Camping, Not so much!
From Durango we headed up to Farmington, Utah to pick up our camping trailer - home for the next eight days (or so we thought). First surprise - there was NOTHING in the camper but what it was built with and toilet paper. Yikes, how did I not think of this. So off to Walmart we went to buy everything from sheets and pillows to cookware to a rug and chairs.
Okay, all set. Our first stop was a beautiful reservoir in Huntsville. This is where we learned to communicate in backing up the trailer. Saying turn right from behind the truck really doesn't help, does it? Do I mean turn the wheels right, turn the truck right, or turn the trailer right? You see the issue. But we got in on the pad and set up. Thanks for those helpful videos folks! You might have mentioned the side hold makes a perfect bartending area but Scott figured that out all on his own.
Sunrise the next morning was beautiful but it was time to go to the salt flats.
So we packed up and headed to Bonneville for the races.
Here we camped on BLM land, which means you pick a spot, any spot, and set up camp.
Needless to say no water here but there were beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
There were also windstorms that blew sand and forced us into Ruby to ride it out. I was sure the trailer was either going to be pushed off it's blocks and roll down the hill or just tip right over. It was awesome in it's fury. It also covered everything in a layer of fine dust that permeated every crack and cranny.
Since we were dry camping and there were no facilities other than portable toilets, which out here go by the quaint name of Honey Buckets (really?), we decided to try out the trailer shower.
You thought I was kidding? Anyway, knowing we had no way to get more water in the tanks, we were very sparing in our water use. Not ideal - you've seen my hair right? Scott could only stand up by sticking his head up into the skylight! But we managed. Oh and not knowing how long our propane would last and needing it for the refrigerator, we didn't use the hot water heater. Not a big issue since day time temps were in the high 90's and the water tanks were heated up by that.
So I reached back into my memory of camping from years ago and heated hot water to put into the sink to wash up at nights, used solo cups for tooth brushing, and peed in the honey pots as much as possible. Cuz, yeah, you don't want to fill the black water tank either! So much to worry about!
But we made it through, actually enjoying the cool evenings and the amazing views, and on we went to our next stop, the Loop Campground at the Deseret Peak complex south of Salt Lake City. Here was Scott's optimistic FaceBook post once we got set up.
We gathered firewood and had a nice evening by the fire. When we went to bed, we realized that the drop in temperature we had enjoyed during the day meant it was going to be cold at night - mid to low 50's. So let's go back to the fact there was nothing in the trailer, including no blankets! And preparing for going south, we ditched most of our warm clothes in Fort Collins. We had one fleece blanket - the kind that zips into a sleeping bag that I always have in the back of the truck for emergencies, between us. We did find some sweat pants and long sleeves in the Beast but we were cold! Yes, the trailer has heat. But, that requires - say it with me - propane. So no go.
We are the Rain Makers
Oh, and it rained the second night! I must digress here to talk about our apparent rain-making capabilities. We have been blessed with great weather on this trip - mostly. But there were times we wondered if we didn't have some special rain making capability. It becomes apparent when we show up somewhere and some local says "It's been really dry here this [spring, summer, year]". Inevitably, it will rain immediately following those words being spoken to us. We spent a day hiding in our tiny house in Custer, SD (the rain is so welcome the locals said), got socked in with rain, cold, and clouds in Banff for a few days (so unusual the locals said), we arrived in Fort Collins to a few days of rain (boy do we need this the locals said, hasn't rained in weeks), and we camped in a desert mountain canyon that clearly hadn't seen rain in weeks, and it rained the second night we were there. Really - it rained on us in the DESERT in AUGUST! I'm sure the locals would have said "that rain really cleaned the dust up!" It's not enough to bother us usually just one of those things that makes you go "hmmm".
Anyway, we lasted one more night, a night spent in sweats, fleece and rain gear around the fire and fully dressed in bed (remember we headed south to escape this fate), before I woke up and, after building a morning fire to warm up, said to Scott "If I said I wanted to ditch the trailer and go to a hotel, would you say yes?" If you know Scott, you know his reply was an instantaneous "I'd say that would be fine". So we made it six nights and we have never been so happy to check into a La Quinta in our lives. Hot showers, comfy beds, blankets, and pillows. Apparently these are some of our favorite things! We're glad we tried it but we are also really glad we didn't plan on camping for this US adventure!
Speed Week at Bonneville Salt Flats
All that being said, camping was the perfect way to enjoy the racing at Speed Week. We were close to the track, had a place to come back to and get out of the sun, grab a bite to eat and regroup. And it was warm, okay it was hot and dusty, but it was different and beautiful in a desolate and "how does anything survive here" kind of way. And Scott's brother Carl joined us again so we enjoyed being with him.
We soon learned the flow of the day at the races. To set a new speed record, a vehicle must break the record one day and then repeat breaking it the second day. Qualifying runs, the first, happen any time of day but typically the return run, the record setting run on the second day, happens first thing in the morning. And by that I mean before 8:00 am. These are the really exciting runs so we got ourselves up early, poured coffee into our cups and ourselves into Ruby and hit the track by about 7:00 am. The salt is beautiful in the mornings.
And it's cool. By 10:00 or 11:00, the temperature escalates about 30 degrees, from lows in the high sixties to the upper nineties. And the reflections off the salt makes it even more intense.
You all recall my observations on dry heat but all the same. Nevertheless, watching cars go by down the salt at speeds exceeding 400 mph is awesome and fascinating. There is just every kind of vehicle imaginable here.
This is Speed Demon - it went 452 mph and was in second place to Turbinator that went 463 mph. These are the streamliners - fastest "cars" at the track.
Huh? Looking back at these headings it doesn't sound like so good. The Runs, The Pits, ha! Makes you think of those Honey Buckets again. But I digress, again. After the return runs, it's off to the pits to see what's up and who's doing what.
This was Carbinator - never had a successful run but really cool streamliner.
People come from all over the world to race. There were a few teams from New Zealand like this one. There was also a team from the Isle of Man.
These are called lakesters and the old school ones are made out of military fuel drop tanks.
This was Big Red, a beautiful Camaro that is the fastest 1969 Camaro in the world. They set a record at 258 mph.
This streamliner was crazy cool. It had just been finished so didn't run but was there for a preview for next year. It reminded me of a shark or some other sleek fish.
I do have to mention they race motorcycles here, too. Including tiny 50 cc bikes that go over 90 mph!
The slowest record set at the meet was by a 100 cc motorcycle named Carpe Diem LSR at 39.12 mph. It's all just about setting the record in your class - be that super fast or just super fast for your type of vehicle.
Then there are all the folks that bring out their classic cars to tool around.
And this was one of our favorites set ups for race watching. In case you can't read it the side says "Jackass School District", "Free Tuition".
We had a blast and so glad we decided to check this off Scott's bucket list. Definitely a must do item for any race fan.
So now we're chilling in Midvale, Utah. The La Quinta has a nice indoor/outdoor pool. It's warm. It has maid service. And it's in the middle of nowhere but we're happy. Need to chill, do some last minute shopping, get the remaining salt off Ruby and the dust off the truck bag, and it's on to Las Vegas! After four and a half months, we finally have this travel thing figured out. Biggest lesson learned - make sure your partner has the same daily rhythms you do, is flexible and willing to try anything once, and has the patience of a saint. Second biggest lesson learned - don't do anything you don't want to do just cuz you think you should or you're too lazy to figure out a plan B!
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