Another hot sunny day across the salt plains as we set off in search of the speedway at Bonneville Flats, home of past land speed records. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t quite what was there. For much of the journey from the city, salt was definitely the constant visual; sometimes in vast piles, sometimes in mini pyramids and sometimes like snow or permafrost on either side of the road. But as we turned off the main highway and neared the site, the road petered out into a vast and sparkling white wilderness. The glare was immense and suddenly we were on the actual racetrack going more slowly than at any point on this trip. Carolyn resisted all urges to do a donut spin or a hand break turn, probably because of the uncertainty of the surface. It was certainly like no other. The sense of times past was immense and enthusiasts were plentiful, clearly set on enjoying the moment and the ability to say, “We were there”.
From there, we were off to Twin Falls. Interestingly, Nevada was having its final say just before the State Line, when up went the billboards advertising Casinos (Rainbow Casino no less), escort services, and some of less salubrious offerings of a casino based town. Over into Idaho we went and gained back the hour we lost earlier in the trip. Once again we were in wilderness country, so guess who needed a bathroom stop? I had relaxed over the frequent service offerings on this part of the i80 but going north was different. The sat nav told me we were still 50 miles from a gas station but some 20 miles on we found a hillside rest stop. I only recount this rather tawdry tale because I was about to experience a loo like no other! A shack which contained a very large pipe rising from the ground with a toilet seat perched on top, below which was a very long drop to the ground below. No plumbing, perfectly clean and no smell either. The things I find!j
Eventually we found Shoshone Lake and Falls, billed as ‘the Niagara of the West’. Unfortunately, someone had turned off the tap (it is seriously dry here) and the erstwhile mighty Falls were a mere trickle. The lake was beautiful, people swam and a pair of turkey vultures chased a flock of birds. It was still a beautiful spot and well worth the couple of miles detour from our hotel.
It’s a huge day tomorrow and over 500 miles to complete. Early start we think!
Carolyn’s Curios & Curiosities
Another day, another few hundred miles!
However, as usual, it was punctuated with incredible sights and an awareness of how vast this country is.
We travelled from Utah, through Nevada and we’re now in Idaho with Oregon beckoning tomorrow.
So what of today. I posted on Facebook that my ‘choices’ were:
1. Attempt Land Speed Record at Bonneville Salt Flats
2. Attempt to do the ‘jump’ which Evil Knievel attempted (and failed!) over Snake Canyon near the Shoshone Falls
3. Enjoy the views!
Needless to say, the later won. Triumph of experience over imagination!
On the way, we came across the most eye-catching (and rather scatalogical) advert I’ve seen. I was driving but both Kath and I found it hard to believe it and then photograph it. However,… I found it online! Chuckle! “Mr Gas Travel Centre: SKIDMARKS ARE FOR THE ROAD… WE HAVE AMAZING BATHROOMS”
Interestingly, as we crossed State Lines, we were nudged into remembering that States have different laws and, of course, in films like Smokey and The Bandit, State Police couldn’t cross State Lines. The different laws meant, as Kath said, Nevada could have more lax gambling laws etc. – and does! Frequent signs to Reno indicate past more lax laws on marriage as well.
It is a strange coincidence that Kath’s Facebook memory today was from two years ago and reminded us that, then, we were also in Utah.
Lake Bonneville was a massive lake in far gone history but is now a dried salt lake. It’s over 4000 feet above sea level and covers an enormous 40 square miles. No wonder Land Speed Records have been set here since 1935 when Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird reaches a staggering 301.129 mph. The first over 300 mph.
More recently, American Gary Gabelich, in October 1970, raised the record to over 600 mph. That was the last World Land Speed Record (overall) set at Bonneville but the Record returned to UK hands over in Black Rock Desert with Richard Noble and then in drives by Andy Green. The Record is now 760.343 mph – faster than the speed of sound.
Electric car speed records have also been set at Bonneville with the most recent achievement being 341.4 mph! Wow!
I did up to 45 mph as instructed by the official signs although Bonneville Speedway is still held for many types of vehicle with the World Finals in October.
A couple of signs on the way. The first distressed me a little but the other said all that public services should be about – ‘People Serving People’. Well done, Twin Falls!
Onto Twin Falls, our next resting place, but via Shoshone Falls. Not as impressive a Falls as expected but, were the river to have been in full flood, it would have been! It was a beautiful place with few people and a very low ($3) entrance fee per car. Great value and the Hot Dog ($2) was only surpassed by adding Chilli and Cheese for an addition 25c!
I rounded off my day with a salad and a mouthful of Kath’s chosen Cherry Pie dessert at ‘Shari’s Cafe and Pies’. When in America…!
This just popped into my head and I couldn’t resist posting it… When we arrived at Shoshone – billed as the ‘Niagara of the West’, it was clear that the water level was so low that little, if any, would be flowing over the cliff side.
Question: Where’s the effin’ Falls?
Answer: At the beginning of the word! #sorry