Thursday, October 18, 2012

The piece at a time

We had the amazing opportunity to tag along Jed's parents on a trip to see several church history sites last week.  We had such a great trip; we learned so much.
It will take me awhile to get it covered...but here it is, one piece at a time.
We left bright and early on Thursday after a big day of shopping, packing, and cleaning.  When we hit the road it was black.  I was kind of bummed about that because I hadn't had a chance to see the beautiful colors of the season and we were driving through some of my favorite country.  It was killing me to know it was so beautiful outside and I couldn't even tell....little did I know I would have my thirst for fall colors filled to overflowing on this trip......
The sun was just starting to peek out.
You will just have to bare with the fact that I love seeing the beauties of nature, even from the car.  Tons of my pictures are taken from the passengers seat.
And of course, pictures never do the real stuff justice, or is it just my photography skills? 
I was so so so glad we decided to drive.  Even though 22 hours of driving with 5 children in tow is a long time in order to reach where you are going, I thought it was worth it.  And the kids did amazingly well.
Our first stop of historical note had to do with family history.  Jody led us off the beaten path a bit and we discovered this beautiful scene.  He was taking us to a well he had drilled in Wyoming, just before Jed was born.
We picnicked in the frigid air with this amazing backdrop.
That is the well--that there with the blue on the top. Drilled right before my hubby was born.
More from the road...pretty red rock walls and mountains everywhere.
Then we drove next to the craziest rocks I had ever seen.  They looked fake.
A closer look:
I was joking in the car that they looked like a giant dung heap.  Then Jody sped up from behind, signaling it was time for a stop.  And where did we stop?  The dung heap rocks.
Claire happy to be going for a ride...
Here's Madelyn on one of the crazy rocks.
They were pretty cool, that humongous one behind the tree is called "turtle rock."
It was super cold that day, and I was getting nervous because I hadn't packed for really cold weather!
A group shot on the gigantic rocks. 
When you see a Cabella's water tower with "world headquarters" written on it, and you're Jed, you know you have to stop!  He wanted to show us their huge fish tanks filled with trout, etc.  But they had taken the tanks out, but there were some pretty neat stuffed animals in there.  This was our first stop in Nebraska:

This African elephant was particularly impressive.  This would be extremely frightening to run into in the wild!  It was the biggest elephant I've seen.....ok I haven't really seen all that many elephants, but it was huge!
We spent our first night in North Platte, Nebraska and dined on PB&J's in the Wal-Mart parking lot in the cold.  It was great!  Memories in the making.
The next day we continued on to Omaha.  This was the day I really began feasting my little eyes on those fall colors.  Trees.  Everywhere.  :)

There were no mountains anywhere, but so many cute rolling hills that were heavily treed.  It seemed like every house owned their own hill.  How fun!
I loved the many different bridges we saw too.
Our first official church history stop was at the Winter Quarters visitors center.  At one point Hannah got away from the group, then I found her standing in front of these stuffed oxen frozen in a bit of fright.  She saw me approach her and said, "I couldn't tell if they were real." Poor girl!
The girls got to dress-up.  Cute little pioneers I must say.
I loved the art, along with their historical plaques.  So many pioneers lost children at winter quarters, in fact most of the deaths there were children under nine.  I can't imagine the faith and strength it would take to bury and leave your sweet little ones behind.  We've buried a baby of our own, but there is a measure of comfort with having her buried not far from where we live.  We can visit her grave on her birthday or memorial day and have something tangible for our other children to identify with. I am amazed with the faith and vision the pioneers had--they were so strong. 

Sample cabin at Winter Quarters.
The pioneers had to leave their homes in a big rush, and many of them had to just leave most of their posessions behind.  Some people tried to sell their things in the papers.  I found it interesting to read their old-style "craigslist" ads.
Testing the wagons out...
I don't even remember what this tissy fit was about, but it just made me think that I'm sure the pioneer children had their "days" too!
This picture was really the most shocking/heart-wrenching of all.  If you can enlarge the picture you can see the toll this treacherous journey took on these saints.  Their faces are gaunt, frail, worn, and exhausted.  I'm so grateful for these pioneers for forsaking so much.  For giving up temporal dreams in the desire of fulfilling eternal dreams.  I'm grateful for their legacy of faith and complete trust in the Lord.
More to come....

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