Saturday, January 16, 2016

Time to Go

One mistake that I feel we’ve made on this trip is that we tend to be in perpetual motion. We never stop longer than a week (or two with family), and often we stay at a place for shorter than that. The reason this happens is that we make plans to visit with friends and family along the trip, and find ourselves rushing to get to where ever it is that we are planning on meeting folks.

After our long stay in Orlando, then a lengthy cruise, then a long stay with cousins (first in Fort Lauderdale then in Key West) we find ourselves back in perpetual motion. Knowing we had a fairly lengthy drive from Key West to New Orleans and a week to get there, I tried to break up or drive with at least couple days stay where we could, and I tried to keep the drive down to five hours or shorter. However, after our first stop at Pine Island KOA (just a short distance from Fort Myers, Florida), we had to drive nearly 6 hours to reach our next stop in rural Perry, Florida. This meant we had to leave our Pine Island campground get a little earlier than usual. I really did not like spending such a short time at the Pine Island KOA. It was an excellent KOA, but it was packed. In addition to being packed this particular KOA was more of a retirement community with a lot of full time residents. There were countless activities arranged by the residents, but most of them were targeted at an audience a bit older than us.
Pine Island KOA residents 
The day of our departure we awoke to thunder, lightning and dumping rain. As I loaded the camper, moving items from the truck where we store them to the camper in back, it took no time before I was completely soaked. When we finally hit the road the weather got much worse. Heading up Interstate 75 we hit the worst rain and wind that I have seen on this trip. The posted minimum speed on Interstate 75 was 50 MPH, yet even in the left lane traffic was slowing down to 40 MPH as visibility was down to maybe 100 feet.

Eventually we reached Tampa, Florida and the weather started clearing up and before long the skies were clear and sunny. This morning I woke up to find news stories sent from my mother-in-law of a EF2 tornado that hit Cape Coral last night (the cape that sits between Fort Myers and Pine Island). I actually speak from experience when I say sleeping in a camper with nearby tornadoes is not fun, as this happened on our first ever trip out in the camper to the Olympic Peninsula. That night was a rough one as waterspouts were seen in the water just north of where we were camping. I guess the moral to the story is sometimes perpetual motion is not always a bad thing. Even though there are no reports that I could find of a tornado hitting Pine Island, I don’t think it would have been a fun night spent in a camper in those conditions. I just hope all of those folks staying at the Pine Island KOA are okay today.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Siena & Nadia's Recap of Disney World & Disney Cruise

Nadia's Disney Recap... 

Disney World we saw Nonni, Nonno, Aunt Chrissy, Natalie, Emma, Audrey, Aunt Debbie, Micheli, Zach, Uncle Mike and Uncle Danny! :) We were all so happy to see everyone, they all stayed in the rental house, but Siena and I got to sleepover a couple nights. The first day in Disney was Micheli and my birthday the first day we got to Disney, so we had dinner all together. At Disney World we all did the Buzz Lightyear ride. It was so cool! We got stuck on the monorail while we tried to leave Disney World after our first day at the park. My favorite ride was Everest Expedition in Animal Kingdom. My favorite part of the ride was the big drop weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and it was so cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool hahaha I did it 5 or 4 times. The Tower of Terror was not as scary as I expected. I had so much fun, but there were so many people, but still Awesome rocking roller coaster was my first luooptyloop. On Christmas Eve we spent the night altogether we were tracing Santa Clause. We were watching Christmas story that movie is so funny Danny said its is his favorite movie. It was on 24 hours then we went to sleep, on Christmas Day we opened are presents we left the next day….. 
                                   THE END
Thank you so much  Nonni and Nonno! Love you all! 

The whole crew at our camper dinner
After DisneyWorld we went on the cruise, Siena is going to write more about that. Thank you so much Baba & Deja – I thought it was super fun and I loved being with my family! 

Hi - this is Siena and I approve this message. 

Disney World and Cruise by Siena... 
Here are the Disney World bullet points (sorry I’m not writing a lot but that is because Nadia is writing about it) 

Day one we arrive in Disney World and we get to our camp site and met up with our family and had a family dinner for Nadia and Micheli’s Birthdays            ( Micheli is Nadia’s twin cousin ) 
Day two that night we got stuck on a monorail after leaving Magic Kingdom
Day three we went to Epcot and Emma, ( it is her birthday today ) Audrey, and me went all around Epcot with my mom and got this filled out. After that Aunt Chrissy took us to Hollywood Studios and got to go on a bunch of rides.
Day four we had dinner at our camper and Zach and I caught frogs
Day five Zach and I did Jedi training in the Disney Hollywood Studios
Day six Christmas eve for our camper Christmas present we got a Disney gift card, we had a short day at Animal Kingdom and went on a safari then we spent the night with our cousins
Day seven we opened presents and had a big family Christmas  

Thank you Nonni and Nonno for starting our awesome Disney vacation!

