A photo of five archways in a row, stretching into the distance, inside the fort

32 Days in America, Day 21


  • Miles traveled: 117.9
  • Miles traveled to date: 3681.0
  • States visited today: 2 – Florida, Alabama
  • States visited to date: 10
  • Tanks of gas pumped to date: 13
  • Meltdowns: 14
  • Loads of Laundry: 17
  • Illness: 4

Daily recap

Today, we visited the Gulf Islands National Seashore and Fort Pickens, Kevin worked from a bench, and we pushed the limits of how many kids you can put in a king bed.


  • Exploring the visitor’s center at Gulf Islands National Seashore on the Florida panhandle
A photo of Ainsley, Grayson, Rayleigh, and Dillon reading a display about sea turtles in the national park visitor's center
The kids started by exploring the visitor’s center and learning about local wildlife.
  • Having a picnic lunch
A photo of Ainsley, Grayson, Dillon, and Rayleigh sitting at a picnic table eating lunch outside with the national park visitor's center in the background
Lunch time.
  • Exploring Fort Pickens
A photo of Dillon, Grayson, Rayleigh, and Ainsley in front of a large cannon on an exterior wall of the fort
This was one of the biggest cannons we’ve seen on the trip so far (and we’ve seen a lot)!
  • Getting (another) Junior Ranger badge
A photo of Dillon, Ainsley, Grayson, and Rayleigh taking the Junior Ranger pledge from a national park ranger inside of the ranger station
Another day, another Junior Ranger badge.
  • Playing pretend with a giant gun
A photo of Kevin, Rayleigh, and Dillon pretending to operate a very large gun mounted on a turret
Man (and woman) the cannons!
  • Getting some well-deserved rest after a fun filled day
A photo of Rayleigh, Grayson, Ainsley, and Dillon asleep on one another in a king bed
There were four in the bed and the little one said…

Other photos from today

A photo of Kevin with headphones on and a laptop on his lap sitting on a bench on a porch outside of a building, working
In today’s episode of “work from wherever you are,” Kevin worked from a bench at the visitor’s center in Gulf Islands National Seashore.
A photo of Kelsey on the porch of the visitor's center wearing sunglasses and a lanyard
Kelsey put our National Parks pass on one of Kevin’s lanyards from work.
A photo of two birds nesting in a chimney on top of a building
When the fireplaces are for display purposes only, birds can use the chimney tops to make nests.
A photo of Grayson striking a pose and pointing into the fort
Check it out, dude!
A photo of Ainsley, Dillon, Grayson, and Rayleigh in a large vaulted space in the fort made out of brick
There was very little information about the fort, so we have no idea what this space was used for, but it was big and cool.
A photo of two narrow brick hallways going off to the left and right
The kids explored these narrow, low passageways, which ended abruptly. We aren’t sure what they were used for.
A photo of Dillon looking through an entrance in a brick wall that is three feet thick
There were a lot of these openings in the walls. We don’t know what they were for, but the kids liked to look and crawl through them.
A photo of Ainsley and Grayson making silly faces inside of a rough opening in a brick wall
Ainsley and Grayson discovered a “rat hole” at the back of this rough opening and then pretended to be rats defending their territory.
A photo of Grayson jumping out of a hole on the outside of a fort wall
In many historic places, there are signs everywhere telling you to not climb on things, not go certain places, etc. Not so here. The kids had a great time exploring the fort at their own pace and in their own way.
A photo of Grayson, Ainsley, Dillon, and Rayleigh standing on a staircase in descending order of age so that their heads are roughly level
Why’d Grayson have to be so tall, anyway?
A photo of Dillon pointing out stalactites forming on the top of an archway in the brick
Water seeped through the walls of the fort for nearly 200 years and has started to form stalactites.
A photo of consecutive brick archways inside the fort with tracks for where cannons would have been mounted and swiveled to aim
Three cannon ports. The tracks on the floor are where the wheels on the cannon wheels would run so they could be aimed left and right.
A photo of Grayson stepping on a repaired section of the brick floor of the fort that looks like a giant footprint made of concrete
Grayson found evidence that Bigfoot was here.
A photo of Ainsley sitting in an opening in a brick wall with a grate on the other side
Well, hello there.
A photo of Kelsey standing under a brick arch in the fort
The archways were about eight feet tall at their apex. Kelsey for scale.
A photo of Rayleigh standing under one of the arches in the fort
Rayleigh declined to go up the stairs to see the cannon for the third time.
A photo of Rayleigh, Grayson, Ainsley, and Dillon behind a metal door in a jail cell in the fort
To the dungeons with ye!
A photo of Kevin and Kelsey under one of the archways in the fort
Kevin took a break from work and took a quick tour of the fort before we left for our hotel.
A photo of Grayson pulling on a large metal ring attached to a concrete wall

And now for your moment of zen…

A photo of a door to a hotel room being unable to close because the bed is in the way
Some top quality hotel engineering right here.





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