New York Trip - 6,000 Miles - Sept 2021
New York Trip Map
New York Motorcycle Trip - Getting ready to embark on a 6,000 mile trip from Salt Lake City to New York and back. I will be posting updates of my trip as I go on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/usamotorcyclereides
. Follow along as I venture across our grand old country, exploring new places and making new friends.
Day 1 - Salt Lake City to Sydney, Nebraska
After traveling 550 miles today, I’ve stopped for the night in Sydney, Nebraska, home of the Cabela's Headquarters. I’m actually camping in their campground. Nice facilities, with a hot shower!
Day 2 - Sydney to Omaha
Well, I started off this morning from Sydney, Nebraska, headed for Winter Quarters, about 400 miles. Just 5 miles from Winters Quarters I got in a down pour, but eventually made it. I walked in the door of the visitor's center pretty soaked. After taking the tour I hopped back on the bike and headed south towards Adam-Ondi-Oman, on HWY 29. As it started to get dark I figured I'd better find a place to camp for the night. At my last gas stop I asked one of the locals for a place to camp, and he sent me 20 miles out in the middle of nowhere, and when I got there the camp was closed down and locked up. So I got back on I-29 heading south, and saw some lights off in the distance, and decided to check into a motel 6 there. (Because they always leave the lights on). It's actually a new motel, so everything is clean and new. And one of my photos was my late night dinner. So I am now in IOWA. And can I just say Nebraska was long, straight, flat and kind of boring. I saw lots and lots of corn fields. I put in another 500 plus mile day. And I'm tired. I'll sleep good tonight. 🙂
A little something about Winter Quarters - Winter Quarters was one of as many as 90 Latter-day Saint settlements along the Missouri River in Nebraska and Iowa. Although the settlements were temporary homes on the way to the Salt Lake Valley, many Saints worked and built as if they would stay there for decades. They established successful farms and businesses and even published a newspaper. Brigham Young and other Church leaders spent time at Winter Quarters, ministering to the Saints and helping them prepare to travel west. While there, Brigham received a revelation that helped the Saints organize themselves and prepare spiritually for the trek. That revelation became Doctrine and Covenants 136.
Day 3 - Omaha to Nauvoo
Saturday I traveled another 500 plus miles, arriving first at Adam Ondi Oman, in Daviess County, Missouri, a very sacred and Holy place for the Latter Day Saints. Then I set my GPS for Nauvoo, Illinois. Little did I know that Google Maps wanted to take me on the most direct route, on backroads of Iowa that hadn’t been maintained for about a 1,000 years. But I stayed the course and had to travel at 25 to 30 mph, avoiding potholes, gravel and livestock. But hey, I’m on an adventure.
I pulled into Nauvoo around 6:00 pm that night. The temp was 90 degrees and the humidity was the same. I think I lost about 50 percent of my body weight in sweat. Now that is some diet… (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 4 - Touring Nauvoo, Illinois
What an awesome day!!!!! I started off this morning visiting a very solemn place, the Carthage Jail. Then started visiting all the historic buildings in old Nauvoo. I met some new neighbors at camp. (See their attached picture) They invited me to have dinner with them, but I had already accepted an invitation from some Senior Missionaries at the Visitors Center.
Some thoughts from today - As I visited the various historical sites today, I tried to envision all that has happened in Nauvoo. I tried to understand how I would have handled my life and affairs if I were living then. I don’t really know. But I am so thankful to these early members of the Church who continued onward in spite of all the challenges and trials they encountered. They laid the foundation of a great Church, that is now as prophesied in the Old Testament, a stone rolling down the mountain, gaining in size until it fills the whole earth.
In Carthage I felt deep sadness for the martyr that took place there, but eternally grateful for Joseph and Hyrum who sealed their testimonies with their deaths.
Nauvoo, at the peak of its existence, was an active and very well organized city. I will be sad tomorrow morning when I leave Nauvoo and watch it grow smaller in my rear view mirror. Nauvoo has a special place in my heart.
I had dinner with the McCuelly’s tonight. They are from Eagle, Idaho, serving as missionaries here in Nauvoo. I originally ran into them in the Visitor’s Center parking lot. As we got visiting, they asked if I would have dinner with them tonight. I think they felt sorry for this old man whose been riding his motorcycle cross country. They were very kind and gracious to feed me a good old home cooked meal. I got to know they fairly well. They are parents of 7 children, 31 grandchildren and one great grandchild. They are good old home grown folks. This country could use a lot more like the McCuelly’s. Thanks' for your hospitality! (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 4 - Nauvoo, IL to Cincinnati, OH
Not much to report today. I traveled 450 miles, got caught in a rain storm, passed the city of Eureka, the home town of Ronald Reagen, got caught in traffic in Indianapolis and stopped for the night at my cousin’s place, David Jacobson. His wife Kelly, cooked a roast dinner with potatoes, gravy and carrots. And are treating me like a king. Thanks Jacobson’s. So I drove from Nauvoo to Liberty Township in Ohio. Tomorrow I’ll head for Kirtland. (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 5 - Cincinnati, OH to Kirtland, OH
Started off this morning leaving the Cincinnati suburbs to the upper part of Ohio, Kirtland. Traveled for about 250 miles, stopping first at the John Johnson Home. John Johnson opened his home to Joseph and Emma when they first arrived in Kirtland, Ohio. While living there Joseph received many important revelations, and also worked on the translation of the Bible, with the help of Sidney Rigden. In an upper room of the Johnson home (Picture of me standing next to a desk) Joseph and Sidney received a revelation, which is recorded in D&C 76, on the Three Degrees of Glory. The revelation lasted almost two hours, and was received while 12 church leaders were in the room. The men observed Joseph illuminated and transparent during this vision. Philo Dibble was blessed enough to see a part of the vision which included the appearance of the Father and the Son. Philo also records some of the conversation between Joseph and Sidney. Joseph would say to Sidney “Do you see that?” “What do you see?” “Yes, I see that also.”
