Friday, March 21, 2008

If it's a mine shaft, can you still call it speelunking?

Being a teacher has it's perks. We're on spring break, and when the rest of the 9-5'ers were working, Paperback Writer and I were cruising the highways and byways of Juab and Tooele (two-ill-uh) counties. It started out as a ghost town hunt. No, not as in the ghost town where the Brady Bunch gets locked in the old jail. Ghost towns are scattered throughout this area, towns that are still inhabited, but have suffered since the mining boon days. In Eureka, the first town we went to, there are dilapidated buildings right next to the functioning General Store. They even have a brand new High School in town, yet the old theatre is roofless and gutted. We ran into Mr. Davis at the Painted Lady knick nack store who told us all about the history of Eureka, with pictures and everything. Up on the hill, past the brand new homes being built, was what looked like an old power station. One corner was completely missing and there was nothing but structural beams inside. It was fenced in so we didn't get a real good look, but I got a few good pictures. Further down the road we came across an old mine of some sort. At first glance all we saw was what looked like a ramp for dumping the ore in trucks or trains, and a big hole where a mountain used to be. We went up to it and found a mine shaft. Maybe 100 feet long and straight through the solid rock. From the looks of things, it seems that it was the original shaft for mining, until they decided to do some open-pit mining, which kind of plugged up the back end of the shaft. Anyway, we walked all the way to the back, but didn't try looking out the back because that was the one area that didn't look to secure, and the opening didn't look that big anyway. From there we headed north around the Oquirrhs, figuring we'd head home through Tooele, up to I-80 and SR 201 past Magna. Somewhere around the small town of Vernon we got hungry, so we decided to stop at the Silver Sage Cafe and see what they had to eat. As a kid we went on a lot of road trips and my dad had this incredible knack for finding the best food where you would least expect it. It seems I've inherited the talent because as soon as Writer pointed out the place I knew it was the place to eat. And I was right. We ordered the special "Chick ala Rick", grilled chicken, onions and mushrooms topped with melted swiss cheese. The owner told us that one of their cooks had invented it just the other day, and believe it or not, I guessed the cooks name. Anyhow, it was excellent, and even came with those big, crispy fries that weren't soaked in grease. Excellent meal, and with a coke came to $6.44. Harland came in for a cup of coffee, two other people that the owners knew by name came in for lunch. The theme song to "Cheers" started running through my head as I realize Writer and I were the only ones that the owners didn't know by name. Great people, they didn't even flinch when I asked if I could move their rolling trash can out from between the gas pumps so I could get a picture of my '69 Ford next to their 1970's pumps. Remember the pumps that had the numbers on gears that turned as the gas pumped. Yeah, move the decimal from 3.27 to .327 a gallon and you'd swear I took the picture back in 1971. Well, it's almost midnight and the synapses aren't working at peak efficiency (no comments, please) so I think I'll head off to sleep. I have a bunch of pictures of the trip (no kidding?) and as soon as I get their captions done, I'll let ya know.......

9 comments:

A Paperback Writer said...

Well, that's the best photo of me I've seen in a long time.
I'm going to link my posts to yours. You might want to do the same, since I just posted a pic of you in old blue at the pumps.
(Hey, I'll link to your blog if you link to mine... sounds kinda kinky, doesn't it?)
I'm going to post a few more things if I have enough patience to upload the photos.

Max said...

Linking blogs to each other, is this some kind of cyber sexual thing? Good idea connecting the two posts, that way people can enjoy the experience from two different views....Oh, and check out the photo gallery and let me know if it's ok for me to use those couple of pictures of you there. If you want me to remove them, I will (I never know if people appreciate their faces on the net or not).

A Paperback Writer said...

Yeah, well, blog linking is as close to sex as I've been in years, so I'll take what I can get.
Nice job on the gallery photos. I'll link to that, too. How about if I get to see the photos where I'm identifiable before you post them? Fair enough?
I took my camera up to my parents' house yesterday and had a great deal of fun with their iPhoto program, cropping, antiquing, matting, etc. on the Eureka photos. I also had personal supervision by an artist, so they turned out really well. (Actually, years and years of watching and listening to Dad means I already have a dang good eye for what goes into a good photo anyway, but having a professional right there while I crop pics and play with them was great.)
I only had enough to fill half a disc, but eventually I'll burn the disc. Heck, I could just burn you one, now that I think of it. That'd be a lot faster than trying to e-mail you photos over dial up. (Let's see burn disc: 2 minutes. District mail to you: over night. vs. send 56 photos by dial up: one year and 3 weeks. Yeah, I think I'll burn you a disc.)

Max said...

Tell you what, I'll burn you a disk of mine if you'll burn me a disk of yours. (Man, this is getting sexier by the minute).
I already have the picture with you in them posted, but I blurred out your face. A couple of them it really doesn't matter, but there are two that look a lot better without the "anonymous witness" look. But it's up to you, until I hear otherwise they will remain blurred. If you want to see the pictures without blurring, I put them on an unlinked web page, www.srossi.net/*.html. Replace the * with the full name of the teacher I carpooled with when working at your school, no spaces, no caps. Check them out and let me know if I can replace your face on them....

A Paperback Writer said...

OOOOOHHH!
Secret codes! This is just like James Bond -- only without all the violence!
Okay, mission accomplished. I am amused with the photo of me looking up through the railroad ties. Unfortunately, the counterpart of you didn't turn out so well because of the sun glaring behind you.
However, I think you should leave the blogposts with me under the witness protection program. I look a lot better that way.

Max said...

Well, you know. You didn't seem to want your face seen on the WWW, but I wanted you to see how good the pictures came out - especially the one of you in the doorway of the mine, but I wanted to respect you privacy. So, the cloak & dagger method satisfied both requirements. That and I grew up reading EQMM (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine) and they had a lot of spy-esque stories.

A Paperback Writer said...

My gradeschool favorites were the Three Investigators Series. :)
And, of course, I've read EVERY SINGLE Sherlock Holmes story. (no joke)
I'm not sure if the photo of you inside the mine tunnel is on the disc I burned or not. Maybe I'll e-mail that one photo. It didn't turn out too well, though, because you had to crunch down. You look like, well, like a big guy crunching down to fit into a weird tunnel.
The Max-in-the-car shots are all lots better. I played with those and cropped them -- I antiqued one so it looks like a faded 70s print. And the drivign dog photo looks great, too.
Then there's one of you standing on the railroad tracks that I faded as well, and it looks cool. I had fun with the pic of the old stove in the cabin -- color enhancing and oval framing....
The iPhoto on my folks' computer is fun. :)

Max said...

Sounds cool, I'll burn you a CD with my pictures and send it to you through district mail tomorrow.

A Paperback Writer said...

The disc's in the mail. I stuck it in district mail this morning, so it should've gone out today.