Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 10th : Day 3

Well, I culled the 3,645 pictures I took down to a mere 11. I have no idea what my memory limit is on blogger, but I don't want this to be the photo gallery. Here, they're supposed to enhance the story, not be it. So, you'll have to wait until I cull through the 356,950 pictures from the two trips and get the photo galleries up.

Anyway, today was the ghost town day. Sego and Thompson, and as it turns out Thompson Springs too. The day started out much as usual, with the hotel's continental breakfast. Writer had to have twice the English Muffin as she meant to, because one, in a fit of suicidal despair, jumped out of the bag and fell to it's death on the floor. Right in front of her (musta been traumatic). Most Jr. High teacher's firmly believe in the 5 second rule, so rather than throw the muffin away, she killed any germs on it by toasting it and ate it.

Despite the post-trauma stress of the muffin incident, we headed up towards I-70 and Sego, Thompson and Thompson Springs. Sego and Thompson are true ghost towns, nobody lives there and nobody has for several decades. Thompson Springs is right off the freeway, and is not a full fledged ghost town, we didn't even realize it was a ghost town until on our way back

First we went to Thompson, which is up about 4 miles of dirt road. We had several petroglyph sitings on the way up, some of them were really cool, some had been defaced. Some were defaced by autograph carvings and pictures dating from the 1910's and 20's, which sparked a conversation about the difference between ancient writings and graffiti. After all, petroglyphs really are just ancient graffiti, and looking at the "Joe was here" from the 1920's was cool, but the same thing from the 70's was annoying. Not that I am in any way condoning the destruction of petroglyphs, but the truth is that if I had written "Max wuz hear, 2008" alongside the others (and no, I did not), a couple hundred years from now someone would look at it and think "Wow, 2008. Who was Max and what the hell was he trying to say?" We also saw a really cool old trestle on the way there, most likely used to carry the ore down the canyon.

Thompson itself was set in quite an idyllic setting. At a bend in the canyon, up against the hill shaded by huge colttonwood (I think) trees that were right along the bank of a obviously not always dry river, it was beautiful and calm. There were three houses in different levels of decay, but the coolest thing was the oven that looked like it was still in functioning condition. (see picture at top).

Next stop was Sego. We passed their little cemetery on the way there, a lot of the graves were unmarked, and on one it was obvious some $%^9*% stole the headstone. But it was pretty interesting nonetheless. Sego is on a small incline hillside in the center of the canyon. We found three structures that were still standing, ahem, well, sort of. The house, a wood construction building, fared the worst of the three, the other two are what I would consider salvageable, this one not so much. Most of the plaster was gone, you could see the lathe on the remaining walls. The front outside wall was all but gone. (In the picture you are looking at the back of the house, the best preserved part). Neither Writer or I dared go inside the building, don't know if the floor would have held us or if our movement on it would have brought more walls down. From what was left, though, it must have been a nice house. Two floors, many rooms. On Writer's blog she has a picture of Sego from the 1920's, you can see what the house looked like when it was in use. There was also two stone buildings, or shells of buildings left, that I think was a store and some sort of office. The insides are completely gone, floors and all, but the outside walls look strong enough that if Sego ever came alive again, you could build inside them and have original looking buildings.

After Sego we headed back towards Moab, and decided to stop in Thompson Springs to look at, well, ok, I saw a 1970 Ford XL Fastback sitting out in a field rusting and just had to check it out. You'll see the picture later, because even more interesting was the old Cadillac camper we found in the same field. Yeah, looks like someone took an old 4 door Cadillac and cut the roof to custom fit the camper to it. Must have been a sight to see cruising down the highway. We ended up spending an hour or so in Thompson Springs, because despite it being an inhabited (sort of) town, it had several abandoned buildings. One of them was a Cafe, looked like the left in the middle of a shift, there was still syrup sitting on the counter. The other buildings I'm not sure about, one looked like a residence, maybe for the Cafe owners. That too looked like it had been left in the middle of the night. A small office of some sort, a stable. Not exactly sure, but they were all clustered around what looked like it used to be the center of town. Right across the street from the abandoned Motel. Creepy, horror movie motel. There was only one room that still had a front door that closed, the rest were wide open, despite signs of recent (6 months maybe) inhabitance. That wasn't the creepy part. I felt like I walked into the middle of a teen slasher movie at the 3rd room, where someone had put paint on their hands and left smeared hand prints on the wall, along with the writing "This is my home, forever" and "Go home". But that wasn't the eeriest of it, that came back at the office. Hand prints all over the place. A typewriter with a beer bottle next to it, on a desk in the middle of the room. Writings on the wall about death and hauntings. A half empty (or is it half full?) can of peanut butter and almost empty jar of strawberry preserves on top of the refrigerator. The one thing that actually made me laugh was the word "Yum" painted on the fridge door. Other than that, creepy, creepy, creepy. After the motel we pretty much left the wonderful town of Thompson Springs. Once out of town we started talking and realized that even though we heard sounds of inhabitants (vehicles running, dogs tied up outside houses, water, etc..) we didn't see a single person the whole time we were there - which was at least an hour. Maybe it was because of the motel, or maybe it just added to it, but now we were really creeped out. Not nightmares for the rest of the week creeped out, but just "that was really freakin' weird" creeped out.

Next stop was a return to Canyonlands Visitor Center, for two reasons. We had to get some pictures of the Shafer Trail from up on the ridge and we had to tell Ranger Nate that we made it down the trail with the Subaru. Ranger Nate was really busy with some lady, trying to get her credit or gift card or whatever to work, so we just left a message for him with the other ranger. She seemed pretty impressed that we took a Subaru down the Shafer Trail and assured us that she would let Ranger Nate know we survived.

Thus endeth the Moab trip. We went back to the hotel, packed up and headed home, mostly on accounta there was a storm coming in the next day since we had the time left I'd rather drive home in the evening than get up early and drive home the next day. Fortunately Writer, who would have preferred it the other way around, agreed to my plan.


A Paperback Writer said...

I am greatly amused by the English muffin story. I had forgotten about that, but you have told it well.
Great post, great photo selection. Must've taken you quite a while to choose the photos out of the several hundred you had.
(To anyone else who reads this and doesn't know Max, he's NOT exaggerating the number of photos he takes.)
I am sending you an e-mail of a car story because you'll like it but it doesn't fit in with any blog posts here.

A Paperback Writer said...

Here's a great adventure post URL for you:

It's a book review of Thor Heyderdahl's Kon Tiki, but it's soooo funny: nerds on an adventure. Hey, maybe that was us, except we didn't catch sharks with our bare hands. (Not too many sharks in Moab, though.)

Max said...

Glad you liked the English muffin story, I was particularly happy with that part of the story. And thanks for the comment on the pictures, it did take me a while to pick out the good ones....