We spent our last Wednesday here in the Ogden area doing a last bit of sight-seeing by visiting the Golden Spike National Monument. The monument celebrates the completion of the railroad that allowed eastern part of the country to travel continuously by train to the western part of the country.
Before we arrived at the Visitor’s Center we stopped at ‘The Big Fill’ where we could see where one of many train trestles had been built to cross over the hilly/mountainous land. The trestle no long exists since the original railroad was dismantled many years ago and the railroad was moved and now crosses over the Great Salt Lake.
We met two gentleman originally from Wisconsin while at this overlook and chatted with them for quite a while. Interestingly, they were both originally from the Milwaukee are (as am I) and one now lives in Illinois while the other now lives in West Haven…not far from Zack and Kelsea’s new home!
When we got to the Visitor’s Center we purchased an America the Beautiful pass for $80…it’s good for one year and can be used at all National Parks. It will pay for itself over the next few weeks while we are traveling. Especially considering that to visit both Zion and Bryce it will cost $30 for each park….that’s $60 right there!
We also got our passport book stamped and purchased one parks stickers to add to the page for Golden Spike….something we started doing a few years back when we purchased the book.
Normally there are to trains parked out behind the Visitor’s Center to reenact the two engines that met when the last spike was driven into the railroad but the week we visited there were no engineers available to ‘pilot’ the trains so they trains had to stay in the engine house.
That might have been disappointing BUT….we were treated to a tour of the engine house by Ranger David. We got an up close and personal look at the trains. Authentic replicas of Engine 119 and the Jupiter were built in the 70s and have been in use at the monument ever since.
Ranger David really knew his stuff. He provided all kinds of interesting tidbits of information and was able to answer some pretty tough questions thrown at him by a couple of guys that were big train buffs. The tour lasted nearly an hour before we headed back to the Visitor’s Center.
Back at the Visitor’s Center we watched a 20 minute video about the joining of the railroad when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met at Promontory Point on May 10, 1869. Sadly, all of the original track was dismantled in 1942 and used for the war effort. Fortunately by this time the track was no longer being used for much as it had been moved when a bridge/trestle was built over the Salt Lake to make the train route more efficient.
You’re able to walk out behind the Visitor’s Center to view the point where the original ‘golden spike’ was placed. Even though the original railroad is long gone the National Parks Service has done a good job of laying track that depicts the difference in track laid by the Union and Central Pacific Railroads. The track coming from the west is all uniformly cut as they had an abundance of trees and were able to cut all of their railroad ties ahead of time and just lay them as they needed them. However, the track coming from the east is all of varying sizes and shapes as trees were scarce and far off and they had to use whatever they found along the route.
As we were leaving the park Michael decided to take a bit of a back road to do a little sight-seeing as we could see bits and pieces of the Great Salt Lake in the distance. We ended up running across the ‘last cut’ of one of the railroads where the ground was excavated for the railroad to pass through keeping the level of the tracks at a fairly even level.
Golden Spike is a bit out in the middle of nowhere so after we finished up at the monument we headed into Brigham City for a late lunch. Back in June the camphosts from our campground all got together and went to dinner at Maddox but Michael and I stayed back as our boys and their families were visiting us so we decided to give it a try.
Maddox is a family run business with a drive-in restaurant, casual dining restaurant and a lodge all located on the same sprawling corner lot. We chose the casual restaurant which was quite spacious and comfortably decorated.
Maddox is ‘famous’ for their skinless fried chicken and I decided to give it a try while Michael ordered their ground beef steak. We ordered the lunch version of our meals and each came with homemade rolls & corn pones, corn on the cob, choice of potato AND soup, salad or seafood cocktail for $12.95ish. The portions were HUGE – the soup was a huge BOWL, not a cup. We each received a WHOLE piece of corn on the cob. We each ordered a piece of homemade pie to take home. Michael went with peach and I had banana cream…and the pieces were absolutely humongous…at least twice as large as what you would normally get.
The portions may have been large but it all tasted really good too! The soup was excellent, the chicken was tender and juicy, the beef steak was flavorful, the corn was sweet and well spiced, the dinner rolls and pones were both yummy….wow. Definitely a place we’d go to again and I’m actually looking forward to it!
After filling our tummies we headed down the road a bit to get some pampering done….we got our toes done. You just can’t beat having someone else massage your feet and calves! It’s a treat we both enjoy.
Before heading home for the day we stopped at Smith & Edwards for another treat! We each picked up a bag of ‘penny’ candy since we both seem to have a sweet tooth that can be easily satisfied by a couple of pieces of candy.
Our oldest son, Zack, celebrated his 30th birthday on the 22nd so we all went to the Texas Roadhouse for dinner that evening. We’d planned to got to Sushi Ya but we’d had a storm pass through the area that afternoon with a couple of tornado’s touching down and there were power outages all over and Sushi Ya was in an area with no power. Texas Roadhouse was Zack’s second choice.
We had a good meal and were able to embarrass Zack by making him sit on ‘the saddle’ and having the whole restaurant aware that it was his birthday…anything we can do to embarrass our kids!
Zack’s real celebration was on Saturday when he and Kelsea through a birthday party and invited about 25 people or so over to enjoy a BBQ. Zack smoked a brisket and a couple of pork shoulders and then made his homemade BBQ sauce to go with it. Kelsea, myself and her friend Amanda made sides to go along with the smoked meats: beer dip, buffalo chicken dip, fruit pizza, potato salad, macaroni & cheese, baked beans, lettuce salad and a veggie tray and of course there was a birthday cake and since Zack is a ‘home brewer’ Kelsea decorated it appropriately!
We’d already met several of the people attending the party but met several new folks we’d not met before. We had a good time talking with everyone as we had quite a bit in common with most of them…either they were in the Army, from Texas or from Wisconsin…three of our favorite things! 🙂