did not disappoint at all. It was a little cold and windy when we arrived, but it warmed up some over the next few days.

The entrance to Monahans Sandhills State Park

The entrance to Monahans Sandhills State Park

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On our second day…. We were able to hang out with some fabulous people, picnic and slide (or at least try to) on the sandhills. So. much. fun.

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We had to opportunity to hang out with more friends over the following days, but no pictures were taken….why? I have no clue. But we are hoping to meet up in a few days, so I’ll be sure to take them then!! I’m still kicking myself for that one…

As we were leaving the park, we took a short detour to the visitor center to get a state pass…because we just knew that this would not be the last Texas park that we would visit….and to catch a bit of history as well.

Shin Oak is shrubbery  that you will see all over the park...it's root system supports the sand dunes. Fascinating.

Shin Oak is a tree that you will see all over the park…it’s root system supports the sand dunes. Fascinating.

The sand that is found at Monahans is 98% quartz crystal. No wonder it feels so magical.

The sand that is found at Monahans is 98% quartz crystal. No wonder it feels so magical.

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Needless to say, we enjoyed ourselves immensely! This is one place that we will be returning to visit, for sure!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits!

 

March 17, 2014

Texas County and City Parks

We have made an amazing discovery while in Texas. They really do take care of their own here in Texas, in the state and locally. The resources that are available to residents and temporary visitors is really quite amazing. We first noticed this with the local libraries. Since we are Texas residents now, we can get a library card at just about any library in the state of Texas. A plus in this family of book lovers! We visited some friends in Katy and the local park and found that we could use their facility, that includes a swimming pool, playgrounds, 2 18-hole putt-putt courses, exercise room and tons of classes, free of charge.

Just a small portion of what we brought home from the Harris County Public Library

Just a small portion of what we brought home from the Harris County Public Library

A most recent discovery is that some of the county and city parks have RV sites that available. Some were completely free and some were for a low cost, but wow, what a great way to offer a service for those traveling and also bring in revenue for the area, because they know we will be using local businesses during our stay!

We made arrangements to stay at a county park that was amazing. You could stay up to 7 nights, full hookups, bathhouse, 2 incredible playgrounds and trails to explore….all for free!

A view of our backyard in Tomball, TX

A view of our backyard in Tomball, TX

Spring Creek Park In Tomball, TX

Spring Creek Park In Tomball, TX

A view of our RV site

A view of our RV site

We knew that we were going to need to stop again for one night before our next destination, but thought we would just find something on our own we got tired of driving. We found another place in Llano, TX, a city park that had everything we needed and was maintained by the city. There was a fee involved, but only $15 and it was right on the Llano River with a nice playground area and trail near the water.

The city of Llano, TX viewed from the river

The city of Llano, TX viewed from the river

A view of our site from the playground area

A view of our site from the playground area

I had asked a local resident if there was much to do in Llano since we were within walking distance of the city. She just replied that it was your typical small town, but as we were leaving, I saw a few art galleries, train station, museum and some other cool places that we could have checked out. I guess we will have to save that for the next time we are in Llano, whenever that may be!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits!

March 10, 2014

Lake Conroe, Texas

At our next destination, a package was waiting for us in time for Valentine’s Day. Hannah has been waiting for this package from my parents for a while and was so excited to open her ‘surprise’. There were a few extra goodies in there for us, too.

Hannah's doll, Emily received some matching pajamas

Hannah’s doll, Emily received some matching pajamas

Emily received a necklace, thanks to Hannah's new rainbow loom

Emily received a necklace, thanks to Hannah’s new rainbow loom

Later on Valentine’s Day, Hannah wrote some notes to us…

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We decided to return to Lake Conroe, in hopes of meeting up with some other fulltime family friends….and we got our wish. Lots of friends and lots of fun times were had together.

We arrived and within a few days, we met up with several of our friends for a potluck at our RV. Some old friends, some new….

Potluck at Lake Conroe

Potluck at Lake Conroe

We were able to enjoy several field trips together. The St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary in Montgomery was really amazing. Such a special time there…we learned so much about wolves and specifically about the background of those living there. And we were able to pet several of these beautiful animals. An extraordinary experience…

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We also went along on another trip to Blue Bell. Apparently, we cant resist another opportunity to have lots and lots of ice cream. We really enjoyed ourselves…it was even more enjoyable to experience it with our friends. Rainy, wet, fun, amazing, sugary day!!

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And then we continued the fun back at the campground with a game night!

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Lots more to do at Lake Conroe with more  friend time and games and pizza and parties….

We will remember our time there as a time of joy and lots and lots of fun. Thank you all for the memories. We carry you in our hearts and wish a safe journey to you all!!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits.

January 21, 2014

One Month in San Antonio

One month. Other than our 4 1/2 month stay in East TN last summer, this is the longest we have stayed in one location. We stayed at a campground in the Thousand Trails system called Medina Lake. We planned to be there for 3 weeks, but after Christmas, spending time with friends (which was awesome!!) and wanting to see more of the area, we decided to extend our stay a week.

Medina Lake is kind of awesome. There isn’t actually a lake….well, there is, but it is only at 3 % capacity so we could not see it from our site. We saw trees growing where the lake used to be and actual roads forming as well. The scenery is definitely changing there. It is difficult to see first hand what can happen to a community when drought occurs. The campground itself is managing to stay open and does a seemingly good business, but when we took a drive to see the actual lake and ALL the businesses that were once thriving, shut down…only the signs and the empty closed and boarded up buildings remain, yet beyond in the distance you see the view of the hill country in all its beauty. Breathtaking, yet desolate.

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Yet, in the midst of this, we are able to enjoy the company of friends. Friends that you connect with in so many ways that you wish you could travel together all the time. We were able to see the beauty around us and to gather a few memories that could be found in no other place. And for this we are thankful.

Thank you, San Antonio, for providing that space for us.

“Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation.” Neil Armstrong