Today we woke up really early to be down to the University before 8am for the 5th grade long term performance. They were performing under the category of “Classics: Mockumentary.” They took Alice in Wonderland and rewrote the story into an 8 minute “spoof.” All the scripting, costumes, props, etc had to be done 100% by the kids themselves with no parental help and virtually no budget. They wrote a story about the Queen of Hearts wanting the 7 of Hearts (Nicholas) and the 5 of Hearts to paint the roses red, but they misunderstood her and started painting the garden hoses red. When the Queen sees their mistake she gets very upset (“off with their heads!!”) but the Cheshire Cat convinces her there is a better way to resolve their dispute.
Cue the “People’s Court” theme and suddenly they are in a courtroom with the Mad Hatter as the judge. I was so impressed by all of their humor and their acting was great as well! Each time I see their performance, I’m shocked that they are all in 5th grade. It really is an amazing group of kids.
After their performance, they have a Q&A with the judges who ask them all sorts of questions about how they came up with the ideas for their script, and how they made their costumes and props. The scoring for this segment gets factored into the scoring for the spontaneous portion of the competition that was completed the day before. Audience is not allowed to sit in for Spontaneous. This is when the team is presented with a problem and they have to quickly work together to creatively solve it in the time allotted. Nicholas thought they performed very well in both areas and we were looking forward to the awards ceremony that night.
The closing ceremonies were even bigger than the impressive opening ceremony earlier in the week. The hosts were dressed to the nines like it was the Emmy’s and the stadium was packed!
They came in 9th place for their division. They may have been a little disappointed, but when the exact numbers came through later that night, they learned that they were only 3 points behind the first place team! I think that raised everyone’s spirits. Top 10 in the world for their division is a very impressive place to be!
After the ceremony was the big after party. They kicked it off with the first (of many) fireworks we would enjoy this summer.
There were jumbo slides, glow sticks, food, drinks, sno-cones and ice cream, and a DJ was mixing music on a huge dance floor.
Charlotte thought it was a blast dancing the night away with all the big kids. It felt like the official summer kick-off for us all!
Memories were definitely made for these kiddos and we are all grateful for the amazing experience that Odyssey has been.
Today we brought the RV to the dorms and picked up our son after a long week without him! It felt so good to have him back with us and now vacation can really begin!!
We hit the road headed east. All four kids were asleep within an hour! The week of Odyssey left Nicholas exhausted and the late night after party wiped the girls out. Our first destination was a stopover to visit family in Clinton, Iowa.
Clinton is where Adam’s dad grew up and where our aunt and uncle still live during the summers. We lost him to cancer seven years ago and we wanted to have some time to visit the grave site, pay our respects, and share some special memories.
It was an emotional afternoon.
We finished off our afternoon at the park adjoining the cemetery with slide races and enjoying the company of good family!
Stopping to see friends and family is one of the highlights of traveling by road around the country!
We left Iowa late that afternoon and crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois. We drove into the night and found a stopping point in Indiana. Tomorrow we get to check a new state off our map!
We hit the road first thing this morning and made our way down the center of Indiana and into a state our RV had previously never crossed into – Kentucky!
Right as you cross into KY, you enter the city of Louisville. It looked like a fun city to explore, so we found a large pay lot in the city, unhooked the truck, and headed downtown!Knowing our love of breweries, you can bet we got excited when we spotted the Bluegrass Brewing Company. Unfortunately, they ended up being closed on Mondays, so we had to move on in search of food.
When we reached this Mexican restaurant, we knew this is where we needed to have lunch. Our Arizona blood requires that we eat Mexican food AT LEAST once a week!
The food was delicious. We loved the salsa served in large carafes because our family can go through a ton of it in one meal.
Knowing we still had some driving to do that evening to reach our RV park, we passed on the Kentucky bourbon tasting. Next time, KY!
We continued our walk downtown through an area called “Museum Row.” This is where the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is located. The building has an eye catching display at the entrance with a 120 foot replica of Babe Ruth’s 34-inch Louisville Slugger bat.
Inside they offer tours of the factory where all the pro baseball bats are made. The museum holds a ton of baseball memorabilia and a bating cage where you can try some different styles out. Adam and Nicholas stepped in to hit a few balls.
When we left the museum, we continued our city walking tour toward the waterfront.
There was quite a bit of construction going on downtown, and we found it really cool that in one area they were building a new complex, but retained the original storefront to keep the history of the area.
We left Louisville late afternoon and hit some crazy storms on our way south toward Cave City.
We checked into the Singing Hills RV park and decided to have a quiet camping night after our busy day in the city. There was a fishing pond, and Nicholas caught his first fish!
Charlotte’s favorite part was the horse farms across the street.
We grilled up dinner and all enjoyed being outdoors.
Today a bucket list item of Adam’s was satisfied. We went to Bowling Green to visit the Corvette Museum!
Every Corvette in the world since 1981 is assembled at the General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant located just ¼ mile from the National Corvette Museum. The museum itself houses quite a few rare Corvettes in unique displays with information about how the car has evolved from the very first one in 1953 to modern day.
It’s probably most famous for the giant sinkhole that opened up in the middle of the museum in 2014, causing a portion of the floor to collapse. Eight rare and one-of-a-kind Corvettes fell into the hole.
While several of the cars were perfectly restored following their recovery from the sinkhole, others were left ‘as-is’ and are on display in the new skydome they built onto the museum.
When we left the museum we decided to stop into the Mammoth Cave National Park visitor center so the kids could pick up some junior ranger booklets.
We watched the park movie on the history of Mammoth Cave and then walked through the exhibits in their extensive visitor center.
We drove to Glasgow and picked up a pizza for dinner when another storm moved in. We did a little storm chasing for the remainder of our evening. We love a good summer storm! Actually, we love a storm anytime. We live in the desert, so rain is precious!
Today we had a relaxing, lazy morning. There was lots more rain and we enjoyed laying in the RV under blankets listening to it on the roof.
As things started to dry out in the afternoon we decided to head back into Mammoth Cave National Park and do a cave hike.
The kids had finished up their junior ranger books that morning in the RV so they got sworn in and received their badges before we boarded the bus for the 3:45 ‘Drops and Dripstones’ tour.
When we departed the bus, we followed a trail down to a giant vault that would take us underground into Mammoth Cave.
We had no idea that Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored and more being discovered every year still!
Charlotte was less than impressed and decided to take a nap.
The Drapery room was the most impressive area of Mammoth Cave since that is where we saw the largest concentration of stalactites and stalagmites.
As we emerged from the cave, the humidity was extremely obvious in my two that got mistaken for twins yet again today.
We were able to have another night of s’mores (or just a dozen marshmallows in Charlotte’s case) and spooky ghost stories around the camp fire.
Today we left the state of Kentucky and drove into another new state for us – West Virginia.
We drove through the entire day and never took our PJs off.
Thick fog moved in when the sun went down and we found an RV park along the highway in the mountains past dark and pulled in for the night.
When we woke up, we were in awe of the beauty of the mountains we has stopped in the night before.
We crossed into Virginia today and headed toward our next destination: Richmond.
We checked into our RV park just outside of Richmond and drove downtown for dinner. After driving past several options, we decided on the Legend Brewery for it’s outdoor seating with a view of the Richmond skyline.
Homemade pretzels with beer cheese are our favorite brewery appetizer! Especially satisfying after a long day of driving!
After we ate we spend an hour driving through the city and exploring.
Tomorrow we finally hit the end of the road and get to spend some time on the ocean!!