Thursday, July 30, 2009

natchez trace

We continued our travels along the Natchez Trace today from Jackson MS to Tupelo MS. We spotted some wild life as well including an owl, lots of wild turkey, an armadillo and Donna's favorite a big snake making it's way across the road!! The scenery is very pretty but the novelty of a dirt path and Indian dirt mounds are starting to lose its appeal to the girls. We arrived in Tupelo MS later in the afternoon so we went to Elvis Presley's birth home and museum and of course they also had a gift shop. The weather has been clear during the day but both last night and tonight there have been some pretty violent thunderstorms. It looks like it is the same system that is hitting PA as well. We have about 200 miles left on the trace tomorrow taking us through 3 states and ending in Nashville.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

feeding the alligators

This morning we went on a swamp tour. The best thing there was watching the tour guide feed the alligators marshmallows and lady fingers (hot dogs). We also saw baby turtles, blue herons, egrets and some more hurricane Katrina destruction. I wish we could have seen the male alligator because it is about 20 feet long. We only saw females which grow up 8 feet long. All of the baby alligators stay away from the female alligator named black jaw because the females sometimes eat the babies. There were no misquitos there because they get eaten by the all the dragonflies that fly around. After that we drove into Missisippi to the Natchez Trace. The Natchez Trace is an Indian trail that leads from Natchez Mississippi to Nashville Tenn. that was used for trading and to carry information. Like yesterday it started to pour rain in the afternoon. We are staying in Jackson, Mississippi tonight.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Our Day in New Orleans

On Monday, we left the reunion site and made our way along the Gulf Coast, going the long way so we could see any remaining effects from Katrina. Starting in Biloxi, Mississippi, we saw many vacant lots long the beachfront, mostly for sale. In many of them, there were just remnants of what used to be quite grand beach homes - sometimes just the front steps left, or a fence, a foundation, or a pool. As we drove into New Orleans East, you could see from the highway many abandoned homes, or ones in great disrepair but still occupied. It was surprising to us how much there is left to rebuild.

We checked into a very cool hotel in the French Quarter. It used to be a school for boys in the early 1800's. There was an historic courtyard in the middle of the hotel, and our rooms had walkout balconies where you could sit and look through the iron lacework at the narrow street below. We went out that evening and walk the Quarter, eventually finding our way to Acme Oyster Bar, which according to a local cop, had good red beans and rice (a requirement for Kevin). We had a nice dinner, then walked around some more, eventually taking the girls on an "educational tour" of Bourbon Street!

For dessert, we went to the Cafe du Monde and enjoyed the famous, and very delicious, beignets. They are a fried, flaky pastry sprinkled heavily with powdered sugar. The place never closes, and if you look under each of the tables, you see the floor covered with the white powder. We added our own to the mix!

After dessert, Kevin's dad, Donna, and Kevin went over to Preservation Hall and listened to two sets by their jazz group. The musicians were amazing, and it was great listening to such fun music in such an historic venue. It's a really small room, dark, with only eight wooden benches (which everyone fights for). All others stand for the set.

Tuesday morning, we did a little shopping and a walking tour of the rest of the French Quarter, then checked out. Our plan to go on a Swamp Tour was thwarted when the thunderstorms began. So, we got a new reservation for the tour, changed hotels and are now just sitting around. The girls are doing summer homework! We'll let you know how the Swamp Tour is tomorrow...if we survive the alligators!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Water Fun

Today is our last full day at the Cooper Family Reunion. The whole family packed up after breakfast and went to a state park beach. The sand was snow powder white and soft and the water was the turqoise emerald color, just as everyone promised us. We did get a little worried when we pulled up and saw that there was a dangerous marine animals warning. However, we could see right to the floor of the ocean and no marine animals!! The water was refreshing, not too cold or hot, and the waves were surprisingly big (good for body surfing :]) The whole family had tons of fun and went back to the camp. The four of us went kayaking again briefly and are just hanging out now. We've had a great time at the reunion, in a great location, but can't wait to see New Orleans tomorrow!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cooper Reunion

