Saturday, July 09, 2005

national lampoon's mormon family vacation...

...sort of. I suppose the traditional Mormon Family Vacation would be to go to Utah. I suppose the truly orthodox walk. But what if you live in Utah? Oh! I know! Drive across the country with kids and no husband! Great idea! Be gone for six weeks! How would I know about this, I wonder...?

We (kids & I) left on Saturday, May 28th, the day after li'l ~j. finished her year of kindergarten. Darin was to stay home, work on his doctorate homework, get adjusted to new BYU job (lest any of you think that his new job means he left the byu), tie up loose ends at old BYU job, scout, chop wood at girls' camp, and do whatever else - mainly the doctorate thing. Technically, I was not alone for most of the drive east - Nicole (my brother's wife's sister) and Aubry (Nicole's roommate, and my friend - they both are) were driving behind me in Nicole's car. Darin was with us for the drive west.

Day 1: Goal - to make it to Cheyenne. Didn't make a hotel reservation on Memorial Day Weekend. Oops. No vacancies. Finally found one somewhere in Nebraska.

Day 2: Goal - drive. Slept in Iowa.

Day 3: Goal - Madison, Wisconsin, home of James & Monica (aforementioned brother & wife). Slept in their apartment.

Day 4: James was supposed to have driven Aubry to Chicago so that she could catch her flight back to SLC, but I (and kids) ended up doing that because - oops! - Monica went into labor! (Just joking, Ca - we had so much fun at IKEA.) Little Eliza Lynne Noonan was born that night, but I will let Monica tell that story when she starts her own blog.

Day 5: We got to see Baby Ellie at the hospital. She's a screamer, like li'l ~j. was (IS!!!).

Day 6: Goal - Toledo, Ohio. Aubry was gone, and Nicole stayed in Wisconsin, so this was just me and my girls. We reached Toledo and, well...only four more hours to Jamestown...so we went for it, and arrived in NY by sunset.

**lots of stuff happened in this section of our chronology, but this is a travel blog, so you can read about other adventures in past and future blogs**

Day 35: (same day as nail salon adventure) The girls and I shuffle off to pick up Darin at the Buffalo airport. No wife was happier to see her husband, nor girls their Papi, than we that day. We went to Palmyra, where folks were busy setting up and getting ready for the Pageant. If you have never seen the Hill Cumorah Pageant, put it on your to-do list and go. I don't care if you're not a mormon. It's spectacular. (I especially recommend it to those who think seeing the Manti Pageant is a fine experience - that'll learn ya.) We hiked up the hill, saw a snake, hiked down the hill, drove to the Temple and the Sacred Grove, taking pictures all the while, so that we can scrapbook them when we get home. Li'l ~j. wanted to see "the hole where Joseph Smith found the plates", and we told her that we don't know where that is. She looked for it anyway, to no avail. She also wanted to have her own personal heavenly visitation, and, had I not been there, she may have gotten that wish.

Days 36 & 37: My 10-year high school reunion; again, stuff for other blogs.

Day 38: Goal - Columbus, Indiana. We stopped in Kirtland (not Kirkland), Ohio. Ever been there? BOR-ING. Just outside of Cincinnati, we stopped at a Wendy's to use the restroom, and a woman in the parking lot, looking at our license plate, said, "Utall? Y'all drivin' all the way to Utall?" Yep, I told her, we sure were. "What city ya goin' through?" City? Well, I told her, we'll go through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado, and then we'll be in Utah. "Oh - I thought you was goin' through Texas." Nope, we're not, I said. "How 'bout St. Louis? Goin' through St. Louis?" No, I thought, but Maybe is what I said. "Oh, good - you're real close, then." Columbus brought a fun-filled night of fireworks and facials with our friends-that-are-family, the Warnicks.

Day 39: Goal - Greencastle, Indiana; not a lofty goal, it being fewer than two hours away from Columbus. We stayed with my cousin Heather and her family. Lots of cousins, kids, sand, and pizza. More facials. And jewelry.

Day 40: Goal - Hotel reservation in Nowhereville, Missouri, after making two specific stops. First stop, Carthage, Illinois, where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed. Wow. That place really commands reverence. Li'l ~j. was way into it, all the time fearing that a mob would bust in on us at any second. Curly, on the other hand, was less interested in the history and more interested in the locks on the doors. She fished a tiny luggage lock key out of her purse and tried it in every door she could find. In the martyrdom room, she was doing just this when she began to whimper and panic. I rushed to her aid to find that the tiny key had been shoved into the lock of the door - THE door, the one with the bullet holes. As far as we know, it's still there. If you're there any time soon, take a look and let me know. Also this day, we went to Nauvoo, Illinois. Went to the blacksmith's place in the old village, where we got rings that were actually bent nails (Darin fondly remembers getting one of these when he was a boy). The visitors' center is nice; didn't have time to go to the garden with the statues in it, but I'd love to return some day, if just to spend time there. The sun was setting as we went to the Temple, and the view was really beautiful, which surprised me because, you know...it's the Mississippi River. That night, our Best Western turned out to be Joe's-Motel-Recently-Purchased-By-Best-Western. Gross.

Day 41: Goal: Not to throw my children out the window. We went to Adam-Ondi-Ahman, which I first visited 14 years ago during my first EFY, and which is one of my favorite places on the planet. Go, if you can stand the drive. Next we went to Liberty, Missouri, to see Liberty Jail. At the beginning of the tour/presentation, Superstar loudly filled her diaper. Li'l ~j. & Curly were acting like barbarians - or, acting their age and as if they'd been in a van for too much of their young lives. We left mid-tour, scrapped the idea of going to Independence, and rushed to Overland Park, Kansas, to stay with our friends, JuanCarlos and Tara Avena. It was a very relaxing visit, while our kids played with their kids, and together, they tortured their cat.

