In those pre-Amtrak days, I found train travel a most commendable way of spending three days to cross this magnificent country we live in. It was like a back yard view of America from the dome lounge car or from the dining car window over a second pot of coffee and an after meal cigarette or three.
Before Amtrak changed the routes west of Chicago, The City of San Francisco used to pass through Rock Springs and Green River, Wyoming. Those cities had a lot of railroad activity with Green River being a major freight yard, engine facility and division point. So, in 1975, when I intended to relocate to California I chose to drive Interstate 80 to see those cities from a less hurried platform.
I got to Rock Springs well after sunset and had not yet found a place to spend the overnight so decided to find a saloon where there might be people to recommend a decent motel nearby. The streets were deserted and reminiscent of many western movies I had seen. An insistent breeze swept the dust from the street and pushed it in my direction. It was a bit chilling. Not at all scary but chilling and memorable.
I eventually wound up in front of a motel with an unattended front office so I chose to sleep in the car. This was in the late Fall and overnight a cold front swept through and dropped the temperature below freezing. No alarm clock needed. That cold woke me and sent me in search of coffee and breakfast. With the sudden arrival of Winter, moving on was more important than any lingering exploration -- I wanted to get west of the Rockies before any snow storms. The Donner party was not as fortunate when they passed this way.
Relocation to San Francisco — the most beautiful city I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit — was a total failure. For every job opening, there were 30 qualified applicants and the prospective employee was expected to provide local references. I never made it to square one! After 6 months, my funds were exhausted so coming home and going back to the drawing board was my only option.
Before my most recent Amtrak trip I enjoyed the ease of finding information easily with a few mouse clicks and I researched the Rock Springs and Green River area for my planned side trip via Helper, Utah. Helper was so named because trains traveling the steep grades needed ‘help’ from additional engines and those engines were stationed there and that is as close as Amtrak gets to southwest Wyoming.
While doing a Google map search I discovered an item on the map identified as “The Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport”. What? Really? Amazing! A further search with Google led to a Wikipedia article which explained it:
Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport covers an area of 400 acres (160 ha) at an elevation of 7,182 feet (2,189 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 04/22 with a dirt/gravel surface measuring 5,800 by 130 feet (1,768 x 40 m) with deep ruts due to vehicular traffic. The runway is unattended, with no buildings or facilities, except a windsock. The runway does not have a clear line of sight from the runway ends. Communications are through CTAF and most of the services are from nearby Rock Springs - Sweetwater County Airport.
For the 12-month period ending July 31, 2007, the airport had 34 aircraft operations, an average of less than 1 per week: 100% general aviation. At that time, there were no aircraft based at this airport.
On July 5, 1994, Resolution R94-23 of the Green River city council designated this landing field as the "Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport", for inhabitants of Jupiter who might wish to take sanctuary in Green River in the event their planet is threatened by collisions from comets or meteors. Thus far, no spacecraft of any kind have actually used the spaceport, and actual use has been limited to terrestrial aircraft.
In Dina Mishev's book,
Wyoming Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff she speaks about the proceedings to establish this refuge for Jovians fleeing any natural disaster on Jupiter
The Old Dinosaur said in a reply to a comment about Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport by Airport Junkie, on ERIC’s blogspot blog,The Dynamic Earth:
"I'm so glad to hear everything's underground. Went there July 2010 for a burger and a beer and nothing was open. I mean NOTHING was there. I saw the spaceport on the map so I decided I must have been suffering altitude sickness. I live at 500 feet above sea level in Pennsylvania. Green River is more than 6,000 feet above sea level. Went back down town and found the burger and beer I was looking for. At least I didn't have to fight off any Denebian slime devils. (Just a couple mountain type bar flies.)" January 13, 2012 2:27 PM
The first two photos are from a defunct gas station -- Sinclair, I think -- along Wyoming 374 which used to be the Lincoln Highway, US 30. It's near Green River's western suburb of Jamestown between Chuck Wagon Drive and Ox Bow Drive, North.
The third photo is of an FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) inspection car which just happened to be working in the Green River area. I spotted it while heading to the Peru Cutoff Road, a back way to the Spaceport. (I didn't want to arouse any Klingon security forces.)
The next photo is about a mile from the Spaceport and captured an
Shots five and six are of the landing strip on a slow day at the spaceport.
The next to last shot is from the runway looking north where a space ship would receive take-off instructions from Starfleet Command.
The final picture is from Flaming Gorge Way named for Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, (operated by Ashley National Forest) after a safe return to Green River.
Definitely on my Want To Do Again list!