Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Bonneville Salt Flats and Speed Week

 We drove to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Westover, Utah for Speed Week 2011. The Salt Flats are amazing - blinding white for as far as the eye can see. We were there to watch cars, motorcycles, and other interestingly designed/shaped vehicles compete for the fastest land driving speed in their class.

As visitors, we were allowed to drive on the salt flats along one side of the raceway, but at a safe quarter of a mile away from the action. Temperatures ranged from 90 to 115 degrees depending on the time of day. Tents, canopies, campers and motor homes dotted the track to watch the competition. We were low tech, but colorful and more mobile, with our beach chairs and umbrellas.

We admired the ingenuity of some.

 As a writer of things, I couldn't help but record some of the amazing history and geology of the Salt Flats.
  •  They are five miles long and twelve miles wide, covering over 46 square miles or 30,000 acres
  •  They are remnants of ancient Ice Age Lake Bonneville
  •  Over 17,000 years ago, Lake Bonneville was 1,000 feet deep
  • As it receded, evaporation left large concentrations of potash (used now for fertilizer) and halite (table salt)
  • The stratified layers that form the flats are five feet deep in the center and only an inch or two at the outer edges
  • The amount of salt equates to 147 million tons or 99 million cubic yards of salt
  • The Salt Flats are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as an "area of critical environmental concern"
  • The fastest recorded speed on the Salt Flats is 622.407 mph set by Gary Gabolitch in 1970
We had a great time each evening strolling through the unofficial "car show" of vehicles displayed in the parking lot.

And we'll probably be back. I've heard that if you go once, you will surely return.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Blocking up the scenery, breaking my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign"

from "Signs"
Written by Les Emmerson
Performed by Five Man Electrical Band

On our road trip from Portland to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, I took pictures of several signs that caught my attention.