We arrived in Utica at about 5:00 p.m. eastern time, tired and happy to get out of the car. Provo to New York is a long way.
We left Provo by way of Vernal and were pleasantly surprised by the pretty town that is Vernal. They have gorgeous flower baskets and planters all along their main street, as well as beautiful parks and clean streets. We attended the Vernal temple which is their old tabernacle that was remodeled into a temple several years ago. The ordinance workers were very helpful when they found out that this was our first visit to their temple. One of them told us that the inside of the tabernacle was complete gutted then re-structured into a temple and that when it was finished, it had cost twice as much as if they had torn the old building down and started from scratch. Church officials then said, “Well, that’s the last time we’ll do that!”
We drove on to Laramie on Saturday and spend Sunday with Val and Andy and their girls. The next morning we headed east. We drove all the way through Nebraska to Lincoln, admiring corn fields and lots of green hills on our way through. Neither Nebraska nor Iowa is really as flat as they claim, they just don’t have any mountains. Wednesday we skirted south of Chicago on I-80 (thank goodness we didn’t have to go into the city) and across Ohio. We missed Kirtland because we didn’t realize it was so close to the Interstate—none of the maps showed it. We got as far as Erie that night, but never saw the canal!
Thursday we went to Niagra Falls. Wow! What a sight! And a wet one at that. We took a tour on the American side and were not sorry. We rode the “Maid of the Mist IV” almost to what felt like it was the base of the falls. We got very wet in spite of the ponchos they gave us to wear. Then we climbed to the “Cave of the Winds” which is an area very close to the Bridal Veil Falls and again, got very wet. We drove down to an area where the river reverses itself into a giant whirlpool, then back into Niagra where we watched a 3-D movie with water effects (they sprayed water on us at appropriate times). We probably walked and climbed between three to four miles and by the time we got to the movie, we were both dead tired and neither of us could remember anything about the movie after it was over! But we really enjoyed the day
Our first view of the falls
We are at the top of the tower that holds the elevator that takes you down to the "Maid of the Mist."
We're on the boat getting close to the American Falls.
This is the staircase to the "Cave of the Winds" as viewed from the boat. You can see from the spray how close it is to the falls.
Don't think we can get any closer than this.
We drove on to Rochester and met our cousin, Dick Johnson, for supper and got to visit with him that evening. We had a lovely visit and the next morning got to meet his son, Rick, and granddaughter.
Palmyra was next on our itinerary. We took so long saying goodbye to Dick that we missed the 11:00 a.m. session at the temple, so we participated in a sealing session and admired all the beautiful leaded glass windows throughout the building. We drove to the Sacred Grove and had a nice walk and sat on a lovely bench to enjoy the beautiful day and feel the Spirit there. Then we drove back into Palmyra and had lunch at the Akropolis Diner!
The Reidelbachs and President Bulloch and his wife were waiting for us at the mission office when we arrived. They were all very happy to see us and after a few minutes, took us to our Apartment on Sadaquada Circle. It is quite nice—two bedrooms, one bath, nice size living room/dining room and kitchen. The laundry is in the basement and we have no garage or really, any place to park. The roads around the complex are quite narrow and are considered fire lanes. So we have decided to park in front and put our names on the waiting list for a garage.
Saturday we rested, unpacked, rested, shopped for food, rested, shopped for stuff we forgot on the first shopping trip, rested, did laundry, and rested. Sunday Sister Reidelbach picked us up and took us to church in Oneida, a small town 20 miles from our house. It is a small branch and I think there were about 25 people there today. There was one deacon to pass the sacrament, assisted by one of the young missionary elders; and one child in Primary. There is no one that plays the organ or piano, so they used the CDs of the hymns provided by the church. Apparently the organ has some hymns programmed in, but there was no one there today who knew how to run it.
All in all, it has been an interesting, exhausting week and we are happy to be here.