Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Audubon Zoo

While in New Orleans we also made a visit to the Audubon Zoo, which is located in historic Uptown New Orleans, and had a very pleasant time.

Actually this was one of the most enjoyable zoo visits I think we have ever had with all of the kids.  Normally either Avery is whining about wanting to be pushed in a stroller, or one of the other kids has some issue about something and is complaining the entire visit, or both.

This time Avery was more than happy to trot from one exhibit to another and the kids took turns pushing Chloe in the stroller, so Misty and I could enjoy the sights too.

Actually we forgot the strollers at the RV, but luckily had a tricycle in the Yukon that has a handle so it can be pushed like a stroller.  Worse case we could have rented one from the zoo, but having the tricycle saved us some dough.

In my opinion, any type of zoo worth its salt should have a snake exhibit where you can touch it.  All the kids got to touch the Boa Constrictor that the zoo volunteer was holding.  The snake had a name, but I can not remember it or exactly what specific type of boa it was.

Zoo volunteer with Boa Constrictor
 Another neat thing they got to touch was a cute little Hedge Hog.  

Hedge Hog on display.
 The zoo also had a petting zoo which the kids enjoyed very much. Most children love to pet any type of animal, especially deer, goats, sheep or any animal that has fur.
Ethan petting sheep at the zoo.
Avery, who is not sure what to do next.
Ian, having second thoughts about petting the goat with Tia watching closely.
 Another neat thing the kids got to see and touch was the Australian Blue Tongue Lizard or Skink.  

This lizard is very docile and easily caught by humans and predators alike.  Its main defense is sticking a very blue tongue out of a very pink mouth and hopefully, the contrast in colors will scare off the predator.  It will also make a loud hissing noise in conjunction with sticking out its tongue.

If it does bite I do not think it really breaks the skin, but will leave a bruise since it has pretty strong jaws.
The kids petting an Australian Blue Tongue Lizard (Skink).
 The zoo also had a couple of leucistic alligators on display which were found in the Louisiana swamps in 1987.  Unlike albino alligators, who lack the dark pigment called melanin and have pink eyes, the leucistic alligators are white due to having a white pigment and have blue eyes.  
One of the leucistic alligator on display.
Leucistic alligators have blue eyes unlike an albino alligator who's eyes are pink.
All in all we had a great time at the zoo, even though the temperature was hot and muggy.  They had a couple of misting stations that the kids took full advantage of.

Kids cooling off at misting station.
During the hike through the zoo, the kids had to wrestle one of the alligators that was laying along this trail.  The alligator was of the bronze species type, which is one of the easiest to wrestle with fewer causalities.  It ended up being a draw with the kids leaving the alligator to its business.
Kids wrestling a bronze alligator.
Here the kids decided to pose for a picture with an ancient sculpture in the Amazon section of the zoo or at least I think it was the Amazon.
Courtney, Ian, Tia, Avery, and Ethan posing for the camera.
 One of the last exhibits we viewed while at the zoo was of the primates.  The gorilla below just seemed to sit and watch us, watch him.  Every once and a while he would push the tire a little and just go back to watching us.  We sort of felt bad for him because he looked so bored.

Bored gorilla.
There were many other things we saw at the zoo, which did not make the blog for all sorts of reasons, but we had a very good time and the kids all learned something, which was the main goal of the visit.

As we tour America and see what all it has to offer, the main thing we want our children to know is that you never stop learning. You can always learn something new, even on something you think you know everything about.

Misty and I almost always learn something new or relearn something we knew or forgot on every trip we take with the kids.  As long as they pick up one piece of knowledge, we are happy.

Until next time, may God bless you and yours.

Don, Misty, & Kids.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Warranty Work

August we left Louisiana to take the RV back to Fleetwood in Decatur, Indiana to have some repairs and warranty work done.  There was nothing major to have done, but little things like a cracked shower stall or a punctured slide awning.

The puncture below is probably due to some debris, like a twig, getting caught while bringing the slide in.  Of course this is not covered under warranty, but I had it patched, which will work fine.

This is one reason why you should always get on top of the RV and sweep off your slides before you bring them in.  I usually sweep them off, but must have missed it this time.
Punctured slide awning.

One stop we made during our trip to Decatur was at Camp Lakewood Campground & RV Park in Effingham, Illinois to split up the trip.  It is a very nice campground that has a beautiful lake and decent play area for the kids.
Lake Pauline at Camp Lakewood Campgrounds & RV Park.

Tia, Courtney, Ethan, Avery, & Ian on Lake Pauline.

We considered coming back here to stay for a month after the RV repairs were done, but they did not offer a thirty day fee so it would cost more to stay there than we like to pay.
While at the Fleetwood service center, you can stay on the facilities, but the only hookup is electric, so you have to dump your tanks and fill your fresh water tank as needed since they do not have full hookups.

Since they come and get your coach at 6 AM, we do not fold out the couch and let the kids sleep on the dinette, so when we bring in the slides, they can continue to sleep.

The dinette is not really that comfortable to sleep on, but the kids seem to do OK.  I would not recommend it for adults though.
Courtney, Avery, and Tia sleeping on the dinette.

While they are working on your coach at Fleetwood, you are allowed to stay in it.  If they have to do any type of work that could bring you harm, such as fumes when they do body work and paint it, then you have to exit the RV, but in most cases you can stay.  

Misty ended up taking the kids to a local park playground and a McDonald's with a playland to play while I stayed in the coach and worked.  That way the kids were not in the way and I was there to answer any questions and make decisions for repairs.

The cracked shower was easily fixed, but meant we could not use it for a couple of days.  Even though we would sponge bath and wash our hair in the kitchen sink, it was nice when we could use the shower again.  If it would have been any longer, we probably would have gotten a hotel room just for the shower.

If we were boondocking or roughing it, then you expect not to have a hot shower everyday, but one reason we bought a RV was so we had our shower too.

For us a shower is what starts the day, so without it, we just do not feel right.

Out of commission shower, while being repaired.
 While in Decatur, one place we ate was Arnold's Fabulous Fifties Drive-In, which as the name implies, had a 50s theme.  When the kids saw the stand up of Elvis, the girls wanted to take a picture so that they could send it to Aunt Lynn, who loves Elvis.  

This is actually the forth picture I took and is why Tia looks like she is upset.  She was done with taking pictures after the first one and did not appreciate me making them get back up off their stools to pose again.  I'm not sure what Avery is doing.

Ian, Tia, Ethan, Avery, and Courtney posing with Elvis.

 On another note, Misty has been wanting us to buy new bikes so that we can ride with the kids and get into shape.  We decided to by Schwinn mountain bikes along with a cart so that we could take Avery and Chloe along.  Avery has his own bike, but has not mastered it well enough to keep up with us yet.

Misty's new Schwinn mountain bike with cart.

Avery testing out the new cart.
The cart also has a handle and front wheel that can be attached easily to convert it into a stroller, which works pretty well.  It is very easy to push and has plenty of storage for other items to include the kids.

Don's new mountain bike.
We have not exactly figured out how we are going to haul them along with the other six bikes we have, but will work it out somehow.  

Well that is about it for now, so until next time may God watch over all of our family and friends and keep them safe.

Don, Misty, and Kids.