Monday, April 10, 2017

Last Stop, SLC


The last stop on our trip was Salt Lake City Utah.  It was suppose to be our first stop, but after car delays we had to move it to the end.  We dropped our trailer outside of Grandpa Chris's house then all rode down together downtown to the LDS Church History Museum.  Here we watched a video on the Joseph Smith's first vision.  Then we moved thru the museum learning about the early saints and the pioneers.  This coincided very well with many of the stops we had made on our trip... winter's quarters, Nauvoo, Independence.  They have some really neat interactive displays that tell the stories of these courageous men and women and children that sacrificed so much to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ established and growing on the earth today.  How grateful I am for these strong saints, their testimonies and willingness to do what they were asked, so that I may have the blessings of the gospel in my life.  I recently read a talk by Robert D. Hales and this quote stuck out to me as something I need to remember in my  life. 

The Lord expects us to be as faithful, as devoted, as courageous as those who went before us. They were called to give their lives for the gospel. We are called to live our lives for the same purpose. 

I hope that I can live the gospel as much as the early saints gave for the gospel.  They gave so much for it.  I hope I can truly appreciate their sacrifice and do my part to live it fully, and teach my children the same.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Jensen Utah

So what is in Jensen Utah and where is Jensen Utah?  I bet you are all wondering this.  Jensen Utah is  almost to Colorado in North East Utah.  Dinosaur National Monument is located here, and just a few miles down the road is where David's Aunt and Uncle live.  They were kind enough to host us for a couple of days .

The kids had a fantastic time.  They rode a horse, played over and over on a zip line.  Ran around the big backyard, climbing in the tree house.  It was a favorite stop.  We also enjoyed visiting with David's family and getting to know his aunt and uncle a little better.  His cousin and her family also came by to visit with Sunday afternoon and we enjoyed that as well.

We spent an hour or so visiting the Dinosaur National Monument Quarry.  Here they have hundreds of Dinosaur bones on display and information regarding these bones.  Many of them are still in the rocky ground where they found them.  It was quite amazing to see.  They knew this area was from a particular time frame, over 149 million years ago, so a paleontologist came searching to find dinosaur bones.  After several days of searching and not finding anything, he eventually found a few bones sticking up out of the ground.  Many have been excavated and sent out for displays in museums and for research.  But there are still thousands of bones left in the area.  Many at this Quarry museum.  They believe the area was a river bed that dried up in a drought.  Dinosaurs came looking for water in the river and died there when there was none.  Their bones remained as they died.  Petrified over the millions of years.  It was pretty cool to see still in the rock in a natural state of how they were found.   The kids enjoyed touching some of the bones, and learning about the dinosaurs.  And of course they enjoyed getting a new junior ranger badge.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Independence Missouri


Back in Pioneer times, Independence Missouri was on the frontier.  Goods were were shipped and traded along the Santa Fe Trail and Oregon Trail, both of which began here in Independence.  Goods were shipped up the river and then in Independence they were loaded onto wagons where they were sent out on the trails.  We explored a museum that taught us a lot about that era of time, the National Frontier Trails Museum.  

Mormon history is also found here in Independence.  So after our walk around town exploring life in historic Independence we finished our day at the LDS visitors center and learned about the saints that came here, full of hope and faith, adding to this city.  We also learned about their removal from the city as well and the hardships they endured for their faith.  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mammoth Cave National Park

We drove straight from Orlando to Mammoth Caves National Park only to be disappointed.  This is also a UNESCO site.  Sadly you can't just show up at a National Park and hope to get on a tour of the cave anymore.  To me this is a sad part of the Internet.  This Park allows people to book tours months in advance and then the tours sell out.

The campground had plenty of open campsites, so finding a spot for the night was easy.   I think they get lots of daytrips and tour buses that buy up all the tour tickets far in advance.  In the morning we showed up to buy tickets when the visitor center opened and they had a few tickets for day of sale to a short tour, but those sold out 5 mins after the visitor center opened.  We just had no idea.  They have a small self guided section of the cave open, but it was a dry portion and not very interesting.  Because it was dry it had none of the cool stalactites or stalagmites.  The cave is over 400 miles, you'd think they'd open up more of it to self guided or take more tours.  We were disappointed.  Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico has them beat in so many ways on what you can tour and see on your own.

The kids still had fun getting their junior ranger badges.  We drove to a nearby small cave to see some cool formations and the kids were thrilled with that.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Disney World

Seems like every couple years we end up here at Disney World.  I guess we all just love it!  This was one of the shortest trips we have made here.  Next time we will stay another couple days.  Next time they will have a bunch of new areas and attractions to come and see.  It was fun to be there with Matthew and Alex in particular.  As the youngest ones, it's like a dream come true every day.  They were so excited about everything.  We took Matthew, Benjamin, and Isabel to Disneyland a little over a year ago, and Matthew was remembering things from that trip.  We are excited to take Julia next time and watch her face light up!

Our last night there we spoiled Alex and Matthew with a character dinner at Hollywood and Vine.  They loved the food, and they loved meeting with the characters there.  We've taken the other kids in years past, and thought it would be fun to just spoil these 2 little guys.  The older kids enjoyed time on their own riding rides and picking out their own dinner.


Alex LOVED meeting every character!  He soaked up the attention and put on his best cuteness!  As we were saying goodbye to Elsa, Alex ran back for one more hug, then motioned her to bend down and gave her a kiss on the cheek.  She thought he was so sweet, she returned the kiss and planted one on his little cheek!



It's always fun to meet the characters from the newer movies.  The kids loved doing fist bumps with Baymax!


Since we had the trailer we had looked at booking a campsite at Disney's Fort Wilderness, but prices were a little steep at $125 per night-- for a campsite!  So we booked at the Reunion Resort with Wyndham.  Using Grandpa's Worldmark points, we only had to pay for a couple of nights and we got them at a discount since we booked in the last 2-3 weeks.    Then we had to find somewhere to leave the trailer as the resort would not allow us to park it there.  After a little research we found a parking storage near the airport that did this exact thing, parking cars and trailers and RV's for daily storage.  Park, Bark, and Fly.  It worked perfectly for us!

After the fact I was sooo glad we stayed in a resort and not at a campground.  It was hot, above average temps, we were sweaty and gross at the end of each day, it was so nice to multiple showers to ourselves for all of us to use, rather than using the shared campground ones, or the one tiny one in the trailer every night.  There was also plenty of room for us to spread out on Sunday while we watched General Conference.

We also picked a semi busy time of year.  the crowd predictor site I use said 6 out 10 for crowd levels.  Maybe we are just getting old, or spoiled by having visited at less crowded times, but it was too crowded for us.  Next time I will pick 3-4 out of 10 for crowds.  That may mean I am leaving behind my high school aged kids! Oh well, they have been many many times already!

We flew our 2 oldest kids home after Disney World so they didn't miss any more time at school.  So for the remainder of our road trip we just have the middle 4 kids with us.  Alex said to drop them off at the airport and take the rest of us back to Disney World... but off we drove, headed northwest!