Friday, September 15, 2017

Road Trip: Nauvoo to Home

It was weird to not have Brandon on the road with us. Now that he's all big and manly, I think of him as my own personal body guard. But the girls and I were on our own for the rest of the trip. Thankfully, we didn't come across any bullies or robbers that needed to be thwarted.

After staying the night with our friends,
we left Nebraska and kept heading east.
Se stopped in Des Moines at the Science Center of Iowa.

It was a GREAT stop with lots of fun
hands-on activities. 

Des Moines seems like a cool town. 
Then we were off to Illinois.
Since I was not super-organized in planning this trip,
all of the hotels in the towns closest to Nauvoo were full.
We had to stay in Burlington, IA, which is a little more than
a half hour drive from Nauvoo. Kind of annoying. 
We stopped by our hotel to drop off our stuff and then
headed to Nauvoo.
It was evening and they have LOTS of fun events 
to do before the pageant starts.

 We had a fabulous time!

In the summers, they actually do two different pageants in Nauvoo.
One is called the British Pageant and the other the Nauvoo Pageant.
They alternate every other night.
We've only seen the Nauvoo, but happened to be there on the night of 
the British Pageant. We were excited to see something new.
Right before the show was about to start, a voice came over
the loudspeakers warning us that inclement weather was on the way
and that we should seek shelter in our cars.
We made a run for it.
It POURED rain, with loud thunder and bright lightning.
We hung out for about fifteen or twenty minutes before we decided
we were giving up for the night. Darn. No British Pageant for us.

We consoled ourselves with frozen custard.

Thankfully, we could rearrange things to be able to stay the 
next and at least watch the Nauvoo Pageant. 

The next morning we drove out to Carthage and visited Carthage Jail.
This is where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred. 

It's a special, reverent place.
I like starting our day there.

Then we were off to the less reverent activities.
We spent some time at the Pioneer Pastimes pavilion. 

C spent A LOT of time trying to figure 
out how to walk on these stilts. 

One of the missionaries taught Whit
a trick to be able to finish this game with 
just one piece left. 

We like visiting the family life center,
where you get to learn old-timey skills
like how to make rope, 

spin wool into yarn, 

and bake bread in a brick oven.

Unfortunately, all of the tickets for shows
were GONE by the time we got there.
We did get tickets for a couple of carriage rides.

Those were fun and informative. 

We heard good things about the root beer at the Red Brick Store.
The girls gave it a thumbs up. 

And we had a yummy buffet dinner at Hotel Nauvoo.
We're not very good at eating real meals while we're on the road.
We do lots of snacking.
It was fun to have a nice dinner out. 

Stopped outside the temple for some pics.

We had an hour to spare between dinner
and the evening festivities, so we took
a blanket and some books and hung out 
on the grass across the street from the temple.
It was so relaxing!
The girls found a frog friend. 

There are so many evening activities to choose from,
we couldn't decide what we wanted to do.
We stopped by this concert stage.
 Did a little dancing.
But then decided we wanted to head back to the
outdoor activities.

Thankfully, the weather cooperated on this night, and 
we enjoyed the WONDERFUL Nauvoo Pageant.
I love hearing the stories of those early pioneers. 

I recognized one of the actors--a former member
of Noteworthy that we got to see last year in Nauvoo!

The next day, we hit the road again.
Beautiful puffy cloud in the blue sky. 

We made one of our favorite stops:
City Museum in St. Louis.

This place is so hard to describe,
but it's amazing.
We LOVE exploring here. 

We did the ten story slide again.
I learned my lesson about going too fast.
I used my feet to slow me down 
so I wouldn't be too dizzy at the bottom. 

We made it to Louisville that night
and had a short, but fun visit 
with Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Alex. 

When we left their house the next day,
it was so fun to click the HOME button on my GPS.
First we stopped in Charleston, WV
at the Clay Center.
They have done lots of remodeling.
We don't like it anymore.
It used to be a GREAT museum for lots of ages.
Now they've geared all of their exhibits toward
younger (4-7 year old) kids.
Not fun for us. Bummer.
 There were a couple of fun things for Caroline.
Like climbing in this structure.

And stepping in as governor of West Virginia. 

Just a few more hours of driving through 
more puffy-cloud beauty.

And we were HOME!!

So happy we could make our giant road trip again this year. We LOVE getting to see the beautiful world and so many of our loved ones along the way.

Here are the numbers for this year:
30 days
6777 miles
27.7 miles/gallon (LOVE the new van!)
19 States
0 breakdowns/check engine lights/flat tires
0 times we got pulled over
60+ loved ones visited
Countless memories made

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Road trip: Colorado-Nebraska

After some wonderful time with family, it was time to hit the road and make the long trek home. First, we got to do my VERY FAVORITE day of driving--over the Rockies from Roosevelt, UT to Denver, CO.

There is beauty around every corner.

My camera doesn't do justice to the amazing landscapes.

One of our rest stops had an old train car.
B thought it was a good opportunity for chin ups.

A pretty river ran right next to it, too.

Drove through Vail, CO, and got to see all the fancy ski condos.

Stopped at Rainbow Park in Silverthorne,
a family favorite.

And made a super quick stop at scenic Georgetown Lake,
another family favorite that we discovered on our
very first road trip in 2006:

with patchy-eye Whit and adorable-hyperactive B! :)

While in Colorado, we stayed with Diana and Scott,
good friends from our BYU days.
I'm so grateful for all the friends and family members who 
host us along this trip. We couldn't do this without them!
So fun to catch up after many years.

Next stop:  Denver airport to DROP OFF B!
What? I knew this day was coming eventually,
when jobs or camps would break up the road trip.
And it finally came.
Our stake youth were going on a trip to Kirtland, OH,
and Palmyra, NY. I thought it would be a great chance
for B to see those sights with his friends. 
I didn't want him to miss out.
So I sent him on a plane!
Andrew was already home, so he picked him up in Greensboro.
Bye, B! We'll miss you!

Then it was just us girls.
Driving through the beautiful big skies of Nebraska.

Do you see that funky overpass ahead?
That's a museum in Kearny, NE.

We decided to make that our fun stop for the day.

It was overpriced, in my opinion,
but a great museum.

Bird's eye view of I-80 beneath us.

We made it to Omaha that night.
We were so excited to see Jessica, JD, and their kids,
who moved from NC last year.
It was cow day at Chick-fil-a,
so we taped our spots on and drove down...
only to find out that we were 15 minutes late!
They were nice and still gave us gift cards for free sandwiches.

Caroline and Ryleigh had a great time catching up.
Just a few more adventures left on our way home!