Some final thoughts about the trip to the “Golden Spike” events in Utah

It’s a big country! Frankly it is easy to forget just how big the US really is. Our trip west brought that point home for me again. Driving from Salt Lake City to Ely, Nevada to visit the Nevada Northern Railway, took close to four hours with nary a settlement in between the two.

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The road to Ely

Here in DC going ten miles per hour in bumper to bumper traffic on the Beltway seems like a major achievement: after all we are at least moving! How exhilarating it was to have the cruise control on our rented Ford Edge set to 8o miles per hour, with no other vehicles in sight for many miles.

The landscape is fascinating. It is a stark beauty. One can see for miles and one is easily fooled into thinking that landmarks are much closer than they really are.

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Wide open spaces

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Cave Lake State Park (Utah)

I also came away really appreciating our US National Park System. In a way it is a victim of its own success: There are many more visitors than the system can handle comfortably. Unfortunately it is also under siege from a clueless Republican administration, which would love to have the whole system just shut down and turned over to mining and developing interests.

Here are a few photographs from the parks we visited:

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Grand Teton National Park

 

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Yellowstone National Park

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Bonneville Salt Flats

 

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I found the Craters of the Moon National Monument particularly intriguing. It is an area of more than 620 square miles covered with lava flows and volcanic ash. The last eruption was barely 2000 years ago. A blink of an eye in geological terms. It is also expected to erupt again any time. Could be interesting!

So we covered around 2000 miles in not quite two weeks. Our Ford Edge “Titanium” proved itself admirable, if a bit wheezy at times. Those fuel saving four cylinder engines just aren’t meant for mountain driving.

In my next blog, we’ll talk about trains again.

All photographs by Bradford Wing and Ralf Meier (iPhone 8, Sony RX100iv, iPhone X, Sony AC6500)

 

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