Home » 2021 Utah Off-Roading

Bonneville Salt Flats, UT

Saturday, May 8, 2021 - 12:45pm by Lolo
614 miles and 10 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Lolo looking very please at the Salt Flats CafeLolo looking very please at the Salt Flats CafeOur first real destination this trip was Moab, Utah, but 17 hours of driving is just too much in one day. However, rather than have the first day be a total waste, we decided to shoot for reaching the Bonneville Flats in the town of Wendover, Utah, just over the border from Nevada, so close that we could still see the neon lights from the casinos.

We had been here once before in 2015 during our migration West when we moved from New Jersey to California. Seemed so long ago. Now we were true westerners.

Plus, we knew of a great Mexican restaurant called the Salt Flats Cafe, with ample portions of delicious food at a very reasonable price. It was nothing fancy. In fact, it was located in a Sinclair station truck stop back near the entrance to the Flats.

I was still a little nervous about eating indoors in a restaurant, but we were fully vaccinated and it was quite empty at this late hour right before their closing. The food and service did not disappoint.

Evening at the Bonneville Salt FlatsEvening at the Bonneville Salt FlatsHerb ordered the Pancho Special which featured a chile verde burrito, steak tostada, steak enchilada, rice and beans - all for $7.95. This was the exact meal he had ordered 6 years ago, except then it cost $6.95. Herb tends to stick with a good thing when he finds it. I’d like to think that that is why we have been happily married for 35 years.

The ambience is great as well - rustic, casual, with photos of Salt Flats racers covering the walls. The colorful chairs with Mexican motifs were really cool as well.

Morning on the Bonneville SpeedwayMorning on the Bonneville SpeedwayAfter dinner, we took a drive to take a peek at the Bonneville Speedway, which is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks because of its contribution to land speed racing, which has been going on here each year in August since 1914. It was on this 12-mile long salt flat that the 300, 400, 500, and 600 mile-per-hour land speed barriers were broken.

It was dark, we were tired, and the last thing we wanted to do today was drive some more, so we went back to the hotel.

The next morning, we returned to the Speedway and drove out onto the salt. The last time we were here there was a shallow layer of water covering much of the flats, so cars were not allowed on. In fact, the races were even canceled two years in a row because of too much water.

Lolo vs. 4Runner on the SpeedwayLolo vs. 4Runner on the SpeedwayToday the flats were dry and a brilliant white - after all, they are 90% table salt. Near the center of the flats, the salt crust is almost 5 feet thick, but it tapers off to about 1 inch along the edges.

Herb got up to about 80 mph that day - not quite the land speed record, but still fun.

It was only after we got off the flats that we saw that the running boards and back bumper of the truck were completely encrusted in a thick coating of salt, which wouldn’t come off no matter how hard we tried.

Oh well, now onto the red rocks of Moab.

Bonneville Salt Flats location map in "high definition"

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