We spent Friday in Montgomery AL, visiting the Civil Rights Memorial which was very moving. It is amazing to realize that so much of that happened just 40 years ago!! We also took the opportunity to go through the Rosa Parks Museum and see the bus on which she was arrested. From there we made our way to Niceville Fl for the reunion. It is a resort town on the gulf of Mexico. We spent Sat morning riding the pontoon boat out into the bay. We were not too far out when we came along about 10 dolphins swimming and jumping out of the water. It was a spectacular sight to see!! They were just along side of the boat. About 20 more minutes out and an alarm on the boat went off and the motor shut itself down. Giving the engine a few minute break we were luckily able to restart and turn for home not sure what had happened.
The afternoon the PA Coopers took out the kayaks and paddled around the bay for a couple of hours. We will be here until Monday when we head over to New Orleans.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Catching Up from Alabama's been awhile since I've had a chance to write anything but I'll update you on the past couple of days. After spending the night in Charleston we visited Fort Sumter the next morning in the rain. It was neat to see the old, but inactive, shells in the walls. The day's weather turned good for the rest of day as we took a carrige ride throught the town. The old buildings and homes were really cool! Then we drove to Hilton Head to spend..can you believe it..2 nights at mom's uncle's summer home where we were at the beach the whole day. The water was 87degrees and like swimming in a pool plus starfish and live sand dollars. It was a little calm in the morning for what we like and are used to (practically no waves) but the afternoon proved better. It got more choppy and was soooo much fun.

The next day we got to another new state.....Georgia!! We stopped in Savannah but only had about 5 hours there. So we decided to take an hop on-and-off sightseeing trolley which was worth it. We stopped at a sweet shop on the river and got salt water taffy and tried pralines (which are really,really good). Finally, for today. We drove to Montgomery, Alabama (I have now been to 30 states) but stopped on the way to see ancient Indian mounds. They were cool to see that people actually had a society there so long ago and the artifacts archaeologists have found. During the rest of the way to Montgomery, we saw a sign for peaches and peach ice cream since Georgia is the peach state. We got to see a little factory in production and the ice cream was amazing!!! So now we are here in Montgomery and I know I said I was going to shorten my blog this time but I really had to catch you up.

Lynsey :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

made it to GA

It is Wednesday evening and the girls are taking advantage of the hotel pool. We spent the past two days traveling from NC to GA. Monday we were in Charlestown NC. Took a great horse drawn carraige ride to get a feel for the town - I took in all the pretty houses and Lauryn spent most of the ride taking pictures of all the other horses pulling carts that passed us. We visited Ft Sumter early in the day feeling confident that both Lauryn and Lynsey were able to tell us what happened there before we went on the tour. Score 1 for PA public education. From here we went to Hilton Head SC to stay at my Uncle's house. It was absolutely beautiful and loved catching up with my cousin and her family. The girls spent just about the entire day at the beach and never seemed to grow tired of body surfing. We did not have internet access to couldn't keep the blog updated.

After hearing strange sounds from the car we spent this morning at the Honda dealership - couldn't find anything wrong but did a safety inspection anyway. Things looked okay and of course no strange sounds were heard by the mechanic. So onward we forged still hearing a few interesting noises but things are good if you just turn up the radio!! Got to Savanah GA later than we wanted but did a city trolley tour that let us get on and off when we saw something that interested us. What a neat city and the river front is really cute. That brings us to tonight in GA and the girls blowing off some energy before we call it a night. They are enjoying hearing ya'all everywhere we go.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Duke or UNC?

After seeing a little bit of both campuses today, the big question is...

Which do we like better?

Duke, with its beautiful and pristine campus, or University of North Carolina, 2009 National Basketball Champs?
The Gallup Poll of all Coopers in our car came back with the following result...
Duke - 4
UNC - 0
Maybe we just don't like basketball that much.

College Road Trip

Hey Guys! Lynsey here. Like I don't have enough summer work to do for school Dad wants Lauryn and me to write a blog every day. It's all good though because this is an exciting trip. We decided this morning to go about an hour and a half out of our way to visit Duke University. It was worth it because the campus was gorgeous with 50 acres of gardens and those cool looking Notre Dame-like buildings. UNC's campus was so close that we went there after. My aunt went to Duke and wanted us to get her a sweatshirt but their bookshop was closed so we got her a UNC surprise instead. Haha! After a long, long drive in the car we got to our hotel on an island opposite Charleston across the Charleston Harbor (the bridge was gigantic) and finally had dinner at Sticky Fingers. I'm new at this so sorry it's so long but see ya till tomorrow!

Big car day

We drove 2 hours to Duke University. We ate lunch there in the swinging picnic tables. After lunch we drove about 10 miles to University of North Carolina (UNC). Did you know that UNC doesn't have any ice cream on the campus? So we had to walk 1 mile to find an ice cream place. We got back to the car and drove 5 and a half hours to our hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. After eating dinner at Sticky Fingers we went to the pool. Since it was night time the pool lights were on which made the pool seem like a dark green cave.Good Night!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

First Day

After a great morning of swimming at the summer league championships, the Coopers set out on their big summer car trip down to a family reunion in Niceville, FL. We made good time all the way down I-95 until we got to Virginia, and then things slowed way, way down. Instead of sitting in traffic, we got off the road and ended up in Fredericksburg. It has a great historical downtown area where we ate dinner, then on the way out, we took a mini-tour of the University of Mary Washington.

We'll keep you posted on our trip as we go!