It has been over ten years now since the Mount Loafer Ward Priests Quorum has been riding the Amtrak train for their yearly high adventure activity. One of our Scout Leaders at the time worked for Provo City, and he arranged to allow his Scouts to clean the Provo Amtrak station in exchange for free train fares to any destination of their choice along the “California Zephyr” route from San Francisco to St. Louis. Our Priests have been doing the cleaning once a month, and riding the train once a year since that time. It has become a family tradition for some of the families in our ward. The boys want to continue doing the train trip because their older siblings did it.
I’m not sure we actually save extra money on these trips, but because the train fare is free, we are able to enjoy our adventure in other parts of the country. Over the years that I have been involved with these train trips, the favorite destination among the Scouts has been Glenwood Springs, CO. It is quite close to us in Utah, and we love running the Colorado River there along with an amazing view of the Glenwood Caverns Amusement Park.
Other destinations we have traveled have been Reno, NV; Denver CO; and just last year, Nauvoo, IL. The train stopped in Burlington, IA after which we rented cars that took us 30 minutes to Nauvoo.
Our trip to Reno two years ago was very memorable. After swimming in freezing Lake Tahoe, playing Sand Volleyball, Frisbee Golf, Miniature Golf, and barbecuing on the beach of Tahoe, we spent the rest of the trip spending an entire day dividing with the full-time missionaries in the Reno Mission. At the end of that day, the Mission President treated us so well by having us over to his home for good food and Ping Pong.
Last year was our memorable Nauvoo trip. Instead of the usual motel lodging like we had on other trips, we were able to rent an older home that housed the entire group of 14 (7 boys and 7 leaders). I admit that the number of leaders that went with us on this trip was a little more than usual. There were several fathers that were more than willing to “help out” on a trip like this to Nauvoo. We were able to visit many historical sites, all of which were free. We rolled up our sleeves and did service by helping visitor center missionary couples plant trees, we took several tours, did the trek they offer there, watched “Sunset on the Mississippi,” visited Carthage and the Nauvoo Cemetary, and shared testimonies in the Nauvoo grove where the Prophet Joseph Smith delivered the “King Follett” sermon. Our plans included returning to Burlington, IA to go to a semi-pro baseball game, but the game was rained out.
This trip was probably the highlight of the trips I have made. We usually rotate the few favorite destinations that I have already mentioned over again. Many of the adventures are the same, but with different boys.
Author: Roger Tuckett | Bishop of the Mt. Loafer Ward in Spanish Fork, UT.