Friday, July 30, 2010

The End is in Sight

We left Iowa this morning with storm clouds brewing. It wasn't really raining yet, but it was sprinkling a little. And then on to Nebraska. We were a little pleasantly surprised. Nebraska is still flat--no hills at all--and the scenery still consists of miles and miles and miles of corn, and it takes forever to get across the state; but, the landscape was much greener than it was two years ago, which was nice. However, the east side of Colorado is still butt ugly, and to add insult to injury, we hit heavy rain--the kind of rain that, for safety reasons, has you driving at 40 miles per hour in a 75 mph zone. Several cars were pulled off to the side of the road, probably hoping to wait out the rain, but we just kept on driving. Visibility was minimal and became even more minimal when a semi passed the car spraying water all over the windshield. It was a tense ride, but we made.

We checked into our Hampton Inn hotel room in Golden, CO, and then set out to find dinner. We found a Mimi's down the street from our hotel, so we pulled in for a thoroughly enjoyable meal. Now we're back in our room. The weather, though wet, is nice and cool. This is the kind of place where desert rats need to live in the summer. However, given the many areas on the side of the road that say "30 minute chain up area", the winters wouldn't be much fun. Any city that has designated areas to put chains on cars is not a place we want to be in the winter.

We still have many pictures that we haven't posted, so there may be random picture blogging in the future. Hopefully, we'll remember what the pictures are of so we can add captions as well.

And now the end is near
And so we face the final curtain
Our friends, we'll say it clear
We'll state our case, of which we're certain
We've live a life that's full
We've traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, we did it our way.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Westward Ho

Sister's Log Day Six

This morning we packed up our things from the wonderful, spacious, air conditioned Brigham Young suite, loaded up the car, and headed to Fort Madison, Iowa. The gentleman who changed our flat tire yesterday recommended Billups Tire Store in Fort Madison to get the flat tire patched. We found out that somewhere along our travels, the tire picked up a nail. Billups patched the tire, checked the other tires, and off we went. Right before entering Fort Madison, we crossed the Mississippi River again, and this time we crossed on a draw bridge. It was a little higher over the river than the bridge we crossed two days earlier, but it wasn't freaky. Maybe we're getting a handle on our bridge phobias.

We headed west to Omaha, our goal for the day. Edie took the pictures below as we drove through Iowa. Iowa is such a beautiful state with green rolling hills and farm houses and silos dotting the country side.

We arrived in Omaha and checked into our hotel, another Country Inn and Suites. After unloading the car, we decided to visit the Mormon Trail Center. We drove by the site two years ago when we drove across the country on the way to New York, but we didn't go in. Today, we went inside and took the tour. We watched a short film about the travels and trials of the early Saints as they left Nauvoo and arrived in Omaha, where they stayed for the winter. It was known as Winter Quarters to the Saints. The weather was cold and harsh that winter, and almost every family experienced the death of at least one loved one. We viewed some artifacts from the 1840's, one of which was a portion of the Doctrine and Covenants, which was hand written by Brigham Young.
We then went on a hunt for dinner. One of the ladies at the Mormon Trail Center recommended a place called Tusseys, but when we arrived at the restaurant, a note posted on the door stated that it was closed for a week so the staff could go on vacation. So off we went again in search of dinner. We ended up eating at Jimmy John's, a subway sandwich shop that may not have been in the best part of town, but we were hungry.
Now we're back at our hotel, and we're both exhausted. Tomorrow we drive through Nebraska--yippee!--and then on to Denver.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Love To See the Temple

Sisters' Log Day Five

I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday,
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a House of God
A place of love and beauty
I’ll prepare myself while I am young,
It is my sacred duty.

Our day started out so nicely. We attended a session at the Nauvoo temple. What a wonderful way to begin a day, except Sandy kept trying to go through doors that evidently weren't where we were supposed to go. The temple patrons were very helpful in pointing her in the right direction. Edie pretended she didn't know Sandy, as she went through the right door. The temple has a clock tower that marks every hour. As we left this morning, it chimed twelve times announcing the beginning of the afternoon. We're surprised Sandy didn't end up in the clock tower in her quest to go through every unmarked door. If nothing else, she had the little temple workers hearts pounding as they chased her down to keep her out of what were probably "sensitive" areas - like the men's dressing room.

This picture was taken from the front steps of the temple. The Mississippi River is in the background.

However, it’s still hot and humid here. The salesperson at one of the gift shops in Nauvoo told us that this is the worst humidity they've had in a couple of years. Last year Nauvoo hit 90 degrees or above for only four days. Today the temperature is 93 degrees and the humidity is 56%. It's stifling.

