Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Road Trip 2011

My younger brother got accepted to NYU and therefore was moving across the country.  One day in June I got a text message that said "How would you like to spend 40 hours with your brother?"  I replied with "Driving to New York?"  He said "Maybe."  So I then asked "How will I get home?"  He said, "Fly on my dime."  I said, "I'm in."  It didn't occur to me until the next day that Nauvoo Illinois (Where my Mom is on a mission) is on the way.  So I asked my brother if we were stopping there and he said that was part of the plan.  So then I was even more excited!
Wednesday, July 13th we finished packing the back of the 4-Runner, attached the U-haul trailer (which took four of us standing on the back to do it) and headed out. 
Disclaimer:  A lot of my pictures are taken from inside the car.
Wyoming had a lot of windmills and I found them very serene.
We hit some heavy rain just after Rock Springs, WY
The rock formations were cool.
Can anyone guess what state this next picture is from?
I hope you guessed Nebraska.
The first night we stayed in North Platte, Nebraska.  We were hoping to find some good local food that night but we got there a little late and the only thing still open was Applebee's.  It was disappointing. 
Thursday, July 14th we got out to the car and Jeff realized that he had left the driver's side window down the whole night!  Some of his most valuable stuff was inside the 4-Runner.  Nothing had been touched.  The drivers side was up against a fence and I don't think anyone had even looked.  Thank goodness!
Right before we crossed into Iowa I realized we were pretty close to the Winter Quarter's temple so we took a detour and went and found it.
It was beautiful.  There is also a pioneer graveyard right by it.  We walked around it too.  It was very peaceful.

Right after that little detour we entered Iowa.  I think Iowa has more corn than Nebraska does.  It also had very picturesque farms along the road.
That evening about 6 pm we made it to Nauvoo, IL.  We teased my Mom and told her we had gotten a late start so she wasn't expecting us as soon as we got there.  Her and Neal had the night off.  So they fed us dinner and then drove us around Nauvoo.  I wish I could have taken pictures of the firefly's.  I love them, they fascinate me!  In fact we hit one in the car and the guts glowed on the windshield for a minute.  Only bug I felt bad about killing. 
The mighty Mississippi at sunset.
They also took us to get frozen custard in town.  It was delicious!  My Mom was so excited to introduce us to the owner of the custard shop.  There also happened to be other missionaries there that they were happy to have us meet.  My Mom and Step Dad live in a little fifth wheel trailer so they had arranged for us to stay at a house of some people they know.  The people had a basement with two bedrooms, bathroom and a separate entrance they would leave open for us.  It was very nice. 
Friday, July 15th, my Mom and Neal were busy so Jeff and I went to Carthage.  The minute we stepped out of the car I could feel the spirit there.  We of course took the tour so we got to see the jail and the room where Joseph Smith was last alive.  It really did make everything I have heard since I was little a lot more real.
Before going back to Nauvoo we drove into Warsaw.  Back in Joseph Smith's times they had a printing press there.  It was putting out anti-Mormon publications.  I heard that one of the church leaders told them they would never prosper.  The printing press and most of the main street looks abandoned.  It is kind of a dumpy little town.  Jeff also wanted to drive into Missouri so that he could say he had been there.  After we got back from Carthage and ate lunch we went to a show called "High Hopes and Riverboats" that was put on by the Young Performing Missionaries.  It was really cute.  Then we met my Mom and Neal in the grove where the guy who plays Joseph Smith in the pageant gave part of the King Follett sermon.  He was dressed in character and it felt like I was there. 
That night we got to see "Rendezvous".  It is the cute little play that the older missionaries perform.  We of course saw the one that my Mom and Neal were stars in.  I loved it!!
We were lucky enough to get pictures with some of the cast. :)
This was their big scene as Jed and Annie.

Jed is not a member of the church and Annie doesn't want to date him because of some of his ways.  Anyway they find out that saints need to leave Nauvoo and Jed realizes that he is on the saints side.  
Here the men are singing "We'll leave willingly, because we have to"
Saturday, July 16th was my Mom and Neal's P-Day, so they hung out with us all day.  It was nice.  We went to their trailer for breakfast.  Then we went and took a tour of the buildings that the Community of Christ church still owns.  It was a good tour.  We are pretty sure that the our tour guide was a member of our church which I think was a benefit to us.  He was very diplomatic in how he presented the information.  The Community of Christ owns the Nauvoo house, the Mansion house, Joseph and Emma's first house in Nauvoo, Joseph, Emma and Hyrum's graves and the Red Brick store.  Jeff was mad that they own those sites but they are doing a good job at preserving them.  It is thanks to them the graves are there at all.  Emma had hidden Joseph and Hyrum's bodies and they found them and created the memorials.
Following that tour we were able to go to a little vignette that some of the pageant performers did.  It was John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and others that talked about the missions that they were called on and the sacrifices made.  I felt like I was back in time.  It was so touching.  The spirit was so strong and it brought tears to my eyes. 
After that we went and did a session at the the temple.  It is a beautiful building inside and out.
Later that evening we got to see the other show that my Mom and Neal are in.  It is called Sunset and it is a series of little skits that the older couples and the young performing missionaries do together. 

I loved this one too!!  It was so cute and a lot of fun.  Then it was time to go to the pageant.  There was a lot of people there.  I ran into a guy that used to be in my singles ward in Cedar City.  That was pretty random.  The Pageant was so so good.  I never wanted to go to Nauvoo in the middle of the summer because of the heat and the humidity.  But I am so glad I got to see all the extra stuff that they have going on during July.
Sunday July 17th we went to church with my Mom and Neal.  They only have sacrament meeting.  I could get on board with that except it is at 8 am.   They had a visiting authority that we got to hear speak.  It was Elder Costa from the Presidency of the Seventy.  After church we went and walked around the women's garden that is right by the visitor's center.  It is really pretty.
After that we went back to my Mom and Neal's trailer and they made us brunch.  Then it was time to hook the trailer back up and head back out.  Is was really hard to leave. 
We drove all the way through Illinois and Indiana that day.  We were still seeing a lot of corn and soybeans.  Somewhere in Ohio we ate at a yummy Italian place and we stopped for the night in Mansfield, Ohio.  We stayed at a Fairfield  Inn.  I only mention this because it was way nicer than the place we stayed the first night and my bed was so comfortable!  It was the best sleep I had had the whole trip thus far.  
Monday, July 18th we drove some more.  When we got to Pennsylvania we made it a
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