Friday, August 03, 2007

August 3 - Kansas City

The last time we visited Nauvoo all we saw was some remnants of the foundation. The original temple was dedicated in 1846 and destroyed by fire, a later, a tornado, after the Saints were driven from Nauvoo. That last visit was a sad one contemplating the loss of this magnificent building. So, you can imagine how wonderful it was to return and find it rebuilt and even more majestic than we dreamed.
We even drove around to the other side of the Mississippi so we could see it as the Saints last viewed it as they left for the west.

Next we drove across Missouri to a place called Adam-Ondi-Ahman. There is nothing there but woods and beautifully mown grass. There is no visitor's center and very little interpretive stuff. Still, it is clearly a special place and we were glad to visit this sacred ground. Some day we believe Christ will return and this quiet peaceful place has been prepared to receive him.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

August 1 and 2 - Chicago

There isn't time to describe all the fun we had in Chicago. We saw one of Frank Lloyd Wright's houses. We even drove through the South Side and saw Al Capone's old house. We visited the Japanese Gardens, the Bahi shrine, the site of the Chicago Exposition, the Temple, the Hard Rock, Rock and Roll McDonald's, Gino's, where we had the famous pizza. We ate Russian food, the borsht was wonderful. We took a river tour and a bus tour and saw lots of wonderful sights.

Booklogged even learned to play Peek-a-choo!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July 31 - Palmyra to Elkhart, IN

Before we left Palmyra we visited the Temple. It had been closed the day before. It is small, but very pretty. The stained glass windows portray the Sacred Grove, which they overlook.

The Kirtland Temple was amazing. So interestingly built, for so long ago. I wish I could have taken pictures of the inside as well. I had some concern about taking the tour because I feared a sense of rivalry between The Community of God, who now owns the Temple, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was not to be the case. There was great tact and sensitivity. There were lots of interpretations especially for LDS people who clearly see this temple in a different light than their hosts. The visit was a very pleasant, uplifting and inspiring experience.
We finished the day driving to Elkhart, Indiana.

Monday, July 30, 2007

July 30 - Palmyra

We began a wonderful day with a visit at the home of the Wiley's. Booklogged's parents became fast friends with them years ago when both young families were stationed in Guam while serving in the Army. They had such wonderful stories to tell. And, though strangers to both of us, seemed imediately to be like family. We spent a wonderful and too short hour and a half with them.

Next we drove to Fayette and visited the Peter Whitmer Farm. This was the site of the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. It was neat to stand in that very space.

From Fayette we drove to Palmyra and drove to the top of the Hill Cummorah. Pictured is the monument to the visit of the Angel Moroni. The next stop was the two Smith homes and the Sacred Grove. It was amazing to visit the very space where Moroni visited Joseph Smith on that singular night so many years ago. And it was so wonderful to walk quietly through the trees of the Sacred Grove.

For me, it was all a very unexpected experience. I came here with no doubt that the church is true. I have enjoyed convincing manifestations that the church is true, long since. I didn't come here expecting anything of that sort. I just wanted to see and touch these sacred spaces for myself. I don't entirely know how to describe what I felt here. Maybe I can put it this way.

About 18 years ago I was once holding my youngest daughter in my arms. It was a special moment. I then realized that I had had such moments with my older daughters but that I could no longer remember in much detail those previous experiences. They had grown and my memory of them had faded and become altered by their changing faces and ongoing association. I longed for those memories, those feelings and hoped some day in heaven, my mind and heart could enjoy perfect recollection.

So it is with my testimony. I first new the Book of Mormon was true way back in my teens. While reading in Mormon of the demise of that great people who had enjoyed so much and then lost it to wickedness. When Mormon cried "O ye fair ones....", I cried too, for I knew the story was true. God had poured that knowledge into me in a way undeniable. I have, since, had many precious moments with the Book of Mormon. Moments which have sustained me though my trials and carried me though life. Moments which like that one with my daughter, are real but not ever-present. So, as I stood upon the Hill Cummorah and looked out over the valley I was surprised and overwhelmed when suddenly I felt as though all of the experiences I had ever enjoyed with that wonderful book were there, present with me, in the here and now. It wasn't new, it didn't change anything; but it was real and was a precious and welcome gift from a loving Heavenly Father.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

July 29 - Utica

We had plans to do some sight seeing today, but it took us two and a half hours to get across the border. That cut our time pretty short. So, besides sitting in the heat and exhaust for all that time we just drove, hoping to make tomorrow a little more restful and pleasant.