Disney Cruise
                      When we woke up the morning of the Disney Cruise every one was up and at it as soon as they could. Nadia and I got dressed as soon as breakfast was over and then everybody packed up the camper and we started the drive. The drive to the cruise terminal was an hour long drive but games made it feel a whole lot shorter. As soon as we got to the terminal we took the bags out of the car and camper. When we were sure we hade everything we started walking towards the boarding area the lines to get in looked really long but once we were in them it seemed to go faster (I thought that there would be a lot more to do) after we did all the boarding stuff Nadia and I got signed up for the kids club. Then we boarded the cruise ship. When you get on the ship the crewmen announce your name and everybody claps for you (it’s really weird) after that we went up to check out the kids club (which wasn’t kids only until 7:00) and then we waited for our room to open up (because it was getting cleaned) once we got into our room we dropped our bags off and settled in, our room was right next to Ollie and Greta’s room (they are my  cousins on my dad’s side) and they were next to Baba and Deja (my grandparents they were staying with my Uncle Nick also on my dad’s side). Our rooms were supposed to be connected to each other by the veranda but they weren’t so Mommy called the front desk and got it fixed (good job Mommy) after that we went up to level eleven and got lunch (that might have been before but I don’t know) then we set sail!!!! There was a big set sail party going on but I think we mostly stayed in our rooms. Since we didn’t have Christmas together we exchanged gifts. Later we had to do a safety thing it was really boring and after we did that every one started walking through the doors but there were ONLY TWO DOORS AND LIKE ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE!!!!!! (so you could imagine it was a complete nightmare) it took so long to get back to our room then we had to get ready for dinner which was in like half an hour and on a completely different floor (ugh) dinner that night was at the Animators Pallet (that was my favorite one) the Animators Pallet was so cool all around the restaurant there were screens and on the screens were the characters from Finding Nemo ( if you don’t know what that is it is a movie about a fish who gets lost and if you want more look it up on google or something any way it’s a really good movie you should totally watch it ) so Ollie was really liking that dinner was really good and so was dessert. 

So that is all about the first day of the Gorohoff Family Disney Cruise vacation!


Sorry I paused but I’m eating lunch I ate my applesauce but the soup is really hot so I’m writing some more  ( yay! ) okay were was I oh yes I just finished the first day.

Okay so second day right uh yeah okay uh second day lets go. When I woke up on the second day uh I’m bored with writing THE END ugh mommy said I have to actually finish normal her words not mine  so I’ll  just kinda giving you like the main stuff that happened is that okay YEAH THAT’S GREAT JUST GET TO THE POINT! Okay 

Second day was a day at sea and we swam in the pool and went on the slide and went to the kids club and had dinner 
Third day was in Cozumel, Mexico and we swam with dolphins and we saw manatees and it was really fun 
Fourth day Grand Cayman and we went snorkeling with sea turtles and the sea turtles were so so so so cute 
Fifth day was in Jamaica and we did an inner tube safari (we did not see any animals though) and the tour guide was really nice and funny that was fun. That night we  watched Star Wars The Force Awakens in 3D
Day six was a day at sea and it was also NEW YEARS EVE -- HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
Day seven was tha day at castaway cay and we went snorkeling and we had a fun day at the beach 
And last and totally least, day eight, the day we had to get off wamp wamp waaa that day was no fun at all except at the end when we got to see Hayden, Stephanie, and Zibby, so that made the day like a million times better.

Thank you Baba and Deja for adding on this Amazing Disney cruise to this awesome Disney vacation!!!! 

Nadia and me at the cruise ship

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mornings Are Crazy

Mornings in such a small camper can sometimes be kind of crazy, but when it's a morning that we are about to head out, especially if it's a long drive its little more than managed chaos.

Here is a video from us trying to get our stuff together and get out the door this morning. Even in the tiny camper there are things you still can't see, Kathy plunging the sink, Andrew changing, the drawer falling out of the cabinet, the girls brushing their teeth, tools falling out of the closet and luckily you can't hear any of the expletives!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Disney, Family and Fun in the Sun

We have taken a little bit of a break from blogging while we have been soaking up the sun (and the occasional rain storm) here in Florida. My last post was written when we were in St. Augustine, Florida, which is in northern Florida. From there we headed south and spent some time in Titusville which is close to the Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Center is an amazing stop that should not be missed by anyone visiting the Orlando area. There is so much information here that (once again) I had no idea about. The knowledge, experience and dedication by NASA is truly amazing. Andrew and I were both in tears when we watched the unveiling of the Atlantis Space Shuttle. Overall, a very cool experience. 
Girls with Space Man at Kennedy Space Center
Space Shuttle Atlantis, very cool exhibit 
After our Space Center visit we made our way to DisneyWorld. This part of the trip was probably what the girls were most excited about, not only was it DisneyWorld, but we were also meeting all the cousins! YEAH! Family time. The whole Micheli crew made their way down south so we could all spend Christmas together. My family stayed in a house outside of DisneyWorld (even though we tried to convince them to rent an RV and stay in the Disney campground - Fort Wilderness), it was lovely to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas in a home and the girls got some fun sleepovers in with the cousins as well. But after (almost) opening and closing DisneyWorld for a full week we all decided that it was a fun trip but also very exhausting. Managing 16 people in a fully packed DisneyWorld is challenging, but we were very happy to all be together. All 16 of got to ride the Aerosmith Rock & Roller Coaster and to be honest, my dad's face as that roller coaster took off was worth the price of admission for sure! 

