The next two days we spent with our family in Gurnee, IL. On Friday, we saw Ryann for just a few minutes before she had to hurry off to work, and we took Isabelle and Bobby out to lunch and a movie. (We saw Pete’s Dragon.) Their mom, Maria, joined us for dinner near the theater, and then she had an evening commitment. We went back to their house and played games with the kids.
On Saturday, we picked up Isabelle and Bobby and took the train downtown. Spent some time at the Art Institute (fabulous!!) and at the Navy Pier.
We had a bit of a mad dash to the train on the way back from Chicago. The scheduled bus leaving Navy Pier didn’t arrive, and the next bus, scheduled 20 min. later was more than 20 min, late! When we got to the train station, we raced to the track we needed and got on the train. We were barely inside the train when it started backing out. Sure glad we made it!
That evening we ate dinner at the Japanese restaurant where Ryann works so we’d have another chance to see her.
From ND, we headed south and spent the night in Sioux Falls, SD. Traveling across South Dakota took all day, but, there were several interesting stops to help break up the trip. SD helped me appreciate the phrase in our national anthem about “amber waves of grain.” Lots of wide-open spaces here.
Our first stop after Sioux Falls was at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Its amazing that this town redesigns and constructs all the images on the outside of the building every year. This year the theme was rock and roll. Its a clever way to get people to a town they might not ever stop in otherwise! :-)
To get an idea of scale, you could place all of the heads on Mt. Rushmore in the rectangle just behind Crazy Horse's head!
View from the top of Scott's BluffOn Friday we made it to Fort Collins, CO, met up with my nephew, Steve Wade, and he went with us to tour the new Ft. Collins temple. What a beautiful place! (I found myself feeling a bit jealous for our little Raleigh temple.) Steve is not a member of the church, and we enjoyed being able to answer his questions.
Saturday morning we met up with my niece, Cheryl Meakins, and her family at Steuben’s in old town Arvada, CO. Steve also joined us since he hadn’t seen Cheryl in several years either. We had a good visit over a late breakfast, then continued on.
We stopped in Vail along the way and I finally understand the attraction. What a lovely place! We enjoyed seeing the peaceful, little Betty Ford garden nearby, too.
After attending church on Grand Junction Sunday morning, we drove to Utah and spent about an hour in Arches National Park. (Since we have Senior Park Passes, we get in to all the parks free.) We didn’t have time to drive through as much of it as we would have liked, but, we enjoyed what we did see.
On Monday, Aug 21, we secured a storage unit at a facility not too far from the apartment we’ll be living in. We decided it would be better to put everything in storage that we don’t absolutely have to have with us this week. It felt great to lighten our load. We also went to Mr. Mac and bought a couple of suits for Bob that he’ll need for the mission.
Tuesday was the first time we could just relax in the room for the morning. Aaahhhh!
Because we’ve never been to Oregon, and we had these few extra days in Salt Lake before we head to the MTC, and because the 24th is our anniversary, we decided to take a quick trip, just for fun. So, Tuesday evening we flew to Portland.
On Wednesday (our anniversary) we went downtown, enjoyed having lunch at the Portland Soup Company — one of the permanent “trucks” that is part of Portland’s famous food-truck row. Bob had soup, but I had a delicious pork sandwich. Yum!
We also used Uber for the first time while we were here. It was a really quick, cost effective way for us to get around.
Before we left on Thursday, we visited the beautiful Japanese Gardens in Portland. There was some construction going on, which detracted some from the peacefulness one usually feels in such a place, but it was wonderful to see, anyway. I love Japanese gardens!
Friday, we did a little more shopping and ate lunch on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The food was just okay, but, the view can’t be beat! (I’d forgotten how beautiful the Joseph Smith Memorial Building is!)
We also attended a couple of special devotionals that evening. Super experiences! So glad we had the opportunity to attend those.