Arkansas, Thursday night and Friday morning
Freight train broke down on the line ahead of us. We sat for over an hour, not far beyond Texarkana. Power went off a couple of times but only for a few minutes each time.
We sat again in Little Rock, for who knows how long. At 3:16 am we started moving. I still hadn't slept. Stopped again. I dozed for maybe half an hour. Two freight trains rolled by. [This train I'm riding is 21 coaches long. (Not.) Thank you, Worried Man Blues.]
Missouri, most of Friday
The Mississippi, at St. Louis, is huge. And dirty. Impressive only for scale and not for grandeur. Apparently it's prettier when viewed from the observation deck on the upper level.
Breakfast was tasty. Overpriced, but tasty.
At this point we were running about four hours behind. I had zero interest in sightseeing. I wanted a shower, and clean clothing, and a minimum of five hours of unbroken sleep. In no particular order.
South St. Louis is full of the little old houses that I love. And I had "St. Louis Blues" looping in my head. I thought you should know.
Illinois, Friday afternoon
It was evident as we crossed the river that Illinois is doing much better than Missouri.
By the time we got to Springfield, we were six hours behind. The Amtrak trains are slotted around the freight trains. So the problem with that first train just kept snowballing. We bagged all the carefully planned sightseeing in favor of heading straight for the British pageant.
At Springfield I had been up for 33 hours, more or less. When we arrived at Nauvoo, it had been 37 hours. (By the time I got to bed it was closer to 40.) Lots of food and/or snacks.
The Mississippi is a whale of a lot more impressive at Nauvoo.
The British pageant was lovely. I just peeled out of the support hose I put on under my jeans yesterday. Happy ankles.
I. Am. So. Tired.
Carthage and Nauvoo, Saturday
I had so many spiritual experiences that it will take me weeks to process them. Observing the dungeon cell where Joseph and the others spent some time before being moved upstairs. Looking out the window through which he fell after he was shot. Visiting the Smith family cemetary.
We saw the Nauvoo pageant Saturday night, after catching the final session in the temple. Sharing a house and a shower with eight women was surprisingly peaceful.
Nauvoo, Sunday morning
Nauvoo is a small town of 1100 people, when it's not tourist season. From April through October, there are 800 missionaries and who knows how many visitors. The Visitors Center is lovely, quiet, and impressive. I stood at the feet of the Christus statue replica and pondered. And again at the foot of another marble portraying the First Vision. Beautiful, moving, inspired work. I cannot comprehend the talent that goes into making that kind of art.
There is nothing like singing "Praise to the Man Who Communed with Jehovah" in Nauvoo First Ward. Nothing.
Amtrak, Sunday afternoon and overnight
Nowhere near as exhausting as the trip up. My take-aways? I like riding on the train, per se, although it took me two or three days at home before I didn't feel as if I were still on the train, when I closed my eyes in the shower. Very discombobulating. I still have the cross-Canadian railway trip on my bucket list, but if I go it will be with a sleeper car reservation. When I go to Nauvoo again, and I will, I will fly or drive. The food on Amtrak is surprisingly good. Not gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, but far better than I expected. Support stockings under jeans are adequate for the prevention of exploding ankles. Traveling with nearly two dozen people is not crazy-making. I would do that again. The trip was well-planned, and any glitches were not the fault of the planners. I was wise to take the extra day off.