While walking back to our hotel room, we noticed that a couple of parking spaces had opened up in front of the hotel, so Sandy ran (well for her it was running--we're not as young as we used to be) down the grassy knoll to the gravel lot behind the hotel next door to the one where we were staying so we could park the car closer to our room. We then changed our clothes and went to lunch and to do a little shopping. Zion's Mercantile has a wonderful gift shop with a cute sandwich counter in the back, and their sandwiches are delicious. We walked across the street to go to two more gift shops, and then we were soaked from head to toe from the humidity. As we were walking back to our room, Edie noticed that one of the tires on the car looked a little low. We decided to just keep an eye on it to see if it got any lower. We carried our purchases up the three flights of stairs to our room only to discover that the air conditioning wasn't working properly again. So we sent a text to the general manager of the hotel (she's our new BFF) to let her know. She told us to keep an eye on it to see if the temperature went up any more. So about an hour later we let her know that it was 79 degrees in our room.
A few minutes later she knocked on our door and told us that she was moving us to the hotel next door and upgrading our room. She had two young men take our bags for us. We thought our other room was nice, but this one is like an apartment: two bedrooms, not just two beds, a cute bathroom, living room and a kitchenette. More importantly, our new hotel has an elevator. We would still recommend the room we were in--very cute, very clean, and very nice, but this new room is da bomb! This is the place to stay. We are in the Brigham Young Suite, and it's well worth the price, which we don't have to pay. For our trouble, General Manager Sherry gave each of us a Nauvoo temple book and a piece of the old Nauvoo temple from the 1800's. We love her.
On the way over to this room, we checked on the tire, and sure enough, it was flat. Thank heavens we belong to AAA! We had to miss the pageant we were going to attend, because we were waiting for the nice men who changed our tire and aired up another tire on the car, but we're so glad it's fixed. We'll get the flat tire fixed tomorrow in Fort Madison. Tender mercies were abounding. If we hadn't moved the car, we wouldn't have known until tomorrow when we were getting ready to leave Nauvoo that the tire was flat. Even after we moved the car and knew the tire was low, we probably wouldn't have checked on it again tonight but since we changed rooms, we decided while we were by the car we would take a look at the tire. We have definitely been watched over.
The two pictures below were taken from the small balcony off our first room, and the views are nice.


Below are the views from the double-french-doored large balcony in our new room. Very nice!

BFF Sherry told us that there had always been a rumor that Joseph Smith had an underground tunnel constructed in Nauvoo for his use when he lived here in the 1840's, but no one had ever found it. The tunnel wasn't found even when the basement was dug for the new temple, so it remained a legend. However, when the hotel in which we're staying, put in a sprinkler system, they discovered the tunnel. They have no idea where it starts or ends, because parts of it are under public roads, but the part that's under these hotels is on private property, so the owners lowered a camera into the tunnel to take pictures. Today we were able to see those pictures. The tunnel is lined with red bricks mortared together. Even though no one knows the length or the destination of the tunnels, it's assumed that they extend below the city to Joseph Smith's house and to other Church sites.

Below are a couple more pictures that we took today:

Joseph Smith

Monument dedicated to the memory of Joseph Smith's parents, Joseph Smith Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith.

Here's hoping the rest of our trip will be complete with inflated tires and that Sandy won't get lost.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Follow the Prophet

Sisters’ Log - Day Three

Today was our last day in Kansas, so we packed up the car and headed northeast. Our first stop was at Far West, Missouri. The cornerstones for the Far West Temple were first laid at a patriotic celebration on 4 July 1838. In October of that year, the infamous extermination order by Governor Boggs initiated the forced expulsion of the church from Missouri. Far West was virtually abandoned when the apostles gathered here on 26 April 1839. They re-laid the temple cornerstones on that occasion.

Far West Temple corner stone

We left Far West and drove to Adam-Ondi-Ahman. This is the Adamic word meaning Valley of God where Adam dwelt. It's located 70 miles northeast of Independence, Missouri. It's where members of the LDS faith believe that Adam and Eve first dwelt when they left the Garden of Eden.

Then it was on to Nauvoo, Illinois. We were almost to Keokuk, Iowa, and the road that Mrs. Garmin was taking us on was closed. There were no signs to take us to a detour, so we made a U-turn and pulled into a Quicki-Mart. Sandy walked in and started to ask for directions, but before she could get out the sentence, a gentleman handed her a piece of paper with hand-written directions. Evidently they’ve been asked before. The gentleman explained that due to heavy rains, the river had gone over the bridge and on to the road, necessitating the road closure. So we followed the hand written directions and took a long detour to Keokuk.

