Week 1

We are officially gone for the winter :)  We battened down the house and set sail on the 5th heading towards Dickson, TN.  We left on a cold, rainy, fall day, and I was ready to head for warmer weather; although, what awaited us along the way was anything but warm. 

We stayed at Rend Lake in Illinois for two nights.  We love staying at Corp of Engineers campgrounds for many reasons but mainly because there are always lots of walking/hiking/biking trails, and we get to stay for 1/2 price with our National Parks Access pass.  There is not much else better than $8 to $10 a night for full hook ups.  And Rend lake was no exception; we got a spot right next to the tennis court where the kids spent all day playing and we watched a flock of bachelor pelicans fly overhead off and on much of the afternoon.  

Then it was onto my sisters house for a couple nights with chilly weather hovering over us the entire time.  We made the best of it though, and did lots of fun things in the Nashville area. 

Kaylen, Lexi, Hanna, Kelsey, Johnny, and Maia in the Meekat tunnel

$25 for gas, $5 to park, and $0 to get in (we used our reciprocal membership card from niabi zoo).  A fantastic day at the Nashville Zoo - Priceless!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was a bit overcast and all the animals were out.  The Gibbons showed off, the flamingos ruffled their feathers, and the meekats ran crazy - all for our amusement, and a wonderful day was had by all.  The zoo also has a HUGE - the brochure says 66,000 square foot - jungle gym for the kids to play on.  We ended up spending an hour at the gym, and all of the kids slept in the next morning :)  I would highly recommend this zoo when you are in the Nashville area.
My favorite exhibit at the zoo - aren't they beautiful?  I want feathers like that :)

The lizards in the new Unseen World Exhibit house.
We also stayed 3 nights at Montgomery Bell State Park, which is another gold mine (actually it is an old coal mine).  Of course we stayed at the campground, but they have some beautiful new cabins and a lodge house that are set back in the woods, and well worth staying at.  We hiked the trails and waded in the creek (even though it was only 50 degrees).  The flat rock creek bottoms were delightful, and everyone forgot their toes were freezing when they panned out tiny crayfish.  There was also a nice park for the kids, and lots of bike/hiking trails set in the beautiful Tennessee hills.   The colors were just on the verge of turning and the acorns were starting to litter the forest floor.  So even though it was rainy and cold, it was still worth the stay.

It was bittersweet leaving my sister, and my kids will sorely miss them.

But a rambling we must go!  
Onward and upward (downward) to warmer weather we will go!


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