Jul 092010

After saying our goodbyes to Dennis and Irma, the managers at Crossroads RV Park in Wells, Nevada, we left yesterday morning at 10 a.m. and drove east on Interstate 80. We only had 180 miles to go, so it was an easy day on the road.

Terry loves taking pictures as we travel, and she’s gotten really good at it. When we’re doing 60 miles per hour, it takes some practice to get a nicely framed, cleanly focused picture. Especially with a pocket digital camera. The great thing about digital cameras is that you can shoot all you want and it doesn’t cost anything. That’s one of the first things I learned about taking newspaper pictures – shoot a lot of film and your chances of getting something worth using are greatly increased.

Here is a dramatic rock formation Terry spotted on the other side of the highway. She found a bug-free spot on the windshield to shoot through and framed it just right.

Dramatic rock formation

And here’s another one that she took out the side window as we passed.

Dramatic rock formation 2

It was 60 miles from Wells to the Utah state line, and as we topped the hill at Wendover, we were greeted by a breathtaking view of the famous Bonneville Salt Flats spread out before us. We thought that the salt flats we saw the day before in Nevada were impressive until we saw this huge expanse of white wasteland.

Salt flats first view

If my dashboard thermometer had not told me that the outside temperature was 93 degrees, I would have believed we were driving through a snow covered prairie somewhere in Kansas or Nebraska.

Utah salf flats3

Utah salf flats 2

The salt flats stretched out for over forty miles, and it was monotonous after a while. This apparently is a problem for a lot of drivers, because we saw several signs warning drowsy drivers to pull over.

Drowsy drivers sign

We actually found the drive a bit intimidating for some reason. It was a nice flat road, but the place just felt hostile. Very little lives here, just a few scrub bushes. We never saw a bird or any other critter for the entire 40 miles.

Utah salf flats 5

We also saw constant mirages that looked like water on the roadway ahead of us, but when we got there, the road was always dry. We’ve seen this phenomena many times in the past.

Water on road mirage

As we continued east, big cloud formations built up on the horizon, and we thought we were in for a real storm, but nothing happened.

Cloud formations 2

Then we got our first view of the Great Salt Lake. This massive body of water is 75 miles long and 30 miles wide, with a surface area of 1,500 square miles. The water’s salinity is sometimes as much as 28%, which is three to five times more than sea water.

First view Great Salt Lake

We stopped at the Flying J at Lake Point, just east of Salt Lake City, to top off our fuel tank, and guess what? Just like in Winnemucca the day before, the RV island was closed. But this time the truck islands were not too busy, so we pulled over there. We didn’t really need fuel, but I wanted to have a full tank when we leave Salt Lake City in a week, and the Flying J was handy.

Back on the highway, we connected with Interstate 215 and took it north a few miles to North Salt Lake City, where we pulled into Pony Express RV Resort. We couldn’t believe it, but there is another Flying J at the same exit!

Pony Express is a very nice, new RV resort, a bit more upscale than our usual haunts, but it is convenient for me to do my genealogical research. We have a nice concrete pull through 50 amp full hookup site, with a great view of the Wasatch Mountains.

Pony Express RV Resort 3

By the time we were parked, had the jacks down and the slides out, and were all hooked up, we were famished. So we went to the Empire Chinese Gourmet buffet, a few miles north, and it was very nice. We have been wanting a good Chinese buffet for quite a while now, and this one was a winner.

Back at the motorhome, we were disappointed to discover that even though we have a full five bars of high speed EVDO service, internet access with our Verizon air card is terribly slow. I took the card out of the router and put it directly into my computer to update its settings and location, but that didn’t seem to do any good. When I first switched to an air card a couple of years ago, I was very pleased with the service, but over time it has gotten slower and slower. Especially in busy metropolitan areas. Our speed in tiny Wells, Nevada the day before, was twice as fast as we have here in Salt Lake City. Posting the blog may be a real challenge.

We have eight or ten different people who want to get together with us while we’re here, and we’ll try to hook up with as many as we can, but there just isn’t that much time, since I plan to spend several days at the Family History Center peering up my family tree, and Terry has a lot of preparations to finish before we leave for Colorado next week.

Bad Nick has been quiet lately, but he’s back with a new Bad Nick Blog post titled Do We Just Ignore Them? Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – It’s never too late to be who you might have been.

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  9 Responses to “An Easy Day On the Road”

  1. I also have experienced that slight sense of unease crossing the salt flats. I put it down to the subconscious memory of all the stories I have read of difficult pioneer experiences in the area.

    I was interested to hear of the RV islands being closed at the J’s. With a smaller gasoline powered coach we don’t use them, but, together with the new dumping fee, I’m interpreting it as a sign that Pilot, the new owner of Flying J, is not so interested in catering to the RV trade. We rely on the J for convenient overnights when we are traveling through, and would be very disappointed if they stopped providing RV services such as dump, water, propane, and, sigh, buffets and free overnight parking. I am wondering if the overall truck stop business, and Flying J, are still in trouble, what with the very slow economic recovery. Oh we, one door closes, and another door will open, as they say.

  2. Ah, Wendover — a true garden spot (not). I once spent a day holed up there in their air-conditioned casinos, waiting to cross the salt flats at night. Why? No a/c in the car. Yes, it was a long time ago, but I’ve never forgotten the weirdness of the area.

  3. Since you are staying on the North end of SLC, You really should try to get to Holy Smoke BBQ restaurant while you are there. Jeff the owner will not be hard to miss if he is there since he wears his boxers outside his pants! Tell them Jerry Ray sent you and I’m sure he won’t charge you double!!! The place is right off I-15 at exit # 332 in Layton, UT. South of Ogdon. Really worth the trip IMO. Not a fancy place but rated one of the best BBQ’s West of the Mississippi.

  4. Nick:

    Just use Pony Express’ free Wi-Fi since the Verizon service is maxed out.

  5. Nick – one of the factors of RV life is that things (example: wi-fi service) aren’t always exactly what you want, so you make do. It’s all part of the adventure!

    And about those eight or ten people who want to get together with you, try this: let ’em all know that on this specific day, from 4:00 to 8:00 pm you will be “at home.” That’s an old expression that used to mean that’s when folks could drop by and pay their respects.

  6. Nick,
    Unlike you guys, I got excited about the Salt Flats. As a teenage gear-head I would dream of flying down the mile course setting new land-speed records. When Donna and I drove through there a few months ago I’m pretty sure she grew tired of my explanations of how all the records were set etc. We both enjoyed talking about the “The Worlds Fastest Indian” and his setting a number of speed records that still stand today. He came from New Zealand in the ’50s and ’60s and rode a highly modified Indian motorcycle. Both of us have seen the movie. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World%27s_Fastest_Indian

  7. Great pix! We didn’t get to the Salt Flats, and now I can say I’m not sorry. Looks redundant to me.

  8. Keith – In both cases the RV islands were closed for repair work, not closed permanantly. I shuld have been more clear about that.

    Doug – Unfortunately, the park’s WiFi system is not working at this time. They have a tech working on it today.

  9. So good to get caught up with you. We had many of the same feelings driving through the Salt Flats and into Salt Lake City. Thanks for sharing your pictures, it brought back memories of our trip through there last Fall.

    Enjoy your time and good luck with your studies.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.