US Roadtrip 2017 - 12: Arches and Curves (50 p.)

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
US Roadtrip 2017 - 11: Monumental Zephyr (50 p.)

The video for this series (please set to 1080p quality / full-screen mode):


Multimedia slideshow:

February 25 2017

Looking towards the La Sal Mountains in the Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.

We drove to Wolfe Ranch and started a short hike...
An overview of the national park:

Artificial and natural animal depictions. These petroglyphs by the Ute date from between 1650 - 1850, some showing riders on horseback.

We walked uphill on a rock plateau, then through a sandy passage.

Finally, along the rock face.

There it is, Delicate Arch.

Size comparison.

We drove on to the Fiery Furnace.

A group of arches is located closer to Moab, here North Window.

How arches were formed:

To the right, a vertical iPhone-panorama inside the arch.

View towards Double Arch.

North and South Window to the left, Turret Arch to the right - due to the shape of its opening I called it "Africa Arch".

Exiting the park, the road is winding downhill in several switchbacks.
To the right, you can spot the Potash Branch, in the background the Colorado River. The brown area in front of it is the "Moab uranium mill tailings pile", remaining from mining the largest uranium deposits of the U.S. between 1952 and 1984. In a federal project it is transported by train to a deposit near Crescent Junction, the trains are being loaded behind the curve to the right.

The project is documented in detail:
Detailed planning:

As more clouds showed up, we stopped by at the Moab Brewery where we also bought something to take home.

Later, we drove along the Colorado River which we had followed - mostly at a distance - from Hoover Dam.

To the left in the background the railroad line emerges from the tunnel - but we turned back hoping to maybe return the following day.

On the Interstate back to Green River we enjoyed a lovely sunset mood. According to the Amtrak-App, the California Zephyr had been overpunctual again and long gone.

February 26 2017

On a beautiful Sunday morning, we arrived at 7:30 a.m. at a rest area near Crescent Junction from where you had a great view of all lines. Here Potash Branch behind the highway to Moab - today there was a chance the Potash Local would run, but sadly it does not operate every week.

One train we had for certain - and it came relatively on time around 9 o'clock. Of course, nothing is certain - just a few days prior it had been delayed half a day due to the massive storms in California.

California Zephyr #6 Emeryville - Chicago snaking along the amazing desolate landscape on the old Utah Desert Mainline.

A panoramic shot from the Henry Mountains to the left across Interstate 70 to the Zephyr, available here in larger resolution for details (set browser to 100%):

Amtrak GE Genesis P42DC 195 and 120 hauled the train that day.

Crescent Junction. To the left the uranium mill tailings deposit, to the right the UP train transporting them, below it Potash Branch.

The Zephyr passed Papa Joe's Stop & Go and continued along the old highway towards Thompson in the background. Next scheduled stop is Grand Junction, Colorado, about two hours away.

Pretty ridiculous sign - at least I caught a fast flying bird on a mobile phone picture. Interesting were the separations between urinals here in Utah.

We waited at the Potash Branch grade crossing until after noon and we were relatively certain nothing would run that day. Also, travel plans had to be changed as a blizzard was on the forecast the following day. The UP train was standing there the whole time.

Junction of the Potash Branch.

I walked up a small hill, you could not get closer according to signs. At least I captured decent landscape shots of the train.

Afterwards I just had to clean my shoes from a very sticky - hopefully not radioactive - mud.

We still had a distance to cover, behind Green River we turned north on the 6/191 following the railroad line.

Carbon County was reached - not only known for coal as the name implies, but also the second largest natural gas producer in the USA.

Past the main city, Price, we reached the historic railroad town of Helper, to the left you can spot some UP helper engines waiting. We took a short break at a café where some teens were playing chess.

Of course I kept looking out for signs of a moving train, but it was relatively unlikely on a Sunday.

The start of Price Canyon.

Castle Gate.

Nolan Tunnels.

On Soldier Summit we crossed the Wasatch Mountains at 7,477 ft. Originally, I had planned to stay here until Monday, but with the predicted snow it was better to get over the mountains.

A fox did not seem to be bothered by it.

After passing fittingly constructed houses, the steep downhill descent began.

We negotiated the curves towards more populated areas... is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.