Giant spiders everywhere. That is what I’m going to remember forever about Congaree National Park, outside of Columbia. We spent all afternoon walking along the raised boardwalk through the swamp.

The boys had fun doing the Junior Ranger program, and we all learned a lot about the plants and animals of the ecosystem. I tried very hard not to think about golden silk orb-weavers dropping on my head.

On the way to dinner, we drove by of the South Carolina State Capitol, and took a look from the car.


It was crazy humid in Charleston, but luckily we spent a good part of the day on the bay. It was a 30 minute boat ride out to Fort Sumter, where we had an hour to explore.

The ranger gave a great talk about the start for the Civil War, which began with the attack of Fort Sumter. They had a nice museum in the fort as well. I wish we could have stayed much longer than the allowed hour.

Back on shore, we spent an hour in the museum reading about the history leading up to the Civil War. Then we headed to Charleston’s French Quarter, where we wandered around the old town in unbearable heat and humidity.


Mission accomplished! We can finally say we drove across the entire country.

We spent the first part of the day at Tybee Island, outside of Savannah, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. The water was extremely warm, compared to the Pacific Ocean, but the waves were weak. It was a good time, until a lightning storm rolled in, and then Connor got stung by a jellyfish.

It sprinkled on us the rest of the day, as we walked around the historic district of Savannah. It is such a beautiful city, with their squares, fountains, and beautiful old houses.


After spending the night in Jacksonville, it was time to head back to the west coast. We drove around downtown, seeing where the Jaguars play football, before heading west to Tallahassee.

We spent all afternoon in the Museum of Florida History, where we learned a bunch about the history of the state. On the way out of town, we drove by the Florida State Capitol, then continued our voyage west.

I decided to take us to Panama City, which was south of the main interstate, to see the gulf coast. We drove through part of it, but the traffic was horrendous, so we decided to cut back north to get back on the interstate. The road took us through Mobile, AL and on into New Orleans.


The French Quarter was a short walk from our hotel, which is where we spent the entire day exploring.

While wandering the streets, we watched an amazing jazz musician playing her clarinet. It turns out her name is Doreen Ketchens and she is quite famous. I didn’t know that at the time, and I’m not a huge fan of jazz, but she was so good that I had to buy one of her albums she was selling.

We spent some time in St. Louis Cathedral, which was quite beautiful, before heading next door to The Presbytère. In this museum we learned about the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, then the happier topic of Mardi Gras.

After the museum, we hid out from the rain at Cafe Du Monde eating beignets, the famous pastry of the city. For dinner, we feasted on gumbo and shrimp po’boys at The Gumbo Shop.

To finish off the day, we drove along the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge, which is the longest bridge in the world.


During a long haul day on the road, we passed through Baton Rouge to check out the Louisiana State Capitol. We walked the grounds, observing the tallest State Capitol building in the US, before taking a look inside.

For our next destination, we headed up to Jackson to check out the Mississippi State Capitol. It was closed but we braved the heat to take a look at the grounds.

We had a good dinner of southern food in Shreveport before driving the remainder of the way to Dallas, where we were stopping for the night.


Today’s drive took us from Dallas to Las Cruces, NM. The route we took was through the upper part of west Texas, where we stopped in Roswell for dinner.

There were lots of alien statues and murals to be found, but no actual little green men walking around.


The last day of our trip required a long haul from Las Cruces to our home in San Diego. We broke up the drive by spending the afternoon in Tombstone, walking around the old western town.

By the time we made it home, we had driven a total of 6,383 miles over 18 days!


Both boys get to start new chapters today, with Connor going off to Oak Valley Middle School and Gavin starting at Del Norte High School. Have a great school year boys!


Courtney and her family were in Southern California for a summer vacation, so we were able to spend a fun day with them at Knott’s Berry Farm. The boys had a blast hanging out with their aunt, uncle, and cousins. Little Braelyn is quite the adrenaline junkie!