Days 13 - 15: "I could never live here."

Okay, just to kill any suspense that might be lingering: we have made it to Provo.

Mad has hit the ground running since we got home yesterday and is already hard at work studying for the entrance exam into the nursing program. With that said, I have decided to post about our last few days on the road so that we can finally take you off the cliff on which I am sure you have been hanging.

After a slightly extended stay in Syracuse so that the car could get new tires (which were desperately needed, apparently), we hopped in Ernie and journeyed westward with the intention of stopping in Palmyra and Kirtland. Alas, it was pouring buckets and buckets of rain...and the thought of kneeling in the Sacred Grove was becoming less and less appealing. And then we realized that, even with skipping Palmyra, the Kirtland temple (run by the Community of Christ) was going to be closed by the time we got there. Big time fail.

As soon as we were privy to these game-changers, Madie spotted a sign for Niagara Falls and quickly decided that we should reroute and hit up the falls. I have been a bajillion times, but was totally up for a few hours gazing at rainbows and misty goodness. So to the falls we went, Madie singing some weird folk song about Niagara Falls all the way there.

Did you know that these days you can enter Canada without a passport, but cannot get back in to the US without one? Big. Time. Fail. Accordingly, we parked on the US side and were very careful about not stepping foot in beautiful Ontario (which is a shame since the Canadian side is waaaay better than the American side). Regardless, we found the national park trolley and found out that it was only $13 for the Maid of the Mist. Like Jim and Pam! Except no wedding (and good thing because it would have been legal in NY now...let's hear a big huzzah for New York!). Here are some pictures:

Beautiful, eh?

After getting all mist-ed (which made our hair look fabulous, no joke), we climbed back in the car and got ready for a crazy long night of driving so that we could get to Nauvoo by mid-afternoon the next day.

You know those old "Train A leaves Seattle at 8:15 am and Train B leaves Boston at 6:20 pm" algebra problems? (I still cannot complete those, by the way.) I have one for you. We left Niagara Falls by 7 pm. Nauvoo, Illinois is a whopping 800 miles away. We arrived in Nauvoo by 1 pm the next day. I'm going to let you do the math as to how much driving we did in a very short amount of time. Needless to say, it was a rough night.

But it was totally worth it! We arrived in Nauvoo and went straight to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. It was a great experience, even if we were ridiculously tired.

After the temple, we took a jaunt over to the Family Living Center (where Madie made her own rope!), the Scovill bakery (the gingerbread cookies were fantastic!) and the Cultural Hall *cough cough* Masonic Lodge.

We took a quick driving tour through the rest of the town and stopped at the burial places of Joseph, Emma and Hyrum, which is maintained by the Community of Christ. I always feel such a peace and stillness there, as the wind blows through the trees. The burial site overlooks the idyllic Mississippi River, whose bank is spotted with thousands of lily pads in bloom this time of year.

Our last stop was the Monument to Women, which is maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both last year and this year the statue that has been most poignant was the one entitled "Courtship for Eternity." You can see it below:

Nauvoo being our last formal stop, we rested up at a Super 8 (whose desk guy, James, was super fine). The next morning, we headed out into the wild west with just 1,245 miles of road separating us from home. That day, we drove almost 800 miles of that distance in order to get to our hotel in Cheyenne, WY. On the way, we got to watch a really stunning sunset over the rolling hills of Nebraska.

We arrived in Cheyenne ready to sleep and welcomed by really, ridiculously comfortable beds. By this time, we were both about done being in the car and just really could not wait to get home. So, we awoke early, packed up and got back on the road.

Here's where I'm going to wax poetic about Wyoming's natural beauty. Seriously, guys, if you have never been to Wyoming, get on it. Stat. Its scenic green hills and waving wild grasses make such a gorgeous frame for Wyoming's real shining star: its huge, cloudy skies. Madie and I both just kept saying "Wow, that's so beautiful." over and over again. Take a look for yourself:

Breath-taking, yes?

Just a few short hours later, we rolled into Provo, all abuzz with excitement to be home. The mountains looked bigger, the shops more familiar, the houses more ideal. It totally surprised me how amazing it felt to be back in Provo.

Ahem, I mean back home.


Madison Nibley said...

You forgot to mention your spinout into the Super 8 parking lot and that you were so tired that you were ridiculously giddy, but other than that it was spot on.

Lauren Kay said...

True story. Good catch, Mad.

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