4H Camp Ocala 2015

 

This was my second year attending Camp Ocala. Sadly, the camp is closing after this year and the 4H camp for our county will be moved to Camp Cloverleaf in Sebring.

We had to catch the bus early early and right before a massive storm hit. I had LOTS of friends going to camp this year so I was super excited.

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I was SO happy to have my pal, Lex, join in this year!

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We sat next to each other on the bus and had beds next to each other in the big nice cabin!

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We were a bit goofy before camp.

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There are no after camp photos because I was not interested in pictures. I had a great time at camp. I had four classes: Aquatic World, Quidditch, Archery and Mad Science. I loved all the classes. I made several new friends, I tried new things. I sang camp songs (I would love to sing them to anyone who will listen). I managed to bring home all of the things I took to camp, except one sock and my water bottle (that went missing on day 2).

I lost my toothbrush on day 3 but Mom found it in my shoe when we unpacked. I only had one tick on me! I was covered in ant bites but I wasn’t complaining. I asked two girls (sisters) to the dance and then apparently blew them off to hang with my guy friends after a few dances. I wasn’t teased this year, except for asking a girl out. I showered a few times. I couldn’t find my underwear until the last day so I wore my dry swimming suit under my shorts all the time, including jeans. My hair was knot free, mostly! My shoes didn’t smell TOO bad, but Mom washed them anyway.

My shirt has signatures all over it this year! Last year it had THREE! I am excited to go back to 4H camp next year with even more friends. What a great time!

I have two more camps coming up in July, 4H Marine Camp and FWC Fishing Camp. I am excited for both but won’t know anyone at camp so I am a bit nervous but I will be okay.

 

 

Disney Fun

We recently renewed our Disney passes for the year. We have made a few trips to the water parks so far. I went on Crushing-Gusher, Humunga Cowabunga and Summit Plummet. These are all the biggest slides at the parks. I was so proud of myself. Only one gave me a wedgie!

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We also took a short weekend getaway and enjoyed EPCOT and then Magic Kingdom. I had a fondue platter for dessert one night and the strawberries were as big as my head, not really but pretty close!

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I have missed the castle!

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I finally rode Space Mountain and LOVED it! I have now conquered all three of the mountains. We were in line for the new 7 Dwarves Mine Train but the ride broke down and they said it would be about a two hours wait. We opted to pass for this visit.

 

Yard Work-UGH!

 

Mom said we needed to spend the morning weeding and mulching the front yard. I convincer her to let us get some new butterfly plants from the store. So we added those to the list and spent 6 hour hours outside working.

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The yard came out great and it started raining just as we wrapped up. That saved us from having to water all the plants we just put in.

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Junior Entomologist

This coming year for 4H I have picked an entomology book. I am getting a head start on the book because it is a long one. I had to make a killing jar for collecting bugs. I found several bugs in the yard and added them to the jar.

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Once they die, you relax them and then dry and mount them on styrofoam.

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I also got to build a few different bug traps but haven’t caught anything just yet. I am eager to work more in my new book soon.

 

Young Eagles Flying

Today was Young Eagles Day at the Clearwater Airpark. Mom dragged me out of bed really early but I was glad because the lines were crazy this time and we were 1st in line. I got to fly with Bruce again. His nickname is Cowboy! I really feel comfy with him.

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Not to mention, I love his plane!

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Up up and away! See you in 20-25minutes!

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Another successful flight and even flew alone for about 2/3 of the flight again!

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We went out to eat with Grandma and Grandpa for dinner as they were passing though town. We had fried bananas with chocolate sauce for dessert. I sucked the chocolate up with a straw! GO ME!

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Sailing Fun

Today we went to FunSail at the Clearwater Sailing Center. It is a great deal for a day on the water learning and trying new things. We got there early and had to…wait! UGH!

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We got our safety briefing and then we were off to the water. My friend, Zoe, joined us for the day and we went out on the pontoon boat a few times. We worked with the kayaks and the stand-up-paddleboards (SUP).

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I am really getting old at balancing on the SUP.

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Off I go in the intercostal. Not too far!

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We had a great day. I was so happy to see my friend, it has been a long time since she moved away. Normally I don’t enjoy the sailing stuff too much but having a friend to share it with made it fun!

 

Hip Hop Class

 

Mom signed us up for a few dance classes this summer. I gave her a major eye roll and said, “I am NOT GOING!” well, I went. And, I HAD FUN!

The teacher, LD, is awesome. We learned all sorts of funny dances. We start with one thing and then add on. Each week we learn a new routine. I am having fun so far. It is an all boys hip hop program, no girls allowed! Unfortunately, so far E and I are the only two in the class.

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Corn Palace in South Dakota

We are on the road chugging away towards Florida but had to make a quick stop at the Corn Palace. Every year the building (which happens to be the towns basketball arena) is transformed into a work of corn art. Murals are up year round but new ones are changed and added every year. It is quite a weird place to visit. Inside is a giant gift shop.

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The onions go up on the top when it is all completed, which should be soon.

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Hello and Goodbye to the Corn Palace. Our voyage towards home continues.

 

 

 

10th Birthday Madness – South Dakota

 

My birthday started off with a trip to the Reptile Gardens. We saw lots of shows. I loved the snake show. They brought our venomous and non-venomous snakes to show the crowd. No one was bit or hurt so I was happy.

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The same young man did the alligator show. It was educational vs alligator wrestling.

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We explored the gardens.

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I loved the replete house. This place holds the Guinness Book of World Records award for most species in one location.

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The giant tortoises were fun to watch eating the grass.