Sandy was driving and she was being very vigilant about driving at the posted speed limit (she tends to have a heavy foot—no need to comment on anything else she has that may be heavy). We didn’t want to get a speeding ticket and especially not in some small country town, or we’d never be seen again. She had to come to a complete stop in Keokuk, Iowa, to let a dog meander across the street. It walked in front of our car and then stopped in front of the car going the opposite direction and turned to look at us. Needless to say, the lady in the other car was not happy. She honked and yelled, and then the dog meandered to the other side of the road. A couple of miles later, we had to stop the car because a horse was in the middle of the road. A man and lady came after the horse, grabbed the reins, and led it to safety. Evidently, it’s let-your-farm-animals-run-free day in Iowa.

There was a bridge crossing when we came to the Mississippi River, but it wasn’t painful. Even though the river was rather wide at the point we crossed, the bridge was not scary at all, so we dodged a bullet there. There were about twenty miles of road that border the Mississippi River all the way to Nauvoo—very scenic, but not for the water phobic. The first sight to greet us was the temple. Edie tried to take a picture, but couldn’t get a good shot. Later when we got to the hotel, she looked at her phone and there was a picture of the temple (see below). Edie has no memory of taking this picture—it was a temple miracle.

Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum

Our hotel is across the street from the temple and our room is on the third floor with great views. It’s considered a historical sight and the building is very quaint. Did you know that in buildings that are considered historical, they don’t have to put in elevators. Apparently they don’t even have to tell you on the phone that there are no elevators or even that they’re not handicap accessible. With Sandy recently being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and with both of us just being out of shape, this posed a problem. We consolidated our belongings into one suitcase each, and we managed to get ourselves up to our room. Then we realized that the air conditioning wasn’t working, and that was a huge problem. It is so darn muggy in Nauvoo, and by this time we were soaking wet from the humidity. We must say, however, that the general manager of the hotel has been very accommodating and very nice. She was finally able to get an air conditioning guy here to fix the air—thank heavens! However, right now it’s still 80 degrees in our room. Hopefully, the temperature will start going down soon. This hotel also leaves a breakfast basket in the room full of pastries, juices, and instant oatmeal. We really do like this place—except for the lack of elevators and the broken AC. We'll post pictures of our room tomorrow--it really is nice

So now we’re in our room relaxing. Tomorrow we’re going through the 10:00 session of the Nauvoo temple, and then tomorrow night we’re going to the Joseph Smith pageant.

Time to turn in--more tomorrow.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Show-Me State Shows Us Some Sights

Welcome to Missouri!

We started out the morning with a picture text from Sandy's son, Paul. This is Sandy's grandson, Jonas--he fell out of a swing. We know that accidents are inevitable with little boys, but this picture hurts our feelings. He really doesn't look happy.

Then we headed to Bob Evans for breakfast. We first tried Bob Evans in Buffalo two years ago. Bob Evans is owned by the same people who own Mimi's restaurants. We love Bob Evans stuffed pancakes and their restaurant is very cute with a country look.

After breakfast we went sightseeing. First we visited the LDS church's Liberty Jail. Liberty Jail is where the prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and two other men spent several months. It was one of the most trying times of Joseph Smith's life. The conditions were horrible and their treatment was disgraceful. One of the guards eventually let the men escape because he knew they were incarcerated on false charges.

This is the upper room of the Liberty Jail where the jail keeper lived.

This is the bottom half of the jail where Joseph Smith and his three companions were held. The ceiling is six feet tall, and one of the men, Lyman Wight, was between 6' 4" and 6' 6" tall. For the many months these men were held in this jail, he was never able to stand up all the way.

This is one side of the Liberty Jail. The room where Joseph Smith and his companions were kept had only two small windows, one on each side, and both windows had bars.

This is a replica of the golden plates, which, after being translated by Joseph Smith, became know as The Book of Mormon.

We left the jail and headed to the presidential library of Harry S. Truman. We probably spent two hours there just going through both floors of the library. It was very interesting and we decided that we needed to tour other presidential libraries.

Replica of the Oval Office


Globe by which President Truman stood for photo ops with dignitaries

President Truman's home in Independence, Missouri

This picture is blurry, but it goes with the marker below.

Signed in Blood: "This book contains the names of ? Chinese and North Koreans in Prisoner of War Camp #1. The POWs, who had all converted to Christianity, made anti-communist pledges and ? their names with thumb prints in their own blood. The book was presented to the Reverend Billy Graham, who, in turn, presented it to President Dwight Eisenhower on November 6, 1953."

One of President Truman's presidential cars.



This marker goes with the guns above it. It says, "Grisello Torresola and Oscar Collazo carried these weapons in the attempted assassination of President Truman. Using the Luger pistol, Torresola mortally wounded White House Policeman Leslie Coffett, before being killed himself by Coffett in the ensuing gun battle."