It's not like the day was all misery. The drive through the Adirondacks was beautiful and being back in the States on much smoother roads was great. New York is amazing. Even the big cities are swallowed up in trees and greenery. The farms are lovely. The people speak English. Fuel and food and accomodations are much less expensive.

Booklogged got quite choked up thinking about coming home the US of A. That is, until the chaos of the border crossing. The guards are respectful, earnest and thorough. But we couldn't help noticing all those forests and fields on either side, which would be so easy to passed through without detection. I'm sure the Border Patrol does the best they can. But it isn't much of a stretch to imagine people being able to easily sneak across.

We also couldn't help noticing the number of cars which would drive down the truck lane for a great distance and then crowd their way into the line ahead of the rest. We were reminded that there are plenty of people in the world who take little thought of others and somehow think they are sufficiently superior to deserve to take advantages like that. I'd almost rather keep those out of the county than the ones we have officially labelled as unwanted. Still, in the over all picture, there was a huge number more, of folks who just got in line and quietly, if not patiently, waited their turn. Good on 'em.

July 26, 27, and 28 - Quebec City

We've been having too much fun to blog of late, so I'm catching up a little. We pulled out of Prince Edward Island on Thursday, crossing the Confederation Bridge. The bridge was shrouded in fog, so we didn't get any pictures. The bridge is six miles long and only ten years old. Prior to it's construction the island province was only accessible by air or sea. It was free to cross on the way in but cost us $40.00 to get out!

We drove through northern New Brunswick and back in to Quebec. This end of Quebec is entirely French speaking. We found few who could even get by in a little bit of English. The farms are prosperous, the forests vast and there is a special french charm to the villages. Unlike western Quebec, the road signs and others are only in French.

We stopped for the night in Rimouski on the St. Lawrence Seaway. We were surprised how large this city, we considered obscure, turned out to be. We ate in a family style restaurant where we enjoyed our first escargot. Candleman enjoyed them more than Booklogged however. The food was nice and though the waitress couldn't speak English we got along okay.

Friday was spent driving along the North Shore. What a treat that was. There are high table lands along that coast with rivers cutting through them down to the sea. So it was up over the top, with majestic views of the sea, then back down steep narrow roads into villages, this repeated several times. The villages were always charming and inviting. Each featured a large cathedral expressing centuries of devotion. They all had narrow winding streets which were steep and seemed like I imagine the French Riviera to be.

One village specialized in sidewalk cafes, the next specialized in art, the next in boutiques, its fun how things become localized as like minded artisans and merchants congregate.

At Tadoussac the road meets the Saguenay River which in navigable. Building a bridge would be an enormous challenge over its wide mouth, especially one high enough for ships to pass under. So, they ferry the traffic across. Three free ferries (say that three times real fast), large enough to hold fifty cars and trucks run furiously back and forth keeping pretty good pace with the traffic. We were only delayed about 20 minutes and the ferries were filling up each time.

We arrived in Quebec City at around 3:30 PM. This afforded us time to a take a bus tour of the city. It was worth the money for we learned so much about this wonderful place. Perched strategically high above the St. Lawrence, Quebec is the only walled city remaining in North America. The Citadel, well designed to defend the city and the walls surrounding the city are well maintained. All of the buildings within the walls are old and full of history and character. The streets inside are narrow and winding and seem very European. It was great to spend time wandering these beautiful and surprising streets. There are museums, theaters, boutiques and sidewalk cafes everywhere. Quebec is a very pedestrian city, though you can drive around inside the walls. Just outside the walls is a large and wonderful parking terrace that is hidden beneath a park. One can walk to almost anywhere within the walls from the parking terrace in 20 minutes or less. Beneath the walls on the St. Lawrence side is the old lower city. It has been largely reconstructed around a few old buildings that are nearly400 years old. An active church and Champlain's first home are there. Newer buildings here are built like those of the long past. The streets are open only to pedestrians. The shops and cafes are all dolled up with flowers and bright window treatments and we had a ball walking along looking at it all.

