The kids have watched Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on VHS in the RV and I had to reference it.
Today was a busy day. We got up, made pancakes and then headed off to church. St. Margaret Mary church in Slidell is a nice community and they go out of their way to way to welcome all new visitors at the beginning of each mass. The priest went through each portion of the church and shook hands with each group of visitors. We won the title of being from the farthest away.
After mass we went to u-haul to get more propane. Unfortunately in Louisiana, they won’t fill a tank that is over 10 years old. The man asked what year my RV was, it is a 2000, and he proceeded to explain that an RV from 2000 would likely have a tank older than 10 years old. I maintained neutral expression as he continued to explain that a vehicle from 2004 would be 10 years old in 2014. And that a vehicle from 2008 would be 10 years old. So they could not fill the propane in any vehicles older than 2008.
The math lesson was not necessary but we will need to make do with our 1/4 of a propane tank until we reach Texas. Hopefully we can get it filled there.
We then emptied the tanks at a rest stop which must be done every couple of days and drove into New Orleans. We parked and Katia stayed in the RV with Mariana since she had a fever and was not feeling well. I took the kids through New Orleans on the street car and walked around Jackson Square.
The weather was only 7C so we were all bundled in hats, mitts and winter jackets. There were many homeless people and a lot of tourists that were drinking. It really took away from the enjoyment of the city since I had to be careful with the kids. Overall, it was not my favourite.
We are now parked for the night and will continue West tomorrow.
Monday was school work, shopping and a shorter drive. Katia is working on multiplication. Giovanni is working on printing and Maya is mastering the alphabet. Their school Curriculum books are almost done. I think I will buy some new ones for the new year. And I think I will try having Maya and Giovanni work from the same book.
I had purchased $12 shoes from Walmart but it turns out that they don’t hold up very well to burpees on asphalt. Mariana told me to go to one of the outlet stores near where we parked and get a good pair of shoes. Fortunately Reebok was 60% off the ticket price and I got a great pair of shoes for $30. I also spent close to the same amount on a pair of shorts because the old ones had an unfortunate tear in them.
Tonight I did 100 burpees and some other exercises and I am happy to say that they held up well.
We are in Cajun country now and people are very friendly. We had a good conversation with a local sheriff at a park and the tourist information works are very helpful.
I think I am going to go out for a walk now. It is very remote where we are and the night is nice and clear. I am just waiting for the kids to fall asleep.
Tuesday we got up and did school work. It took us a while to get going but we finally made it out of the visitor centre and got propane at a campground. This place was nice enough to not check the age of the propane tank but were also cautious and made everyone get out of the RV.
We headed into Breaux Bridge and went to Buck & Johnny’s for some traditional Cajun food. I had the gumbo and Mariana had the crab cakes. The kids had shrimp with fries and fish with fries and Katia had Spaghetti with a big meat ball on it. All of the kids food had some bite to it which our kids could not handle. I think the kids down here are conditioned to the heat from birth. I have my suspicions that they put Tabasco sauce in the babies formula.
The gumbo was hot. It tasted great but it had some kick to it. I put some Tabasco sauce on it to try it the traditional way and that was enough for me. I can’t handle the heat the way Ragin’ Cajuns can.
After lunch the kids found another library in which Katia read a mountain of books. I read our kids a book about hurricane Katrina which happened in 2005. I had forgotten it was that long ago.
The library also had a cool door only for kids that our kids had a lot of fun with.
We are now in Lafayette which so far seems to be a rougher city. We will try to explore more later.
One note, I am really enjoying the Cajun hospitality and welcoming attitude. So far everyone has been very friendly. I also love the Cajun accent. I can’t put my finger on why but it has this nice smooth flow to it without a lot of harsh sounds.
If I really like an accent, I start to inadvertently using the accent when I talk. Mariana is good at reining me in when I start to embrace the accent too much and risk offending locals.
Wednesday we wandered around the Lake Martin nature preserve and then drove to Beaumont Texas. Walking through the nature preserve was fun and it tired out the kids. The drive to Texas was long and we are happy to be stopped at a campground for the night. Mariana was able to do the laundry this evening and I did school work with the kids. I am enjoying watching them learn new skills.
I am slowly working them into doing more chores. The past week the rule has been that right after dinner they had to put on their PJ’s and brush teeth before they could do anything else. Today I added, Everyone must wash their dishes after dinner. The quality of washing was OK, but I think it will improve as they make a habit of it. Tomorrow I will try to stick with having them wash their dishes and see it we can make it a chore that they follow.
Little steps to get them more involved in the chores.
The other thing I did was I put their beds together and only put the bottom sheet on it. With the cushions and couch, putting the bottom sheet on is pretty tough. I left them to make the bed with the top sheet and pillow and that seemed to go well. I think I will add that to the chores for the next week and see how it goes.
Wednesday night we stayed at the Gulf Coast RV Park in Beaumont. It is the best campground we have stayed at so far. Concrete pavement for all the spots and the driveways to the spots. The showers were clean and it included a friendly free breakfast.
Thursday was a bit of a right off while I dealt with a head cold. I was OK until we finished our drive to Baytown near Houston. Once I got there, I got really dizzy standing up and rested the rest of the day.
Friday I continued to fight the head cold. But on the plus side we went to the Sterling Public Library in Baytown which is an excellent library. They had a great kids section and a public park only 250 meters away. We parked the RV in the large lot, played and read, made pancakes in the RV for lunch and played at the playground. It was a great day and tired out the kids.
Saturday I got up and did 100 burpees while Mariana watched the kids. We quickly packed up and then hit the road to Sam Houston National Forest. This park is nice and would be cool to explore with a canoe. But more importantly, the campground loop is short, level and paved. For the 1st time in almost 2 months, we took the bikes off and the kids rode around the campground for 1 hour. They are going to sleep well tonight.
Sunday we slowly got up. The kids rode around the camp a couple more times and I took them on a 2.7km hike through the woods. The hike was nice and filled with the usual happy times flip flopping with everything is going terrible and the kids are hating walking. Afterwards we drove across more of Texas and stopped in Mexia which is half way between Houston and Dallas.
Monday we did school work then drove to Dallas Texas. We took a train into downtown Dallas and walked around with the kids. They enjoyed the water fountains and playing in the park. They also enjoyed riding the light rail train system. I think I enjoyed it more because I finally got to ride a train similar to the one we were building for Edmonton.