2011 Road Trip Day 10 Birds and Nuns of New Jersey.


Everyone did a good job sleeping in. We got up and got dressed and ate some cereal and stuff in the room and got ready for the day. We were scheduled to have lunch at noon and meet the nuns at 1pm so we had to stay fairly close but we wanted to wear the kids out and do something so we found the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.


We drove a few miles though the city and checked out the big houses and stuff. Once at the park we parked at the first area we came too and hopped out for a hike in our flip flops.


We let Pumpkin walk but brought the pack in case she got tired. Flip flops worked just fine because the whole path was on a wood walkway. The swamp was probably too cold for gaters and crocks but was a hot spot for birds when not with two kids who were dying to yell and run and make a ruckus.


We walked till we could see a big bird blind building and then we tried to be quiet. We crept in and up to the viewing slits.

And checked out some swampland.

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We didn’t see anything too exciting but maybe a few regular looking birds. The kids screwed around a bit then we hiked back to the car. Then we drove over to a Raptor Trust On the way we saw some wild turkeys in someone’s yard.


It was not as fun as the hike but the coolest  birds we had seen so far. This quickly changed when we got to the raptors.


I was impressed at how many injured birds they had. We saw eagles


(yes that one has an injured eye)

And hawks, falcons and other birds. (


We slowly worked our way through all the cages and then out through an area where they have bird food out in a little safe zone area for birds they had healed and released but that hung out in the area still like this guy.


We took a different way out and stopped to check out things at an overlook.



Then we headed back to the convent and cooled off and relaxed a minute before our lunch was delivered. We are a group of 2 adults, a young boy and a toddler but they brought enough food for 5 adults. There was a big peanut butter pie dessert, salad and a fruit trey.


Plus big platters of carrots, mashed potatoes and meatloaf.


I ate so much meatloaf trying to put a good dent in it. Pumpkin only wanted fruit and mashed potatoes but didn’t seem to care if I put potatoes on top of meatloaf or carrots before she put them in her mouth so she got a lot of everything.

We were super stuffed so Peanut and I went for a little walk outside then headed back inside to get ready with the girls. Then we all headed upstairs to the first little room with the ½ wall where we saw Carri our first day. We waited for a few minutes then the doors opened and the other side of the room slowly filled with giggling smiling nuns and nun wantabees.

(I intended to take some pictures at this point but never did)

The nuns were full of question for the kids and some for us. They laughed at everything Pumpkin and Peanut did and were impressed when Pumpkin could point out her hair and ears and stuff and when she gave them “knucks” or high fives or blew them kisses. We told them all about our road trip vacation and our recent pig roast and they had some questions about how Carri was in her younger days. I think we talked with them for over 30 minutes. Some were there for the whole time and others came late or left early. Eventually Carri and us were all that were left and we started packing up to head down to our basement home away from home. I discovered the camera and took a few pictures with Pumpkin.


We had dressed Pumpkin in a little dress that my mom sent that was Carri’s when she was little and I took some more shots to show mom.


We headed downstairs and Pumpkin laid down for a nap, she fussed for a minute and then was out hard. Peanut laid in his bed and played Nintendo DS and rested. Heath and I went out and talked to Carri over the ½ wall for about an hour. Then Carri had something to do and we were pretty tired and ready to get a pre overnight drive nap in. Heath and I joined the kids and slept pretty good for 30 minutes or so until Peanut got tired of his video game and started screwing around.

I got up and took Peanut outside to beat entertain him. We worked our way around the property following the wall that keeps the sisters cloistered. Peanut thought it was a lot like a castle and wondered if they had canons to shoot at people who tried to climb the 20 feet.



We took a few shots of the nice areas of the building we could see but I think most of the cool stuff was behind the wall.

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Then we headed back inside as Carri’s free time was coming up. We met her at the ½ wall and played some card games and hung out and talked a while.


When Pumpkin woke up Carri had to go and we needed to get ready for the rest of our trip. We hopped in the van and went to Walmart. The convent was in a really nice area and the Walmart was more ghetto then we imagined. We had a terrible time finding the granola bars and fruit snacks and things we needed to keep the trip going let alone some fun stuff for sisters and Carri. We got out and got back to the room late for our supper. We sat down and pulled over a trey of jello, salad, ham salad and homemade biscuits and brownies. We were still pretty stuffed from lunch and barely dented the massive supper. Then we headed over to the wall and Carri was there finding the games and snacks we had gotten for her. We opened Farkle and Peanut and Carri challenged Heath and I to a game.


Pumpkin ran around the room and yelled and looked at the fish on the card game from earlier. We played until it was nearly 8:30 and Carri would need to go for the night. We took a last batch of pictures and then said our goodbyes not sure when we would see her again.


We packed up the van with all our stuff and all of us and hit the road. The next few hours were some of the worst on the trip. We were driving around and out of New York at 9pm on a Sunday night and traffic was terrible.  Luckily for me Heath was at the wheel and raged us through the crowd and out of there. The kids and I stayed awake longer then we had expected too in case we needed to get Heath’s back in a fight but eventually we got moving along and fell asleep.

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