I was goofing around on Google Maps the other day, looking for interesting places to go out in the west desert. I saw this nice, straight road across the southern end of the salt flats, and decided to go check it out sometime. Today was that sometime.
I headed out about 11:30, past Tooele, Stansbury Island and Grantsville, right around that second ridge of mountains, took the Dugway/Iosepa exit and headed south. I got a ways down the road and had to stop off for a pit stop, which (for a guy) is rarely a problem since out there you’re out in the middle of nowhere and can pretty much pull over anywhere. But I did see a gas station a way down, so decided to stop there, which ended up being no help at all since they were shut down, but at least I did have a building to stand behind. It looked like they had started to add on and expand, but something made them change their mind. There were two brand new pumps out in the middle of nowhere in a big gravel parking lot, but it stopped there. I headed out again, got about a mile down the road and had to stop to check out the Tekoi Test Range. It looked like it hadn’t been used since WWII, but at least there were a whole bunch of real tumble weeds hanging out up against the fence. And a bunch of sun-bleached bones where something (bovine presumably) had died and been left out forever. Got a couple of pictures there and headed out on my way again.
I got to the point where Rte 196 ends at Rte 199, where I was supposed to turn right and head west for 60 miles until I hit the salt flats, but there was something in my way. Dugway Proving Grounds. Stupid Dugway Proving Grounds. For those of you unfamiliar with Utah, it’s a big military installation where the US Gov did bomb testing back in the cold war days. Or some sort of destructive testing. Now I think it’s where they are destroying all the chemical bombs they built up back then. I’m not sure, but the big guard station and the sign that told me they could search me and my car (no, I didn’t have anything illegal) made me decide that was the end of the road. On further observation I saw the BLM sign that told me I could head out there, if I was willing to travel 60 miles on dirt roads. Not in the LTD. Any of them. That’s why I keep the Subaru.
So I decided today was not the day to make it out to the slat flats. Just head home. But I still had a decision to make. Go back the way I came, up Rte 196, or head east on Rte 199 and see if I could make my way home that route. Of course I chose not to go back the way I came. It was a nice drive, up over the mountain and down into the Tooele valley. It got nice and cold driving through the pass, even though it didn’t go up that high, but there were a lot of trees and snow, it was a pleasant drive.
That took me up through Tooele, past the Great Salt Lake Marina, where I stopped off and checked out the fire Writer predicted a couple posts ago. It was kind of amazing how burned willy-nilly, completely destroying one area, yet in the middle of a completely charred area there were a some trees that had only their trunks singed (look on the very right hand side of the picture).
So, I made it home, without achieving my goal. I’ll try it again sometime, with the Subaru, and it was a nice, relaxing trip none the less. The latest LTD just floated over those highways, I would catch myself going 90 down a two lane highway without even realizing it.