Tag Archives: driving

Aragonite, Utah

Places that you may never have heard of

Due to my love of traveling I’ve made countless cross country trips by car.

Our interstate highway system gives us easy access to most of the USA. On the road, I’ll sometimes see an exit with a name that I don’t recognize. Places with colorful names stick in my mind. I’d jot down the name and when I get home search to find out about the place I passed. earlier.

Aragonite in the high desert of north central Utah is one such place. Now a ghost town, it was originally set up in the early 1900s to mine the crystalline mineral of the same name. Buildings were erected there to house and supply the miners. These mining operations lasted only a short time but later reopened to quarry mine for limestone. One report says that this mining included construction of shafts and deep holes so if you visit the area, watch your step. There is no longer is any mining in here.

A Desert Remote Locality

You can also tell that Aragonite is remote by the surrounding localities. To the west is the Utah Test and Training Range. This is a military base where supersonic flights are routinely conducted. To the southwest is the Dugway Proving Grounds an Army facility where chemical and biological weapons testing are performed.

Not far from the townsite is the Aptus Incinerator. It is used mainly for hazardous waste disposal including PCBs. The operating company is Clean Harbors which claims “ample on-site storage capacity allows for acceptance of large volumes of material before treatment. The site can also be easily accessed by rail or truck, which keeps transport costs down. And, an on-site lab assures timely approval and efficient processing of shipments.” Clean Harbors has been cited multiple times for violating EPA regulations.

Sometimes places are deliberately remote to keep people away from them.

I found that aside from its interesting name Aragonite’s history and surroundings are a worthwhile stop the next time I’m in Utah.

Still Interested

More of my places that you may never have heard of are in

Wamsutter, Wyoming
Aragonite, Utah
Dunphy, Nevada

Wamsutter, WY

Places that you may never have heard of

Due to my love of traveling I’ve make countless cross country trips by car.

Our amazing Interstate Highway system takes us to so many destinations. But along the way I might see a sign with a name that I don’t recognize. These places with unfamiliar names get my attention and when I return home I may take the time to find out more about this locality.

Towards the middle of Wyoming there’s a small town called Wamsutter. I learned that Wamsutter is located in a geologic area known as the Great Divide Basin. This is an area in which rain does not drain into any of the oceans. Instead to the north and east the North Platte watershed flows to the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico while to the south and west, the Green River watershed drains to the Pacific or Gulf of California.

Interstate 80, exit 173
Historically this area has been home to the Shoshone and Ute native American tribes. During the 1860’s other settlers moved to the area to help build and manage the transcontinental railroad. While its population is small, sheep and horse ranching has been an important activity for many years.

an industrial building on east side of town
Today the area is noted as a natural resource community with a small industry based on oil and natural gas extraction. The BP Corporation has been operating there since about 2000.

parking area with loads of semis

If you’re ever in the area – stop in Wamsutter to look around and to refuel your car.

Still Interested

More of my places that you may never have heard of are in

Argenta, Nevada
Aragonite, Utah
Dunphy, Nevada

Same Place, Different Face

For almost twenty years I’ve been flying to the Phoenix area in April or May to drive Mom’s car back to Michigan while she takes the quick way home by plane. I like driving and this is convenient way to retrieve her car and to spend few days sightseeing.

My wife Kris and I have quite a few grandkids. We thought it would be a treat for one of them to ride along and visit some of the “wonders of the West” on a road trip back to Michigan. This was also a great opportunity for Grandpa (me) to spend a few days together one-on-one. One of the grandkids and I would fly to Phoenix for a day or two to visit and then we’d be ready to hop in Mom’s car for the return trip.

For six different years you can see that I stopped to show them one of the most scenic places in America. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is part of the Navajo Nation in the northeast corner of Arizona near the town of Kayenta. In the valley is a 17-mile drive along which you’ll gaze at dozens of jaw dropping sandstone cliffs and buttes. I tried to stop in the same general area to record each grandkid with Merrick Butte or West Mitten in the background.

Ezra 2011

Eden 2014

Ezra and Eden 2014

Logan 2015

Ezra 2015

Lyon 2018

Izora 2019

Adeline 2022

I treasure these pictures so that I have made 20″ x 30″ poster size enlargements of each of them.

They represent great memories for me and hopefully for each of these grandkids as well.