It was while staying at the Johnson home that Joseph and Sidney were grabbed from their beds in the middle of the night and dragged about a 100 yards from their homes, and were tarred and feather, and left to die. Emma and the Johnsons spent the entire night cleaning the tar from their bodies. The very next day was Sunday, and as Jospeh preached a sermon from the front porch of the home, he recognized some faces of those in the mob from the night before. Jospeh records in his journal, “With the rising of the sun, it was the Sabbath Day, I preached a sermon and baptized three.”
After leaving the Johnson home I traveled another 30 miles to Kirtland. I don’t have a place to stay yet. I’m thinking about camping in the parking lot of the old temple quarry site, where they cut out stone for the Kirtland Temple. Hope I don’t get arrested for trespassing. 😞 (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 6 - Touring the Kirtland Area
Last night, based on the recommendation of a local who I was talking with at the temple quarry in Kirtland, I decided to spend the night at the Punderson Stake Park, about 20 miles outside of town. (What’s another 20 miles anyway?) I pulled in after dark and unpacked and set up camp. Needless to say, I was tired. Oh, how nice my bed felt last night. So good that I got 9 hours sleep.
This morning I arrived at the Kirtland Historical Center and watched a nice historical movie on the Kirtland era of the early saints and then took a tour of the historical sites. Due to COVID, the Kirtland Temple was not open to the public. So I was only able to see the outside.
This was a critical time for the Church. A lot were joining the Church, and Joseph was receiving a lot of revelations on organization of the Church, leadership responsibilities, Keys of the Priesthood restored, and many others necessary doctrines and polices to restore the Lord’s Church in its fullness. It was also a time of great turbulence and persecution.
I was excited to tour the Whitney Store once again. Two rooms on the upper floor of the store were very sacred to me, as well as to the Church. One room, which had a table in the center was used for Church business and organization. Many revelations were received in this room. The room next to it, was call the School of the Prophets. It was used for about 18 months to teach and instruct the Church leadership at that time. After the Kirtland Temple was built, the school was moved to the upper room of the temple. It was in this room that Joseph and many of the brethren present had the heavens opened up to them and they saw both the Father and the Son. Section 89, The Word of Wisdom, was received because of the amount of smoking and tobacco chew that was done in that room. Emma had asked Joseph if something could be done with those dirty habits, because of the mess she would have to clean up each night.
After finishing the tour, I decided to head for Palmyra a day a head of schedule. Traveling along I-90, which borders the southern end of Lake Erie, I hit some pretty strong headwinds and crosswinds. One gust blew me onto the shoulder of the road. Well, that certainly woke me up. So I slowed down to 55 MPH, which seemed a more manageable speed, but took me longer getting to Palmyra.
I arrived at Palmyra close to sunset and snapped a couple of quick photos before checking in at the Palmyra Inn for the night. Pulling over at the Hill Camorah, I discovered that a lot of construction on the site had been taking place. The monument at the top was gone, half of the grass-sloped hillside was dug up, and a lot of the grass at the base of the hill was dirt. I had heard before that they were going through a restoration process, to restore the hill to what it was like during Joseph’s time. As I get more information on this, I’ll pass it along.
Tomorrow is wash day, and a day for taking it easy. Penny flies in at 5:00 PM. We are both excited to reunite!!!! (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 7 - Kirtland, OH to Palmyra, NY
Left Kirtland in the morning and arrived in Palmyra, NY. Driving on I-90, along Lake Erie, the cross winds were pretty strong and I had to slow down to about 50 to 55 MPH as to not get blown off the highway.
After arriving in Palmyra, and checked into the hotel, I took a little bike ride today, then picked up Penny at the airport and had dinner at a home cooking diner. (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 8 - Palmyra
Today was such an awesome day, one filled with awe and wonder, tears of gratitude and a deep love of Joseph Smith’s life and the Savior’s love for each of us. Penny and I were so excited to see each other and share these sacred experiences together. We visited the log cabin home and framed home of Joseph Smith, the Grandin Print Shop where the Book of Mormon was first printed, and the Hill Cumorah where the Golden Plates were buried by the Prophet Moroni in 421 AD. later uncovered by Joseph Smith. (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 9 - Whitmer Farm and the Finger Lakes
Today we journeyed out to the Peter Whitmer Farm, where Joseph and Oliver finished the translation of the Book of Mormon without any disturbance from persecutors. There were also other important events that took place here.
