Here today, gone tomorrow 

Actually, that should read: here today, gone today.

On a recent Wednesday we drove to Monticello and back, going past La Sal Junction.

Both ways things looked quite normal. There is always some kind of activity happening there.

That day there was a big crane on site, but we didn’t think too much of it. Later that afternoon we ran into Wade B. who commutes to Moab every day for work.

“It’s all gone,” he told us. “All the buildings at The Junction are gone.”

What! Yep, in just a few hours the buildings on the northerly side of the highway had been removed. A perusal of Kristl Johnson’s Facebook page included a photo of the dismantling in action.

When we first came to La Sal in the Fall of 1972, there was a lot of activity at that location. Many of us bought gas there at the service station.

At that time, the price of regular was hovering around 50 cents per gallon. If you recall that time period, gas prices kept creeping upward. “Wow,” I thought, “it could get up to as much as a dollar a gallon if things don’t slow.” If only! 

Beside the service station portion of the main building there was a mechanic shop where you could have basic service and repair done on your vehicle.

In a separate building to the east was a full-service restaurant. It served truck stop type fare and was not a bad place to dine. You could get a good burger and fries, full breakfast all day long, or just linger with friends over a cup of coffee and a piece of homemade pie.  

After a few years, everything on that side of The Junction closed. It has remained closed ever since.

This was the time when the cold war uranium boom was winding down and folks in the area were moving on to find employment elsewhere. 

Over the years there has been all kinds of activity at The Junction, even though the buildings have remained abandoned for over 45 years.

The U.S. Postal Service has a drop box. Mail coming from the north is deposited in the morning and picked up by the La Sal Postmaster who drops outgoing mail there in the afternoon.

The Associated Food Truck stores one of its semi-trailers before making its rounds into Colorado and then picks it up to continue deliveries in Utah.

UDOT stockpiles materials for use on road work or winter maintenance.

Commuters from La Sal who work in town meet coworkers to carpool. High School students meet activity buses headed north so they don’t have to add a couple of extra hours to their trip by getting on the bus in Monticello.

I can tell you that in another life when I drove some of those buses, the longest part of the trip was from La Sal Junction to Monticello and back to La Sal. 

Of course, in cases like this, rumors abound. It is always interesting to hear what they are.

Several years ago we heard a motion picture company was going to blow up the buildings as part of a movie scene. Sounded like an exciting way to dispose of the buildings, but it never happened.

They did do one day of filming a few years ago for the last Transformers movie, but that was on the other side of the road.

I’ve not seen the movie – it’s not my type – but it would have been worth seeing or witnessing the filming just to see Mark Wahlberg’s gorgeous body. He should be every female’s type. 

Other speculations include the establishment of a big RV park to catch the overflow from Moab.

Some folks in Spanish Valley think it’s an ideal location for the new Love’s proposed truck stop. That’s the folks opposed to the current location. But, I hear that Love’s is sticking to there originally proposed location. 

Housing developments, condos – all are being voiced around. It would be a good location for a bedroom community for the overpriced Moab residences.

But, as I heard one person say the other day, the owners are probably just cleaning up the location to make it more appealing to buyers. The “For Sale” sign was still on-site last time I looked.

Stay tuned – we’ll see what the next round of rumors puts forth.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday