Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bonneville Salt Flats

We started the Saturday afternoon of October 16, 2004 at the Wendover Nugget Casino and finally got our fill of casinos for a while. Translated, that means we need to accumulate more casino fun money before returning to another casino. We left midafternoon for lunch of leftover spaghetti in the RV. Leftover spaghetti is always good. Have I mentioned that Kathi is a good cook? Well, she is.

We talked to both boys on the phone in the evening. Christopher had just finished Humvee training. He did not like to drive when he was a teen ager and he had no interest in driving a Humvee after training. AJ was enjoying the coolness of San Francisco.

Sunday morning we decided to take a drive out to see the Bonneville Salt Flats. I had heard of people setting land speed records at Bonneville since I was in high school in Galena Park, Texas. There were no races going on, so we could drive and look. The racing area is a salt pan in Tooele County, Utah and is the remnant of the Pleistocene Lake Bonneville. The area is about 80 miles south and west of the Great Salt Lake, just north of I-80. The property is serviced by the Bureau of Land Management and is open to the public. You can drive on the salt flat for free when no racing events are scheduled. The salt pan is solid when it is dry, but you do need to pay attention to moisture. If you drive into wet salt, you get stuck and it is difficult to get unstuck.

There are many car and motorcycle clubs that schedule events at Bonneville. Everything was open and there were no fences, so we could not figure out how they collected entry fees. We drove on the flats for about 20 miles and everything looked the same, so we saw no purpose to go further.

A few years later we returned to Bonneville when a racing event was scheduled. We drove over just to see how they collected entrance fees – neither of us had any interest in seeing cars racing in the desert. They had set up temporary fencing and used 18 wheel trailers to keep patrons on a temporary road to the ticket seller who was working out of the back of a pickup truck. Simple and effective.

The next day we continued our drive east with intent on getting to Dickinson, Texas and our family before Thanksgiving. Of course our boys were in California and would not be with us for the holidays. Holiday seasons are nostalgic periods and the holidays I remember most were when our boys were home and each day started with just the four of us. I think those will forever be my favorite holiday memories.

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