Bonneville Travel Log – June 27th, 2007 – Day Two
We awoke relatively early to start our day of adventuring. Helen from the Motel 6 was gracious enough to loan us the use of her Honda Passport to help us get around. She has treated the Amo family so well over the last few years. We can’t say enough positive things about her.
The first item on our agenda was a drive to the top of the big hill outside of town with all of the radio tower equipment. I’m sure it has a name, but I’m not aware of it. I guess “the big hill outside of town” will have to suffice for now. Anyhow, it provided another interesting view of the salt flats and the town of Wendover. Jon took the opportunity to take pictures of both from our elevated vantage point.
The next part of our trek took us towards the salt. We stopped for brunch at the Salt Flats Café (next to the truck stop near the entrance road). Great food. Friendly staff. Reasonable prices. Enough said. Make sure to include at least one meal while you are at Speedweek at the Salt Flats Café, owner Marcelo Esobedo does a great job and supports the racers. Then we drove out to the salt.
The view of the salt from the plane was impressive, as I have mentioned before, but there’s still nothing compared to actually being ON the salt. The salt looked beautiful. It was a little wet in spots and stuck easily to our vehicle and our shoes, but there was no visible standing water and the overall terrain was smooth. We drove along the cones that mark the future location of the courses for the August event and are anxious to see what the conditions will be in 40+ days. We also tested our new internet service and were pleasantly surprised by the connection speed we received. Uploading information from the salt to Landracing.com should be a much easier process this year.
Jon even had the opportunity to play Salt Patrol while we were there. We spotted a little maroon car containing four young men zipping around the flats, doing what appeared to be “donuts.” Jon tore after them, pulled along side, and told them that the surface needs to be preserved for the people who race on it. He must have come across as very authoritative, because after a few quick “yes sirs” they left the salt altogether. I’m glad they didn’t decide to challenge him. I was his only backup, and my best defensive maneuvers pretty much revolve around vicious name-calling.
As for the salt report. You have to remember to take this with a grain of salt, pun intended. There is little over 45 days until speedweek and there is a lot of dragging and course prep by the SCTA-BNI before the event, and as of this report it look good. Wednesday June 27, 2007. My preliminary report so far is great. The combination course 1 and 2 are a little damp at start, pretty smooth in the middle and rough on the far end after about the 5 mile. You can tell the SCTA-BNI and BUB have been out smoothing the courses to an extent so far this year. Steve Fossett looks like he has a course lined up between the combination 1 and 2 courses for SCTA-BNI. Fossett's course starts approx two miles back from the BNI start. The 7 1/4 mile on Combination course #1 is Fossett's 9 mile.
One of the reasons why we were out here is to test my new internet connection for Speedweek on the salt. At the 8 mile I have tested internet connection of about 800 Kbps. Which is far superior to the 28K connection used from 2000 to current. So when Jon goes back he will start a game plan on how, when and what gets uploaded on the salt.
We ventured back into town and made our way over to the West Wendover Visitor’s Center. It’s a small space – really just one medium-sized room filled with pictures and informational pamphlets – but it had some interesting photos and information on the past racers at the Bonneville Salt Flats and the history of the Wendover base used during WWII.
The next stop was to check in on the fire destroyed hotel, Bonneville Inn. This was the same hotel that was used in the movie Worlds Fastest Indian. Jon was going to get a comment on what the status was on the rebuild. There was nobody home at the hotel. The office was closed. Went to take a look at the damage from the fire as Jon walked down the paths, looking into the rooms find them gutted, even the unburned rooms, windows broken, some boarded up and only evidence of anything there was a few rooms with obviously poverty ridden family. I saw new studs and framing in the upper level rooms but locals said that has been done for a real long time but that was it. Everything stopped. The backside of the hotel was just a big dumpster filled with destroyed room contents.
After the visitor’s center, we headed back to the Montego Bay. Then we made a quick stopover at the Nugget for a Starbuck’s, after which we tried our luck at the slot machines in both the Nugget and the Montego Bay. Unfortunately, we will not be retiring on our winnings anytime soon.
The rest of the evening remains to be decided, although I imagine it will involve a trip to a buffet of some sort and another dip in the hot tub. We’ll see what Jon feels like doing once he is up and around (he naps as I type this).
Stay tuned for the next couple days for more info and pictures for Thursday and Friday morning. We will be updating throughout the day.