This morning we left the town of West Wendover, Nevada. It’s a nice and friendly place where the Welcome Wagon is staffed by the local police force. As part of their greeting you to their town, they give you a ticket redeemable at the local courthouse for cash. It is a place I would suggest visiting if you have extra cash to throw away. Besides the police benevolent fund you are asked to contribute to, they have some of the most trashy looking gambling casinos I have ever seen.
We came through this town because I wanted to see the Great Salt Lake. I had anticipated great views of the lake from I-84 on my way to Boise because my map showed the road hugging the edge of the huge lake for a long distance. Anticipation was not closely coupled to realization in this case, and my only view of the lake as I was heading north was for a fleeting minute. Unfortunately I blinked once and it was gone. My friend Jim said there were much better views of the lake from the south, and, so this morning, we headed east on Interstate 80 toward the city of salt lake and around the southern perimeter of this large body of water.
Shortly after starting to ride, there were impressive views of the dry salt lakebed near the Bonneville salt-flats. I tried to imagine myself driving across that lakebed at 763 miles per hour, which is the current land speed record, but since I get a little twitchy on a motorcycle at 125MPH and a car at 130MPH (theoretically of course) it did not take long to put that thought into the pile I have labeled “things to do in a future lifetime.”
As I looked around I realized that I was looking at what was essentially a fifty-mile wide saltlick for the deer population in northern Utah and their close friends and relatives from adjoining states. Joking aside, the bright white, huge, flat area was truly impressive, and it sure raised my anticipation of the upcoming view of the Lake itself.
I started to get a little nervous when the display screen on my GPS showed that I was skirting the lake and the only thing visible was a herd of cows grazing in sparsely vegetated fields where the lake was supposed to be. These cows must ingest large quantities of salt from eating the grass growing in the brine around the area, in effect turning themselves into self-made corned-beef.
I wont bore you with the fact that my concept of planning a sight seeing tour of the Great Salt Lake using a highway road map was one of the more stupid things I have done. Although I did see a portion of the lake, it was for a grand total of two minutes, and the view was nice but not spectacular. There was never any chance to stop and then take a photo nor stop to even admire the limited view.
Our objective for today was an easy 360 mile ride to Cedar City in Utah, which is a few miles away from Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. We plan for a trip into those parks tomorrow. The scenery from Salt Lake City south on Interstate 15 made up for my disappointment in the lake. Not a single view for those almost two hundred miles would be labeled spectacular but many were grand, and it was constantly changing from mountains to fields to large hill and then back to snow covered peaks.
I spent a lot of time today, Memorial Day, thinking about our men and women in uniform and the sacrifices of millions of people before them. Humbling, it made me proud to be an American, and I realized once again just how lucky I am to be able to make this trip.