Trip days: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-9 | 10-12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
I got up a little late thanks to the curse of the TV. 9:15 am I rolled out of bed, and began planning the days trip. So many options in Winnemucca, I tell you. I can either go south west on 80 to Reno, or I can go east on 80 to Salt Lake City, then again I could go south on some highway and endeavour another day of straight roads and repetitive scenery. After thinking about it for a little bit, I remembered that my rear tire was getting a little chewed up. It was a primo tire intended for the twisties, and all this straight at 100 wasn't sitting well with it as noted by the nice flat spot in the middle. So I took out my handy BMWOA handbook and looked up the nearest BMW motorcycle dealer. That's that, Salt Lake City it is, plus I can stop at the Bonneville International Speedway on the Nevada-Utah border! I called BMW of Salt Lake and they said yes they had the tires I wanted, and that yes they could install them this afternoon.
I loaded up the bike and hunkered down for a long, straight, lack-luster ride to Salt Lake City. As I thought, the landscape was more of the same as yesterday, only today the road always seemed to be angled uphill. Eventually I started to see snow in the hills, and then lots of snow on the sides of the road. Finally the summit of Paquod pass and to my surprise I was at 6973 feet in elevation. Thats twice as high as the upper lot of the Mt. Baker Ski Area!
I stopped at some little one horse town to get gas. As I sidled up to a back hoe getting fuel at the opposite pump I noticed 4 motorcycles, all flying american flags, parked at the corner of the gas station. A few minutes later the bikes propietors all huddled around one Moto Guzzi Jackal obviously doing some sort of open heart surgery on the poor beast. Or maybe they were doing a liver transplant, I can only guess as I'm not familiarized to the anatomy of a Jackal. Typical Italian ... All the flair, style, and character you can shake a stick at, yet all the quirkiness to boot.
After what seemed an endless trek I finally made it to the Utah - Nevada border, and the Bonneville Speedway turn off. I left the freeway with high hopes of re-enacting a world land speed record run across the salty flats, but was foiled by a watery epidemic of monstrous proportions. I thought the salt flats were supposed to be dry, as in a 'dry lake bed', but I guess in the spring they are more of a 'wet lake bed'. The entire seemingly endless plateau that makes up the Bonneville Salt Flats was covered by 4 or 5 inches of standing water. "Bummer," I said out loud. It was an interesting sight though, hundreds if not thousands of square miles covered by ankle deep water and not a ripple to be seen. For some reason there was no wind what-so-ever which allowed a perfect mirror image of the world above to be created. A couple photos and I was flying down the 4 mile stretch of road that was floating in this sea of reflection. Well past the ton, I envisioned setting the world land speed record, and then my hopes were crushed when I remembered that a supercharged 500cc BMW set a 170 some mile per hour land speed record in Germany in the 1930's. And then I remembered also that a turbo charged Luftmeister BMW K-bike averaged over 203 mph at Bonneville in the mid-80's. Oh well, the spirit of high speed was there at any rate.
Back on I-80 heading east to Salt Lake City, nothing special caught my interest. At last I reached BMW of Salt Lake and arranged for my new tires to be mounted. I wandered around checking out the new BMWs and sitting on each to compare to my valiant steed. An hour later my bike was re-shod, plus they gave it a quick much needed rinse and greased my side stand! What a deal. After chatting with one of the sales reps for a bit it was clear that my best bet for camping would be at the Utah State Park in Provo, next to Lake Utah. 30 miles down I-215/15 I found my campsite and set up camp. I zipped into town for a quick bite, and on my way back I noticed a runway next to the park. Oh great. As I type this, 3 very loud helicopters have lifted off, 4 airplanes have landed, and something is going moo in the underbrush near the lake. Weird.
Total Mileage for Day: 440
©2003 John Meloy <email@example.com>