President Truman's freemasonry items

Truman's presidential china

We also took the time to drive by the Kansas City Royals baseball stadium and the Reorganized LDS Church's headquarters and temple. They have no affiliation with the LDS church.

Kansas City Royals baseball stadium

Headquarters of Reorganized church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is now known as Church of Christ (no affiliation with the LDS church).

RLDS, Church of Christ, temple in Missouri

On Church of Christ property: "August 3, 1831, Joseph Smith, Jr., Prophet and Founder of the Church of Christ, with seven other Church leaders, dedicated this site for the Temple in the City of Zion, where this Church believes the Lord will come to His people in the Last Days."

Eternal flame at President Truman's library.

Statue of President Truman

Scary bridge alert -- Missouri River. Sandy was driving as we approached this bridge. There were a few moments of panic, but once we got up close to it, we could see that the river wasn't that wide at that point and that the bridge didn't rise too high above it. So the white knuckle driving was kept to a minimum. However, we have to cross the Mississippi River tomorrow. Stay tuned.

We ended the day at Maggie Moo's ice cream, which is conveniently located across the street from our hotel. Edie had Chocolate Better Batter and Sandy had Udderly Cream.
Ines ~ The frozen custard we got yesterday only came in chocolate and vanilla. Guess which one of us got which flavor.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

After a hot breakfast at the Country Inn & Suites where we stayed last night, we left Denver heading east to Kansas. This is the third time we've stayed in one of the Country Inn rooms, and we give them all four of our thumbs up. The rooms are clean and the wi fi and breakfast are included with the room, which was very reasonably priced.

We weren't looking forward to driving through Kansas, because we thought the drive would be similar to when we drove through Nebraska two years ago. Nebraska has no scenery, except corn, and the roads are so bumpy, you would swear your tires are falling off the car. But we were pleasantly surprised. Kansas did have a little corn at the beginning of the state, but the rest of the drive was beautiful green rolling hill, farms, and several towns along the way. We hit some rain, and in a couple of spots it was a little difficult to see the road, but those spots didn't last too long. It wasn't nearly as bad as the rain we went through in Iowa two years ago.

We hit Topeka, Kansas, around 5:30 PST. We gassed up the car and noticed a frozen custard sign across the street. Since we hadn't eaten since breakfast, we accepted the invitation. We're not sure at which point the custard starts being so creamy and tasty, but it's just not made the same way here as it is in Nevada. It seems to us that the farther east you go, the better the frozen custard gets.

We didn't have much conversation in the car, because Sandy drove while Edie read a book, Glenn Beck's The Overton Window, out loud.

Below are some pictures from today's travels:

Yesterday we posted pictures of the beautiful Rocky Mountains on the west side of Denver. This is what the east side of Denver looks like. We were afraid that this scenery would be with us for the entire day, but thankfully Kansas is very scenic.


Crossing into Kansas



Storm clouds brewing



Someday we want to take the tour through the Oz Museum.


We're staying in Kansas two days, during which we plan to see some Church History sites as well as the Harry S. Truman library.

Goodbye for now--we're off to see the Wizard.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Edie & Sandy's Semi Big Adventure (the trip--not us)

Sisters' Log - Day One

We embarked today on another road trip. This summer we're traveling to Nauvoo, Illinois, on a mini church history tour. We left our home in Southern Utah this morning with the plan to get a breakfast pastry in the town just north. We were sabotaged by the 24th of July parade going down the main street, so we stopped at the local Quicki-Mart and picked up cookies and sodas (which we thought we had given up--the sodas, not the cookies). We'll have to go on another 12-step soda program when we get home, but we digress.

We promised each other that under no circumstances, would we stop in Green River, Utah, on this trip. We stopped there two years ago and could have sworn we heard the Twilight Zone theme song playing in the background. We thought we had it all planned out--just take I-70 right past Green River on to Grand Junction, Colorado. So after we stopped at Green River to get gas, we reviewed our plan to see where we went wrong. Note to self: gas up in Grand Junction, Colorado, on the way home so we don't have to stop in Green River, Utah, yet again.

The picture to the right is of Green River, Utah. As you can see, not much to look at.

The following pictures were taken through a dirty windshield while we drove along I-70. Some are in Utah and some are in Colorado.

Use your own caption with this one.

After stopping in Green River, we were so excited to see this sign.

Beautiful Rocky Mountains

Ski lift in Vail, Colorado

Colorado River running along the Rocky Mountains

On of the four tunnels through which we traveled in Colorado.

Actual conversation in car:
Edie looking at map: Hey, Elephant Butte!
Sandy: So you have one, too.
Edie: Butte, not butt.
Sandy: Oh.
Until tomorrow, Happy Trails...