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Mon Oct 29 2012: Bonneville Salt Flats

We are moving very slowly, spending at least a couple of days at each stop to recharge. The nomadic task of setting up and tearing down camp is less tedious when we can stay awhile and enjoy a day's rest, especially since we've seemed to stay ahead of the impending North American snowfall. By contrast to our sedate pace, the land speed record set by a vehicle with wheels is 1,228 km/h (faster than the speed of sound). This record was set just around the corner at the Bonneville Salt Flats (how's that for a segue?), just across the Nevada/Utah border.

Testing the surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats

As we approached the salt flats, we were amazed at how expansive the surrounding area is, all covered in greyish/white layer, most of it is a thin crust above thick mud. We saw the tracks of off-road vehicles that have done donuts, ripping up the surface and leaving mud trail scars. The actual Bonneville Salt Flats has a much thicker crust of salt and is more suitable for attempting landspeed records.

Neda pulls a Charley Boorman on the Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats look like a sheet of ice at certain angles. We tentatively walked out onto the surface before taking the motorcycles out, as there were still some wet patches from a prior rainfall. We were surprised at how much grip there was, the salt wasn't loose at all. The surface of the flats felt like sandpaper.

Remarkably good grip on the salt flats

Long shadows cast on the salts

The Bonneville Salt Flats are a remnant of a huge prehistoric salt lake that dried up 150,000 years ago. It's one of several dried salt lakes in the area, but it's the largest, measuring over 100 square kilometers, giving landspeed racers enough running room to get up to maximum velocity.

Watching the sun set on the Salt Flats

Posing with the bikes

Backlit sunset shot

Midgets in the mirror

Watching the moon rise over the Salt Flats

Tooling around on the Salt Flats
Although it would have been fun to visit during a race to see all the exotic vehicles, we did have the Bonneville Salt Flats all to ourselves, and we felt like kids walking and riding around, and taking photos all around the area.

Relaxing at a fast food restaurant at the end of the day. We brought our own salt for the fries...

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