Saturday, May 17, 2014

Price and Helper, Utah

May 12 - 13, 2014:

We left Capital Reef National Park around 10 AM with sunny skies to much relief.  Sunday's storm had coated the distant mountains with snow, it was beautiful, but the roads were all thankfully clear. We travelled route 24 west to route 72 north which took us mainly through farm country, several small poor looking towns, a few large sheep ranches, a bison ranch and then into a snowy mountainous area up to almost 9,000 feet elevation.  It was sort of weird as the road was deserted, I could count the cars and truck on my hands over a 50 mile stretch.  It was then onto route 100 north which was more of a highway with endless streams of huge double trailer trucks that I believe were carrying coal.  We made it to Price in early afternoon and had our pick of campsites, it was fine, everything worked, even the WiFi and that is unusual !  Also it's nice to have a phone signal again.  It is not much for scenery, we are across from a car wash, a KFC, Burger King and assorted other stores in a strip mall.  We've been out in the boonies for quite a while and I must admit, it feels good to be plugged in again.  Twinkles immediately made a trip to Walmart while I visited Burger King.

At the summit

It was a great view !

It's time for a round of urban exploration on Tuesday with a visit to the Prehistoric Museum in Price, Utah and then the Western Mining and Railroad Museum in Helper, Utah.  The Prehistoric Museum is part of the Utah University Eastern and had lots of dinosaur and Fremont Indian exhibits.  Utah is a top site for dinosaur hunting and the museum had a lot from a the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur quarry south of Price.  Also there were lots of indian relics from the 9 mile Canyon area in Utah east of Price.  Price is primarily a mining town, Coal is king there, with a decent downtown and couple of great old theaters that need some help.  Actually there is nothing very prosperous looking there, everything could use some help.

Old Bull Durham sign in Price

Old 1920's theater in Price

Close up of Theater detail

Dinosaur exhibit under construction

Dinosaur display in museum

Chief Washakie's had a vision of the future that was very accurate
which was transferred onto this Elk hide by a son

Indian's drove rabbits into nets for food and to make clothing

Fremont Indian culture made these figurines

The Crown theater in Price very down down looking

We then drove about 5 miles to the town of Helper, Utah. Helper has many old buildings in close to original condition that are great and is very scenic and interesting.  We stopped for lunch at the Balance Rock Eatery and Pub that was really cool inside and the food was also great.  We then toured Main Street with so many interesting old buildings, Hotels and bars, (even bordellos) it was certainly a wild town for Utah !  It was a railroad and mining town which sort of explains the wildness.  Helper gets it's name from the railroad which used a "Helper Engines" to get trains over the nearby Mountains, hence the name of the town.  Much of the buildings and stores are now closed though and much is looking distressed, but with an artistic bent.  We then visited the Western Mining and Railroad Museum that was housed in an old Hotel.  It had a huge amount of stuff filling three floors of the Hotel, another great small town museum ! 

Strand Theater in Helper

WPA Mural at Helper Post Office

Old Hillcrest Hotel sign

Classic old movie poster

The Helper Club could use a little help ?

Old Hotel Newhouse

The Carbon Hotel, now is a meeting hall
for the E Clampus Vitus organization

Miner's memorial in Helper

LaSalle Fine Foods, now closed

Visit the Carbon Hotel for a gay evening

Old Steam Loco painting in museum

Helper is still a vibrant freight  rail yard, Amtrak stops there also

Famous Big John statue in Helper

Twinkles has now caught up with the laundry, the Jeep was given a quick wash, I changed the air filter, we have caught up on some internet action and we even have a plan for the next week.  Wednesday, we are off to Salt Lake City where we will stay for a full week. 

Big City next,
Twinkles and Slick

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