The Aluminum Asylum

The Aluminum Asylum
Our home on wheels

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday...Hannibal MO

We just landed in Mark Twainland. I have finally been able to get a cell signal...forget wifi and pix until I can track someplace down. Start at Tuesday down below and then come back up here to read more.

Paul went off to the visitor's center to get some stuff on the area. It is a weekend so I am sure it will be a busy place...I would like to find a campground that is not $50 per night...hmmm, gotta check out the Walmarts around here, LOL!

Last night we went to the was quite the production I must say. These folks sure put on a great act. I say that tongue in mention of WHY Robert Smith was persecuted....can we say POLYGAMY? He had 33 wives at one time...and all of these women had civil marriages to other men...ya think he created polygamy so he could justify adultery via the church? Makes one wonder. I would say 90% of the people in Nauvoo as visitors are pilgrims...making a connection with their church's history and their "saints" and "prophets" persecution. Well, they sure wanna convert the world from what I saw, and these folks have MONEY! We did enjoy our stay...

Tuesday…lift off!

We left Riverside Campground around 10:30. We took State 97 up through Petersburg and Havana, reaching the Dickson Mounds Museum around noon. The museum was virtually deserted this time of year. We watched a nice 15 minute movie about the area and the Mississippian Indian cultures. The second floor of the museum is full of artifacts, short into movies and a recreation of the daily lives of the villages. The first floor is now merely a walk down to the museum gift shop…this area was where the uncovered graves had been displayed. It is now just a long curving walkway with Indian music and voices from the past talking about life, life after death and their culture’s beliefs. I had thought when the Indians reclaimed the bones of their ancestors that were on display, the museum had replaced the burial plot with fake skeletons. I guess I was wrong. Maybe the Indians thought the souls of their ancestors would grieve over their exploitation or some such thing. After the museum we stopped and had some lunch, leftover tuna salad from last night. I had put grapes and celery and pecans in it and it was wonderful. After lunch we drove over to the three enclosed archeology sites. It was interesting to see these ceremonial excavations…in one, a sweat lodge had the fire pit excavated and we actually saw 900 year old ashes! They looked like the stuff from our old fireplace! Geesh, something’s never change!

We headed out of Lewiston heading toward the Great River Road along the Mississippi. Passing through some small town, I asked Paulie to stop at a DQ or Whippy dip or some such place so I could get a blizzard. We spot a DQ a few blocks down and I say turn at the next light/corner…apparently Mr. Leadfoot was going too fast and passed the street and then hung a two wheeler into another parking lot ½ block down. Jeesh. He hit the curb and every dish in one of the cabinets fell onto the floor in shatters. I had bungee corded all the cabinet doors but obviously I didn’t do this particular one strong enough to keep gravity in check for goodness sakes. Hmmmm. I leave Mr. PIA to clean up his mess and then I stalked back to the DQ. By the time I got back, we had both calmed down. Why does he blame me for these things…I had spotted the DQ sign several blocks away why didn’t he slow the pace a bit so we could check the situation out before he does something dumb like he did here? Argh.

After a beautiful ride along the Great River Road, we find the Nauvoo State Park. We find a nice end spot and settle in. No camp host on duty so we just relax and watch local TV coming out of Quincy. We were both were pretty pooped so we hit bed early.


After showering we had a visit from the Park Ranger who collected the two nights fees…$20 bucks for two nights…incredible. Of course it is a State Park and I get a disability discount, and the sight is only electric, but boy that’s pretty much what we need. Why spend $25 to $35 for one night with full hookups that you don’t need. We can dump as we leave, and fill up the water tank for the next leg of trip before we leave here.

We went into the town of Nauvoo to get some breakfast. There are NO fast food restaurants here….none. We tried a couple of places but breakfast is a hard meal to find around here…buffets are the order of the day. We finally found a Casey’s and got a donut and some coffee.

We stopped at the Nauvoo Chamber of Commerce and found out all the things we can see here. I think we may stay three days instead of two just so we can see everything. There is the oldest Winery in Illinois here, and both the LDS settlement at Nauvoo and The Community of Christ settlement. Brigham Young decided to leave Nauvoo for Zion in Utah after the murder of the Prophet and founder of the Church of the Latter Day Saints Joseph Smith. There was disagreement amongst the elders about the practices and tenets and the Mormon Church split. We have found it amazing that there has been not ONE mention of polygamy or what these Mormon believe as “the principle”. Hmmm, I gotta get on line (internet has not arrived in Nauvoo as of yet…I am NOT making this up.) We are in a heavily forested campground so I get nothing on either the cell phone or the aircard.

