Our Visit to Utah

In the days before Christmas, I was thinking about where to go for the days that I didn't have work or commitments (December 24-Janurary 2), so on December 26, We got up early to go to Utah. This photo was taken about 2 hours after we left our Perris, Ca. home, alongside the Interstate 15 freeway. Jelim is standing by a "Joshua Tree", found only in our Mohave desert.

Here we have stopped for a moment someplace in the southwest corner of the state of Nevada alongside the Interstate 15 freeway. There is some snow on the ground here. I am posing with Mity, as Jelim takes this photo.

The Above 2 photos were taken in Panguitch, Utah at a local motel. This quaint little town was first settled by the Mormon Pioneers in 1864. Left photo, we have just arrived, and it's COLD here. As you can see by the snow, and the sky in the background, this is a cold place in December. Right photo, the next morning, as we prepared to go visit some Utah's famous destinations, we were greeted with more snow. Luckily, it was soft, fine snow, and it was easy to clean off the windows of my car. As we left the town of Panguitch, an electronic sign said that it was 9° F. (-16°C).

Here is a great example of the scenery that you will see in Utah. This place is on Highway 89, close to Bryce National park.

Another ¼ of a mile further, is this exquisite carved arc in this mountain of rock.

Here, a bit later on Utah highway 12, we are just outside the entrance of Bryce National park. It's late December and almost 7000' elevation, so this can be a very COLD place. Snow is blowing across the road. As you can see, it's cold enough that snow and ice is stuck to the hood of my car, even with the hot engine just below it! I worry that there may be black ice on this road, which would make it super easy to slide off of the road and get stuck. Being that I don't have much experience driving in this kind of weather, I decide to not go into Bryce National park, even though it's open. I don't want to take the chance of sliding off of the road and getting stuck.

After passing the entrance of Bryce National park, I kept going on highway 12, and came to Kodachrome Basin State Park. As you can see, it has many types of beautiful rock formations. Their brochure says "This park was created in 1949 and has nearly 70 monolithic spires and sedimentary sand pipes from 6 to 170 feet high." I pose with Mity as Jelim snaps the Camera.

Here is what I think is the most bazaar formation in the Kodachrome Basin State Park. Jelim and Mity pose in front of "Stove pipe rock".

On our way out of Kodachrome Basin State Park, I get Jelim and Mity to pose standing on this small frozen lake. This is the first time that they have ever walked on ice!

As we were driving back on Utah highway 12, the sun was out and it was a bit warmer, so I took a chance and went in to Bryce National park. Most of the park was closed for the winter, but this viewing site was open, so I took this photo of Bryce Canyon. Cold, but pretty.

Our next stop is Zion National Park. Words and even my photos cannot do this place justice. It is positively the most beautiful place that I have ever seen. Even better then the Grand canyon.

In the middle of Zion National Park is a tunnel that they cut into the solid rock of Zion. From the National parks service web site, "Construction of the 1.1 mile Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel began in the late 1920's and was completed in 1930. At the time that the tunnel was dedicated, on July 4, 1930, it was the longest tunnel in the United States."It has many "windows" cut into the sides of this tunnel for fresh air for the cars that are constantly passing through. More then 2½ million people visit Zion a year.

The Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel passes through this SOLID ROCK mountain of incredible beauty. The tunnel is about in the middle of this photo (top to bottom) and the hole you see is an air vent drilled into the side to provide fresh air for the cars in the center of this tunnel. Amazing to me, that anyone could make a tunnel though what looks to me, as un-drillable rock! After leaving Zion, we hit the road.

On the way out of Utah, just a couple of miles off of highway 56, I saw the "Iron Town Ruins"on my map, so I decided to take a side trip to this place. This place was not actually a town, but a mining facility. They mined iron ore nearby and then put it into this coke oven and made Iron ingots. Cheaper foreign iron imports are what killed this place. Left, Jelim and Mity pose in the fresh snow in front of this old rock and concrete oven, which is the only thing that is intact in this place. Right, we head for our car and get back on highway 56 and we are soon in Nevada.

