It took us 3 days, but we finally made it. We had our scares and thrills along the way, as all road trips do.
Friday afternoon, about the time we hit Ohio (4 hours into the 18 hour drive), I felt the car lurching, or sputtering every so often. It felt like it happened more when we went uphill, but I wasn't too sure about what was going on. After another hour, we were feeling much stronger sputters and then one big one and the 'check engine' light came on. We started getting worried then.
Now I used to drive a beat up car a few years ago. It would sputter a lot too. So I wasn't terribly worried. I felt the car at least wouldn't explode on us. But we weren't sure it would take us safely the other 13 hours to our destination. So, we decided to forge onward another 3 hours to Kirtland, OH. We arrived at 5 or 6 in the evening, right when everything was closing up for the day. We were all pretty beat, especially poor old Dad who drove the whole time! and poor little Brooklyn who had to sit in her car seat the entire time! :( So Mom went out to the store and to see about the car. She was able to get it checked out, and it was just a misfire on a piston. So they reset the 'check engine' light and we were solid! Huzzah! It must have been the added spiritual bonus of being in Kirtland that saved the day for us.
Saturday morning we toured Kirtland. Kirtland was a really cool experience. I hadn't been there before and I had forgotten a lot of the details of what went on there. Our tour guides were very friendly and knowledgeable and threw in testimonies at all the appropriate places. They were great! I am amazed at how much the Whitney's put into the church. That was one special time and place to be in the history of the church.
After a few hours there, we drove 4 hours to Palmyra, NY. I had been here before and it was great to come back with my fledgling family. We didn't have the same experience with our tour guides though. We got a young sister missionary companionship to show us around. They kept talking really slowly, with all these pauses. (you know how sister missionaries do that sometimes...) I think they were just trying to think hard about how best to phrase things so as to draw the Spirit as strongly as possible. But really, it just made things awkward. Plus, they didn't talk much about the quotidian details of early Smith life, which is what you're most interested in! That's what the Kirtland senior missionary couple did really well. Old people are good with detailed, long stories. Anyways, we just went along with the awkwardness, and finished our tour with a walk through the Sacred Grove. That was great too. It's amazing to think we visited two places where the Savior himself appeared. I know he did. After Palmyra we drove 3 more hours to get to Albany.
In Albany Sunday morning, we went to two sacrament meetings. Celeste served her mission in this area for a while, so she was hoping to see some familiar faces. Well, the nine o'clock meeting wasn't as successful. But in the eleven o'clock meeting we struck gold! She saw so many people from her mission, including this great family she found and taught. They are the super strength to that branch now. About 4 different people got up to share their testimonies, and talked mostly about Celeste. It was a super spiritual high for her, and an emotional time for me as well. I was able to see Celeste through her converts' eyes and love her as they did. We finished church at 12:00 and drove another 3 hours to Boston. We made it! Finally!