Hello from the Bonneville Salt Flats

Hello from the Bonneville Salt Flats

Monday morning – August 14, 2017   (First post of this travelogue)

I am on the salt watching the various cars for Bonneville Speed Week.  I heard that over 500 cars were registered.  I have attended several of these events – I think my first event was 1990.

Over the years, the salt conditions have deteriorated badly.  The brine is harvested in the winter by a mining company that gathers various chemicals.  Interestingly enough, they do not use the salt.  For many years, various groups have attempted to work with the company to convince them to  return the salt from their location on the south side of I 80 to the flats on the north side.  Token amounts have been returned but the salt thickness has gone from perhaps 6 inches when I first went to about an inch (at best) now. 

The thin salt does not let the volunteers make a smooth course.  Indeed, many of the racers have terrible problems.  I have stayed in touch with the Target 555 team (link) and they have had several drive component failures – induced by vehicle bouncing and resulting shock loads on the parts.  Interestingly, the belt drives I designed have survived very well.

Last year we drove the bus and camped at the “bend in the road” very close to the speedway.  We had a blast.  This year the bus is laid up and Pat wanted to stay close to the girls as they deal with their cancer issues.  So, I rented a car can drove to Salt Lake.  I am staying in a Motel 6 and commuting to the flats (about 100 miles each way).  I did not even try to get a room in Wendover since they are always booked up and they jack their prices sky high.

When we travel to Salt Lake our usual route is I 70 to Green River and then cut across to Price and then on to Salt Lake.  This time I decided to take I 25 to Cheyenne and then I 80 to Salt Lake.  It was fun to see different scenery for a change.  I will probably return via US 40 (a frequent route home for us)

I had read the reviews for this Motel 6 and expected to see bodies or blood stains in the room {grin}.  Instead, the place is well kept and the room is modern and clean and has all the basics.  It is an inexpensive place to hang my head at night.

I had planned to spend 3 or 4 days on the salt.  I have now reduced that to two days.  Part of the decision was the long commute, but the added cost was a factor.  In addition, many of the teams that I used to enjoy (and some I worked with) no longer attend.  Sadly, I also see the trend of big dollar teams “taking over”.  Sure there are tons of small teams, but the trend for the “big teams” is troubling.  Part of the fun in the past was looking at all the “creative” tow/push trucks and trailers.  Now, they often use standard trucks and commercial trailers {big frown}.

I still enjoy the event, but I think that I will only return when we can bring the bus.

As a side note, I am publishing this from the salt via our mifi

That is all for this post.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.