This photo is taken inside Cathedral Gorge State park, Nevada. They say that these formations were made when there was a nearby inland sea. You can find more information about this place at http://parks.nv.gov/cg.htm

Our Next stop is Caliente, Nevada. The most prominent thing in Caliente is this beautiful old train station (left). Police, city hall, fire, building and safety, etc. all now reside in this building. Right, Jelim and Mity sit in the waiting room. This grand place used to have 7 tracks in front, but they are gone now. More about this place is at http://www.lincolncountynevada.com/caliente.html

This is Warm Springs, Nevada, where Highway 375 dead ends into highway 6. This place had a general store, but I guess that times were too hard for this place, and the store is closed and abandoned. Left photo, someone has built this nice swimming pool. The lock has long been cut off of it's gate, so free dips are now possible in this 95°F. mineral water. It looked really inviting on this cold, cold day, but I had no swimming trunks with me. Right photo shows the source of this spring,. This great looking warm water just bubbles up from a hole in the ground. Where it makes a turn, you can see steam coming up from this spring.

The Drive through the deserts of Nevada seem endless. In this photo on highway 6 overlooking my trusty 89 Chevy Celebrity as the sun is setting, you get a look at the typical scenery. It's about 20-25 miles to the little hill at the "end" of that road, but as soon as you crest that little hill, you will see another long drive to the next crest! Highway 6 is 170 miles long with almost nothing on it! The ice and snow has finally melted off of the hood of my car, and it's a bit warmer here, but as soon as the sun sets, it will quickly go below freezing! On another web site blog, http://www.nevadatravel.net/travelgram/05-04.html they said "If there is any US highway that qualifies as "The Loneliest Road in America", this is it."

We made it to Tonopah, Nevada that evening and got a Motel. Left, as we prepare to head out about 6:30 AM the next morning, we still need to scrape the windows, as it has snowed more here then in Utah. Right, Mity shows off her new gloves, which she has managed to get a little snow on them.

As we leave Tonopah on 12/29, I took this photo about 7:30 AM. Tonopah still looks rather bleak. I wanted to see their great Tonopah Historic 100 acre Mining Park, but I also wanted to get to Scotty's Castle, Death Valley, California, and that would take 4-5 hours, so I could not hang around for the Tonopah museum to open. And, most of their big exhibits are outside and now covered with snow, so it was time to go to a warmer place. We were all ready for some warmer weather. Here is some history about Tonopah, Nevada. It started in 1900 when Silver was discovered here. Since then, the mines in the Tonopah/Belmont area have produced more than five million tons of ore. At today's prices, this amount would be valued in excess of $1,200,000,000. Although Tonopah's glory days are long gone, Tonopah somehow never became a ghost town and still has 1500 people. Read about this and Tonopah's second boom in the 1980's and more at http://www.nevadaweb.com/cnt/pio/tonopah/

26 miles south of Tonopah is another famous Nevada mining town. Gold was discovered here in Goldfield in 1902. By 1904 the Goldfield district produced about 800 tons of ore, valued at $2,300,000. Today Goldfield has 800 people, and dozens of closed up homes and commercial buildings. Left, is a photo of Goldfield's biggest Hotel, now closed. Right, is Goldfield's high school. Sadly, no one has done any maintenance on this place, and due to the roof's deterioration, water has gotten into the walls and caused a lot of damage including a total collapse of this corner of the building. http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/nv/goldfield.html has many more great photos of this place. Next stop is

Scotty's Castle, Death Valley, California

According to Wikipedia "Construction began on Scotty's Castle in 1922, and cost between $1.5 and $2.5 million. A man named Walter Scott, born in Cynthiana, Kentucky and also known as “Death Valley Scotty”, convinced Chicago millionaire Albert Johnson to invest in his (fraudulent) gold mine in the Death Valley area. By 1937, Johnson had acquired more than 1,500 acres (6 km²) in Grapevine Canyon, where the ranch is located. There is a great deal more information about Scotty's Castle at http://www.nps.gov/archive/deva/Scottys/Scottys_main.htm

This is a view of Scotty's Castle taken while standing on Scotty's grave.This photo and the previous one are available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotty%27s_Castle In the right side of this photo, stands the clock and bell tower. The bells are electrically rang, and controlled in the main house. To the left of the clock and bell tower is the power house, where electricity is made for the Castle. Below is a photo that I took of the interior of the power house.

Left, we pose in the patio area of the main house. Right, is my fascination, the electrical system in the power house. The unit in the foreground of this photo is a "Pelton" water driven wheel driving a 125 Volt DC generator behind it. The water to drive this unit comes from a dam up in this canyon, from a natural spring that gives a constant 200 gallons a minute. As the Castle grew so did it's electrical demand, and soon this unit could not meet the electrical demands of the castle, so 2 other diesel DC generators were later mounted in this room. Later, the Detroit Diesel (The Green unit) with an AC generator was added in the last years of the hay day of this working castle. Today the Castle is served by external commercial power.

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