Golden Spike's Closing Encore of the Season . . .

Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
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Trip End Oct 06, 2012


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Where I stayed
In our RV in the Volunteer's host site

Flag of United States  , Utah
Monday, October 8, 2012

Part IV

Over the past couple of blogs we've talked about the locomotives. Golden Spike is really in the middle of no where…  the rails were removed for the war effort (WWII) but the road bed still extends almost 100 miles west and 30 miles east…  when steam power went out… and the move to diesel, a shorter route around the Great Salt Lake was put into service, thus the line was abandoned…   You can still drive on the road bed 100 miles west, currently National Park Property and during that drive all the building are now gone but some foundations are still in place and things haven’t changed much in the 150 years since the roadbed was a rail road…   its now surrounded by grazing land, ranches, farms, but for the most part its not changed.. the key here is that this is a historic sight so that almost everything can’t be touched or moved…    Think of it this way…  back when the train ran, you live in the railroad right of way and throw a empty bean can out of the window of your farm house…  150 years later, that’s now historic and can’t be moved or touched…  so all that old stuff is here to see if you can find it… 

Every summer a troupe of volunteers come to Golden Spike to re-create what happened here on May 10, 1869…. Back for the 100th year celebration the park service did some research and looked at notes, reporters note books, photo graphs and came up with both a time line of what happened and what was said…  this is done as a re-enactment on Saturdays, and holidays during the summer…  Today, Columbus day is the final day the locomotives will run for the summer and the final re-enactment of the season…  everyone dresses in period costumes..  For many years a great gentlemen (also part-time Park Ranger and volunteer) by the name of John Ott has organized and ran the show.   He does an excellent job of bring the facts and scenes of what really happened to the people that make it out this way… and if you think about it… you’ve got all these people who have to travel at least 30 miles…  to spend time here to tell the story..

I’ve wanted to better understand Steam Locomotives as that’s my reason for being here… and Connie has experience with the federal system so she has security clearance and does computer work, logging reports, putting data into charts..  etc…  and she’s collected hundreds of photos to be shared by the staff here….   So we both seem to fit… and hopefully this stay will be about 3-4 weeks and I’ll have a better understanding of the Locomotives..  I was given a list of terms…  almost 8 pages of terms, those buzz words used by the crew on a train… 

We’re now to the point of putting away the locomotives for the winter…   Yesterday, we dumped the fires in the fire boxes, and used the last steam in the boilers to move the locomotives into the engine house…  This morning we used "Buttercup" to pull both locomotives outside and begin the process of getting them ready for winter…  this means unloading the wood from the tender for Jupiter, and unloading the coal from the 119..   so the fires are out, the fuel is unloaded and the boilers are cooling down… this morning, 12 hours after the fires were put out, you still couldn’t touch the boilers… and there was still close to 20lbs of steam pressure in the boilers…  with the engines out of the engine house we started to wash the floor and clean the benches so that we have a clean surface to work from for the next few months..  As soon as they come to room temperature the water will be drained from the boilers and the process to clean, inspect, hydro and return to service will begin..

I was asked to take one of the pick-ups an run down the road and pick up some signs used on the walking trails..  later as the snow blows these trails will not longer be used.. as I drove out to do my assigned task, I noticed out the side of the truck, a nice coyote, hunting for breakfast… I guess I watched him about 20 min until he got worried about me sitting there…  IF he was off the NPS property, AND I was a rancher I’d have the barrel of a rifle out the window after the coyote….

Also starting today are the tours of the engine house by the public…  if they stop and ask questions we try and take the time to share the part of the great story of these locomotives and add the missing pieces…  

Part V

Moving on to other area’s, the roadbed across the area of UT and NV west of here scoots around the lake…  Salt Lake has many, areas that are of interest…

One of those areas is called the Spiral Jette…  the Spiral Jette looks to be about the size of a couple of football fields, the last time we were here it was under water but you could see the growth under the water and it looked like a ram’s horn the way it spirals around in circles.. http://geology.utah.gov/surveynotes/geosights/spiraljetty.htm and see the enclosed photograph…  More later in the week . . .
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