August 23 – September 8
Location: Salt Lake to Nauvoo and back
WOW! What a whirlwind of a trip!
Long story short, we’ve been wanting to go to Nauvoo, Independence, Adam-Ondi-Ahman, etc for a while. We concocted a plan to do it and see our friends in Missouri and be there for their baby blessing, but things changed and we decided against it. Well as God would have it, things changed again and on Sunday the 20th, we were discussing it and both felt directed that we needed to do this trip. That brings us to the 23rd. Pack up and go!
When we were toying with the idea, I had gone through and broken the trip down by day and drive time and also so that we would be spending 5 nights in Nauvoo and 4 in Independence, Missouri. After decided to go, I made some reservations for Nauvoo and Independence so the main long stays were taken care of. The rest of the trip, we decided to just wing it and see what happened. What ended up happening was quite a bit of fun!
In the original plan, we were going to drive 3-5 hours per day and take about 4 days to get to Nauvoo. We started out mid afternoon and I found I was able to drive a few more hours then I originally thought and so the first day we ended up in Cheyenne, WY.
Since we made it a lot further then we originally planned, we had a great opportunity to see the Fort Collins Colorado Temple. It wasn’t too far out of the way from where we stayed in Cheyenne and Shannon was able to drive there while I worked in the car.
Didn’t expect to have camels in Wyoming either.
After checking out of the RV Park, we drove to a Henderson, NE and stayed at the Prairie Oasis RV Park. Because of some mixup with the GPS, we ended up going the wrong way and took about a 10 mile detour, with 3 of those being down a gravel road in the dark. Nothing like that to get your nerves on edge! It was a good thing we did though, because this was about the only place we say any firefly’s on the whole trip! We ended up pulling into the RV park about 2 minutes before they closed too!
The third day started off at 5:30 in the morning. Not completely by choice I might add. We ended up both just waking up about that time. We had decided the night before that we could probably drive all the way to Nauvoo, which is about an 8 hour drive with the motorhome and doing some pit stops. We also wanted to stop in Omaha Nebraska and see the Winter Quarters temple. Shannon really wanted to go inside, but as we were looking at my work schedule, I just couldn’t see a way to do it and drive all 8 hours in one day without getting there pretty late. Right after we woke up, Shannon turned to me and said “Since we’re awake, do you want to get driving now?” I said sure. We got everything packed up really quick and were on the road by 6 am. The drive to the temple was about 2 1/2 hours and then I was off to working for a few hours.
This drive was one of strangest ones we have ever done. About half way to the temple, there was this HUGE downpour! Cars were pulling off on the side of the road. Our wipers were going crazy and it still wasn’t enough. Bessie handled the rain beautifully those and I never felt like we were slipping or sliding in any way. This lasted for about 15 minutes and then it stopped and it started clearing up. The rest of the day was a beautiful sunny day!
The temple was amazing! There are some really neat pictures inside related to the pioneers and even some of the stained glass had pictures on them that were really neat. There is a cemetery next to the temple for some of the pioneers who died there and a monument about it as well. There is also a visitors center that talks about the pioneers and their journey. We decided not to go to the visitors center.
The rest of the day was spent driving across Iowa to Nauvoo. It was very humbling to think that we could drive the whole thing in about 6ish hours and it took the pioneers many days to walk it.
When we made it to Illinois, we drove up to Nauvoo along with Mississippi river and were able to see a gorgeous sunset across the river.
Day 4 started with attending the Nauvoo temple. The session we attended, unbeknownst to us until we go there, was a Spanish session. That was very humbling experience to know how other feels that attend an English session that don’t know English. It was such a neat experience. The temple is built on the same location as the original temple and has the same exterior design. The interior has been updated in its setup to be like modern temples, but keeps the same mid-1800’s decor.
After the temple, we ate dinner and went for a circle drive around the Mississippi and then went over to Carthage. I got there just a few minutes before closing time, so we had a quick tour. What an incredible experience to think of the Joseph Smith and his life and his martyrdom.
Days 5-8 were spent visiting the Old Nauvoo area. This is where most of the homes were built and a lot of the daily shops. We took tours through most of the buildings and had a great time experiencing things as they would have been during that era. Here are a few of the pictures that we took.
Part 2 coming soon!
Ben and Shannon