Saturday, July 6, 2013

Golden Spike

We were on the road from Moab by 7:30am on Tuesday, and it was already hot!  I was surprised to see how desolate Utah is once you leave Moab.  We took Highway 191 north to I-70, and then to Highway 6 . . . and only passed 1 or 2 gas stations!  Quite a difference from MI where there’s a gas station and a McDonald’s (or something similar) at almost every exit along I-75!

We stopped in Price and topped off both the truck ($3.56/gallon) and the car ($3.37/gallon), and then made our way up Soldier Pass through Price Canyon.  this one isn’t in the Mountain Guide, but it’s a really LONG steady grade . . . probably only about 4%, though.  We didn’t have any trouble with the ascent, but it surprised us!  Highway 6 took us to I-15, just south of Provo, and traffic was pretty heavy all the way through Salt Lake City.  Once we cleared the congested area, we made a quick lunch stop at Subway, and then arrived in Brigham City around 1:30pm.

Our campsite at Golden Spike RV Park

It’s still hot here, but not as hot as it was in Moab, and we have a nice shady spot for the RV!

We didn’t have a lot of things we wanted to see while we were here, but one definite stop was the Golden Spike National Historic Site.

Golden Spike National Historic Site

We had a leisurely morning on Wednesday, and set out after lunch to the Golden Spike Historic Site, with a few geocaches along the way.

Our first stop was the little town of Corinne . . . which really wasn’t much more than a roadside stop!

Corinne, UT

The Muleskinner


The geocache clue said to “ask the Muleskinner”, so we knew the cache was going to be somewhere on this sculpture!

Nicolas searches for the geocache

Tom ended up finding this one – our first find in Utah!

The next geocache was near a “benchmark”, but we weren’t really sure what a benchmark was!  Bryce searched,

Searching for the geocache

but Nick ended up finding this one!  Now we know what a benchmark is, too!

Benchmark geocache

One more geocache before we reached the historic site, and again it was a find for Nicolas!

Nicolas found another one!

Lots of prizes in this one!

What can we take?

We had finally reached the Golden Spike site, and were surprised to see that one of the engines was on the track!

Engine 119 arriving

We had arrived just in time for the meeting of the engines on the track, and the Rangers in the Visitor Center told us to go on out to the track and come back in afterwards to pay, or in our case, show our National Park pass.

The Ranger explains the historical significance of this meeting

The Jupiter was already in place, and as Engine No. 119 arrived, the Ranger explained the historical significance of their meeting.

Golden Spike Historic Site


The Central Pacific Railroad started in Sacramento, California, travelling across the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the Union Pacific Railroad started in Omaha, Nebraska, travelling across the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains.  Over 4 years later, the two railroads met at Promontory Summit, Utah, and on May 10, 1869 the final spike was placed in the rails, joining the two tracks and completing the Trans-Continental Railroad which linked the east coast to the west.


The Jupiter arrived from California,

The Jupiter

and Engine No. 119 from Nebraska.

Engine 119

Unfortunately, the original engines were scrapped when they were taken out of service in the early 1900s, but these replicas make several trips daily during the summer to the spot where the golden spike was placed.

Nicolas talks with the engineer


Nicolas was always into trains when he was little, and he had a great time talking to the volunteers about the engines and how each one operated – one burned coal and the other burned wood, or so he tells me!

While he and Tom were busy there, Bryce and I found the answer to the virtual geocache . . . we are 4 for 4 in Utah!


Central Pacific meets Union Pacific

After the demonstration, we went back into the Visitor Center to present our pass and watch the video of the construction of the railroad.  On our way out, we drove the 2-mile auto tour over the actual railroad grade.

Driving the railroad grade

The laborers had to cut through these mountain grades, and used the rock to fill in the valleys so that there would be a level surface for the track-layers.

This arch is referred to as “Chinese Arch” in acknowledgement of the thousands of Chinese immigrants who labored on the railroad.

Chinese Arch 

It was a great day, and a nice visit to an interesting historic landmark!

1 comment:

  1. Really cool that you got to see "The Meeting!!"

    Wide open spaces of The West sure are different;o))


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