Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday from the Road: West Gate Windmill

It's been a few weeks since I left you on the road, arriving at West Gate, that notch in the mountains just a little bit west of Middlegate Station, so I thought I'd better get back to you, so you won't feel stranded.
part The main thing about West Gate, besides the notch cut conveniently through the Clan Alpine Mountains so Highway 50 could pass through, is the windmill.
all A full view of the windmill, as seen from behind a fence and gate, looking northwest.
top The top of the windmill, the part that spins round and round whenever the wind blows - which it does quite often.
pump The bottom part of the windmill: the center rod moves up and down, pumping water out of the ground.
ice A little water leaks around the bottom, freezing into ice in winter.
gate The water goes by metal pipe along the ground and then upward into this water tank built of rocks and concrete. The pipe can barely be seen behind the large fence post, near the top of the squarish water tank.
climb Now, being the good investigative sorts that we are, we'll climb the rock wall and peer into the tank.
water Water! In the desert! This windmill used to run most of the time, but it seems to have been off for a while in some recent years. In summer, a nice water tank full of water can be a great thing to find out in the middle of nowhere - especially after a hot day of field work - although I'd hesitate climbing in this one because it's right along the highway.

I crudely calculated that I've passed through West Gate at least 200 times during the past 3 decades. I'm wondering if it's more than that - the number seems low to me, but maybe not! There was some hope of me keeping track of the actual number had I tried counting sometime in the 1980's, but it's too late now for more than just a crude estimate.

And right about when this posts, I'll be passing through again, on the first leg of another journey to Alaska. We'll be at the Iditarod when it starts up (did I mention that yet?) - see countdown widget on the sidebar, right above an Anchorage temperature indicator. Posting may be light to non-existent, although I have some pre-posts ready to go.


Harold Asmis said...

Holy Cow, is the Iditarod a spectator sport? Must be a nice start.

Silver Fox said...

There is the ceremonial start in Anchorage, then the official re-start (it's called the re-start) in Wasilla or somewhere near there. And then if you are a die-hard, you can fly to many places along the race and stand there waiting. And freezing. Or fly to Nome and watch the end.

Silver Fox said...

We'll just watch the ceremonial thing in Anchorage.