Day One: Travel from Dallas to Hot Springs

We started our day at about 6:15, finishing up the last of the laundry and packing essentials we still had in the house.  My goal HAD been to pack on Wednesday night, everything except our toiletries, but after the busy day we had, we were completely spent after dinner.  Also, remember what I said yesterday.  Things don’t always go as planned.  Click here to see photos from the day.

Ready to hit the road!
Happy to have a place to hang out on the way.
Packed and ready to go by 10:30, we all were giddy with excitement.  We drove about an hour and a half to Sulphur Springs to visit the Southwest Dairy Museum.  I highly recommend it if you’re passing that way.  It’s a self-guided free tour.  They have some very nice items and lots of good information.  For our kids, the giant cows out front were the highlight!

We made a quick stop at the local Wal-Mart Supercenter and realized we weren’t in Dallas any more!  As Mackenzie stated, “It’s like we’re in China again how everyone is staring!”  I don’t know if it was the signing or the Asian kids, but we did get a lot of looks.  One lady approached me, smiling, and said, pointing at Tian, “He is SO cute!”   I thanked her, then she asked me where he was from and if he was my son.  I was thinking, “Oh boy.  Here we go.”  Ends up, she was the sweetest thing!  She has read that right...TWENTY kids!  Nine biological, seven adopted from Guatemala, and four adopted from Vietnam, AND she’s a grandma, too, some of whom her bio kids adopted.  She told me she wasn’t sure how to ask me about Tian, but she had to ask because she was surprised she hadn’t seen us before.  (Small town and all.)  It was a real treat to meet and visit with her for a few minutes.  It also reminded me not to assume the worst.
Gas at the Wal-Mart in Sulphur Springs was only $2.91 per gallon!  We drove over to the pumps and it was such a mad-house, we decided it wasn’t worth it.  We crossed the driveway to an Exxon where gas was $.14 more per gallon.  Not one car was at the pumps!  It was one of those instances where time and stress aren’t worth the savings.
From there, we drove on to Arkansas, making one more Wal-Mart stop in Texarkana.  The campsite here at Lake DeGray is beautiful!  Towering pine trees, huge lake right off the back end of our campsite, excellent site with level, asphalt pull-in with big picnic area, BBQ grill, and fire pit.  Something I learned: I honk at starting a good charcoal fire.  Campfires, I can do, but I had a hard time with charcoal.  

We ate hot dogs, started a nice fire for s’mores, put out the fire after the kind park ranger came to let us know there was a burn ban in effect.  (I hadn’t seen it posted anywhere, but was wondering when I saw no one else cooking out.)
TJ, Kenzie, Travis and I took a quick walk/bike around the area, then headed in for the night.   We ended up microwaving our s’mores.
I’ll add that we’ve had a few stressful moments, which we expected.  It’s dang hot!  Kids are apt to fuss when they get bored, tired, restless.  A 31-foot RV is a small space for a family of seven!  This is a very nice, clean, and in-good-shape 2006 motorhome, but there are a ton of little bitty things that can mess up on an RV, most all of which were already in a bit of disrepair or had been rigged to be fixed, but not for long: The blinds, the trim on the counters, the plastic corner-edging, screws coming loose, toilet-paper roll holders falling off, hoses not connecting correctly, a toddler standing on the toilet flusher and filling the grey water tank, etc.  
Despite our learning curve and the heat, though, we’ve had a good time!  We know trips like this make for some fun family stories and memories later, so we’re enjoying it even through the stressful moments.  We enjoy not having to unpack and pack at every stop.  I love the fact that we are camping and at 10:30 at night, I was able to walk 4 steps to the bathroom and not worry about snakes or bugs.   It’s also very cold in the RV now that the sun is down and everyone is still and going to sleep.  Major bonus. 
Can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!


  1. I recently found your blog after seeing one of your videos on YouTube...I love it! It basically encompasses most of my favorite things...ASL, cute kids, Christian life, homeschooling, Deaf education, etc. So thank you for sharing!


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