Bonneville Salt Flats Marina!
What you’re looking at in the photo above is the famed Bonneville Salt Flats under several inches of water! It seems that several heavy rainstorms hit last week, wiping out the fabled Bonneville Speed Week that I was lamenting that I couldn’t get to in time. Next up: the Top Speed Shootout, which is a separate club event, by invitation only, for the heavy hitters that go for international records. These are the guys that get the press coverage when a land speed record is broken.
Considering that rain was possible late today, I decided to combine drive times for the last two legs (5 hours total) and get to the salt flats a day early to set up camp before it could hit. There are acres and acres of dirt that turn to mud, some of it state-owned and some BLM, and I wanted to scout the location to see if there was a legal camping location that had a chance of drainage on a relatively firm surface. I arrived at the final speedway entry point, some 5 miles from I-80, with some dismay. Nothing but water as far as the eye could see! It was a lake!
There was one canopy and a few campers at the salt surface entry, and it turned out to be a few of the organizers. They were basically unperturbed by the water, saying that with no further rain, it would recede in a few days. They had an old tire out at the far end of the waterline, and were monitoring how the evaporation was proceeding. The Thursday start day had been postponed to Saturday, and they would simply run the four days or so into next week as needed. Voila. That’s no problem for me at all – the freshwater tanks are both full and the waste tanks are empty, thanks to a dump station at the entrance to Bear River State Park back in Wyoming. It was free, but my conscience made me cough up $5 for the convenience and perfect timing. Set up as I am now, I can easily stay until these guys give up and go home.
That’s no small thing, as there’s a chance of thunderstorms Thursday and Saturday, with good weather after that. We’ll see. I the meantime, I found a nice location beside a road looping around the mountains you see in my campsite photo. It’s flat and level pea gravel on a pull-off area, and should drain fairly well. There are just two other campers here, both club members. I immediately set out the solar panels to get a head start on aiding the beleaguered office pack (I’ve been using the office, not the iPad, to post all these travel entries) so once I unhitch the connection to the truck, I’m officially camped. Incredibly, I’m waiting to do that because the houseflies around here are so numerous you couldn’t believe it. Probably a dozen made in inside the camper while I carried out the solar panels, and it’s taken me an hour and a half to find and kill ’em all with my patented clapping technique. Tonight, I’ll unhitch to make the trailer perfectly level, then head into town tomorrow to find some flypaper to hang from the ceiling, and maybe some fresh fruit. Wendover is very close, and drapes over the border into Nevada as well.
At any rate, time will tell. In the meantime, I got me one hell of a 4G cellular data signal, enough electrical power to do okay even in overcast, and time to plan just how I’ll survive the salt flats in the event that they actually get to do some runs. One can allegedly get a sunburn under ones’s nose and chin because of the salt’s reflectivity! Time to charge up the camcorder batteries and figure out whether I’ll use the truck or the bike to trek the 3-1/2 miles to the entry point each day!