The whole family got to ride the Aerosmith Rock & Roll Roller Coaster 
After DisneyWorld, we made our way to Port Canaveral to meet up with Andrew's family for our Christmas gift from his parents, which was a Disney Cruise. It was a great way to complete our Disney adventure. All the same fun and excitement as Disney, just a bit more relaxing then the theme park. During the trip we swam with Dolphins in Cozumel, Mexico, snorkeled with turtles in Grand Cayman, went inter-tubing in Jamaica and spent lots of time in the sun and the beautiful blue water on the Disney Island, Castaway Cay. Once again, what we enjoyed most was spending time with our family. Even though the cruise was a bit rough for some, more than others, we were all excited to spend the time together.

Sandbar in the middle of the Bahamas after snorkeling in Castaway Cay

When the cruise was over we loaded up back into our camper and headed south to visit more family, our cousins Hayden, Stephanie and Zibby in Ft. Lauderdale. Zibby is 2 years old and we had never met her, so our visit was way overdue.  We had a great time with the cousins boating, shopping, visiting The Everglades and exploring Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Stephanie and I even got a yoga class in, which was lovely. 

Airboat ride in The Everglades 
After four days in Ft. Lauderdale, the cousins joined us on the road and we headed down to Key West. This was one of my most anticipated destinations for the trip because I was really looking forward to sun and beach time, and it definitely did not disappoint. Our camping spot at Boyd’s Campground was amazing. I am so happy we made these reservations back in May, this place was packed and we secured a beautiful spot on the water. Our time in Key West has been relaxing and fun. We had some great dinners out with the cousins, especially our delicious dinner at Benihana. We had a great day at the beach where we were all able to do whatever we wanted. We paddle boarded, sailed the HobeCat, the boys parasailed, Siena dug a big hole, Zibby slept and we all enjoyed playing in the water. 

Our whole crew at Benihana, Key West 
Sunrise view from our campground at Boyd's 
After the cousins headed home our crew took the ferry out to Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson. This is the third largest fort in the US and has some breathtaking sandy white beaches and crystal blue waters. The only bummer (in my opinion) was that the day we were schedule to head out was one of the coldest all week, a chilling 69 degrees, but it was also windy so the conditions for snorkeling were not ideal. Since it was chilly and Siena has been battling a cold and lots of congestion, plus a little too much Dramamine for all of us, we were pretty exhausted once we got on the island, so our visit was mainly exploring the fort and the beaches. I am sad we didn’t snorkel, but in the end I think it was the best choice at the time, visiting an island 70 miles off the coast of Key West is amazing, no matter what the weather is like. 

Playing on the beach at Ft. Jefferson/Dry Tortugas 

As I write this blog, it is overcast again here in Key West, which is probably why I finally took the time to sit down and write. I am feeling so fortunate for all the great adventures we have had and the fact that we have had the chance to visit with our family this month. We have been on the road for 4 months now and we all have been missing home, getting to hug our family was a great cure for some homesickness. My only concern now is how much the girls really appreciate this experience that they are getting. Our hope is that this trip will teach them about all the opportunities there are for them when they get older. Hopefully we will give them a little glimpse into what our country has to offer and let them decide how and where they want to live and what they want to do, as they get older. I am not sure they really understand how lucky they are, when we visit a new city they are always looking for the next souvenir or complaining that it’s too hot (too cold, too windy, etc) or talking about “When we get home, I want XYZ”. I understand that they are kids and they really didn’t have a choice about coming on this trip, but I do hope that as they get older this trip is something they will reference for the rest of their life. They were very excited about the 6 toed cats at Hemingway’s House, so when they start reading Old Man and the Sea in high school, maybe they will remember visiting the author's home here in Key West, and the cute cat they saw lying on the floor in his writing studio when they peeked inside. I can only hope.

One of the many 6 toed (polydactyly) cats at Hemingway's House 
 The girls’ blog posts are up next, so I guess we will see what they think about the last month. 

After we leave here tomorrow, we are heading north and making our way back home. It will likely take us the same amount time it took to get here, about 4 months or so. Up next, western Florida, New Orleans and visiting with our friend Ron. Then on to Dallas and Canadian, TX  to visit more cousins and then heading into New Mexico and the Rockies to get some skiing in!