Everyone seemed to be up early and in good spirits for our last day together. I grabbed photos of the few that I hadn't got good portraits of yet. This included my crew.
Our first stop was with Farmer Bob Brown at Mt. Pisgah. He owns 1600 acres and has identified numerous wagon trails, home sites, and cemeteries from the Saints stay there. He gave us a demonstration of using two bent rods to locate "disturbances" in the earth. He was pretty good at it, and had all of use walking around the hill side with rods pointing this way and that.
Farmer Brown showed us a hedge apple from a Osage orange tree, the Shag Bark Hickory tree, and what the poisonous nut called a Buckeye looked like. He then loaded us up on a trailer pulled by a tractor to give us a first-hand look at some of the trail ruts and home sites.
After the wagon ride, we had a brief testimony meeting there at the pioneer monument. Then it was on to Afton for a lunch put on by Methodist ladies' auxiliary.
I spent the morning frantically trying to get a playable DVD burned of the
first eleven days. I kept getting errors on the disk and when I played them on the bus entertainment system, they skipped badly. I tried a different program and got a playable copy for everyone to watch. I then began burning copies as fast as possible (7 minutes a piece) in hopes of getting a copy for everyone before we parted.
The last stop for the whole group was at Winter Quarters. Like Nauvoo, they have built a temple since I was here last. We watched a movie at the visitor center and then visited the pioneer grave yard. We then returned to the visitor center to look around, with me carrying the laptop around, popping a new disk in every seven minutes.
As with most places, we were short on time. The missionaries have always been very good at tailoring their message to what ever time we had available. From there it was a short trip to the airport. I managed to get everyone a disk with one left over. It was a "fishes and loaves" moment for me, and I was I was able to share the videos with everyone so they should share their experiences with their friends and family. About 15 of us, most headed to Portland, split off to catch our planes while the remainder continued on to visit the Kanesville Tabernacle and return for a later flight. After twelve days together, it was a bit wrenching to part with our new friends.
From Omaha, we ironically flew east to Chicago to catch a flight to Portland. By now we had the drill down pat. In Chicago we bumped in to the parents of a ward member who were flying out to meet them. It really is a small world.
The final flight was thirty minutes late at takeoff, but somehow they made up the time in the air and we were on the ground in Oregon by 10:30 pm.
In Portland, Brenda's and our van magically showed up thanks to Mike's parents. We loaded up and were home just after midnight.