Monday, August 30, 2010


We spent all of last week having work done on the coach. The slide out awning had malfunctioned and had twisted our big slide, our back up camera had lost it’s voice, the toilet lost it’s will to retain water, the oil needed to be changed and several other items had shaken loose from their nests. Total Value RV here in Elkhart really did a great job for us.

We also had the steering stabilizer installed on the coach and the tow parts put on the Avalanche. Dan’s Hitches and Trailers did that work for us. They were almost half the price of what Pierce’s RV in Billings, MT wanted for the same work.

The only problem we had was trying to live in the Avalanche for eight hours a day with the girls in the heat and humidity. It wasn’t easy but we did survive.

This week we are attending the Gypsy Journal Rally. We actually had to move about 2/10’s of a mile from Total RV to the Elkhart Campground. Not sure when I’ll have time to post again. Having too much fun this week.

But I’ll try and do better.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I thought this story was great. My kind of guy. (Notice Lincoln’s tomb in the back of the picture.)

IMG_6440Oak Ridge Cemetery, home of Lincoln's Tomb, is a regal burial ground -- the dignified final resting place of some of Illinois' most blue-blooded citizens.

Or at least it was, until Mr. Accordion showed up.

Mr. Accordion was Roy Bertelli, "a rare individual". Roy had always dreamed of being buried in Oak Ridge, but he figured that the odds of it happening were next-to-impossible. One day he summoned up his courage and went to the cemetery to ask about a burial plot. To his amazement, one was available, on a tiny triangle of land right next to the road leading to Lincoln's Tomb! Roy bought it on the spot, and went home a happy man.

A couple of weeks later, however, Roy received a letter from the cemetery. There had been a mistake, it said; the plot had been sold to him in error. Roy was pondering what to do next when a second letter arrived, this one from the cemetery's lawyer. It said that the cemetery intended to seize the plot, and would take Roy to court if he tried to fight back.

IMG_6441 That was a bad move by Oak Ridge Cemetery. Roy would have returned the plot if he hadn't been disrespected (Roy was a WW II veteran, the generation that learned that when faced by a superior but unjust force, to say "Nuts"). Roy was really angry, and he decided to teach the cemetery and the city of Springfield a lesson. First, he built his crypt above ground, impossible for any Lincoln Tomb tourist to miss. Then he erected a large, elevated tablet behind it, engraved with a big accordion over happy musical notes. "Roy Bertelli, Mr. Accordion" it read. Roy would periodically visit his grave, stand on top of his crypt and play his accordion, to the bafflement of cemetery visitors and the horror of the city.

Roy Bertelli died in 2003. As a final flip to the powers-that-be, he kept the Oak Ridge Cemetery crypt, paying for its perpetual care, but had himself buried in another cemetery east of town.


IMG_6442 This tomb is where Lincoln, his wife, Mary Todd, and three of their four sons are buried. IMG_6456 IMG_6449 Their fourth son is buried at Arlington Cemetery.Lincoln_Tomb_Interior This statue stands in front of Lincoln’s tomb.

IMG_6447So many people have rubbed his nose for luck that it is now burnished gold.


IMG_6461 Of all the things to see at the New Salem Historic Site – these two items were of special interest to Jim. He was fascinated at how the corn and wheat were ground and logs split at the gristmill.

IMG_6467The flatboat is a replica of one that would have been used by Lincoln during the time he lived in New Salem.


IMG_6437We are Route 66 junkies so anytime we come near Route 66 we make a special effort to find some of the icons still left from those glorious days.

Route 66 ran through Springfield, IL and the Cozy Dog Drive is still open and operating. It was packed when we were there with a really long line waiting to order.

The original dog-on-a-stick idea was conceived in 1945 when Ed stopped at a roadside cafe in Oklahoma. He observed them making a cornbread sandwich – a wiener baked in cornbread. It was good but it took too long to prepare.

So Ed and a friend of his experimented with different batters until they came up with one that would stick to the wiener when it was deep fried.

IMG_6435In 1946 the cozy dog was introduced at the Illinois State Fair and became an instant success. The drive-in was opened on Route 66 in 1949.

IMG_6436The important thing to remember when ordering the dog is not to ask for a corn dog. These are NOT corn dogs – they are cozy dogs. Enjoy.


IMG_6428 Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site is a reconstruction of the  village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood. The six years Lincoln spent in New Salem formed a turning point in his career.

IMG_6429 Although he never owned a home here, Lincoln was engaged in a variety of activities while he was at New Salem. He clerked in a store, split rails, enlisted in the Black Hawk War, served as postmaster and deputy surveyor, failed in business, and was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834 and 1836 after an unsuccessful try in 1832. IMG_6433


They have a really nice campground here at the site. It was $20 a night for 30 amp electric only. Once again I forgot to get a picture. We would definitely stay here again. It’s very convenient to Springfield yet really quiet and peaceful. This is the entrance into the site.IMG_6459

Saturday, August 21, 2010


IMG_6420 This is the home of Edgar Lee Masters when he lived in Petersburg. Masters was a poet and a biographer – most notable he wrote biographies of Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln.

