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Thursday, August 05, 2004

 

Macomb

Crossing the bridge into Illinois was no great problem after all: it only took about 15 minutes to find someone who could take me across. I went about 2 of the 9 miles to Nauvoo, and a man stopped to offer me a ride the rest of the way. We conversed some, and then he offered dinner, and offered to let me stay in his camper for the night, since it was getting late. His wife was there, and we had an enjoyable conversation until late. His family has been here since the 1820s, so he had some different perspectives on the history of the area than what I have heard before, although they aren't unreasonable, and he had a few complaints about the recent influx of Mormon visitors and tourists, though he was friendly enough to me. They also gave me a breakfast and offered a place to stay the next night, since I was planning to attend the pageant.
Tuesday I went in to Nauvoo and went through several of the tours: A wagon tour of the "old town", which has several restored buildings from the Mormon pioneer era, several of which themselves are open for tours, saw a historical video, and spent some time in the Lands and Records office. They offered several computer stations with access to a data base full of information about pioneer residents of Nauvoo, taken from LDS sources and local land records. I found seven families of my ancestors who had lived in or near Nauvoo, and there might have been one or two more I overlooked because I hadn't given enough attention to my mother's genealogy to remember the names. The office will burns a CD with this information on the ancestors of patrons, and most of the patrons take advantage of it, as I did also. I enjoyed the pageant, and I thought a few of the musical numbers were especially. memorable.
Wednesday morning I said farewell to my hosts. They declined my offer of help around the yard, and only asked that I pass the favor of hospitality on when I am in position and have the opportunity to do so. I meant to go on to Carthage, but stayed a while in the library, and then visited more of the sites in the restored part of town. It was so peaceful that I was reluctant to leave, and it was actually late in the afternoon by the time I made my way out of town. I got about 2 miles down the road and was resting, when another man offered a ride. He was a state employee from Springfield who inspects nursing homes, and was going south from Nauvoo because he enjoys the river drive. He took me to Carthage and went with me through the tour. He had been asking questions about some of my beliefs, although he didn't say much about what he thought of them. He took me as far as Macomb, and out to dinner at a steakhouse. He was going to put me up for the night in a motel, but prices were a bit too inflated because the "Rams and the Bears are in town" so we found another place I could camp out.
I found out while I was going around the campus of Western Illinois University waiting for the library to open that the St. Louis Rams football team has a preseason training camp here from Aug 1-20, and the Chicago Bears are also here this week for some intersquad practices and scrimmages. Since I don't follow sports that closely, this was all news to me. I'm not sure which route I am taking from here yet; whether to go through Springfield, or a southern route that avoids it. I'll post an update before I leave, though.



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