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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 13 - The end is near!

This is our last night in a motel - YEAH!!!  Tomorrow we are headed to visit our son then home.  This will be my last post of our trip as this is the official end of we will be visiting.  We are so thankful for this opportunity that we have had to travel and do some site seeing, genealogy, and visiting church historical sites.

We knew when we left that it was spring and a wet one at that so we were prepared for some bad weather.  We feel fortunate in that way also.  Other than our day at Mt. Rushmore when it poured, the rest of our trip was quite pleasant.  It seems that every time we wanted to be outside, the rain stopped long enough for us to do whatever it was we wanted to do, then would start back up again.  The only hot weather we ran into was today in Wyoming.

We were in the car a lot and on the road a lot and I thought that I would go crazy with the riding as I am not the greatest for long drives but we stopped every night early enough to rest and a couple of times we held over a day to get a little extra rest.  That was the trick...that and the fact that we were not in any great hurry to get to any one place.  We had an agenda but it was extremely flexible.  I would travel like this again in a heartbeat.

You may wonder if it was wise bringing our dog.  Honestly, we really considered this question.  We just didn't feel comfortable about leaving her that long.  We had a lot working for us.  For one thing it was spring and not hot in the car...not cold either.  The other thing is that Lucky loves the car and actually prefers sleeping in the car over going in with us into the motel.  We always told the motel people that we had a dog and requested a room close and within view of the car from our window.  They were all very obliging.  Lucky is a very quiet dog - so quiet we hardly even knew that she was with us.  She also is extremely obedient.  That is very helpful.  I have had a couple of Beagles and there is no way we could have had such an enjoyable trip with them.  So traveling with a dog really depends on the personality of your dog.  The worst days for Lucky were probably the two days we spent touring church sites. We made it up to her with our fun days at the cemeteries....she loved grave searching.  Enough about dogs.

My husband actually thought we could do this trip in under $200 a day for gas, food, and lodging.  Well, most days ran around $250.  We did almost no activities that required admission.  We usually ate only one meal out (I brought healthy snacks that took us through most of the trip for lunches).  We always got a motel that served breakfast.  Most of the motels we stayed at cost between $75-130 with tax.  We did stay in a nicer hotel twice and a real dive once.  Gas was most outrageous in Indiana...ugh!  I can't believe we almost cheered when we found gas for $3.55 a gallon after the $4.45 we had to spend some places.

We used a GPS and a Map...together.  I was the navigator and had control of plotting out our destinations.  It was fun following the map and checking out the different locations.  We did depend on the GPS a lot in some, some places do not do very well with directions!  Our biggest downfall was not following Jack (our GPS) and doing our own thing.  I also used coordinates to locations where I could not find a physical address.  That was very helpful.  Some of the cemeteries would never have been found otherwise.  (I brought the laptop with us so at night I would look up coordinates of some places we wanted to see.)

We listened to a book on disk on our way back east.   That was very entertaining and helped us through some of those boring areas of driving.  Unfortunately, we do not have any more books with us so I will put on a movie and pipe it through the speakers so my husband can hear it (and I can watch it).

If I were to do this again, the thing that I would change would be that we would be more prepared for the cemeteries.  Cemetery looking takes a lot of time and I think I could have been better prepared.  We want to go back to some of these cemeteries and check them out again but we will bring some supplies next time...a scrub brush, some bleach, and some rubbing supplies.  This was a fun thing to do but you need to have patience.  I think sometimes we crowded too much into a day and we felt hurried when searching the cemeteries.

My husband is limited to some activities due to a leg problem but I have bad knees so we were well suited to travel together.  I think you need to be on the same level when traveling or else one could get frustrated with the other.  Our pace was quite slow and that was fine with me but I know some of my kids would have been a lot more impatient.

Well, that kind of sums up the specifics of our trip.  Today our plans were to go to two cemeteries in Nebraska for my family and two in Kansas for my husband's family.  We did go to the ones in Nebraska and I found my family... my 3rd great grandfather and family...such a find!  When we finished with the Nebraska cemeteries, we found ourselves right near Interstate 80.  It began calling us - come home...come home!  Well, we have been gone 2 weeks and we still have a couple of long days to travel before we get home so the call from the Interstate was too overpowering.  So tonight we are in Cheyenne, Wyoming headed to our son's home in Utah instead of Kansas and Colorado as originally planned.  We will stay with our son a couple of days then head home to Idaho...I am ready!

Pictures today were of family headstones.  My greatest delight was finding my 3rd great grandfather.  I did not know where he was buried so it was exciting to see him beside my 2nd great grandparents.

These cemeteries were out in the middle of nowhere.  Flat farmland all around and in a green spot with some trees finds a quaint little cemetery.  You have to check every single headstone to find your family....oh, but it is so worth it.

I end this trip with the most touching moment for me.  Today, as I found my family, I found this sweet little headstone of an unnamed baby.  It touched my heart.  These parents wanted a headstone for their baby so they carved it themselves.  I think this picture says it all.

Thank you for reading the story of our trip.  We had a great time and now have some wonderful memories.  These pictures are a reminder for me but I hope they have been of interest to you.  I encourage you to take the plunge and do some traveling.  Take the kids too!

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