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The had prairie dogs and you could pop up inside of their enclosure. We could have stayed here all day watching the little guys run and dig.

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I almost got eaten by a boa constrictor but I managed to escape!

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Afterwards we went to the Museum at the Black Hills Institute. This is the area that they found the famous Dinosaur Sue and Dinosaur Stan.

They had on display, lots of skeletons and stories of uncovering dinosaurs.

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We headed across town to Wade’s Gold Mill. First we learned how to pan for gold. The older gentleman were so kind and patient with us as we swirled, sloshed and sifted.

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I picked out my few flakes of gold and found lots of tiny garnets.

We then took a tour of the property where the father of the tour guide had set up an amazing collection of old mining tools. Many of them worked today. With the pump of the steam and a flip of the switch everything began to whir and bang.

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We even got to pretend to blow up a mine. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Happy 10th birthday to ME! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                          I pulled up the mine cars with my strength and elbow grease. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA They even had a functioning gold mining operation. They truck in dirt and then put it though an intense sorting process. They actually do find gold but not enough to sell the operation and buy a private island. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We headed back to Custer State Park and enjoyed an evening with the Old Fashioned Hayride and Chuckwagon Dinner. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We started with the hayride and singing fun songs. Yes, I had to wealth silly straw hat all night! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The entertainer was amazing. He was really fantastic with the guitar, harmonica and even the fiddle! I could have listened and song songs all night.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                    Happy 10 year old! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We arrived at the cookout and found a seat at the table. There were buffalo near the tables so everyone piled into the center tables. I had lemonade while we sang more songs. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Suddenly my name was called and I was told to come up front. Mom had ratted me out! Everyone sand Happy Birthday to ME! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I was utterly embarrassed and could not speak. That was a first! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I had to raise my hat at the end and say YEE-HAW! It took a few times for me to get up the nerve. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We had a shorted ride home and clapped along to the fiddle. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Home, home on the range… where the deer and the antelope play…. We saw our share of deer (both mule and white tailed) and antelope (pronghorn) on this trip. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tomorrow begins our journey home to Florida. We have 2000 miles to go with a few stops along the way. It has been an amazing journey and we all look forward to more adventures in the camper and traveling around the US! There are SO many more places, parks, monuments and more that we want to visit.

 

 

 

 

 

Minutemen, Missiles and Badlands… OH MY!

 

We were rolled out of bed at o-dark-o’clock! We drove to the Minutemen Missile National Historic Site. We were first in line when they opened. They only have a limited number of tours each day (tours only take 6 people). We were excited to go see the missile facilities. We drove up the road a few miles to meet our tour guide. He actually used to work in the missile silos for many years. He had lots of stories to tell.

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We saw the upper barracks buildings. The officers got the nice rooms.

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Then we prepared to head below ground.

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There was a blast door that was HUGE! It was about three feet thick! They painted a funny saying on the door.

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Heading in to the tiny box.

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This was the control facility of the missiles for the area.

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The tiny key hole had a plastic cover to avoid sabotage. You could break the tip of your pencil off in it to prevent the key from turning. Primitive security at it’s finest.

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Can we control the buttons, PLEASE?

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Good thing we knew how to get out because this sign was on the ceiling of the elevator and I am not sure was an “EmergAncy” exit is? Are you?

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We earned out Junior Ranger badges and patches. To get patches you have to do extra activities, like the tour.

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Next we drove to the Badlands National Park. We did a Junior Ranger program then waled and explored the Doors Trail.

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The Badlands was quite barren. There were no trees and the ground was just clay, sand and rock.

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We had a fun time not he trail because you don’t follow a normal path. You go guide post to guide post.

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We made all the paths the hardest we could climbing through rocks and low spots.

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Mom lagged behind because she found it tough to walk and take photos.

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I was a pretend raptor running across the planet.

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I was walking along and found a rogue selfie stick. I turned it in at the visitors center. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We earned our Junior Ranger badges after completing the book. We already earned our patches by doing the Junior Ranger program on animals and layers in the park.

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Next we drove out to D-9. Another launch site for the Minutemen Missiles. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You were allowed inside the gate to look around. But you were NOT allowed to launch the missiles. Actually the missiles were all decommissioned at the end of the Cold War.

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There is still a missile in the silo but it is non-operational.

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You can look down inside and see the missile.

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On the way out we stopped at Wall Drug for exploring and lunch. I rode the giant jackalope.

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Next we visited Ellsworth Air Force Base.

We explored the visitors center and museum while we waited for our tour time.

I had fun in the cockpit and with the simulator. IMG_0910 IMG_0912 IMG_0915 IMG_0920 IMG_0921
Although Mom is convinced I should never fly a plane. Look carefully at the below photo. MY flying abilities are a bit… upside down!

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Our tour took us by shuttle bus onto Ellsworth AFB. There were LOTS of really cool planes all over the place. We had a tour of the base and then went over to the minutemen missile silo that is on the base. Boy these things are all over the place!

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This was the entrance.

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There were “peacekeepers” all over!

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we got to go down into the silo and peak through the holes and windows at the missile.

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Also decommissioned, just the shell remains.

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We found a map of all the missiles in the area. Wowzer!! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Back on the bus to head back to the visitors center.

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We saw the trucks that bring out the missiles.

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Next we walked around the center looking at all the planes. we learned what makes a B-52 a “B”, it’s for bomber. We learned lots of other types of planes.

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The storms were rolling in so we walked quickly to make sure we got to see all of the airplanes.

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The B-1B was HUGE! If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can see us standing under the middle! BIG PLANE!

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The storms move fast and the entire sky darkened. That was our clue to high tail it out of there back towards Custer State Park.

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