Sunday, May 29, 2016

From the Golden Spike to the Spiral Jetty

Memorial Day seemed as good a reason as any to head north...and then west. 

The goal was to get our Utah history on at the Golden Spike National Historic Site, but with the way things were going in the car ride there—with the constant fighting and Tate eating just about every treat in the car by 9:30 a.m., and then asking, "When's lunch?"—I wasn't sure we were going to make it. 


I know my parents took us to Golden Spike when we were kids, but I only have a vague recollection of an old train and some oldy-timey people.

Turns out, there wasn't much more to remember. 

After we spent a few minutes in the visitors center (where I learned about all the boozing, gambling, and womanizing that came along with train folk—sweet!), we watched the No. 119 train come from the east and meet up with the Jupiter train from the west (the Jupiter train was out for repair, so we just imagined that part), followed by a reenactment of the ceremonial golden spike being hammered in place, thus completing North America's first transcontinental railroad. 

Traci was so inspired by the event that she encouraged me to our get our financial house in order so we can spend our retired years as volunteer historical actors. She will play the role of Old Lady with Umbrella. I, of course, will use my training in social media to play Stenographer with Cane. 

From there we headed to the Spiral Jetty.  

In 2004, Traci and I went on a trip to London. We were wandering through the Tate Modern museum when a piece caught my eye: The Spiral Jetty. 

Huh, that's cool. I thought. I wonder where that is. 

The Great Salt Lake?! 

How could it be there? I've never even heard of it. 

Probably because it spent 30 years of its existence submerged under the lake

It's since reemerged and I've told myself for a decade that I need to go see it. Then, a few years ago, I met Mr. Mike Phillips. 

Mike has been to the Jetty a time or two—his dad, who passed away a few weeks ago, was the contractor who moved the rocks around to create the thing. 

Last week, I watched Mike give a hour-long presentation about the Jetty and I realized I couldn't put off the two-hour drive any longer. 

When the Jetty was built, it was above—but surrounded by—water. Because of years of drought, however, the water has receded and now the rock formation is surrounded by salty sand, a perfect palette for aspiring writers. 

As usual, Curtis refused to enjoy the adventure but was tricked into having fun once he discovered the foam forming at the edge of the lake—a good ten-minute walk from the end of the Jetty. 

Balls of foam would then blow onto the sand, ripe for destruction under the stomping foot of an eight-year-old boy. 

Tate learned that standing in pools of sandy water is pretty cool. He then learned that trudging back to the car in wet, sandy feet is not. 

The millions of brine shrimp make the water look red. 

And the wind makes Traci bundle up. 

After a few hours on the sand, we celebrated a successful day of adventuring with a shake and onion rings at Peach City Ice Cream in Brigham City. 

Not a bad way to end a good day.

1 comment:

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