Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On the Open Road

At the end of our summer in Minneapolis, we packed up our apartment into a million boxes and loaded them into a HUGE U-haul. Mike's parents had planned a great trip for us on the way home. Of course, as most things with Mike go, it was an adventure, filled with many bumps along the road! It all started when Mike and his dad went to pick up the U-haul. 20 minutes after they left I get a panicked phone call saying that Mike cannot pick it up, because of course, his driver's license is expired. He drives hurriedly back to get me and we make it back to the rental place 2 minutes before it closes. We cut it way close! I was supposed to drive it all 2,000 miles back to Rexburg, but I only made it down the street before I pulled over and handed it over to Mike. The next day we left Minneapolis forever and headed out to Nauvoo, Illinois. It was about a 5 hour drive. We took the scenic route along the Mississippi River, planning to see the Davenport Dam. Little did we know what would happen...As we enter Iowa, and head towards the dam, I happen to notice a sign stating that vehicles 11 feet and higher will not fit under the bridge leading to the dam. I point this out to Mike, hoping that he will take the next turn to avoid disaster. He does not. Mike finally notices the sign, but of course it is too late. There is no way to turn around. A police officer drives by and tells Mike that there is NO way he can clear the bridge without leaving the top of the U-haul behind him. Mike panics because he can't turn around, so instead he drives off the curb and ends up in the middle of a park, almost running over an important monument. You would think that the solution would be simple. Back up and turn around. BUT I forgot to tell you that we were pulling a car trailer that we could not back up in. BIG problem. The police officer returns and is VERY angry. Unknown to us, he had blocked traffic so that Mike could turn around. But seeing the Uhaul stuck in the middle of a park was not what he expected. We were quickly joined by a cop from the Illinois side of the river and another one from the Iowa side. My heart almost stopped. As I mentioned above, Mike's drivers license was expired and he was not supposed to be driving the U-haul. I was freaking out and imagining huge fines and maybe even the night in jail Mike would spend when they asked for his license. Would he be charged in the state of Illinois or Iowa or BOTH? Mike, Tom, and his dad were speedy and managed to remove the car from the trailor, unhook the trailor, back up the U-haul, reattach the trailor,and hook the car back on all in about 10 minutes which is all the time the cop would give us before traffic started coming back through again. If you have worked with trailors and Uhauls before, you know that this should have been a world record. Luckily, I charmed the cop and Mike's mom prayed like crazy, and he never asked for Mike's license. And this was just day one of our trip. I have never been so happy to see a hotel before in my life. We spent all of the next day in Nauvoo. It was amazing. In the morning, we went through a session at the Nauvoo temple. It was the most beautiful temple I have ever seen. Walking around the town and visiting the sites was great. I was seeing all the places that I have read about so many times. I will never forget it. The missionaries were all dressed like pioneers and spent the entire time telling us the stories of our heritage. I LOVED it! Probably our most favorite was the gunshop. I never knew that the man who invented the Browning guns was LDS. After visiting Nauvoo, we headed to Carthage, which was an incredibly spiritual experience. From Illinois, we headed to Missouri. We visited Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Independence, and Haun's Mill. Haun's Mill was a great experience. Mike's ancestors lived there and one of them was killed during the Haun's Mill Massacre. Adam-ondi-Ahman is beautiful, and Independence was interesting. We got to go through a tour of the Community of Christ temple (RLDS). It was different. I found it fascinating what happens when a church loses the power of revelation. It made us grateful for a living prophet. We continued our trip through Nebraska so we could visit winter quarters. Of course, our trip couldn't be complete without another Uhaul story. Mike got it stuck in a gas station. It took 5 men to fix that problem! It ended up making us late so that we didn't get to go through a session at the Winter Quarters temple. Somehow we managed to make it through all the rest of Nebraska and Wyoming without any problems. It was a great trip. I learned a lot and my testimony was strengthened. I am so grateful for the pioneers and the sacrifices they made and the testimonies they gave. I am so blessed with a wonderful family, and grateful to have such wonderful in-laws! This trip would never have been possible without them, and we love them so much! But the number one lesson I learned, was to NEVER take a road trip with a Uhaul!!! Just imagine what would have happened if I would have really drove it!

Monday, September 8, 2008


Mike and I had the great opportunity to spend our summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota! Mike sold pest control for the THIRD summer in a row, and let me tell you, he will most definitely NEVER be doing door-to-door sales ever again! I got spoiled and got to play out in our apartment pool several times a week! Minnesota was a fun experience, even if it was very different. It was really green and rained ALL the time. We got to hear what tornado warnings sound like, and even see one! Mike's car still has a few dents in it from some of the golfball sized hail that hit it. It was very exciting! The one thing we could have lived without was definitely all the mosquitoes! If you guys could have seen all the bites Mike got on his legs after working, you would be surprised that anyone told him no to pest control. Everyone we talked to thought that I had a crazy accent and that Mike didn't! I just couldn't figure it out. We fell in love with the houses over there and took lots of pictures so that when we are ready to build our own house we will have some fun ideas. They are way more creative than we are out west! Probably one of our favorite weekends out there was our one in Alexandria. Mike's mission buddy Mike Rose invited us to spend the weekend at his family's lakehouse. It was amazing. We spent the entire time jetskiing, tanning, eating great Mexican food, and just plain relaxing. We also got the opportunity to be permanent summer substitutes for a primary class, which we absolutely loved! We also spent a few days at the end of the summer babysitting for a crazy little boy, which is important to know because he is the reason we will not be having kids anytime soon, just ask Mike about that one! An interesting thing is that Minnesota is where Mike's dad served his mission, so we were able to meet several of his old converts. We even got invited to a burrito eating party at one of their homes and ate the best burritos I have ever had in my life! Brandon and Sara Ritchie left earlier than us, so once we didn't have our intense games of Cities and Knights (which is pretty much how we spent all our free time) anymore, and although we missed them, we actually went out and did some great sight seeing! The end of the summer was by far the best. We floated the Apple River, which is one of the dirtiest experiences of my life (the people were just as bad as the river, just ask Mike and Mike Ramsey about the Apple River and their boob experience)! We got to go on a riverboat tour on the Mississippi River and see the sights of the city from the river (that is where the pic is from) and it was beautiful! We spent a few days at Valley Fair riding rides and going to the waterpark, and even spent a day in Duluth, which is an absolutely gorgeous city. Lake Superior, which is where the pic to the right is from) is absolutely HUGE! I think that everyone should go there at least once in their life! There is so much history there! With all the friends and family we got to spend time with the past couple of months, it was definitely a great experience, one that we will remember always! It makes us excited for what next summer will bring!