Day 41: Goal - Get to Lakewood, Colorado. Think about that: East Kansas to Denver. That is one effin long boring drive. Although one thing of note: I don't think two states that touch each other are more different in landscape than Kansas and Colorado. While an August drive through Kansas on I-70 brings huge fields of lovely sunflowers, July just has the same old pornographic billboards with no sunflowers. We watched way too much SpongeBob that day. Excellent Best Western in Lakewood, CO; I believe it saved our lives.

Day 42: Goal: get home. I-70 just west of Denver is God's country. Breathtaking. So beautiful, I hardly noticed that I was paying $2.65 for a gallon of gas in Vail. And the bicyclists! Hundreds, if not thousands of people on bikes. I wondered how they must be feeling as I complained about my foot getting all crampy from having to drive up those passes. Right after the resort towns, we hit what I'll call Utah's Death Valley, which began in Western Colorado and ended in...Springville.

When I walked into my kitchen, I almost cried. It was as if I was part of the No-Arm family, and Ty Pennington had just given me my dream house, where everything is exactly suited to compensate for the fact that we have no arms. It was perfect, my new house. The smell, the look - everything looked brand new, and I couldn't wait to familiarize myself with it all.

Then I left for a few hours, because I had been with my kids every minute for six weeks.

14 comments:

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson said...

Jenny,
that sounded like a circus. I am personally glad you are back, happy, healthy, safe, and CRAZY! Your blog just confirmed the fact that I wont be doing that...ever!
Thanks

~j. said...

Yeah, I'm not going to do it anymore, either. I was thinking about your sister-in-law as I was writing this, how your brother will be gone for two weeks (I like to keep up with their blogs), and I hope it goes well for her - it could be worse...she could be on the road... (you can ask her to read it, if you'd like)

LuckyRedHen said...

Dude. Brrrrrrr - not my idea of a good time ;o)

La Yen said...

I can't believe I missed all of that. Did you get the Fairly Odd Parents thingy for five nights at any Best Western?
Miss you! Ditch the kids and come play one of these days. Don't drive.

Chelsea Strong said...

I just spent 5 hours in the car going to/from Idaho, and that is all I could handle with my kids. I applaud you for making it home without ripping out all your hair. Sounds like an awesome trip though.

waldo said...

You are crazily insane (cool use of an adverb, eh?). But yeah, you should come to El Paso. Not now, wait until Oct or Nov because it's hot like satan's buttcrack right now (103 and no end in sight).

Glad you're safe. I'm sure Darin is wondering what could possibly have happened to make you nuts. Just go easy on him.

~j. said...

Jen - glad you picked up on that. No Fairly OddParents card yet - and Rae didn't determine where we stayed, either. Best Western happens to be my favorite hotel chain.

Chelsea - where in Idaho? And whatever for? DVD player in the car makes all the difference...

Nah-wo - Actually, I've been thinking about coming down there in the fall. What's the deal with a sealing? Will it be in UT? Or shall I just plan to come down there to go to Mexico Temple (that's what it's called, right??)

Melissa said...

Oddly enough, we were just discussing the Hill Cumorah pageant today, because we found out all the hotels here were booked because of it. I would like to check it out sometime, because I have no idea what it is. =)

waldo said...

We were just talking about the sealing last night, but since I got a phone call and had to go to the military police station at 3:30 this morning, I can't remember what was said. Ask Jen.

~j. said...

Jen? Sealing?

Melissa - it's unbelievable. It's a pageant that is presented for (i think) two weekends each summer. People travel from all over to participate in it, and also to see it. It is an overview of the history of the Book of Mormon. Do you know how much history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is in Western New York?! (LOTS.) I think the pageant will run again this weekend, and it's completely free, so I recommend that you GO. It's so incredible. Even if you can't make it during the two weeks of the pageant, there are great historical sites to visit, and there's a nice Visitors' Center where you can take a tour and see some neat stuff. Let me know if you check it out. ;)

su said...

It is so awesome that Emma is now a part of Church history! I will never think of the martyrdom now without also seeing Emma's little fingers dropping the key into "THE LOCK." It just makes it all come to life now.
PS you are so nuts to drive anywhere with kids longer than Noah spent with all those animals

wendysue said...

Ok, I'm a blogger voyeur and like to check out others, especially when it involves mom's of crazy kids like myself! Lisa Clark (Stephs sis in law) and I grew up in Nebraska together (since we were 2 years old) Anyway. .. You deserve a big gold star right on your cheek for that one! And I could not stop laughing about your KirKland comment. On Sunday, our gospel doctrine teacher would not stop saying Kirkland, and I'm sure I had lava shooting out of my head it was driving me crazy! And hey, we probably just missed you in Nauvoo. My mom and step father are serving a mission in the temple there for the summer. I loved reading about the "key" incident. I know my 4 year old would do the exact same thing! Next time we're there, we'll take a look. Love your blogs. Wendy

SemiMBA said...

Mormon family vacation? Try National Lampoon's Catholic family vacation for more fun (and yelling and bitterness in the long drive between Cali and SLC)

La Yen said...

Sealing is going to be in Provo, blessing in the EP. Papo and CayCay were HORRIFIED that Emma marred the holy of holy locks. I think it is possibly the greatest thing that I have ever heard of, and told them so. Emma is the greatest.