We spent Saturday revisiting favorite places from the tour. In the evening we caught a bus out to Montmornecy Falls to see the International Fireworks competition. China presented that evening. It rained and rained but let up just as the fireworks were about to begin. Unfortunately, the humidity and temperature combined with the heat and smoke from the fireworks developed a dense fog and not long into the wonderfully choreographed musical extravaganza we could no longer see much but brightly colored clouds. We had a great experience though and were mostly sad for the Chinese performers who had worked so hard to present something the audience and judges hardly got to see. The falls are magnificent and taller than Niagara, though not nearly so wide.

We got home after midnight, tired but pleased with our experience.

All in all Quebec is far and away our favorite city of the trip. It's charm, warmth, history and welcoming feeling are superior to any place we've visited. Montreal doesn't even come close!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 24 and 25 - Charlottetown

Which photos to show you from Prince Edward Island was a tough call. We've never seen a place that enchanted me more. The cities are small and the farms run right up to the edge of them. As for the farms - they are as picturesque, well kept, productive and charming as any We've ever seen! They are all situated on rolling hills. Each is bordered and neatly accentuated by dark evergreen trees. Often there is a pond or sea shore to add to the scene. Often, too, is a church to enhance the pastoral scene. Always there are large barns and charming homes.
We visited the Anne of Green Gables Museum, located at the home where Lucy Maude Montgomery grew up. That was a great way to get a feel for this wonderful Province as it was 100 years ago. Asside from the machinery, not much has really changed.
Charlottetown, the Provincial Captol, is small and inviting. We loved spending an evening there. We enjoyed a super performance of Anne of Green Gables the Musical. Very funny and moving.
The show really did justice to the book.
The drummers, pipers and highland dancers were great at a performance we enjoyed at the Piping College.
All in all the PEI is like stepping back into a quieter, slower, more simple time. A place in which we would love to stay.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


You can't travel with Booklogged without some new music. It's a great idea. Then when you listen to it later, memroies come flooding back, of the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that it accompanied as we traveled. I can't listen to Roger Miller without thinking of driving across Kentucky at night, hurrying to meet Aly at the Atlanta airport. I can't listen to IZ without thinking of the Oregon Coast. I can't listen to Gorge Inti without dreaming of Vancover Island. I love to put on our Willow of the Wilderness CD so I can wander back to Concord and Walden Pond.

The Maritimes are big on music. With a Celtic style all their own, their jigs, reels, shanty's and ballads are wonderful and tell stories of these wonderful people and places. We have a few wonderful CDs that will always bring these beautiful folks and their delightful land to our recollection.

I wish there was a way to share a Ceilidh with you. There is something very special in just regular folks singing and dancing together. No formality, just good fun, where everyone participates. I think the loss of this kind of entertainment is one of the worst things TV has done to us. That and the homogenization of North America. Even in Newfoundland the young people talk the same as anywhere else from sea to shining sea. It's sad to see the old manners of speach and the old cultures disappear. We're all becoming the same old boring people we see every day on the television.

Still, many Maritimers are trying to hang on, if only for the sake of the tourist dollar.

One of my favorite oddities in the Newfoundland music scene is an instrument called the Ugly Stick. It's just any old broom or mop handle with washers and bottle caps and maybe a cheap pot or a tin can or two attached. Any noise maker you like will do. We saw one for sale that was so elaborate they wanted $200.00 for it! I plan on making my own. Any way it is played by pounding it on the floor while rapping on the side or attached objects with a drum stick. It is amazingly fun and versatile. Depending on the imagination and talent of the player of course.
The band on the Caribou had a name for this third member of the band and expressed their love for his willingness to play for free.
To me the Ugly Stick speaks of the common gift of music. We've come to think that only the gifted professional performer is worthy of making music for us. Here I've learned that music and dance belong to everyone and are not just spectator sports. Here, even if it's just tapping a foot, everyone participates, everyone performs. Anyone can play an ugly stick. Even me.

July 23 - Amherst

We said farewell to Newfoundland and enjoyed the passage back to Nova Scotia. There was a little band onboard who entertained us with Newfoundland music. They have a style all their own and were delightful to listen to. The passage was smooth and we arrived in North Sydney by 2:30.

We decided to drive down the east side of Lake Bras d'Or this time. Some fellow travelers had tipped us that we ought to stop in Big Pond at Rita's Tea Room Rita MacNeil is a famous singer here in Canada. The lunch was nice and the old remodeled one room school house was very beautifully appointed.

Candleman had a hard time leaving Cape Breton as it was a favorite place for him.

We stopped in Antigoish and poked around a little, then drove on to stop for the night in Amherst, Nova Scotia.