Mike and Betty Trip Report (3/1/2024)

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Western States Trip Report, from Februay 21st to 28th

by Betty Red Ant

Our first flight was on Allegiance Airlines. Was not too bad but pretty cheap. Not again sticking with Southwest. We flew from Sanford, Florida to Provo, Utah. It was a straight flight which was pretty good Alisha did well we were planning on bringing Alisha’s service dog along but too many policies. She did pass the national requirements but Allegiance was not accommodating. I think Mike may be giving them a complaint. But it worked out for the better. On Friday 23rd, we spent two nights at Del Mike’s mum, then headed north to Providence Utah by Logan early Friday morning.

Jim and Sandy Wheeler a wonderful Heartland friend met us at the Rock Church a friend of sense elementary school Ralph and Viola Call provided the place for our first of three fireside’s on our trip. He called the owner of the rock church and also provided us with a nice place to stay that night adjacent to the rock church which he and his wife Viola bought and restored which is now a bed and breakfast. We held the fireside there that night. Before the event We served Buffalo Chili and fry bread some had Navajo Tacos. After we held a fireside about the Phoenicia that Heartland Research is restoring in Montrose, Iowa. Rod Meldrum was able to join us which was very nice, he also had a presentation on the Phoenicia which was well received.

We are grateful for his support. It turned out to be a great event not too many maybe 50-60 people.

Jim had arranged advertising in a newspaper with a quarter-page color ad and was also on the radio. But that evening there were three events in that small town, a state wrestling tournament, a volleyball tournament, and something else so for us to have that number of people was impressive.

We were surprised that not too many knew about the Ship but we made it known. It was pretty cold in the 20s at night and a good amount of snow on the ground. Which are not fans of. lol. Roger Cook joined our efforts. Met some nice folks that evening and welcomed their support. Sat 24 Left early morning for Afton Wyoming, Jim Wheeler’s hometown, again a cold snowy place but a unique town, Star Valley where the wealthy live and play. Jim had arranged for a venue for another Chili n Fry bread dinner and Fireside that evening. Again no one knew about The Phoenicia! But we shared our Journey of her, again Rod joined us with yet another great presentation on the Phoenicia.

One adjustment we made at that fireside is that we handed out Phillip’s books and told them we would get back to them on the monthly donation which we had around 15 to 18 takers.

So it looks as though we Mike and I ~ and the board need to get busy getting the news out, The Fireside was held at a very nice venue again downtown Afton, Wyoming, and we stayed in a nice Loft adjacent to the meeting place. Jim’s brother Dan Wheeler who served a mission on the Navajo reservation in the 70s came to the fireside in Providence Utah we conversed in Navajo which was awesome! He brought two 25 lbs bags of Bluebird flour The Best flour to make fry bread dough every home on the reservation is very familiar with that flour brand and has it in their kitchens. It was a very nice treat, I made fry bread dough and cooked it outdoors both evenings in the COLD!! But was worth it to see the smiles and happy bellies.

More attended that evening about 100 people; once again we asked for raised hands who had heard of the Phoenicia again maybe 3! Once again Rod Meldrum presented both Mike and I did also all about The Phoenicia! Many were touched. By this time I am getting tired not only because of being on Eastern Time but doing a lot of work.

Again Roger Cook and others traveled to be of help to us. We are thankful to those who believe in and support the project. Another great and Spiritual evening! We again met some wonderful people. Sunday 25th Attended church with Jim and Sandy in their home ward in Afton Wyoming. Went to their home for a quick visit and goodbye. Jim set up all the venues and places for our stays, we are grateful for all his help. He loves The Heartland message.

We then headed to Idaho Falls to hold another Fireside at Roger and Katie Cooks’s sister’s farm in their beautiful home. It was another well-attended engagement! The message was well accepted, and the Spirit was very present! Again not many knew of the Phoenicia. We have to get it out there everyone needs to know about this magnificent 600 BC replica ship that sailed the path of the BofM!

