Sunday, November 18, 2007

Philedelphia and On

Please forgive us for being slow in making this update. You see, a road trip that we thought would take about one and a half months kept us on the road for about two and a half months instead. With limited internet access on the road we haven't been able to do any updates until now. This turned out to be one of our favorite trips of the year. The Northeast was the highlight since we hit it at the perfect time to see the leaves change. We had fun traveling for about a month with Matthew's brother's family so look for some of them in our pictures (see next entry for slide shows).

Road Trip Map
I have created a map in Google Maps so you can see the basic route we took on this adventure. Click here to check it out. (FYI--It takes a bit to load because of all the stops) Google Maps only allows us to mark a limited number of destinations on the map so it's not fully complete as we put on just under 10,000 miles in the two and a half months of our last trip.

While in Pennsylvania we visited quite a bit of Amish country in Lancaster County and the surrounding areas. It was fun seeing Amish people harvesting corn stalks from their fields with horse-drawn harvesting machines. It was like visiting the people of Little House on the Prairie. We also spent a day in Philadelphia seeing the Liberty Bell, surrounding historic sites and learning about Benjamin Franklin.

In Boston we stayed with Michelle's friend, Michelle DiMartini and got a brief overview of the sites. We climbed to the top of the Bunker Hill Memorial, traced the steps of Paul Revere's famous ride and learned about the "Shot heard round the world." The really fun thing about visiting these old cities was being able to see where the events took place that we learned about as kids. We also visited Walden Pond in Massachusetts where Henry David Thoreau and other famous philosophers have spent their days.

Acadia National Park, Maine and the Adirondacks, New York State
Acadia National Park is extremely beautiful and Maine turned out to be one of our most favorite states of all our travels. It has lots of hills and mountains that reveal pristine lakes and beautiful vegetation. Each valley was breathtaking. We were there at the perfect time as the leaves were beautiful reds, oranges and yellows. What made it even more beautiful was that the forests also have evergreen trees so you get a sharp contrast with the deep green needles--so incredible! We also had fun exploring some of the rocky Atlantic shorelines of the park, catching crabs and other sea critters with our nephews.

Quebec, Canada
We visited both Quebec City and Montreal in Canada. Quebec City was a charming place with great views of the St. Lawrence River wherever you look. We visited the huge waterfall in the middle of town that dumps into the St. Lawrence River. It was pretty but it would also be awesome to go in the winter because a huge ice mound forms right in front of the waterfall and people climb it with ice axes and crampons. Montreal has a nice French colonial feeling. Michelle was most impressed by the city's bank buildings because their architecture is so ornate and rich. Note to anyone who might visit there: parking in the city is terrible and the parking meters (which are impossible to avoid) all cost $3/hour! Canada was fun, but quite expensive!

Palmyra and Niagara Falls, New York
In Palmyra we visited a number of historical sites belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the LDS Church, aka the Mormon Church). (In case you didn't know and if you still haven't figured it out, that's the church we belong to). It was very interesting to see where the events of Joseph Smith's first vision and restoration of the gospel took place. We visited Niagara Falls next and enjoyed a free ride aboard the Maid of the Mist boat, thanks to Jared's (Matthew's brother) gift of gab. The Maid of the Mist is a big boat that takes you right up to the bottom of the waterfalls. It was pretty cool (and very wet). We walked around on the Canadian side to view the falls from there as well. We were surprised by the $.50 "turn-style fee" that Canada charges to exit the country. Those Canadians really like to nickel and dime you good, or in this case quarter you.

Milwaukee and Chicago
In Milwaukee we enjoyed spending time with Jodee and David Luke. Jodee took us down to Chicago for a day and showed us the sights. We took a free tour of the downtown area offered at the public library and learned a lot about the architecture. Chicago was a lot more artistic than Michelle anticipated, it being her first visit to the Windy City. While in Milwaukee we toured the Harley-Davidson Power Train plant. We were able to see how they put the engines together. We asked them when they were going to give out free motorcycle samples, but they didn't seem to be very amused by the question.

The main attraction of Indiana for us was visiting Matthew's extended family. In Indianapolis we stayed with Matthew's cousin, Jennifer. There we also visited the Indy 500 Racetrack museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the war memorials downtown. After that we headed down to Vincennes where Matthew's dad grew up. We stayed in the house where Matthew's grandparents lived and visited the places that were landmarks for family history. It was really nice for Michelle to meet Matthews relatives since it was her first time visiting.

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