The house had sold quicker than expected, much quicker, in fact, leaving us homeless for almost a month. We packed our boxes and decided that staying in Utah with Grandma and Grandpa for the whole summer wouldn't be a bad thing. Grandma JoJo met us in Atlanta (I know, right? This was so huge, and our trip would have ended with child services being called if she hadn't been with us) and from there we wound our way across the U.S. - Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Iowa, Illonois, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming and finally, Utah.
We stopped in Hannibal Missouri for what has to be the quickest tourist stop anyone has ever made there. We were rendezvousing with the Packham's in Nauvoo later that afternoon, but I couldn't drive right past without acknowledging it's existence. My kiddos had been singing "Mississippi River" for two days in preparation for seeing this town, and I wish we had had a whole day there, but I'm grateful we at least got out of the car.
We left Hannibal and made it to Carthage, Illinois. I'm sure someday the kids will realize the importance of this trip, but at the time they were just so excited to meet friends!!! A month earlier while discussing summer plans, Sarah and I realized we would be passing through Nauvoo on the exact same day!!! With a little coordination we were able to experience it together. I couldn't have planned it better if I'd tried.
I'd never been to Nauvoo in the Summer, but I was impressed with all the activities geared towards children. Parades, skits, etc... the missionaries know how to show you a good time.
My absolute favorite part of this stop was walking to the river. This photo does not do justice to how I felt that evening. We finished the variety show and headed to Parley Street. What we didn't know is that everyone else was headed there too. Apparently the have a guided torch walk every evening in the Summer. A lovely spiritual journey where you stop every few yards and listen to reenactments of the Pioneers as they left Nauvoo. Lovely? Yes. A place to take eight tired children? No. We begged the missionary in charge to let us have a head start, so as not to bother those on the walk, and despite her misgivings, she let us go on ahead. The path was lit with torches and we could vaguely hear the violins and singing, but the kids got to go at their own pace and we reached the mighty Mississippi just before sunset. We found our ancestors on the plaque and walked back chasing fireflies.
I realized while compiling this post that I have only one photo after Nauvoo. We still had two days to go before we pulled into Ogden, but to say I was DONE is a HUGE understatement. This last photo is of a tiny little town with apparently some pretty amazing thrift stores. I had to wave goodbye as we passed the exit, but someday I'll go back and my dear friend will show me how to find treasures here.
Here are just a few things I took away from our summer road trip.
-meeting friends along the way is the way to go
-grandma's are amazing inventions
-all hotels should have indoor pools and free breakfast
-wyoming is REALLY long