Friday, March 25, 2016

The one day trip to another country

 Good morning and welcome to another adventure down the road less traveled. Myself and Mr Womack decided that we needed to get the hell outta Dodge so we pointed Old Yellow west and went out into the desert to escape. Not quite sure on where I was headed, we arrived at mile marker 33 that leads to the Devils Playground at which point I consulted with my phone and began the search for the Republic of Zaqistan. This foreign country within a country was begun in 2005 by an artist from New York who purchased 4 acres in the west desert of Utah on Ebay. It was on this property that Zaq Landsberg formed the Republic of Zaqistan. 
 Earlier stories have placed Zaqistan in the middle of nowhere saying that it was a 2 mile hike from the nearest road. This is no longer true as you can drive right up to the border. This road requires a high clearance truck. We would recommend a 4x4 for any travel during a wet period of weather. The soil of the area turns to an incredible slick mess when wet. If you do not own a Jeep or a truck I highly recommend that you don't try your luck on driving the road. Cell service is non existent in Zaqistan with the nearest signal on the other side of the mountain you will cross to get there.   
 That said, the country is guarded by robot soldiers. The robot in the above foto is, I am guessing, the head of security. He is 20 feet tall and appears to be quite new to the country. He stands watch night and day over the small Republic of Zaqistan. 
 There are 3 more robotic soldiers in the country on a never ending watch but they appear to have gone AWOL. Each of these robots seem to have drinking problems which has led to their demise. Not one of them has remained "together" to do their duty. To see more fotos of Zaqistan visit To get to Zaqistan, you can send for a passport that comes with the coordinates or you can use the address of the country. I will not reveal how to get there, but I will give you the clue that we used to find it. The address of Zaqistan is " old railroad grade road, Park Valley, Utah. Using this should make it wee bit easier to locate the place. If you do go out and find it, please remember that this is owned by someone else. Don't use any of the objects in the country for target practice or destroy any of it just for the hell of it. Leave it alone so others can visit and enjoy the visiting the Republic of Zaqistan.  
 We came in from the west on our trip to Zaqistan and by doing so, you get to go through 2 railroad ghost towns. The first one is Watercress. This was a small town on the original Central Pacific line and was basically a water stop for the steam engine trains. Once the train ceased to pass through the town, due to the trestle built across the Great Salt Lake, the town faded into just a memory. 
 Though the town was literally located in the middle of nowhere, it appears that it had some of the finer things in life. I found this remnant of a fine china plate while walking through the town. Someone, sometime, had used this plate when it was a plate to eat their meals. The design on it shows it was, at one time, a very nice plate. It seems hard to imagine that a place, in the middle of nowhere, would have such nice things.    
 Traveling east from the town you run into 3 bridges that are still up. These are original bridges built way back in 1868 or 1869. This bridge is the largest of the 3 and it is still in great condition. The only use it sees anymore is the occasional person to walk over it or larges bird that build nests in the framework. Above, Kirt is walking across the bridge to investigate a large nest of a raven.   
 From under the bridge, you can see how large the timbers are that they used for its construction. The upper ones are massive boards that I assume came from the large growth trees in the Sierra-Nevada mountain range. I find it hard to imagine that this has been here for so long. Back in the good old days they sure built things to last.
 Continuing east you will next come to the ghost town of Terrace. Terrace was a huge town that some say had a population of 7000. It was built as a service town for the Central Pacific Railroad. At its peak, the town boasted 8 sidings and a roundhouse that could hold 16 engines. As before, when the railroad moved the main line from the Promontory route to across the lake, Terrace gave up the ghost. What stayed alive after the trains were gone was eventually moved to Nevada where the new maintenance facilities were set up. Terrace doesn't have much left. There is a cemetery and a huge pile of red bricks. 
You can also see where some of the sidings were located. A few of these sidings still have to railroad ties in the ground. There are even more ties scattered about the town. I think it would have been quite an adventure to take the train from San Francisco to Ogden. Even today I would love to take Amtrak from Salt Lake to the west coast. It really isn't very expensive and think of all the stuff you could see along the way. Maybe someday I will get to do this. The only drawback to passenger train service is the fact that it is slow. People nowadays want to get to their destination asap not wasting any time. Me, I think it would be a great way to relax and see sites you otherwise would not see. Oh well, all in all it was a great day. I wish we could have spent more time out there but the Jeep started throwing a warning code that if I shut it off, it may not start again. Ya gotta love modern electronics: NOT! Jeep on my friends.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Damn, it has been a long time!

 Wow, my last entry was in October and life has been quite interesting since then. My sternum decided to split apart in December and caused me great pain. Such a lovely Christmas gift to myself huh? So, it was time to call the Dr again. Damn it! I called good old Dr Patel and on January 12th I went in and they bolted me together with titanium plates. I went home and waited for the 25th to go back and get this and done with. Surprise, on the 24th I ended up in the ER with a high fever and they shipped me to Salt Lake in an ambulance. The next morning i was diagnosed with a nasty staph infection and i was rushed into surgery and they removed all the titanium they had put in 2 weeks before. Then, they left me open till Wednesday and went back in and finally closed me up. Long story short, after 7 weeks with an I.V. line in my arm for antibiotics 3 times a day I was cleared today as healthy and fit. Knock on wood! So, today we celebrated. I went to Salt Lake and got the picc line removed by 9am and headed out to the Oquirrh mountains to play. We tried Dry Canyon and since it is on the north facing slope we got no where. Then it was up to Ophir to see what was going on there. Snow finally stopped us just after the the top foto.  

 As you can see, there is still some snow left in the mountains, on the north slope. Southern slopes are bare as well as well as the flat ground. We drove up the canyon till the snow blocked our path and we could go no further. The "river" there is hardly flowing at all. It's fed into the water system with extra going down thru the town. As of today it was hardly filling the towns needs. Its gonna be a dry summer I'm afraid. 
 Next we decided to try Soldier Canyon, just above Stockton. There are a few mines up there as well as some charcoal kilns. The refiners of the ore mined out of the mountains used charcoal in the process. 
 There are 3 obvious kilns to be seen as well as maybe a 4th. They are not in very good condition, but I blame that on age. These kilns were built by a company called Waterman Coking ovens in 1869 or 1872. There are conflicting reports on the exact date. They built them central to all the mines in the area to make them more efficient. 
 The above kiln is the best of them. These kilns did a ton of work before methods changed and they were phased out. They are built towards the end of the canyon, or end as far as driving the Jeep. The trail narrows to true ATV width just past them and I haven't been up that trail. I am sure there are even more mines up there, since they were centrally built to serve the area. Even though they sit at 6100', the weather there was quite nice today. Just didn't have a lot of sun shine. 
After that, I took a new trail even further north, right above Stockton. It was here we found mud in abundance and we climbed up probably to 7000'. The foto above is looking west over the Rush Valley at the snow on the other mountain range. I've never been over there so that might be another adventure to come. All in all, it was a great day. I am tired but each day I get stronger and hopefully soon I will be back to normal again. Jeep on my friends.