Click on any image for a larger version.....
Note that the numbers in ( ) are GPS coordinates, thanks to my friend Joe Free's generosity
On Thursday, July 26th I dropped Jay Omerza off at Lambert field (St Louis airport) after completing a business trip with him and picked up Lisa from her TWA flight at Gate C27 at noon. Lisa's never had the opportunity to be in this area and neither of us have been to Nauvoo, so we decided to put the daily challenges of raising children on the back burner, try to not think about the cost, and take the opportunity to spend some quality time together.... It was worth it.
I kept the little gold Mitsubishi Gallant rental car from the business trip. We drove to Wendy's and ate, then headed downtown, stopping at huge Calvary Cemetery which is between I70 and the river on Martin Luther King Blvd. We saw many beautiful crypts, one of which had exposed coffins inside , much to Lisa's surprise. Many of the monuments were very extravagant . We saw the tall cross (left side of image ) erected at the Joseph Desloge family grave site which I found by accident (38.696300 -90.238826). Joseph Desloge was a World War 1 hero and influential St. Louis philanthropist who built the Vouzier mansion (then image, 2001 image) for his family, which was recently purchased by Boeing as a training facility. Mr. Desloge passed away in 1971. On business trips over the last few years to this facility I was able to visit Vouzier and, intrigued by it's beauty and history, I located and conversed via email and phone with Joseph Desloge Jr., who grew up in Vouzier. He was kind enough to send me a copy of a book on his life's experiences titled "Passport to Manhood" (click here if the original link is gone). Given Joseph's interest in the Cowboy West, Grandad Darvil McBride sent him a copy of his account of his Sheriff father's death in the line of duty titled "The Evaders" or "Wilderness Shootout". In my favorite section of "Passport to Manhood" Joseph entertainingly describes his youth in Vouzier as a self-described "Enfant Terrible" (click here if the original link is gone). Our visit to serene and beautiful Calvary Cemetery was made more fulfilling in knowing a small part of the history of this great family.
After leaving the cemetery we continued on Interstate 70 down to the Arch . Where we parked on the street near the old capitol building. We stood near the base of the Southern Arch anchor (38.623888 -90.184675) and watched (and smelled) a dredge at work on the Mississippi just East of the Arch. We toured the underground historical exhibit and Lisa walked through the gift shop. On the way back to the car I took a picture of Lisa with the arch in the background . She said she felt silly standing out in the open all by herself but I didn't... I had a camera to hold.
We then drove to Forest Park and walked through the Art Museum (38.639933 -90.294319) and saw paintings from the 1600's - we were only there about 30 minutes before they closed at 5pm and kicked us out. We saw the Forest Park Pavilion built for the 1904 World's Fair. My great great grandmother Josephine (Cluff) Smith served as a missionary for the LDS church at the Fair when she was 44, and I assume she had been in this Pavilion. She was a wonderful person who had raised 2 children (one, Neddie, was my great grandmother) and endured a divorce. Soon after her return from the mission field to her home in Thatcher, Arizona she married Andrew Kimball, who's wife Olive died while Josephine was on her mission. One of the 7 living (originally 11) Kimball children she raised was Spencer, who was 12 at the time. Spencer would grow up to become the Prophet and 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Josephine (Cluff) Kimball passed away in 1922 at the age of 62. President Spencer Kimball, beloved by literally millions, passed away in 1985 at the age of 90.
After leaving Forest Park we drove to Ladue and Lisa got to ogle all the beautiful mansions we found there. Lisa picked out a couple of mansions that I could buy for her if I was ever in the mood.
We then drove to the St. Louis Temple, which is actually in the suburb of Creve Coeur on the North side of I64 just West of I270. I forgot to take a picture there, but found this nice picture at a website of all the Church's temples. As expected the temple is beautiful. We had planned on doing a session but couldn't once we decided to take the time to travel to Nauvoo. We'll look forward to our next visit to this temple.
After our brief stop at the temple we headed to our hotel near the airport called the Homestead Suites (room 337). (The Embassy Suites next door is 38.741569 -90.39889). They're studio suites that were simple, clean, new and reasonably priced. Surprisingly for this nice a hotel, there was a drunk making noise in the hall at about 12:30 that night which caused Lisa to jump almost completely out of bed from a sound sleep asking if the kids were all right. You can take the Mom away from the kids but you can't take the kids out of the Mom.
The next morning we checked out and started for Nauvoo East on 70 and
then North on 61. We saw a sign for a Ferry across the Mississippi
at Canton, MO so decided to try it . We found that the ferry was
next to a dam and Lock
(40.143208 -91.515562) (aerial
photo) (click here
if original link was gone) where we watched a coal barge 600' long negotiate
the lock .
The ferry ride was enjoyable, with Lisa braving the crossing from inside the car . Once on the Illinois side we enjoyed driving smaller farm roads as we made our way to Nauvoo. Lisa wanted to check a crop she couldn't readily identify which we think now was soybean. There was an unimaginable quantity of corn and soybean in the fields we drove past over those two days. The countryside was green wherever you looked, sometimes flat as a pancake and other times rolling hills that sometimes exposed their limestone bases. Wherever land hadn't been cleared for farming it was choked with beautiful dense stands of trees and brush. As we neared Nauvoo the road ran right along the side of the Mississippi river . Lisa mentioned several times that she was ready to leave the desert and move there as she'd never imagined anyplace could be so green and beautiful.
