6th August . Saw the end of our “dream inn “ and the start of Salt Lake to Boneville. We reached the salt flats , and you can’t help notice, 1, it’s flat and 2, it’s White, I guess that will be the salt then, well I’ll be!
The thing is if you weren’t paying attention you could miss the Boneville speedway stuff, it is surprisingly understated, there is a rest area, that’s all, it’s called “a rest area”. If you weren’t needing one you would drive straight past and not experience parking under the most awful concrete structure outside of Russia, an unattractive bog, and a memorial sign erected by Goodyear giving a bit of the history of the land speed records ( 1935 saint Donald Campbell was doing over 300 mph!) and that’s it all very unusual for the USA , undersold. There are folk all over the place walking around studying the surface, you can’t help it, it is all so rather extraordinary. One of the most surprising things is, there are grasses growing in tufts , some a foot high, in this most hostile environment. I can’t help feeling living stuff wants to live even if its hard, it wants to live.
A couple of miles down the road is another pull off, sign posted as the “Speedway services”. There is a gas station and a bit of a cafe/store owned and run by some Mexicans. In the cafe, apart from a superb waiter that runs front of house all by himself very effectively it must be said, there is very little, a few speedway posters, several framed photos, of inconsequential ( in my view) participants in speedway events. The only note worthy photo on display (unframed) was of Burt Munroe ( of the last Indian fame) I liked this a lot, particularly the understatedness. The display owed more to a boys bedroom wall or a workman’s hut than to a place where human endeavor in engineering history has and is made, Its most extraordinary.
I do feel more could be made of this place. Near by there is a tarmac road leading into the salt to apparently nowhere, 4 miles later it just stops. There you are at the start line of the course, a simple notice that says “rocket launch” that’s it, done! There’s another notice giving more info and the history of the site. You could take your car for a blast, but the ones I saw that had done it would be rusty by the time they get home, they were well caked in salt. I was surprised you could do that really, there is a notice asking you to keep to the pavement to preserve the salt. Surprisingly there is not one armband wearing fascist making sure you do! another plus.
A couple of miles down the road is West Wendover. NV, gambling ville actually but if you want a hotel this is the place, rooms are dead cheap at $50, to entice you in. Presumably they have other more sophisticated ways of getting their hands on the rest of your cash.
We headed south to Vegas from here, what a road! 2 lanes very little traffic, 70 mph limit , stretching as far as the eye can see. All the time it is boiling hot. When you reach a gradient there is a long pullout, that’s says , chain fitting area only. You would be hard pressed to realize there are times of the year when you need chains on your tyres, but hang on, it’s 100degrees out here? You could easily forget you are at 6000 feet in the Rockies!
We ignored Gladys for the most part and took the scenic route, I’m glad. Its only about 50 miles more and sometimes we thought we were in Spain , other times you thought, “what a massive country!” It’s not actually, it’s much , much , bigger than that. Onward to Caliente.