Golden Spike National Historic Site – FEB 2012

On my way to the spot where the first transcontinental railroad was born when the Central Pacific Railroad met the Union Pacific Railroad, I found this display:
There were several photos with the story of this small town.
Tinky Winky takes a ride with the muleskinner.
What the display didn't tell me: In its hayday (1869), Corinni was known as the "Gentile Capital of Utah" with over a thousand permanent residents, not one of whom was Mormon. By 1877 when the railroad lines were changed, the Gentile merchants abandoned Corinne for Ogden and the Mormon farmers moved in. This is the only original building still standing:
As I got closer to my destination, I saw signs saying "Rocket Display," so I made a 2 mile detour to check it out:
TW takes a ride on a TX-38 SPAM ducted rocket.
Signage: Frontiers of Transportation – Here you stand on one of the great frontiers of transportation history in North America. In 1841, the route of the first emigrant train to reach California overland climbed the mountain pass to your left. And the Oregon trail passed just 80 miles to the north. Ahead, just over the Promontory Mountains, two hotly competing railroad companies, the Union Pacific coming west from Nebraska, and the Central Pacific working east from California, joined their rails on May 10, 1869, completing the world’s first transcontinental railroad. The United States remains a nation on the move. Today’s technological frontier has been lifted skyward by the Thiokol Corporation, which builds and test rockets here in northern Utah to support America’s space and defense programs.
Golden Spike National Historic Site:
Titled “East and West Shaking Hands at Laying of Last Rail” and taken by Andrew J. Russell; this is the most famous photograph associated with the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. Commonly called “The Champagne Photo,” it is one of the most recognized images, known world-wide:
Reenactments are held on Saturdays and holidays from May to Labor day using exact replicas of the original trains. You can see then here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-LhDDDBaOA&feature=related
This being winter the engines are in the shop being refurbished.
In 1868, Schenectady Locomotive Works in New York build the Jupiter for the Central Pacific Railroad.
Steaming her way into history, the Jupiter  hauled CPR President Leland Stanford’s special train to Promontory Summit for the joining of the rails. 
The Jupiter remained in service until the turn of the 20th century when, outmoded and unheralded, she was scrapped for the standard fee of $1,000.
In November of 1868, Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works of Paterson, New Jersey built the Union Pacific No. 119
Six months later, No. 119 received the call to pull Union Pacific Vice-President Thomas Durant and his contingent to Promontory Summit. 
The No. 119 served out her days with the Union Pacific as a freight locomotive until dismantled in 1903 for the standard scrapper’s fee for $1,000.
Charged with producing replicas virtually identical to the original engines, O’Connor Engineering Laboratories of Costa Mesa, California did just that, down to the last decorative detail. 
For safety reasons, the replica engines differ from the originals in three ways: Cylinder design, Boiler assembly and Breaking system.
Besides the mechanical service, all the brass is removed and hand-polished. Above is a whistle.
I had no idea the pilot (cowcatcher) was made of wood.
Monument placed in 1916, transferred to the National Park Service in 1965, fully restored and moved to current location in 2001.
One of the two ceremonial golden spikes is currently under glass at the Stanford University Museum.
A record that was never broken.
Of the four thousand laborers, one tenth was Irish and the rest Chinese. According to the Chinese Historical Society of America (http://cprr.org/Museum/Chinese.html) between 100-150 Chinese workers lost their lives working on the CPRR, not the thousands that were incorrectly reported in newspapers of the era.
The crossing sign says “LOOK OUT FOR LOCOMOTIVE.”

Dugway Proving Ground – FEB 2012

This Army facility is larger than Rhode Island, 801,505 acres in the Great Salt Lake Desert, surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges. 
It’s mission is to test biological and chemical weapons…next to where 6,249 sheep died in 1968...not an alien invasion.

It has the nickname of Area 52 because of the numerous UFO sightings...everyone has to have their picture taken with Alien Doug. 
Located 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, there are two approached to Dugway, 40 miles down Interstate Highway 80 and then 40 through open range or 30 miles down I80, exit Tooele then 39 miles which crawls through town and then a long winding drive through a small mountain (They pronounce it two-willa, but it still seems like the toolies to me.) The drive down I80, along the Great Salt Lake (mostly hidden below the banks)...this is what I saw:
There was a long stretch of road with rocks in the water spelling out names, hearts, initials and messages from the bible.
Below is the third Saltair, built in 1981 out of salvaged Air Force aircraft hangar and located a mile west of the original site. As a resort it was doomed to fail, as it was flooded months after opening and then the waters receded year after year, finally leaving it high and dry. It is now used for concerts and events but the tracks no longer reach the resort.
Saltair III
...
The first Saltair, a resort built on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in 1893 was jointly owned by the LDS church and the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company which constructed a track for the express purpose of serving the resort.
This is what the original looked like:
Pulling off I80 to drive 40 miles across flat open range...
...this was the first sign I saw:
It says IOSEPIA, further down the road, there was also another sign (bill board type) with a palm tree and the name IOSEPIA. Turns out it is a ghost town which once had over 200 Polynesian Mormons.
I always drive around with nuclear waste looking for a place to dump it.
The next weekend, when I left for Golden Spike Historic Park, there actually were lose cattle:
I kept seeing signs for Ensign Ranch…my research reveals there are 5 ranches covering over a million acres.
Lone Rock
I never saw any Bison. The drive to Tooele yields more interesting fodder:
Just outside the Post gate was this building that was never open. It looked like a Visitors Center, but when I saw activity on Sunday, I realized it was an LDS church.