Our blog is to keep family and friends informed of our motorhome journeys.
We have dreamed of this for many years and finally our dream has come true.
We are looking forward to many happy miles ahead.
One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fort Deseret and Topaz Japanese Internment Camp

20 October 2018

Our intent today was to drive up to remains of Fort Deseret 115 miles up Hwys 130 to 21 to 257 near the town of Delta,UT.A long,desolate drive through the high desert with mountain views to the west and east.

Fort Deseret a Mormon settler fort built during the Ute Black Hawk War in 1866 and abandoned shortly thereafter. It was an adobe 10ft high walled fort with bastions on the NE and SE corners.

Since we did not want to return to Cedar City on the same drive, we opted to take the route through Delta on Hwy 50 to IH 15. This was a good decision since as we were driving through Delta, discovered a plaque about the Topaz Japanese Internment Camp(Relocation Center) located several miles NW of town as well as the Topaz Museum in town. We have visited several sites in the USA and German Camps in  Canada over the years, so this peaked our interest.

The Topaz museum opened in 2015 with the Museum Board established in 1997. Their mission was to preserve the history of the Camp. They have purchased 633 acres of the original site and restored part of an original camp building. In 2007 the site was designated NHL by the National Park Service. The Museum owns all the camp except for Block 42 which they are trying to buy and clean up. Many of the original buildings were relocated to town and now are in privale ownership. You can obtain a map at the Museum and do the 4 mille driving tour around town. As it was getting late, we opted to pass.

The Museum relates the history with exhibits and two video presentations which should be viewed before touring the Museum.In the viewing room are two walls filled with handmade jewelry that was made during the internment with shell items found in the ground. This area was once covered by Lake Bonneville. The Museum also features artwork.

Museum Display
Handmade Shell Jewelry

Remembering your history on 19 February 1942, the Japanese Community on the West Coast was doomed to a force evacuation as a result of Pearl Harbor attack. 110,000 people of Japanese Ancestry without trial or hearings were sent to 10 inland detention camps until the end of WWII in 1945. Twp Thirds of these were citizens. Not a single Japanese was ever prosecuted or convicted of espionage. Young Japanese Americans not interned joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe and those fluent in Japanese made up part of the Military Intelligence in the Pacific. Gold Star Mothers whose sons were fighting for American, received the news while at the Camp.

Topaz was constructed on a barren wasteland 16 miles north of Delta,UT named after a nearby mountain. The camp opened on 11 September 1942 with 11,000 processed through the barbed wire perimeter. This became Utah's 5th most populous city. Below are markers at the site.

The camp consisted of 19,000 acres on which 640 acres consisted of the camp town area. There were 42 blocks with each housing 250. Each block had 12 barracks, mess hall,latrine, laundry,recreation hall and manager's office. The barracks were not insulated with the outside covered with tar paper and pine boards. A pot-bellied stove and cots. No running water and any needed furniture was made from scraps of lumber. The camp also had a hospital, ball field,schools,library,Buddhist Churches.

The winters were brutal and the dust storms blinding. Snakes, lizards and scorpions were common. All that remains today are concrete slabs and some metal objects. You can do a driving tour around the town site of the camp.At the end of the road are several markers.

The people interned made Topaz a community teaching in the schools,staffing a hospital, farmed, published a newspaper,established sports leagues and began an art school. If detainees found jobs in the eastern USA or were accepted to a college, they could leave. Topaz closed 31 October 1945 and those remaining left with dignity and confidence in America and began rebuilding their lives.

As horrible as life interrupted and the internment, I wondered how many lives would have been lost otherwise by violence ,anger and hatred against the Japanese Americans living here.

If in the area urge you to visit.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs and Other Stops

19 October 2018

A visit today to Parowan Gap and Petroglyphs a place of beauty and the historic writings of past generation Native Americans telling their history and culture. Also in the area are dinosaur tracks. It is one of the most concentrated area of Petroglyphs in the West with a collection of over 90 panels and some 1500 figures dating back 5,000 years. It is believed that most of the figures were created by the Fremont who are closely related to the Hopi and other southwestern tribes. Today the Paiute remain in the area.

There are many perspectives on the Petroglyph meanings and still remains a mystery. Many were lost to vandalism, roadwork and erosion.As so often happens, theft and graffi have marred the Gap.

Parowan Gap

The Zipper Glyph some believe was created as a solar calendar. The outline conforms to the contours of the Gap and during the winter and summer solstice the rising and setting of the sun goes through the middle of the Gap. the dangling lines at the bottom are two rock cairns where one can watch the Summer Solstice.

Zpper Glyph

After a brief stop down the road  at the Dinosaur Tracks and a picnic lunch, we drove into the town of Parowan so John could get a picture of a fort marker. We stopped in the Visitor Center on Main Street and inquired about the famous cinnamon rolls. We were directed across the street to the Cafe. Most of the local cafes serve them. Must say they are better than cinnabon.Parowan is a quiet town and they were all decked out for Halloween with different displays on Main Street. The town is is Southern Utah's first settlement.

Dianosaur Track Site

Unusual Formation

Notice Track on Rock

Jesse Smith Adobe Home

One of Many Halloween Displays

Pioneer Rock Church Plaque

Pioneer Rock Church

We then drove to Panguitch for another fort marker and then over to Cedar Breaks again and Brian Head.

Some of the Condos

One of the 8 Ski Lifts

Brian's Peak

Brian Head is Utah's highest Resort Town at 9800 ft with pleasant summers and snowy winters getting 400 inches. The resort is over 650 acres, with 8 chairlifts and 71 runs. Brian Head Peak is 11,000 and on a clear day you can see into Arizona and Nevada.

It was a beautiul day with blue sky and temps in the 60's.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Cedar Breaks National Monument

18 October 2018

A short drive from the town of Cedar City is the Cedar Breaks National Monument at an altitude of 10,000 ft. on Hwy 14 to Hwy 148.

 Once you reach the park, the scenic drive is 7.5 miles affording 4 Overlooks..Point Supreme,Sunset View,Chessman and North View. From these viewpoints you can view the massive rocky amphitheater from different perspectives.

The road was clear with snow covered meadows. In Spring the meadows will be filled with colorful wild flowers.

The Southern Paiute called the area u-map-wich meaning the place where the rocks are sliding. Later settlers mistook the juniper trees for cedars describing the steep and eroded terrain as breaks...thus the name Cedar Breaks. In 1933 President Roosevelt established this a National Monument. There are red, yellow and purple colorations due to oxidizing iron and manganese.

The park features camping,hiking trails and winter activities for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling on marked trails.

On the way to the park near the entrance we drove up a side road to view the Cedar City Radar site. Should not have had the car washed as the snow and red mud dirtied it. When we got back had it washed again.

Drive back afforded some more views on Hwy 14

For dinner we went to Centro Woodfired Pizza on Center ST. Get there early or you may have an hour wait. I definitely recommend this place if you like pizza, salads and the desserts looked yummy. We shared a 12" Calabrese & Sausage  and Almond Creme Cake. It was delicious. Perfect ending for a awesome day.