I'm up early trying to get a start on what I'm anticipating as a busy travel day and Memorial Day weekend. I'm on the road at 6:15 am PST. It is clear and cool, but a beautiful morning. I still can't get over how green the range is, and with the contrasting patches of snow, it is making for spectacular views. I continue to head east on Rte 50 to Ely, Nevada. A planned pit stop and I'm heading north on Route 93. Coming over the rise, the salt flats come into view, I try to imagine where Bonneville Speedway lies. Even from this distance, the mirages are pronounced.
In making a pit stop Wendover, I cross the faded white line signifying Nevada and Utah on the pavement. No sign. I pull into the Shell and inquire on how to get to Bonneville Speedway. The exit is on the freeway about 4 miles. Making a U-turn to get to the freeway on the Nevada side, I need to get a picture of the "Welcome to Utah" (State # 17).
A few miles down. Bonneville is well marked. Driving on the two lane asphalt, there is a sign, "Stay on Road, Soft Mud." There are a several who had tried and left marks of failure. The road is straight and rough enough to keep you speed down. The mirages make it difficult to see where it ends. A sign indicates "Dead End" In a few hundred yards, there is a Turn around. The only thing here is a sign describing the salt flats and Bonneville. I pull the car in front of the sign, I'm the only one here. I take a few steps off the pavement and quickly realize that there's 3/4 inch of water on top of the salt. It looks like you can see to eternity. The mirages play trick with your eyes. In a few minutes, others arrive
Bonneville is 10 miles long and 80 feet wide. It is maintained by the BLM from early summer until the fall rains.
Salt Lake is well marked to get to the Temple and Capitol. Fortunately, the traffic appears light and picture opportunities are made easy.
I then head north for Rte 89 in Brigham City. I'm looking forward to this drive, its been at least 20 years since I've been on this road. It winds along the Logan River up over the pass into Bear Lake. The traffic has been light. I head north towards Jackson and cross into Idaho (State #14)
There is a detour out of Montpelier, ID as the road rises off the valley floor, one last glimpse of Bear Lake. Several miles go by and there are more signs for the detour ahead. There's Wyoming! (State #18.) Turning left I go down a couple of miles, and I'm back in Idaho. Turn right and two miles I'm back in Wyoming.
Arriving in Alpine, Wyoming, the road follows the Snake River. With the Bridger-Teton Range in the background, its spectacular. I feel so lucky and fortunate, to be doing what I'm doing!
I had been in Jackson in August of 1969. I remember, because we went to a theater to watch a play that night, rather than watch Neil Armstrong step on the moon. I would have preferred the latter.
In 34 years, this town has really changed. Nothing looks familiar. I head for the ski area which is now called Teton Village. There are several picture opportunities on the way. The bottom of the mountain is now covered with condo's, progress?
I inquire several times about the dinner theater. I ask a couple of bandana clad younger men, they look like locals, about the whereabouts of the theater. Walking Tall, about 6'6," grew up and lived on the other side of the mountain and would hike 5 miles to Jackson hole. Telling me about the theater and a place to eat, I thank Walking Tall and head back to town.
I have dinner at the Teton Steakhouse as Walking Tall had suggested, and they had a local map. Reviewing the map while eating, this place has really grown!
After dinner, I drove down several streets to see if I could recognize anything. Nope. There are lots of vacancies. I had inquired earlier about the upcoming weekend and was told that it is still "off season" until the middle of June, then its busy until Labor Day.