Katie’s sister is starting a catering business so she came and set up the largest cracker barrel ever seen. It was phenomenal.

We presented, and I once again played the Native flute it was appreciated by many who felt the spirit of the flute. I am grateful I can play it, music does hit the soul. We stayed one night and left the next morning for Sandy Utah. Monday 26th Made our way to Sandy we had an appointment to do a Podcast with the Paul brothers on the Stick of Joseph podcast show! We spent about an hour there, I think it went well we talked about our experience with The Phoenicia.

Afterward, we lunched with Ed Earle a good friend and fundraiser for the project. Mike’s mother traveled along with us helping us care for our daughter Alisha who is special needs. Then we headed to Spanish ForkUt to Mike’s mother’s home to refresh for a bit then headed to Rod and Tonya’s home in Fairview Utah. He finished their beautiful large home in the mountains with a beautiful view of the Manti Valley. Tonya made a wonderful Elk roast dinner for us all! Katie and Roger joined in. After dinner, we joined Rod for another Podcast on his BofM evidence — FirmFoundation Podcast that evening it was fun! Of course, we discussed The Phoenicia and The BofM connection! Fascinating stuff!!!

We stayed that evening at his home. It snowed that night we were a bit concerned because that evening there was a winter storm warning with 50 miles, an hour gusts, and 3 inches of snow, it made the windows in Rod‘s large room flex which he said he’d never seen before. The next morning I got up and cleaned up the car from snow and drove it out the driveway to make sure we may not be able to make our way out of his hilly driveway but we did. Early to make yet another appointment scheduled in Saint George South about 3 hrs away.

So we headed out on a snowy morning. Our appointment at 11 am with Liberty Village headman Dennis Leavitt. It was a very good meeting we and Cooks were there. We discussed plans to be a part of the happenings there!

Dennis pointed out where the vacant land for the Native American attraction will be and also they can land where we could also build some type of a museum possibly. Dr. Douglas, Howard came into his office for a minute and we were introduced to him. He is the president of Balance of Nature and the one who donated the land to Liberty Village. He looked at us and said I recognize you guys from somewhere yet to be determined.

We Had lunch with Nate Nuno Nexus Museum. After that meeting, we had another appointment at 1 pm with Karl Larson of Stucki Farms. We spent a good while with him talking and introducing our plans with Phoenicia and a possible location for a future museum.

He drove us out to a possible location and also to the Native American Museum! We are still in the talks. That afternoon was great! We then went and checked out the Liberty Village fundraiser Gala and again met with Dennis Levitt — another full day for us, we then headed back to Spanish Fork to pack up to head home to Florida. Wednesday 28th HEADED HOME!,, Thursday 29th sleep!!!! AND REST!

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HRG History — by Jay Mackley
HISTORY AND MISSION STATEMENT OF THE

The Heartland Research Group is a grassroots, boots-on-the-ground organization that believes that the historical narrative of the Book of Mormon took place in the Heartland of North America. The HRG is active in archaeological research and in the acquisition, restoration and display of ancient American artifacts. The HRG is currently preparing an ancient ship replica called the "Phoenicia" for display. The ships construction design is patterned after a shipwreck dating to 600 BC. The Phoenicia ship made modern voyages, first around Africa and then also from the Middle East to Florida in 2019 – proving that voyages around Africa or from Sidon to North America were feasible anciently.

Heartland Research Inc is a 501c3 private operating foundation for archaeological research and to complete preparations for the Phoenicia display. Current plans are for a museum large enough to house the Phoenicia ship and many other ancient artifacts and exhibits from North America. The location of the museum is planned to be in Zarahemla which is Lee County Iowa, near the Mississippi river and east of Nauvoo, Illinois.

Our activities are too many to list, but some recent major expeditions are listed below. Many of these expeditions are open-ended and we expect to continue research in these and other similar activities as time, resources, and volunteers become available. We have dozens of volunteers and hundreds of donors, large and small, but we need many more. Check out the websites listed below for details of Heartland Research Group projects. Our current project is is our biggest yet: to refurbish the Phoenicia ship for display.


