As we were driving to Helper, we know why the park is named Castle Gate. We drove through some beautiful mountain ridges that look just like castles. There is also a balancing rock sitting on end of one mountain ridge. We can see it from our RV. We are in site #195, a back-in that backs up to the Price River. This park is brand new, it opened on April 19th. There are tent sites and several cabins. There is a playground, splash pad (water park), great laundry, very nice bathroom/showers, a camp store and they sell propane. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. This is a lovely park! Just across the street from the park is a train track where the California Zephyr (Amtrak) passes. The train stops here in Helper. In fact we were going to take the train west into Colorado and catch the return train back for a great day of train riding. Unfortunately the train is rarely on schedule (off by sometimes hours) so we were afraid we would miss our return train. Maybe we can catch a ride somewhere else along our travels.
Helper is a historic coal mining town. In front of the library is a statue of Big John, the largest coal miner in Utah! It is the location of the Western Mining and Railroad Museum. This is a great museum that gives the history of the area and contains household and commercial artifacts illustrating late 19th and early 20th-century living conditions.
On Friday we took a drive out into the hills. We drove through an area that was once part of a going coal mining venture. Most of the buildings are now falling down and the property is privately owned, but there are many reminders of an earlier time. Friday evening there was a classic car cruise through town and a poker run/walk. A poker run: there were 7 participating businesses that would hand out a playing card to each participant. At the end of the car cruise the person with the best poker hand won a prize. I had a great hand, a straight, but was beat out by at least 4 of a kind! Oh well, it was time to move on and have dinner. There is a great little place called Balancing Rock Eatery downtown. We ate there twice. The food is great and plentiful!!
On Saturday we drove over to Price. While there we visited the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum. That was quite interesting as this area of the country has lots of dinosaur history. After that we got some chicken and found a city park to have a picnic.
Happy Father's Day on Sunday! Tim decided he wanted to stay home and watch golf. That was fine, we had a quiet day. In the afternoon we had a torrential thunderstorm, so it was a good thing we weren't out riding a back road somewhere.
Monday we took a ride to Nine Mile Canyon. It is a beautiful canyon ride with many petroglyphs. The brochure gives mile markers to find them. As we were heading to the first stop we came around a curve and there were boulders from a landslide in the road leaving just enough room to drive around them. The funny thing is that we had just been talking about how often the rocks fall. When we got to the first stop, there was another couple looking at the petroglyphs. Tim asked if they had seen the rocks in the road. They had and had talked to another fellow who said they fell within a 3-hour window because he had been through before and after. It was quite interesting. While at the first stop I was trying to get a picture of the petroglyphs on the back wall behind another boulder. I stepped to get closer and found that the boulder I was standing on was rather slick and I slipped and skidded right down to the ground, about 10-12'. I wasn't hurt except for a road rash on my elbow. Tim was quite amused and sorry he didn't get it on video!! Glad I could be so entertaining!!
We drove on to find several other sites with great petroglyphs. It was great fun. On the way home we took another road, Argyle Canyon Road, a dirt road. It was equally beautiful. On that road we continued up into the hills to about 9,100'. This gave us different landscapes along the way. In the distance there was a thunderstorm looming. We hoped to get back on to the paved road before the storm got us, but the last 6 miles were a bit slippery. No harm, we made it back and had a wonderful trip. This is a great place to visit.