The Whitmer field was miraculously furrowed in one night, as a sign to Peter Whitmer that he needed to invite Joseph and Oliver to his place for safety and protection to finish the translation.
Not far from the Whitmer home, the Three Witnesses, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and Peter Whitmer, were shown the plates by the Angel Moroni, and they heard the voice of the Lord declare that this work was true and they were commanded to bear witness and testimony of its truthfulness.
And Moroni appeared as a man to Mary Whitmer and showed her the Gold Plates, and thanked her for her tirelessly devotion in taking care of the household members, and also told her that she would receive strength in her devotion.
And it was here, in the Whitmer main room that the Church was officially organized on April 6, 1830.
After our visit at the Whitmer Farm we drove to a close by cemetery that a friend of ours asked if we would visit and see if we could locate the graves of his ancestors. As soon as we walked onto the grounds of the Cemetery we were directed and lead to over 50 graves of his ancestors, and took pictures of each one. That was a special experience for us.
Since we were in Amish country, we went to an Amish store and bought some of their homemade baked goods. Wow, were they good.
Then we ended the day relaxing on the shores of the Canandaigua Lake, one of the finger lakes. (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 10 - Sacred Grove New York - Lake Ontario & Countryside
Today we spent some time in the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. What a peaceful and quiet place to sit and ponder the events that took place here. Penny and I had a favorite bench to sit on and just take it all in. It was the highlight of my trip.
We then journeyed towards Lake Ontario and the countryside, stopping at the Martin Harris home. Martin Harris was a friend of Joseph Smith. He acted as scribe during the first part of the translation process, helped to finance the first publication of the Book of Mormon, and was one of the three witnesses to see the gold plates, see the angel Moroni and hear the voice of God declare the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. We also stopped at the Port of Palmyra Marina, the Erie Canal, where a lot of early saints journeyed, as well as making it possible to have delivered a state-of-the-art printing press, making it possible to print the Book of Mormon in such record time. (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 11 - Leaving Palmyra NY - Harmony PA
Today, Penny left for the airport and I left to start my journey back to Salt Lake. It was so awesome to spend some special time with Penny, walking where Joseph walked. I’m going to miss her.
Today, I set my GPS for the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Site in Harmony, Pennsylvania. I was here about 10 years ago, and all there was was a monument by the side of the road. Now, there is a large visitor’s center, a reconstructed home of Joseph and Emma, as well as a rebuilt home of Isaac Hale, father to Emma. There is also a path that leads down to the Susquehanna River, where Joseph and Oliver baptized each other.
After Joseph had obtained the plates from the Hill Camorah, persecution in Palymra had become so intense, Joseph and Emma asked her father if they could come and stay with them. Although he did not care for Joseph, nor believed in his experiences, he agreed. Isaac Hale had a great love for his daughter Emma. While they were here the translation of the Book of Mormon began, with Emma first acting as scribe. A while later, Oliver came to meet the Prophet, and he took over as scribe. During the translation at this time, they came across a verse that stated that baptism was necessary to enter God’s Kingdom. So, seeking additional clarification on this, they retired to the woods to pray about it. During their prayer an angel appeared to them and identified himself as John the Baptist. He conferred upon Joseph and Oliver the Aaronic Priesthood, which gave them the authority to baptize. John instructed them to go immediately to the river and baptize each other after the manner that John instructed them.
It was shortly after this time that Peter, James and John also appeared to them and conferred upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood.
As I walked down to the Susquehanna River, I found that I was all alone. It was very peaceful and special time for me.
After visiting this site, I climbed back on my trusty iron horse and continued another 100 miles, then decided to stop somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania at a campground called “Camp-A-While”. The campground is quite nice, and the temps are in the low 70’s.
Tomorrow I plan on riding to Mt Airy, North Carolina, the home town of Andy Griffith. I’ll have more about this place tomorrow. So stay tuned.
I will also be stopping by an old Stone Family Cemetery in Pilot Mountain, not far from Mt Airy. My Stone ancestors settled in the Pilot Mountain area. (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 11 - Stopped for the Night - Camp-A-While
Stopped for the night at a campground called "Camp-A-While" just off the Interstate and next to the city of Hegins, Pennsyvania. The campground is quite nice, and the temps are in the low 70’s.
Tomorrow I plan on riding to Mt Airy, North Carolina, the home town of Andy Griffith. I’ll have more about this place tomorrow. (New York Motorcycle Trip)
Day 12 - Mt Airy (Home of Andy Griffith)
Rode from somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania to Mt Airy (home town of Andy Griffith) North Carolina. About 450 miles today. I’m actually staying the night in a campground called Mayberry. When unpacking for the night, I noticed a bad worn spot on my tire. So in the morning I’ve got to find a motorcycle shop near by and hope they have my tire size.
Just down the road from Mt Airy is Pilot Mountain, where my Stone ancestors settled. I hope to have time tomorrow to visit an old Stone Cemetery in the area.
Pray for me that I can get my tire fixed tomorrow. Thanks!