The return trip home helped us grow an appreciation for our pioneer heritage.
First we stopped and experienced life in Nauvoo.
We caught the sunset at the edge of the Mississippi River where the saints left Nauvoo for the last time.
We walked the same streets many faithful pioneers walked.
"The door bell is ringing!"
The kids got to help make rope the Nauvoo way.
We did as much as we could muster strength and time for in Nauvoo. (Many missionaries said that you need a couple of days to really get the whole effect, but unfortunately we only planned a couple of hours.) Those few hours were worth it. Just being able to see the newly built Nauvoo Temple will be a treasured memory!
Our family standing where our first beloved Prophet Joseph Smith fell after being martyred.
(We just barely made it to Carthage in time to go on the last tour.)
Being pioneers is serious business...let me elaborate.
(Simple reenactment of handcart pioneers at W.Q.V.C.)
The previous night (prior to arriving at Winter Quarters Visitor's Center) we tried to camp just outside of Des Moine, Iowa. Setting up the tent proved uneventful. However, at around 3 a.m. the wind started to blow. (I have a hard time sleeping in tents anyway and I was the first one awake wishing the wind would stop blowing.) Within a few minutes the speed of the wind increased so that everyone in the tent was awake. The tent began to bend in half over the top of where I was sleeping and the worries kicked in. I asked Benji how bad it got in Wyoming before their tents started "flying" away (another story where tents detached themselves from the ground with people in them). He wasn't much help in putting my fears at ease. But Ben thought it best to stake down the tent some more. Through all of the talking and staking the wind speed was increasing. Kayla started screaming that she was going to die and took cover in the car. I wasn't feeling much better about the situation. After saying a prayer Ben and I decided we would pack up and go (sleeping really isn't an option when you feel like you'll be blown away in the wind). Ben ended up driving as far as he could and then we slept the rest of the night in the car. To say the least, tent camping gave us a true appreciation for a small portion of what the pioneers experienced--smeltering heat to high speed winds.
We made one last visit to the Moss Family's North Platte, Nebraska homes.
Here is the second one on Cedarberry Road.
Our goal was to make it home by Saturday noontime. But after the windy camping experience in Iowa we weren't in the mood to try it again. We managed with naps and a few pit stops to drive the rest of the trip home. I was almost in tears as I got into my own bed at 3:10 a.m. Saturday, August 13, 2011.