So we begin on a great cross-country trip across the great land of 'merica and making several stops along the way in a car full of three girls and nearly everything I own...
Start: New Hampshire - leaving my family that I love and miss (tears rolling down my cheeks)
Stop: Palmyra, NY - to visit the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith's visitation of God and Jesus Christ took place (learn more here)
Sleep: Pennsylvania - hotel (and a sa-weet hotel it is)
Stop: Kirtland, OH - to visit the first LDS temple and other church history sites (again, more information found here)
Sleep: Chicago - to visit a high school friend
Stop: Wisconsin - to do something, not sure what yet
Sleep: Minneapolis - to visit a friend from college
Sleep: Denver - to stay with family
Final Stop: Utah - home
Day One: Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012
The sisters and I sat in silence for FIVE hours this morning after pulling away from Kemper's house. Five hours to be lost in our thoughts (and tears) with very little talking in between. As we arrived closer to our first stop we began to liven up a bit more, thanks to Tay's excellent sandwich making skills.
Palmyra was a wonderful break from the hum of the car. As soon as I got out of the car at the visitors center in town, I felt that there was something different about this place. It was at THIS place that Joseph Smith, a fourteen year-old boy at the time, offered a sincere prayer in search of the truth in a grove of trees near his house. It was at THIS place that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him at that time. It was at THIS place that the Book of Mormon was published from golden plates hidden away in a nearby hill. It was at THIS place that the foundations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka Mormon church, began. I was overcome and overwhelmed with the sacredness and spirit that resonates in THIS place.
Once back in the car we pulled out our ukuleles and sang. More goodies. More talking. More driving. And thanks to a generous friend, we are staying a in a fantastic hotel room tonight complete with kitchenette, couches, and fireplace!
|Sniff, sniff. This is what I left on Wednesday morning in New Hampshire. Joseph, Kemper, Avy with curly hair, and Sadie baby. So sad. Don't mind Kemp's red nose, we were all weeping this morning.|
|The back seat of my car is FULL! Taylor is the acting keep-stuffing-falling-shoes-to-the-ceiling authority.|
|Atop of Hill Cumorah with the monument in the back ground. Keni, Tay, and Amy squinting (the sun was bright, ok).|
|Keni inside the Sacred Grove. The trees and colors are lovely this time of year!|
Also Keni's sweatshirt brought up a lot of conversation with the tour guides. The guides were from Logan, Ut the same town USU is located.
Day 2: Thursday, Oct 17, 2012
We were on the road by 7:30am heading west on I-90. Our destination today was Chicago, IL with a stop over in Kirtland, OH.
Kirtland, Ohio is an ADORABLE small town. One of the most quaint and beautiful towns I have ever been in; no wonder why this small town was the LDS Church headquarters for a while. The sisters and I stopped at the Kirtland visitors center and got a free tour from the missionaries on site. It was an informational tour with wonderful insight to learn of the history of the church and to learn about many of the early converts to the church. It is inspiring to hear about the faith of these early members and the great things they were able to accomplish. One thing in particular - the building up of the first LDS temple.
After several more hours in the car we pulled into Chicago's uptown neighborhood to find Aundrea, a high school friend. We quickly got on the subway to head downtown to meet another friend, Ty whom I knew from Boston, for some CHICAGO DEEP DISH PIZZA. YYYYUUUUMMMM. Especially the spinach pie. We were given a quick tour by the locals and brought back to Aundrea's apartment for some shut eye. I really like Chicago. What if I were to move there??? Only for a couple of years.
|Amy, Taylor and Keni in front of the Whitney home, early LDS saints, in Kirtland, OH|
|Kirtland, OH Temple. Lovely. Sacred.|
|Chicago deep dish pizza at Giordano's downtown.|
|Chicago sign downtown|
|Amy and Aundrea, friends from high school, now both in Chicago. Thanks for letting us stay with you!|
Day 3: Friday, Oct 18, 2012
Back on the road again, this time heading even further up North through the Wisconsin country. Of course we stopped to get some cheese along the way. No major stops this time around because we wanted to make it to Minneapolis, MN. One of my dearest friends of all time, Ranell, whom I lived with in college, lives in Minneapolis and we have talked about visiting for the past two years. I was so happy to finally make it today.
Went to dinner at a great restaurant Good Earth, and ate a fantastic bison burger with caramelized onions. Really good. We took a short haunted trolley tour on a vintage trolley. Ranell took us to the MOA as the locals call it also known as the Mall of America by the tourists. Largest mall in America, huge, amusement park inside complete with roller coasters and water rides. Following the mall we drove around the city and viewed the skyline from a nearby hill. Really lovely place, too!
Best part of the day was being with Ranell. I love this girl.
|Amy, Tay, and Keni in the Dappled Gray. Day three and still happy to be with each other!|
|Amy and Ranell, old college roommate, on the train in Minneapolis|
Day 4: Saturday, Oct 19, 2012
This morning we woke up early yet again for an incredibly long day in the car. We drove from Minneapolis, MN to Denver, CO, a 14 hour journey. However, it was a wonderful drive with the sisters. We sang to the radio, napped, took turns driving, pulled out the ukuleles and jammed together. We didn't see or do much except for driving and viewing farm after farm through Nebraska.
We did make a stop in Stuart, IA for gasoline. Love the Stuart.
Tonight we are staying with Frank and Becky, family members, in their lovely home. Before calling in for the night, we talked about family. It is so nice to be surrounded by so many wonderful people that love and support me. Family is where we all belong, keeping us safe, making us strong.
|Keni, the open-mouthed sleeping beauty in the back seat|
|Western sunset over Colorado. Sigh. Welcome back Amy.|
|Taylor through the sun roof trying to capture the sunset. The wind was a little strong driving 75 miles an hour. Ha! I love her squinty eyes.|
Day 5: Sunday, Oct 20, 2012
We made it HOME to Utah! It was a beautiful drive along 1-70 through Colorado's mountains into Utah. Definitely will be back through there to stop at all the places we saw along the way. I think the sisters and I were all a bit anxious to get home so we didn't make any stops along the way. However, we had a ton of fun in the car! Don't miss the videos at the bottom. Check it out....
|Utah, what a great place to be! Home, dry, home.|
|Thirteen states and three-thousand miles later and still smiling.|
|My mother and her beautiful backyard in the fall. Love.|
Five Days Time (knock off from Five Years Time by Noah and the Whale)
Stuffed to the brim if was quite the vacation
Thirteen states and three thousand miles
It was a little bit cramped but we're still smiles
Oh it was fun fun fun, when we were driving
It was fun fun fun, when we would stop
It was fun fun fun, being together
It was fun fun fun, so what da heck (quote from my two year-old niece)
And we were laughing at all our silly little jokes
As we were singing along playing our ukes
Pause to make sandwiches its time for break
Cause it's what we needed to stay awake
Oh it was fun fun fun, when we were laughing
It was fun fun fun, when we would sing
It was fun fun fun, making some memories
It was fun fun fun, oh it was fun
And we started in New Hampshire to upstate New York
'Round the Great Lakes and somethin' 'bout a fork (we couldn't think of anything else that rhymed with York)
Chicago up north and to the Twin Cities
Down through Nebraska, Denver to home
Oh it was fun fun fun, touring the cities
It was fun fun fun, eating deep pizza
It was fun fun fun, friends 'cross the country
It was fun fun fun, oh it was fun
Although these moments will come to an end
When we get home back to life again
The car full of girls, stuffed to the seams
Drivin' cross country and making memories
Oh it was five days time, when we were driving
It was five days time, back on the east coast
It was five days time to get to Utah
It was five days time in a little grey car