We left later than planned and we didn't have a plan for where we would stop each night (beyond the 1st two nights), but we figured it out as we went & had some good adventures along the way!
Tuesday, May 1st
We started driving to Utah on May 1st! We drove into the night and arrived past midnight in Chicago, at my Aunt & Uncle's house. My Aunt Janice had freshly baked cookies ready for us and we took a little time to sit together and visit before going to bed. It was so nice to see them!
Wednesday, May 2nd ~ CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
It was wonderful to have a slow morning on Wednesday! When I came out of my room that morning, I found Katrina sitting out on the deck with my aunt, looking at the water. What a beautiful view outside of their house! It felt like being on vacation!
Before setting out for the next part of our journey, we went out for lunch. Katrina loved the dessert part of the buffet (and let's be honest, so did I). We left feeling so happy that we had the chance to actually slow down and just enjoy some time together! I think that may have been the first time in a couple of months that we could really just relax and enjoy!
After a few hours of driving, we arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois. That was our destination for the night! I hadn't been back to Nauvoo since 2003, when Ken & I were engaged! I was excited to show the town to the girls since I spent a couple of summers there, performing in the City of Joseph pageant.
That night we got to see the Nauvoo temple and went out for a treat of frozen custard before heading to our hotel for some sleep!
Thursday, May 3rd
Thursday morning we got up, went to see the temple in daylight, then followed the "Trail of Hope". The Trail of Hope is a trail that heads to the Mississippi river and along the trail there are plaques with quotes from the journals of pioneers who left their homes in Nauvoo to travel west for a new life, away from religious persecution. It was touching to read the quotes as a family and to think about what they went through.
We also spent some time in Old Nauvoo (a pioneer village) where we went on a horse drawn wagon tour & visited the blacksmith shop and historic brick yard, to see how they used to make bricks. We ate lunch and picked up some fudge at the fudge shop (if you are EVER in Nauvoo, you MUST try the fudge!), and went on our way for the next leg of our journey!
We stopped briefly in Carthage and then stopped at a library to figure out where we would stop for the next night (we hadn't planned any further than Carthage!).
While traveling that evening, we started to get notifications on our cell phones about a tornado warning in our area! The emergency alerts urged us to "take shelter now". We were in an area without any hotels nearby, so we kept on driving, trying to make it to somewhere safe! The weather started to look really scary and there were moments of extremely intense rain. We had some conversations about what to do if things got even worse and I remember looking at farm houses we were passing, imagining knocking on their door and asking for shelter! Thankfully we made it through the weather & everything was fine!
Friday, May 4th
This was our longest driving day. We made it to Jackson, Wyoming, very late at night. We had booked a hotel for their pool and it was so neat inside! I wish we had arrived during daylight because it was a little dark for photos, but I did grab one anyway.
Saturday, May 5th
We woke up Saturday to an amazing view outside our motel! We had a nice breakfast & then found out that the pool was closed! That was a big bummer since we had splurged on this hotel for the purpose of swimming! So, we packed up & got an early start. We had planned to visit Yellowstone but heard that it wasn't open- or wasn't fully open- and we decided not to chance it. Instead we drove toward Rexburg, Idaho to see my old University campus. The views on that drive were breathtaking!
Rexburg has changed A LOT in the last 15 years! It was great to visit the parts that I recognized and to see the temple. I probably enjoyed showing my family around a lot more than they enjoyed it, but I appreciated them humoring me!
That evening we drove into Utah! As we drove through Idaho and Utah, we stopped at several temples along the way. We saw:
Since there are so many temples in Utah, our plan is to see if we can visit all of them while we live in Utah. We're not sure how long we'll be here so we'll have to stay on top of it!
When we got into our new town, we stopped at our new house so the girls could walk around outside and see it. Then we went to my sister's house where we stayed for two nights before we moved into our new place.
Sunday, May 6th
We made a quick visit to our new church and found out that it's a totally new congregation. Utah is an interesting place for members of our church because there are SO MANY people who go to the same church as us! We're not used to that at all! We live in an area where there are a lot of new homes being built so the congregations grow quickly and have to be re-organized so that there aren't too many people in one congregation. So, our congregation (or "ward") is totally new- which means we're going to have to put in some effort to meet new people since we aren't the only new ones!
That evening we went to Ken's sister, Tami's, house to eat dinner with her family.
I couldn't wait to go to sleep that night, so we could wake up on moving day!