We rode in a covered wagon and rode all over the settlement. Several of the homes have been rebuilt and some are the remainders of what was left when the “saints” as the pioneers were called, left for Zion in Utah. The guides are actually Mormon ‘missionaries”. They are called Brother and Sister. I wonder how these missionaries are “called”. I guess if I was a Mormon, I want to be called to be a worker in the beautiful Visitors Center…not one of those poor “Sisters” in period costume riding behind smelly Belgian horses with poopy bags hanging off their butt attracting flies by the thousands. My luck, I’d get stuck mucking out the crap from the stables. The tour was fun and interesting however the poopy smell and the flies were nasty. I got quite a few pictures. After about an hours ride we return to the visitors center, viewed a pictorial history done in paintings of the Sweetwater Rescue and then an hour long documentary type recreation of this disaster. When Brigham Young declared Zion in Utah, thousands of “saints” make the trek through the mountains via oxen and mule driven Conestoga wagons. Later, immigrants of the faith from across the oceans flocked to American to join their brethren in Zion. Having no money, the Church tried to finance these wagon trains. Because funds were short, handcarts were used to transport the families and their belongings across the rugged plains and wilderness. 8 teams set out, the last two delayed due to lack of handcarts and supplies. These two parties were doomed when they left late in the summer and an early winter set in. The wood used to make the handcarts was unseasoned and unsuitable to the environment. They set out with fewer supplies than they should have. The two groups lost hundreds on the trip and Brigham Young once hearing of the lost “saints”, sent out rescue parties. This is a sad and heartbreaking story. The devastation of families who made this trek is unbelievable. Excerpts from journals of the survivors is used extensively and bring you to tears. All I kept thinking was why in the hell did the leaders let these to last parties leave? Why didn’t they stay in settlements along the way to wait out the bad weather, hunker down and just get through the winter? I guess I do not possess the soul of a saint ‘cause there is no way you’d find me trekking through the plains of Wyoming in snow and -70 degree wind-chill. Thinking about it, I would probably have been the first one to lie down on the side of the road and die. That’s my kinda luck. We really enjoyed the visitor’s center and spoke too many of the missionaries there. We needed to have lunch and knowing there was little to choose from, we went back to the rig and had lunch. By this time it is almost three and just the small out of the ordinary activity has me exhausted. Darn chronic fatigue. I took a nap and Paulie went to get the car washed and check out Keokuk Iowa. He made meatloaf for dinner. I woke up with that nagging bladder infection AGAIN….grr. We were going to go to the Nauvoo Pagent but because I am having the bladder issues we will do that tomorrow evening. We plan on going back to the settlement tomorrow and tour on foot the various buildings open for display, and visit the bakery, blacksmith and brick making place. I guess we just have to do just a little each day. No use overdoing it and then having to be in bed for three days.

I will update some more tomorrow. Hopefully we will find a place to download this and the pictures we took.




We were up and out before nine in order to get the first walking tour of the day at the “other settlement”, The Community of Christ. The original homestead of Robert Smith, his second home and his business, a general store are located on this side of the settlement. The Community of Christ folks are the ones that decided not to follow Brigham Young to Utah. Robert Smith’s widow remained here with some of the children, although she did leave the settlement but returned. We visited the graveyard where Smith and his brother Hyrum are buried. We learned that Emma Smith was so concerned that because the Smith brothers were “wanted” dead or alive in Missouri, bounty hunters would dig up the bodies to collect the bounty. She had both of them interred along the banks of the river, right behind their homestead. Buried in the formal cemetery at the Temple were caskets filled with sand. No one but Emma knew where the bodies were buried, all she told her children was they were buried under the “spring house”. After Emma’s death, she too was buried near her husband, but no marker was placed above her final resting place. Later, the church wanted to give these “saints” a proper burial place but since the river had shifted over the years it was quite an accomplishment to even find the coffins. They were finally located and were then interred with other Smith family members in the family plot which was right next to the original log cabin and Smith homestead.

We continued our walking tour in the 94 degree heat and humidity visiting the Mansion, the home and then the hotel Smith built for incoming businessmen and new converts. We visited the store Robert Smith ran and in the upstairs viewed his office and the meeting room where the elders met. We then ended the tour here and walked back to the car. We went to visit the brick makers and learned how the brickworks at Nauvoo worked, bricks were made in that time and how the homes will built. We received a small brick to take as a souvenir. We then visited the little bakery and learned about the Scovil Family. I guess their claim to fame is that they converted to LDS and were baptized by Robert Smith himself.

We headed back to the rig for lunch. After a nice break we went to Baxter’s Old Nauvoo Winery. We did the tour and tasted some wine. Quite tasty…I bought a bottle of a sweet pink similar to Zinfandel. Paul remarked that I had never purchased a $13 bottle of wine in my life and wondered if I had lost my mind. No…I have been collecting wines from local wineries and this way I will have something unusual to offer guests when they visit. What a smart aleckok, so I like the cheap red zinfandel from Gallo…what’s the big deal?

Since the heat was so stifling with all the humidity, we headed back to the rig to take a rest. Paul listened to the Cubs game and I napped. We had leftover meatloaf sandwiches for dinner. We will be going to the Nauvoo Pageant later tonight. The show begins at dark, so I better lather on the bug spray. The flies here are plentiful and pesky.

I will write about the pageant later. We are heading south along the Great River Road tomorrow. Don’t know where we will stop…perhaps take a side trip to Hannibal. I’ve always wanted to ride the Mark Twain River Boat on the Mississippi and maybe we can do that. I am sure we can find a cheapo campground near Mark Twain lake, or somewhere near there.