Hello from Bonneville, Utah
Draft started: Wednesday evening– August 9, 2023 (First post of this travelogue)
Published: Friday 8/11/2023
This year is the second straight frustrating Speed Week. Last year, the day I got here the area experienced a huge wind/rain storm that cancelled the event. This year they experienced a very large rain storm the week prior to the event.
I kept watching the posts and the weather and it looked like they were going to hold the event, but on a delayed schedule. Under normal circumstances I would have cancelled the trip, but this was the 75th annual event. I was at the 50th annual event and I really wanted to make the 75th. I decided to postpone my departure until Monday (8/7) so that I would arrive on the 8th. That was the first day of the races and 4 days later than scheduled.
Once I saw the conditions, I was very disappointed. The road to the pits was covered with 6 inches of water and the pits was covered with one inch of water. They were able to get one course in reasonable condition, but it was what was called the “short course” and the speeds were very limited. The long course was not usable and thus the big dogs could not run higher speeds. Virtually all of the neat spectator cars did not come or left before I arrived. The racing car count was well below normal. That said, there were some decent runs on Tuesday. Today the pits were in much better shape and several of the big dogs decided to run the short course to get some testing done and establish the high speed of the meet (a coveted accomplishment). So far the high speed of the meet is a bit short of 290 MPH. The runs were much better and I enjoyed my time on the salt (albeit less than ideal). Today I was able to tour the pits and talk to a few folks that I wanted to see.
Entering the Salt Flats with lots of standing water
I would normally go back to the track tomorrow for a half day before heading home. Getting out there is such a terrible process, so I will probably fix my breakfast and then head out. At least I got my 75th:T” shirt and can say I was here.
On Wednesday night we got hit with another drenching rain and terrible wind. It knocked over several Porta Potties at the “bend” where I am camping. Listening to the radio Thursday morning, they were still able to make runs on the one course available.
My trip to the Salt Flats was via I70 with an overnight stop in Green River UT. There is a relatively new Holiday Inn in Green River and I used points for the stay. I will probably stay there on the way home.
I have been coming to Speed week since 1991. It is a very special event for me. Over the years I have brought various vehicles here including towing the Durango behind the bus. However, the salt just reeks havoc on everything made of steel. In recent years I have rented various vehicles so that our cars did not get exposed to the terrible conditions. The past couple of years I have rented trucks so that I could sleep in the bed. This year I am especially glad that I had a rented car as the salt/salt water is sure to damage the vehicle.
One of the fun things about recent trips is my “roughing it”. I sleep in the vehicle and prepare freeze dried meals for breakfast and dinner. Perhaps in a different setting these meals might not be all that appealing, but on the salt, they are great. I even have a special coffee maker that lets me brew my favorite K cups.
That is all for this travelogue