Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sparks Marina and Truckee River

It was nice being back in Sparks, NV.  Our first day, we went for a walk with Grandpa Knight around the Marina.  We saw a lot of Night Herons, Cormarants, Yellow-Headed Blackbirds, etc...  Beautiful area.

The next day, Grandpa Knight invited us to ride on the bike trail next to the Truckee River.

It's been great to be with family.

I've never seen the Truckee River so full.

Baby Bunnies

While driving west, Nicole told us that they have a few baby bunnies.  My family couldn't pass that up, so Phil and Nicole were gracious enough to let us stay the night at their house and play with the bunnies.

The kids had a great time playing with their cousins and it was nice to catch up with Phil and Nicole and hear more of their Costa Rica experiences.

Logan Utah Temple

While in Costa Rica, we met a family from Cache Valley, UT.  So on our drive, we decided to drive through the valley and we stopped in Logan, UT.  

The temple was impressive.

Eastern Idaho and the Idaho Falls Temple

Spent the night in Eastern Idaho, seeing the Idaho Falls Temple and driving around Idaho Falls,  Blackfoot, and Pocatello.

We thought that Pocatello was a cute town.

The Idaho Falls temple sits right by the river with beautiful man-made falls.

Flathead Lake and Whitefish, Montana

Heading very far north in Western Montana, you pass by Flathead Lake.  It was beautiful.  It is the largest freshwater lake in the western US.  It was hard to drive since you just wanted to look at the beautiful lake. 

Afterwards, we checked out Kalispell and Whitefish.  Whitefish was a really cute town surrounded by amazing snowing mountains.

Flathead Lake:

The river running through Whitefish.

Playing on a dock on the river in Whitefish.

The kids played at this small park by the river in Whitefish.

Montana State Capitol, Helena, Montana

We stopped at the State Capitol in Helena, Montana.

Bozeman, Montana

We immediately liked Bozeman, Montana as we pulled into town.  It was a small, clean, cute town in the middle of a gorgeous valley surrounded by tall snow covered mountains. 

We walked around downtown and had delicious Thai food at Sweet Chili Asian Bistro.

We drove through Billings on the way, where we stopped by a pond and walked around.  Billings definitely wasn't as appealing.

Downtown Bozeman:

Devils Tower, Wyoming

Anyone who has seen Close Encounters knows Devils Tower.  It was shocking how massive it was and from how far it could be seen.  A really neat and strange place.

From miles away:

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore is one of the 'monumental' places that is a must-see sometime in your life.  Now was our time.  So on our drive across the country, we went.

There is an impressive walkway featuring flags from each of the states as you approach the monument.

In the museum, they had a dynamite plunger switch that was integrated with the TV so you could help explode the rock and see how the monument was created.  The kids loved it.

We stayed at the Howard Johnson in Rapid City, SD near Mount Rushmore and they had this huge chair that the kids loved to climb on.

Falls Park, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The roads to Sioux Falls, South Dakota was red.  It was pretty strange, I had never seen red asphalt before.  But apparently, there are a lot of reddish / pinking rocks in the area that they use in the asphalt. 

We stopped at Falls Park to see Sioux Falls.  They were really neat falls surrounded by the reddish / pinkish rock.

Mormon Trail Center, Council Bluffs, Iowa / Omaha, Nebraska

After leaving Nauvoo, IL, the Saints slowly made their way through the mud towards Council Bluffs, IA where they camped for the winter.  They eventually created their own temporary town near Omaha, Nebraska.  Here they prepared for their journey, where they would eventually leave the US and settle in what is now Utah.

The Winter Quarters, Nebraska Temple:

Trail of Hope in Nauvoo, IL

As the Saints were forced to leave their homes in Nauvoo, they lined up their wagons along Parley Street as they waited for the ferry.

We walked down the street and read signs with written accounts left by people as they left.

Due to all of the rain, the Mississippi was very high.  

My father baptized a convert to the church years ago at this same spot in the middle of winter.

Historic Nauvoo, IL, Hands on Experiences

History Nauvoo features many re-enactments and hands on lessons.  The kids loved the lessons.

Bricks were critical in the building up of Nauvoo.  We learned about the history of making bricks in Nauvoo and how they were made.

In the Browning Home, a volunteer taught us about Jonathan Browning and taught us about his trade.

Learning from the wainwright (wheel maker) and blacksmith.

The Tinsmith shop:

The print shop:

The kids were able to make their own rope:

The shoe maker:

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Historic Nauvoo, IL, Part 1

The early members of the Church of Jesus Christ settled in Nauvoo, IL.  The town is now a historic visitors center with volunteer / missionary re-enactments. 

The town is next to the Mississippi River and from basically everywhere in town, you could look up at a bluff near town and see the temple.  It was a beautiful area, but also an excellent lesson in history.

We road in a horse drawn wagon through the town, while a guide told us the history of areas that we saw.  The horses were huge.

We went to the temple and noticed that the cross street is Knight St, so we had to get a picture with the street sign.

In front of the temple is a monument to commemorate Joseph and Hyrum riding to Carthage, where they were killed.  From the monument, you can view all of Nauvoo and the Mississippi River.

A wagon on one of the streets we walked by.

There is a Woman's Garden, with various statues of women.