He is buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Petersburg edgarnot far from Ann Rutledge’s grave.IMG_6424 IMG_6422Ann Rutledge – Many historians believe she was the first true love of Abraham Lincoln. However, she died very young at the age of 22 when a typhoid epidemic swept through New Salem.


Carthage is the site of the jail where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred by the anti-Mormon mob.IMG_6417

Trouble for Latter-day Saints began when the Nauvoo city council issued orders to destroy a newspaper press that had printed criticisms against the Church. This act angered the newspaper's supporters and neighboring citizens.

Those in opposition rioted in the streets of Nauvoo in protest of the act. City council members, including the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, were arrested for instigating a riot. To bring calm, Governor Thomas Ford promised the council members full protection if they would submit to arrest and go to Carthage for a trial. Notwithstanding the promise of protection, Joseph Smith felt that he was "going like a lamb to the slaughter."

The 16 council members arrived at Carthage on 24 June 1844. The next day they were released on bail, but Joseph and Hyrum Smith were detained after being falsely charged with treason, a charge stemming from their activating the Nauvoo Legion to protect the citizens of Nauvoo. Although only Joseph and Hyrum were under arrest, others remained with them in the jail.

On 27 June 1844, four men were held in the jail's upper bedroom: Joseph, Hyrum, John Taylor, and Dr. Willard Richards. They noticed a large group of men with disguised faces and guns rush toward the jail. The four men tried to hold the door against the mob, but Hyrum was immediately shot and killed. The mob forced the door open just as Joseph turned to leap out of the window, perhaps to distract attention from his friends. He was shot twice in the back and twice in the chest as he fell from the second-story window. John Taylor was shot four times but miraculously survived. Willard Richards escaped without even a hole in his clothing.


The jail was constructed in 1839-40. In later years it was converted into a house. It remained a private home until 1903, when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought it. The Church restored the building in 1938.


I didn’t know what to title this post. Just a couple of things that I wanted to share with you.

IMG_6405 Illinois (like Iowa) grows a lot of corn. But they also have another huge crop and those are soybeans. They are such a pretty plant.

IMG_6406 I was going to take some pictures of our campground, Camp Nauvoo, and forgot to. It really was a great place to stay. And there are geese and deer everywhere.

IMG_6384 IMG_6408Leaving Nauvoo, we were headed for Carthage, IL and the road takes you along the Mississippi River. Just a gorgeous drive.


Friday, August 20, 2010


IMG_6391 I took several pictures of Nauvoo and picked out just a few of them to share with you. Historic Nauvoo has been restored by the LDS Church and there’s a wonderful article on this restoration at It is a beautiful, well kept area.

IMG_6392 Brigham Young’s house. He became the Prophet of the Church after the death of Joseph Smith and led the saints to the Salt Lake Valley.

IMG_6394 This is the brick yard where the bricks were made for these beautiful homes. There are also shops for the blacksmith, the post office, the bakery and the newspaper. I found it fascinating to learn how things were done in the 1800’s. I would have made a lousy pioneer. The heat and humidity would have done me in let alone all the hard work.

And most of this work was done by the women because the men were busy working on building the temple or were sent around the world on missions to teach the gospel.


IMG_6396 We also took advantage of the carriage and wagon tours that are offered. And the best thing is everything is free. The tours are free, the shows are free. There is no charge for anything.

During the month of July, a pageant is performed showing the life of the IMG_6401

Saints in Nauvoo. I would love to go back sometime to see that.

This is Inspiration Point where Joseph used to go to get away from everything and everybody for some quiet time.IMG_6399

I loved the sound of the horses hooves as we took the wagon ride. (I didn't think the camera was recording so you also get to see the floor of the wagon along with my foot.) So close your eyes and just listen to the clip clop.


What a beautiful sight for our last night in Nauvoo.


Thursday, August 19, 2010


This is what happens when you don't stop to think about your blog readers. I got a comment from Margie on my previous blog post asking me what this building is.
That made me realize that I just assumed everybody would know what the building is and that's what happens when you assume something.
This building is the Nauvoo Temple belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The original temple that Joseph Smith and his people built was destroyed by fire and a tornado after the Saints were run out of Nauvoo. In the early 2000's the Church was able to rebuild the temple to the exact specifications of the original temple. It was dedicated in 2002.
President Boyd K. Packard explains the purpose of temples. "The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They are beautiful. They are sacred. They are kept confidential lest they are given to those who are unprepared. Curiosity is not a preparation. Deep interest, itself, is not a preparation. Preparation for the ordinances includes preliminary steps: faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, worthiness, a maturity and dignity worthy of one who comes invited as a guest into the house of the Lord."
Temples are different from our regular meeting houses because of the sacred ordinances that are performed in them. Marriages are performed for eternity in temples as well as baptisms for the dead. Mormons believe that life and families are eternal (not just for this world) and that everyone who has ever lived needs to be given the opportunity to have this eternal life.
Thanks Margie for giving me the opportunity to share some information about temples. There are currently 133 temples being used around the world.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


IMG_6376 This is one of the wagon’s used by the Saints when they had to leave Nauvoo. It is sitting on a ferry that was used to get them across the Mississippi River.


