Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Golden Spike!

I forgot to blog this exciting trip to the Golden Spike Museum. It started out as an ordinary day, going on a field trip. We started a bit later then planned, I printed the directions from Google and then...we got lost. It was just one minivan and the barren snowy desserts of Utah with field after field of nothing, well a few cows.

Finally we stopped to ask directions and got back on track. Everyone was hungry and we just couldn't believe anyone would put a museum or a railroad track out in the middle of no where! Really what were they thinking? Not a town for MILES not a person for years...just air, oh and a cow.
Of course we took another wrong turn and ended up looking at these cool rockets. That perked everyone up a bit.
This is the Golden Spike monument. OHHH AHHHH! It had been conveniently moved right outside the museum. Thank goodness, or we would have had to drive even more in the middle of no where to see it.

This is the invisible Chinese workers monument. The monument isn't invisable but the Chinese workers were. They are never in any of the pictures or mentioned in the articles during the time the railroad was being built, yet many sacrificed so much to build it, even their lives.

This is the last railroad tie to be placed and the golden spike was driven in! I touched it, and this little guy stood on it!

This is the track that goes from the East coast to the west coast. I am sure glad people didn't have to walk that far anymore.

And finally...the moment we were all waiting for....drum of the Golden Spikes!!!! Yes it is golden and it is a spike. Funny thing is, when they were driving the spike in, the first two important people missed the spike entirely. Ha Ha. The other funny thing is the date on the spike is wrong, the celebration was delayed a few days so it actually happened on the 10th of May not the 6th or 8th as originally planned. AND there isn't just one spike but actually 4! Only this one is on display here.

It is cool that we got to see one of the original golden spikes but still it was a bit of a let down. But what do you expect? It happened a long time ago and spikes can only get so exciting.

THE really really cool part of the trip was getting a private tour of the engine house, it looks like a large shed. There are two working locomotives housed there not too far from the museum. The Central Pacific Jupiter-60 and Union Pacific 119.

There were tools all over and all kinds of interesting facts to be learned. LIKE...these are exact replicas of the original engines that met from East and from the West for the Golden Spike Ceremony in 1869. They were actually this colorful. It took a while to get the colors right because they had to go from journals and newspaper accounts, all the pictures from back then are black and white.

Both trains are steam powered, one is run with coal the other with wood. The braking systems are so cool. Also when there is too much ice or the brakes don't work then there is a cool contraption that puts salt on the tracks to get traction and melt the ice.

Since it was the Victorian age the trains were painted bright colors and very festive. They of course had to be cleaned all the time because of the dirty steam. On the back of the 119 Walt Disney was asked to paint the murals. They look really cool close up.

We heard all kinds of stories about the trains from the Ranger. We learned why the Jupiter was picked instead of the Antelope locomotive. We also learned that the #119 wasn't the original train picked for the ceremony either. In the end both trains were later turned to scrap for about $1000 each! That is why they had to reconstruct them.

It was a fun trip. We went home a different way, through Brigham City and we didn't get lost. The sunset was very pretty. My photographer thought it was funny to take a picture of it in the mirror instead of turning around for the shot.

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