Going to California

A strange sculpture on the way to the Bonneville Salt Flats

We had planned last year to make it up to Salt Lake City and check out the Bonneville Salt Flats, which lay west of the city, on the edge of the Nevada border. This didn’t work out in the end, so we decided to add it to our new route back to California this time. On the way, we had our first 4-state-day of the trip. We left from the West entrance to Yellowstone which was ridiculously congested on the way in to the park. It was one of those times that you’re both extremely glad to be going the other way as much as sympathetic for all the people sitting in hot cars and RVs waiting to get in. Not far after leaving the park, we entered Montana. Not long after this, we entered Idaho. We were only in Montana for about 20 minutes and sadly didn’t see any cowboys or wild mustangs. Eventually we hit Utah, and long after, our destination of Salt Lake City.

We have not one photo of Salt Lake. This is primarily because we didn’t really do any sight-seeing. I spent a lot of our one full day getting new u-joints for truck to quell the disturbing vibrations that had started up somewhere up in Yellowstone. Mondays are never a good day to find a mechanic, but luckily we found one who, second time around at least (on the first drive with the mechanic, Truck showed no signs of the issue, as vehicles are wont to do), diagnosed the problem and got it fixed. Now truck’s all good again. Melissa spent the bulk of the time in the amazingly provisioned and beautiful City Library, which I’d certainly recommend if you have time to kill in Salt Lake.

On the way out of town, we drove past the Great Salt Lake, from which masses of salt were being visibly extracted for some commercial purpose or another. We then got to the Bonneville Salt Flats. I’ve always been curious about this part of the country having seen it in a couple of films: Cremaster 2 (one of artist Matthew Barney’s films and part of the Cremaster Cycle, an art work I partly wrote my dissertation on in college) and Vincent Gallo’s slightly disappointing, Brown Bunny. The area is primarily known for hosting various attempts, many of which were successful, to break the land speed record over the years. It is a vast, flat area, the ground made up of wet-to-the-touch salt. It is well worth a detour to check it out if you’re ever in the area—it is quite unlike anything I’ve seen before.

Someone had made a forever snowman, or technically, a saltman.

We camped overnight at some BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land in Winnemucca, Nevada, which alongside being free, yielded one of the best views of any campsite of the trip.

We entered California on the I-80 as the Sierras emerged from the long stretches of scrub-filled desert throughout Nevada. It felt good to get back to California, although it didn’t take long before the traffic once more thickened in a way that outside of congested cities such as Nashville and Austin, we haven’t seen for the whole trip. But yes, it’s good to be back in our home state.



Jim is the proud owner and driver-in-chief of the small red truck (affectionately named "truck") that will make it all 11,000 - 12,000 miles of the trip around the States with nothing more than a couple of oil changes and tire rotations. When not indulging in delusional thoughts about the abilities of his 21 year old truck with almost 300k miles on it, Jim likes making websites and taking photos and gets paid by people for doing these very things at Apple Canyon Designs.