Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Rockets & Rails

Today, around 30 members of SpikeCon/NASFiC 2019/Westercon 72 carpooled out about an hour north of Layton to tour in the ATK Rocket Garden (formerly Morton Thiokol) and get a talk about rockets at this location, after which we drove up to the Golden Spike National Historic Site, where we got to both see and participate in the reenactment of the driving of the last spike of the Transcontinental Railroad. I eagerly volunteered to be part of that.

Driving the Golden Spike

I got to be "Governor Leland Stanford" of the Central Pacific Railroad. In this photo taken after the little play, "General Thomas Durant" and I pose holding the ceremonial silver spike used to drive the ceremonial golden spike into pre-drilled holes in a special laurelwood tie.

Scott Sanford shot this video of the entire event. The poor sound is not his fault. Most of the people participating were poor readers and had poor voices. When it came time for me (as Governor Stanford) to address the crowd (at about 9:30), I decided to both try to cover the crowd without a microphone while also using the microphone, and of course to overplay the part for all it was worth. This worked. I thought I did it pretty well for being an on-book performance. (I did stumble over one line, reading "three" as "there" and then back-tracking.) Then, as scripted, I took a shot at driving an actual spike (not the ceremonial one -- they're all reproductions, of course) and deliberately missed for comic effect. This was great fun.

The best compliment of my performance was from Bandit, who told me, "You do pompous well."

Rocket Garden

Earlier, we stopped at the ATK Rocket Garden. The largest rocket, at right, is one of the Space Shuttle's solid rocket boosters.


Kuma Bear took a ride on a rocket more his size.

While there, we heard a presentation from an ATK employee who had been with the company and its predecessors for more than thirty years.

Bear River

After the tour, we drove back to Brigham City, where Kuma Bear was appreciative that it is on the Bear River. Our group had a nice lunch at the Idle Isle Cafe. I had the salmon.

Box Elder County Courthouse

The Box Elder County Courthouse is quite splendid.

After lunch, Scott Sanford, in whose car we traveled due to the Astro being hors de combat in Elko drove us to SLC Airport, delivering Linda D., who also traveled in Scott's car in good time for her flight home to Seattle this evening. Linda dozed off on the drive to SLC, and I came pretty close myself. Scott then brought us back to the hotel, where he and Lisa socialized while I got the video off of Scott's tablet computer and uploaded it thanks to the great upload speeds here compared to my home connection.

Little Taste of Britain

It turned out that there was a pretty good fish & chips place closer to our hotel (the Home2 Suites) than the Davis Convention Center, albeit the opposite direction and out of sight. Shows us what we get for not looking more closely at all of the convention material! We took Scott out to dinner in thanks for him driving us around today.

We're here in Layton tonight (along with a small number of other hold-over guests), leaving for Elko tomorrow. I checked with the mechanic's shop, and we're still good to retrieve the minivan first thing Wednesday morning. I'm glad that we split the trip into two halves, even if it didn't turn into a requirement due to the minivan meltdown. I'm extremely tried.

Our big thanks to SpikeCon/NASFiC/Westercon for arranging for this fan expedition to see Rockets and Rails today, and I'm very happy that I could stay over an extra night here to make it possible. Lisa and I might just decide to make another trip out to these parts on our own to check out the various tourism opportunities without the pressure of a convention around us. But maybe not until after the 2021 Westercon.
Tags: golden spike, rockets, trains, utah

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