In Nauvoo we ate at Grandpa John's Cafe at the far right window (from the outside), bought some fudge across the street and a small figurine of the Nauvoo Temple for Lisa from the LDS bookstore next door. We saw Joseph Smith's home and store, along with the other restored period homes in the area. We took a picture of the temple up on the bluff from near Joseph's home. Construction on the new Nauvoo Temple (40.550834 -91.384662) is well under way . It will be beautiful when complete. (Here's an image taken in 2002 of the completed temple , and an aerial image is here). While walking through the LDS visitors center we were surprised to see Uncle Mac McBride sitting in a chair. Uncle Mac and Aunt Linda are from Corona, California. He was a Stake President and Orthodontist and now he's retired from both. He and Aunt Linda are on a mission in Chicago, but had chartered a bus and brought 50 folks the 4 hours from Chicago to see the play being put on that night, which we couldn't stay for since it started so late and we still needed to get to Carthage and then to our hotel an hour away. Aunt Linda had gone for a walk so we missed her in our picture with Uncle Mac but did get to meet Uncle Mac's friend from Chicago, who was a great guy .
We left Nauvoo and headed to Carthage (40.415407 -91.139069), where we saw the grounds , with the visitors center on the right, a statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in the center square, and the Jail just beyond. We visited the upstairs room where Joseph, his brother Hyrum, Wilford Woodruff, and John Talyor were being held when the mob stormed in, killing Hyrum instantly with a shot through the door which Hyrum was attempting to hold shut. Upon entering the room they shot John Taylor several times, one bullet lodging in his pocket watch, saving his life. Wilford Woodruff somehow escaped unharmed, as promised earlier by Joseph. Joseph was shot twice in the room, and upon attempting to escape through the window on the left , he was shot from both inside the room and outside, falling to his death where Lisa is standing . The date was June 27, 1844 and Joseph was 38 years old. We took the tour which was excellent and moving. I was impressed that, rather than focusing on these deaths, the tour and exhibits on the grounds focused on Joseph's testimony of his visit from the Father and the Son as a young boy and the subsequent restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To stand in the final room in which the prophet through which the gospel was restored stood was a great experience.
The Carthage Jail Visitor's center closed as we completed our tour. We'd had a long and enjoyable day. As a result I had a Sundae at the DQ in Carthage and Lisa had two tylenol for her headache, then we headed for our hotel in Quincy, Illinois.
Quincy is a beautiful town along the Mississippi. We arrived and sat for a while on a park bench (39.933865 -91.416157) (aerial photo) (click here if original link was gone) overlooking the river between two bridges crossing to the Missouri side. The sun was setting, the sky was overcast and it was about 82 degrees. There was nowhere else I'd rather be than sitting with Lisa on that bench. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn on 3rd Street (39.930297 -91.411426), where I'd made reservations via the internet from St. Louis the night before. It's a great value for the price, which was about $65 total. We'd go there again for sure. Lisa said she'd been away from Arizona food too long (a whole day and a half) so we ate dinner that night at a El Rancherito Restaurant at 201 N 36th St. in a strip mall. It was really good - probably because it's run by real mexicans. We left there about 10:00pm and were off to bed with a goal to make Saturday a late start and non-rush return to St. Louis to catch the plane at 8:30pm. Saturday morning we finally got out of the room about 10 and stopped at a farmer's market in the town square where we bought some home made apricot preserves and blackberry jelly. Also tried some crabapples and ate a peach, which was really good. Quincy has some beautiful historic homes. Lisa's favorite was at 1401 Maine St. (39.931886 -91.393192) . It was decorated with flowers, including flowers hanging from the corners of the roof and atop the chimney.
We opted to take the backroads that hugged the winding Mississippi for our route to return to St. Louis, and we were glad we did. It was a beautiful drive through several small towns and miles of green farmland and rolling hills.
We stopped in Hannibal, MO , ate a good lunch at Mark Twain's dinette, bought the kids gifts at Becky Thatcher's house and two shops next door, drove up the hill to Rockhurst Mansion and stopped at Lover's Leap (39.704151 -91.347182) on our way out of town (where the picture of Hannibal was taken from). We skipped Mark Twain's cave since it was 52 degrees inside and we didn't have coats. Lisa liked the historic (tourist trap) part of town and it's quaint shops. We spotted a tug boat pulling another off a sand bar just outside of town .
We stopped at Locks along the Mississippi at Quincy (39.704151 -91.347182), Clarksville, MO (39.373790 -90.905966), and Winfield, MO (39.005311 -90.689784). This part of the trip was arguably the most beautiful as we drove down State Route 79 from Hannibal along the river to Interstate 70 near St. Louis. It was a two lane, winding road through small towns separated by hilly, dense forests and wide open farmlands with corn 6 feet tall and soybean fields. We followed the farm roads along the Mississippi all the way back to St. Louis, where we ate dinner at Jack in the Box and made it to our Gate 45 minutes before the plane took off at 8:30pm. It was a wonderful trip that we felt fortunate to take and would like to repeat.