Making our way to the Bonneville Speedway
Waking up in Rock Springs, Wyoming, we were excited about what lay ahead. Not only were we a day closer to installing our ATC camper on our way to California, but we had one important pit stop to make. Crossing into Utah, we couldn’t wait to be at the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway.
Driving west on I-80 after Salt Lake City the landscape abruptly started to change. The salt buildup on posts along the interstate definitely catches your eye, but the tracks leading off the road onto the flats are even more curious. As we continued, the tracks of vehicles that had decided to take a spin became even more frequent.
It wasn’t before long that we saw all kind of vehicles having a go on the compelling terrain. From what we could see, you didn’t even have to be on the Bonneville Speedway to drive out onto the salty landscape. Tiny paths were all over the area. The anticipation continued to build as we made headway towards the Bonneville Speedway, and we could not wait to try it for ourselves.
We made a quick stop at the rest area right before the Bonneville Speedway. It was our first chance to have our feet directly on the flats. It feels like you might expect. Crisp, packed salt with absolutely no give aside from the ridges that form circular patterns for miles. The vastness swallows you. If it wasn’t for the interstate behind us it would have been easy to forget that we were still even in Utah.
The Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway is located at Exit 4, near the Nevada border. Located approximately 2 miles off the interstate is where you will find the entrance to the Speedway. Signs guide you to confirm you are heading in the right direction. We passed a gas station with a variety of vehicles, many of which you could tell were designed for racing or recreation.
When approaching the iconic Bonneville Speedway sign, you might start to question if you are in the right place. Our initial instinct was to look for rules. We were unsure if we could simply just drive off the road right on to the Speedway. At first glance it appeared to be a free for all, and that it was up to us how to proceed. Several cars were in the area right outside the Speedway sign. We saw a stretch that was slightly darker and very smooth in appearance that progressed into the distance and figured that was our best bet, but we hung back to see what the other vehicles were planning to do.
Sure enough, one by one, the array of vehicles started making their way onto the speedway at whatever pace they chose. We followed, a little hesitant due to the unfamiliar terrain. When we noticed the SUV that had driven onto the flats just seconds before us, was now off in the horizon, it gave us the confidence to kick it up a notch.
Driving on the iconic Bonneville Speedway
The first word that comes to mind as you start to progress across the flats is freedom. There are no speed limit signs, crosswalks, or roads. A simple sea of white stretches for miles in every direction.
Driving on Bonneville Speedway is a very surreal experience. When you first start to advance you feel like you need to “test the waters,” but this quickly changes to excitement as you accelerate. You are free to go as fast as you like. Traffic laws go out the window. You can literally feel your heart-rate increasing in time with your speed. It is an amazing area to test the limits of your vehicle, and yourself.
After driving out on the historic speedway it was a little nerve-wracking to come to a stop. Despite the transparency of the landscape, its hard not to be aware of the fact that there are multiple vehicles in the area going well over 100 miles per hour.
You feel like you are on another planet when walking on the salt flats. There are not any animals, plants, or signs of life. There is no heading from the sun that beats down. It is easy to take a seat and just bask in the isolation that is surrounding you. This unique terrain makes for a memorable experience. and one that is hard to recreate anywhere else in the United States.