We had planned to stay in Nauvoo until Saturday, but changed plans with the flooding. We left on Friday and found sandbags on the road that weren't there on Wednesday! We were again lucky to cross the Mississippi River without problems and then had to find a way up Iowa. Our mapquest directions were useless since everything on our route was flooded. We made our way west and headed up through Des Moines. What would have been an almost 5 hour trip was an 8 hour trip to Stewartville, MN. We were so glad to have left in the morning and have the rest of the afternoon to clean up and rest. Grandma sent the boys off with Audra to the pool and I was...alone! No one to take care of and listen to and serve. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time, but I had no clue it could be a "VACATION". Vacations are fun and carefree - 32 hours in a car with three boys and no other adult is not a vacation. Well, the first day was not the exception. Grandma kept delegating the kids to either Audra, Austin or Catherine the whole time we were there...IT WAS HEAVEN! We really did have a wonderful time - good company, fun things to do and beautiful weather. We attended a court of honor/graduation party, went to the park, went shopping, visited Mall of America, Niagara Cave and the Minnesota Zoo and ate at Pizza Ranch (Audra works there). The boys experienced cheese curds (regular and fried) and lots of Grandma's home-cooking. The first Sunday we were there was really great. My son, brother and dad were all passing the sacrament together! Kyler couldn't sit still, he had to lean over the edge of the pew and in his 4-year old whisper say "Grandpa! Hey! Grandpa!" When I told him to turn around and sit down, he insisted that he had something to tell his Grandpa. How dare I interupt the little man! We stayed for about 1 1/2 weeks and then headed out to South Dakota. We made good time and visited Wall Drug, Bear Country USA and Mount Rushmore that afternoon! The boys wanted to get home as soon as we could after that. I told them I was willing to get as close as we could to home the next day if they would get to bed and be so good in the car the next day. They were GREAT! The next day we left Rapid City, SD at 5:15 am (Arizona Time) and drove. We drove through South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. 20 hours later, (ON THE DOT) we pulled into our driveway at 1:15 am the next morning! Yes, I thought my 16 hour days on the road were impressive - BUT BEHOLD THE NEW RECORD - 20 HOURS STRAIGHT!!!
Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for putting up with us, feeding us, driving us around & playing with us. We all miss you and love you tons! Thanks to Audra, Austin and Catherine for taking care of the kids (all the visits to the parks and the pool - and going with them on the rides at Mall of America) & being great examples for them to look up to. We are already enjoying all the memories we have of this awesome trip!