We headed Southwest toward Iowa and the Mississippi River. As it happened, we took our trip toward the end of peak leaf season in Wisconsin, which means we saw a lot of beautiful leaves on our drive. Here is the view as we crossed the Mississippi to Dubuque.
I don't seem to have captured it photographically, but we really liked Dubuque. It's actually quite the picturesque little city on the river with lots of lovely red brick buildings. We thought the same thing about Burlington, Iowa, when we were there the next day. Iowa is much more charming than I would have thought.
Because we wanted to maximize on opportunities for the kids to sleep in the car, we didn't leave until around 4pm. After dinner in Dubuque, we put everyone in pjs and Thomas obligingly went to sleep. Scout stayed awake to the bitter end and asked a lot of questions about Barack Obama and Mitt Romeny, since we were listening to the Presidential Debate while we drove. She also read at least thirty books to herself (really), notwithstanding the dark, and generated a huge pile of books, of which she was immensely proud. We finally arrived in Nauvoo around 10pm and spend far too long convincing the kids they could sleep in this new place.
The next morning dawned absolutely beautiful. This is the view from our hotel room window just before the kids and I headed out in search of breakfast. Food options are not plentiful in Nauvoo, Illinois.
Virginia's favorite part of the trip was the wagon ride behind the horses. We'd been promising the entire time that she'd get to ride in the wagon, so she was thrilled when Thursday morning's first activity was the promised horse ride.
Every time it started raining, it seems, we would drive down to the river and look at the pioneer crossing. It wasn't even that cold, but it was windy and unpleasant and I kept thinking of the Saints leaving to cross the plains in the winter.
The day remained cold and rainy, but we still saw plenty of beautiful leaves,
and a lot of fun shops and houses,
and lots of views of the Temple. It hadn't been rebuilt yet last time I was in Nauvoo, so I enjoyed seeing how prominent it is on the hill for all the city to look to.
There were gifts, which Virginia was very eager to help Thomas utilize.
Early in the afternoon, we arrived in Springfield, Illinois, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. This was also a great place with lots of dioramas and displays that managed to keep Virginia's attention for a solid half hour. While we were there, she learned about the White House, that Lincoln's kids were hooligans, and what bombs are. In fact, after we left she kept talking about having put a bomb in the building. No airport trips for Scout in the next few weeks!
After the serious exhibits, we took her to the children's portion of the museum where she got to dress up,
and generally enjoy age appropriate entertainment. Thomas just cuddled with Mom. He's not big on the social scene yet where he's in a new place and there is a lot going on.
After a few more hours, we finally arrived at our hotel in Chicago. There was a small mistake about the hotel room, so we were all in one room with a King bed and a pullout couch. Apparently if you call Marriott specifically asking whether their suites are one room or two and they assure you that you will have two separate rooms with a wall and a door that shuts in between, it doesn't actually mean that you'll get two separate rooms. Fortunately, it was 10pm at this point and I basically wanted to go to bed anyway. So, after enjoying the view for a few minutes,
we sent James off with his friend who happened to be in town to attend the BYU-Notre Dame game the next day and retired for the night.
In the morning, we enjoyed the view some more. I love admiring the Chicago architecture!
But she eventually caved in and slept, during which time Thomas seized the opportunity to grab her precious sheep. He has his own puppy, which he adores, but he knows there's something great about the sheep and he takes it anytime he can get his hands on it.