Go to the Donation Page


We invite you to support our efforts so we can complete these worthy goals!
If you have skills or knowledge to contribute to our research and discovery projects, please contact us directly to volunteer.


  • What: Sonar scanning of Mississippi between Nauvoo and Keokuk. The purpose of the expedition was to discover a crossing route that ancient people could have taken.
  • Who: Heartland Research Inc volunteers.
  • Where: Between Keokuk and Nauvoo, Iowa.
  • How: Private donations of money, time and equipment.

  • What: Magnetic scanning of 221 acres of farmland near Montrose, Iowa. The purpose of the expedition was the discovery of fire-pits and other evidence of ancient occupation.
  • Who: Members of the Heartland Research Inc, local farmers, volunteers, plus technicians from German company SYNSYS. Signs of habitation were found with magnetometery scanning and then C14 dating.
  • Where: Near Montrose Iowa and between Montrose and Fort Madison Iowa.
  • How: Large and small donations of money, time and equipment.

  • What: A one week seminar in Fort Madison, Iowa with 25+ participants. Included visits to the Putnam museum in Davenport, Iowa. There were twelve presentations on the ancient history and written languages of the upper Mississippi.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc plus presenters and interested attendees.
  • Where: Fort Madison, Iowa.
  • How: Private donations for space, time and lodging.

  • What: Ground penetrating electrical resistivity scanning for building foundations using electrical resistivity equipment from LandVisor.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc and volunteers.
  • Where: Zarahemla in Lee County, Iowa.
  • How: Private donations and ground support.

  • What: Metal analysis for alloy content. Ancient arrow and spearhead found in Wisconsin stream of cast bronze.
  • Who: Heartland Research Group
  • Where: Sample found in Wisconsin stream by scuba diver.
  • How: Private donations for lab analysis.

  • What: High resolution LiDAR scanning by supporter Air Data Solutions of 34,000 acres in Lee County, Iowa and also part of Illinois. The focus was to create high quality digital maps showing the terrain of the land, especially in the foothill areas where large earthworks are found. Discovery of 5-10 miles of ancient earthworks from LiDAR using QGIS and ArcGIS visualization software.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc plus AirData Solutions Inc.
  • Where: Lee County, Iowa and also part of Illinois, covering the much of Nauvoo.
  • How: Private donations for services, data processing, and analysis.

  • What: Commence process of restoring the world's oldest ship replica from 600BC, which has circumnavigated Africa and crossed the Atlantic ocean from the Middle East to America.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc plus volunteers.
  • Where: Lee County, Iowa between Montrose and Fort Madison.
  • How: Private donations for materials, space, and equipment plus donations in labor.

Mission Statement

The Heartland Research Group researches archaeological evidence of the ancient civilizations of America.
Heartland Research Group activities include:

  • Field Research
    Uses archeological techniques and scanning technologies to reveal the remains of ancient civilizations.
  • Ancient Artifacts
    Encourages and facilitate study of ancient North American artifacts, including tablets, tools, weapons, metal works, and other items.
  • Geography
    Research and develop maps, using scanning technologies and other means, to identify the locations and activities of ancient civilizations.
  • Linguistics
    Analyze and translate ancient writings found in North America, especially those relating to other civilizations world wide.
  • Preservation and Display
    Collect, restore, preserve, catalog and exhibit ancient artifacts and replicas, and make them readily available to researchers and viewable to the public.
  • Archaeology, Geology, and History
    Study and research into all aspects archaeology, geology, and history that shed light on ancient North American peoples and cultures.
  • Promotion and Support
    Raise awareness of our activities. Work directly with and support individuals and groups in activities that share our same goals.
The Heartland Research Group welcomes researchers and interested parties of all backgrounds to share their analysis and findings of ancient American heartland civilizations.

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