On the Road Adventures

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22, 2012

Ogden, Utah – It’s been a bit warm here the last few days, so we did indoor things Thursday and Friday.  Thursday was back to the Family History Library, where, in the last 20 minutes of our stay, after a few long hours of dead ends, I connected to a link that took me from the name of one of my Great Grandmother to her mother’s name to a family tree that unfolded like a flower.  All of a sudden, I had pictures of her mother, headstones in cemeteries and a family line that goes back to England and Scotland in the 1500s.  Now I need to follow up on all this treasure!

http://trees.ancestryinstitution.com/tree/36433645/photo/hrPHHIYDjb8JRBc301qSK20B4jqoFTK0iBhr9aIivrHO2YhrA4RKOnChTNLdT9jS/600 This is Matilda Mabe, my great-great-
Grandmother, born in 1846, died in 1923 at the age of 77. 


Friday we went to see Batman Rising.  Was it really necessary to make the fight scenes so interminable?  I dozed off during one of them and when I woke up, it was still going on.  Or maybe it was another one, but evidently I didn’t miss anything in between.

Yesterday we decided to drive up to Promontory Summit where the Union Pacific coming from the east and Central Pacific rail lines coming from California met and the final spike was driven on May 10, 1869.   (The original date planned for the event was May 8, but the Union Pacific crews, who hadn’t been paid in two months, chained the UP Chairman’s train to the track so it couldn’t move until he coughed up the back pay.  Then, as rumor had it, he went on a drunk as was so hung over that he missed the ceremony anyway. 

The Jupiter is the engine from the Central Pacific.  Volunteers re-enacted the final driving of the golden spike, giving excerpts of the actual speeches that were made on that day.

The trip from East coast to West had taken 3 months by steam liner around South America.  The joining of the rails turned the trip into a 2 week journey.
119 Cen Pac dignitaries
120 UP dignitaries
Engine 119 of the Union Pacific represented the eastern half of the railroad.  Bret Harte wrote a poem about the event, What the Engines Said, which begins:
    What was it the Engines said,
     Pilots touching – head to head
     Facing on a single track
     Half a world behind each back?

Because each competing railroad was getting money from Congress to lay rail, the two lines actually met one another farther east, but they just kept laying rail for another 200 miles, sometimes following the same grade within a few dozen feet of the other line, so there are places where you can see cuts for both tracks right next to one another.  Finally, President Grant told them they had to pick a spot and stop, or he’d pick it for them.  The unspoken threat being that neither company would like his decision.  We drove out on one of the tracks and these are the cuts for both lines.
123 double cut

After we got done at Promontory Summit we drove on out to the northern end of the Great Salt Lake, where an artist named Robert Smithson  created an artwork called The Spiral Jetty in 1970.  It is a coil of black basalt rocks from the hills beside the lake that is 1,500 feet long and 15 feet wide.  When the lake is a little lower, it is easy to see the whole spiral, but the lake is about 6 inches too high right now so the whole spiral really isn’t visible.  It is still a very impressive sight.  There was an artist named Amy there when we pulled up.  She’d been there several days filming the jetty in different light.  I look forward to seeing her You-Tube video when she’s finished.

129 Spiral Jetty    130 Amy filming jetty
Spiral jetty in the reddish water of the north end of the lake                            Amy and her inspiration

                                                  127 Pelicans

                                        Pelicans making their own spiral in the sky as they catch a thermal


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