So we drove across the country again, but this time we decided to take our 6-week old baby with us! Yes, we were a little crazy, and it was a lot of work (mostly because I had to nurse her while we were driving, while she was still safely buckled into her car-seat--I became quite the contortionist). But, we made it! And we made a pretty amazing road trip out of it this time around, stopping at a lot of awesome sites along the way.
Day One was probably one of the worst and hardest days of our lives. We loaded up our moving trailer which was just awful this time around (and took forever), cleaned our apartment and drove to New York all in the same day, stopping at Gettysburg along the way. We would have liked to have spent more time there, but moving took longer than we anticipated and we didn't get to Fingerlakes (about 15 minutes from Palmyra) until about 3 am.
Day Two was probably my favorite of the whole trip. First, we drove to Palmyra and went to the Hill Cumorah and visitor's center. Then a quick stop at the Palmyra temple, and last to the Sacred Grove. It was so beautiful and there was such an incredibly peaceful feeling in those woods it was kind of indescribable. Then, we drove to Niagra Falls, which is only about an hour and half away. They were so incredible!!! It was beautiful and majestic and truly awesome (that word gets thrown around too easily). Neither of us had our passports but the US view was still really great, especially once we went out on the viewing deck. It was so crazy windy! But I really loved it there. The color of the water was such a beautiful turquoise-blue and it's definitely a must-see before you die. That night we drove to Kirtland through some of the scariest and craziest rain ever and poor Cadiebug had a bit of a meltdown by the time we reached the little motel.
Day Three started with a quick stop at the Kirtland temple. Kirtland is a pretty small little town and the temple was a little run-down looking but it was still really cool to see in person. We didn't have time for than a few pictures before we hit the road heading for Chicago. It was really foggy when we got there. I LOVED Millenium park and all the incredible art installations and statues, including the infamous bean ("could gate"). and, of course, the Adventures in babysitting building. Our dear friend James had gotten our hotel for that night right in the heart of the city and it was so beautiful and fun! The next morning we walked over to the Willis tower where we could barely see the spires at the top through the fog. By the time we left, it had finally cleared and we could really see the beautiful skyline. I really liked it and would love to go back someday.
After the Willis tower and some breakfast in Chicago, on Day Four we headed for Nauvoo. It was a lot of driving and mostly on weird little backroads and highways and when the GPS on our phones went out, the frustration levels reached their peak. I also think Cadie was having her 6-week growth spurt because all she wanted to do most of that day was fuss and eat and occasionally scream her head off :) But we finally made it to the temple and it was stunning. We got there just in time for dusk. It was so beautiful how it overlooks the river. When we left that night we drove through even scarier rain--at one point we turned the radio on in case of tornado warnings because those clouds were not messing around. I'm pretty sure a lightning bolt nearly hit our car (the flash of light and the thunderous boom occurred pretty much instantaneously). It was really scary and I was so relieved when we pulled into our hotel in Des Moines that night.
Day Five was pretty much all driving. But, it was pretty nice for the most part and we made great time getting to South Dakota, which was surprisingly so beautiful. I had expected it to be somewhat barren (kind of like Wyoming), but it had rolling green hills and we drove by Lake Francis, which looked straight out of New Zealand. The weather was great right up until we got to Keystone where, again, it was crazy torrential rain and thunder and lightening. We met up with my parents at the lodge which actually had a view of George's profile from my parent's balcony. After a quick stop at the hotel we headed over to Mount Rushmore for the lighting ceremony. It was a little over-the-top in my opinion with the half-hour-long video presentation before they actually turned on the lights. But it was really cool to see it in person and all lit up at night.
Day Six we drove by Rushmore one more time on our way to Salt Lake. With just a few stops for gas and lunch we made it home around 8 pm. It was a crazy, whirlwind of a trip but so worth it. And we have all these great pictures of the cutest little travelocity gnome there ever was :)