After having the car and the motorhome covered inside and out with dust from the desert, and the outside turning to mud while driving in the rain, it was time for a stop to do some Spring cleaning or de-deserting as Hector calls it.
So we stopped at Salt Lake City, which happens to be near the site of the completion of the transcontinental railroad. An engineering feat concluded by driving a golden spike into the last railroad tie.
We booked a full-hookup campground, Pony Express RV Resort, for a few days. Read my review here.
So, in addition to Spring cleaning, we emptied all of our kitchen and pantry drawers. I washed everything and went through any food that was in soft bags to make sure the mouse had not gotten into it. I then soaked cotton balls in peppermint essential oil and placed several in each of the drawers.
That night we placed our fruit bowl on top of our dining table and somehow the little rascal got to another tomato! This called for harsher methods, so we bought some “humane” traps.
This time we put our fruit bowl in the shower, and put out the traps. That night I heard some noise coming from the area under the sink where our garbage can sits. But we took all food garbage out every morning and evening, so there was no food there. And when we got up the next morning, one of the traps had been tripped.
We implemented our “mouse relocation plan” and walked out to a river behind our campground but there was no mouse in the trap. Yet he had left behind some “evidence” near the trap, so we were pretty sure he tripped it.
For the next week, we set out traps every night and nothing. Finally, we decided that the mouse must have left. Between getting scared from the mousetrap tripping, the very strong peppermint smell in the motorhome, and no food available he probably decided this was not a good place. Thank goodness!
So we continued our Spring cleaning inside the coach, cleaning all of the windows and little nooks and crannies.
So we added an extra stop on the first day of the drive and took a detour to see the Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory, Utah, the site where the Central Pacific Railroad from the West and the Union Pacific Railroad from the East finally met to complete the transcontinental railroad.
The very educational exhibits and film bring a much greater appreciation of the back breaking work and challenges that went into the building of the railroad. The Central Pacific Railroad in particular started with the challenge of going through the Sierra Nevada Range and had to ship every rail, spike, and locomotive from the East 15,000 miles around Cape Horn. Many workers in the West were focused on gold panning, so they hired thousands of Chinese workers, who became the backbone of that railroad’s work force.
Union Pacific employed Irish, German and Italian immigrants, Civil War veterans, ex-slaves and American Indians and conflict across the groups was common.
On May 10, 1869, the two locomotives, Central Pacific’s Jupiter, and Union Pacific’s No. 119 pulled up to the one-rail gap left in the track at Promotory Summit. During the ceremony of the completion of the railroad, a golden spike was symbolically tapped, then replaced by an iron spike. The message of their completion was sent via telegraph to the entire country, and many celebrations took place.
But railroads also brought in troops and supplies to areas where Indians and whites were fighting battles. They destroyed the Indians food, shelter and livestock. Tens of millions of buffalo were killed, some to send buffalo robes and tongues east, others for mere sport, including “hunting by rail” when trains would stop alongside a herd of buffalo and hundreds of men would climb to the roofs to shoot them. The buffalo population was decimated and the Indians were driven to reservations.
The two locomotives are exact replicas of the original built from the original plans and are taken out every day at set times. We were amazed at the intricate beauty of these locomotives, which apparently was the norm at the time.
Ours was a quick stop, but there are also self-guided walking and driving trails that provide more information about the building of the railroad.
Nonetheless, it was a very educational stop.