IMG_6380 Joseph Smith and Brigham Young looking out across the Mississippi, holding a map of the route to the Great Salt Lake.

The limestone used to build the temple was taken from this quarry.



IMG_6364 We got into Nauvoo and set up about 3:30. We camped at Camp Nauvoo which is a really nice campground with full hookups. I found a schedule of events on line and discovered that the last performance of Sunset by the Mississippi was being put on at the outdoor stage. IMG_6372

It was so hot and humid and absolutely miserable. The bugs outnumbered humans by about a million to one. But the performers put on a great show. Most of the performers are the Senior Missionary Couples serving in Nauvoo and along with them are young, very talented kids from BYU. (Notice the heavy costumes.)IMG_6368

After their performance, the BYU International Folk Ensemble performed and these kids are absolutely amazing. What a fantastic show. They requested no pictures be taken but if you ever get a chance to see these kids perform, please do so.


IMG_6374 For those of my readers who are not familiar with the history of the Mormons, I would like to share this brief history of Nauvoo with you. The members of the Church had been killed or forced from their homes in several states and thought that they had found a place in Nauvoo to able to live their religion. But such was not the case.

Forced to leave the State of Missouri by order of the governor, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly called Mormons or Latter Day Saints) began streaming into Illinois in the harsh winter of 1838-39. By the end of 1939 Joseph had been able to purchase much of the area of Commerce which was swamp land infested by malarial mosquitoes. The Saints were able to clear the land and make it habitable.

In 1840 the name of Commerce was changed to Nauvoo, a Hebrew word meaning "beautiful" . With Nauvoo's increasing size came more businesses, and before long it had become the largest business district north of St. Louis. By 1844, Nauvoo's population topped 10,000.

The Whig and Democratic political parties were joined in Hancock County by a third party, the Anti-Mormon Party. This group was determined to drive the Mormons from Illinois. Within days the county was on the verge of civil war. Joseph Smith, as mayor of Nauvoo, declared martial law within the city. When news of the situation reached Governor Thomas Ford , he immediately ordered out the state militia and went to Carthage to see the situation for himself. After reaching Carthage, Ford called for Smith and the Nauvoo City Council to surrender themselves to stand trial for the destruction of a printing press that had been destroyed by a mob in Nauvoo.

Under a promise of protection, Joseph Smith and a few of the council members surrendered themselves on 24 June. Three days later, with the governor gone to Nauvoo, a group of Warsaw militia stormed the county jail and killed Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and wounded a third man, with a fourth man in the room escaping injury .

At the death of Joseph Smith the county was gripped in terror in fear of Mormon retaliation. Instead of retaliating, the City of Nauvoo was silent. The Anti-Mormon Party organized a series of raids against outlying Mormon settlements and by the summer of 1845 the hostilities had progressed to shooting on both sides. Governor Ford called out the State Militia to again quell the hostilities. This time the Mormons, now under the leadership of Brigham Young , agreed to leave the state and abandon Nauvoo the coming spring.

In February of 1846 word came to Brigham Young from Governor Ford that the United States Army might try to prevent the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo into Indian, British or Mexican territory. Fearing his people would be trapped, Young ordered many of the community's leaders to immediately evacuate the city. By September the town that had once been home to more than 20,000 people had been reduced to less than 2,000.

Two years after the Mormon expulsion from Nauvoo, their beloved temple was set ablaze by an arsonist. Two years after that a tornado toppled the north wall of the structure that had been weakened from the intense heat of the blaze. The Nauvoo City Council, fearing someone could be killed if the remainder collapsed, ordered the final demolition of the building in 1867.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


IMG_6357 I was sure glad Jim was driving the motorhome when we got to this bridge. I wish I would have gotten the picture of the fiver passing our mh but I was too busy holding my breath hoping they wouldn’t scrape each other. It’s also a toll bridge and the toll booth is in the middle of this very narrow bridge. It didn’t bother Jim at all. Wish I had that kind of confidence.



IMG_6341 This first picture is what the Iowa countryside looks like as you travel along the back roads.

IMG_6343The following pictures are the floods that have devastated the land along the river. Some of the pictures aren’t real good because I was taking them through the window of the truck as I was driving.

One of the pictures does show some houses that are flooded out – IMG_6352thee were a lot of rv’s also in the area that people must be living in until the water goes down enough so they can figure out how to salvage their lives.

The land is certainly green IMG_6344especially for August. Makes you wonder what their Fall is going to be like.