Our trip to Sunset, Utah
Following the ceremony we watched a movie in the visitors center and then took the driving tours of the summit area. This is, for the most part, a very flat area and the roads follow the original railroad bed. This line became a secondary line in about 1904 when the Lucin Cut Off was completed. This was a combination trestle and rock fill causeway across The Great Salt Lake. This cut off saved 45 miles of travel and is estimated to have saved the railroad $60,000 a month in operational costs. The picture below is a scene looking south of the road with the old track bed behind us as we viewed the mountain range.
Amid the desert terrain we found some wild flowers along the road. The flower below is a bushy plant near a parking area.
This limestone arch is known as the “Chinaman’s Arch” and is a natural formation that was named as a memorial to the Chinese who worked for the Central Pacific Railroad as it carved out mountain tunnels and cut and filled their way from California to Utah. We learned that some of the tunnels were such tough work that the workers only progressed 8” a day through the solid granite.
As we left the Golden Spike Historical Site we followed a sign that led us to the ATK Propulsion factory. For those that don’t recognize the name, we know them as the Morton-Thiokol and they are the prime contractor supplying the solid rocket boosters for the Space Shuttle project. We looked around the Internet for clues about the name change and see that there have been many name changes as this company merged with others. But regardless of the name, the company has an excellent display of their rocket motors in full sized mock-ups. The most impressive of course was the Space Shuttle booster engine.