I recently hopped on a 20-hour train ride to Utah in order to check out some art and other fun stuff along the way. Utah might seem like an odd choice, and 20 hours might seem like a long train ride. Both of those things are very true, but sometimes San Francisco can get a little stuffy in the winter. Plus Utah is actually the home to a nice collection of Earthworks art which has always impressed me a great deal.
My friend Mariah went with me. Actually it was more like I went with her, since she had been to some of the art sites before and planned most of the trip for me.
Mariah spent a good deal of time mending on the train. I sort of wish I could sew better. Seems sort of relaxing.
Everyone on the train slept at some point except for me. For some reason I just couldn't pull it off. I think it might have had to do with the air. At night they pump the heat like crazy and it makes the air in the compartments really stagnant.
We got the rental car and I finally passed out. When I woke up I found myself here.
These are the Bonneville Salt Flats.The flats are supposedly aligned perfectly with the shape of Earth, which gives all the surrounding mountains the illusion of floating. The flats are also used as The Bonneville Speedway where cars have got up to 600mph during trials and races. It's all salt in case you hadn't quite got that one.
They also film movies and commercials here all the time, especially car commercials (you know, the ones where they're spinning out in the desert?). When we arrived they were filming a Nissan commercial or something. Nothing like driving out to the middle of a beautiful place at six in the morning and seeing a film crew. Rad.
Next we spent the majority of the morning searching the plains on crappy dirt roads looking for a bomb crater. Apparently the are a bunch of unauthorized bomb testing sites from the 50's scattered around the country. This one had metal debris and crazy stone deposits all around it. The book we found this in also said there were still "unexploded ordinances" in the area which made me sort of un-easy.
This is Wendover Air Force base which has been shut down for quite some time. Up until recently you could go wherever you wanted, but the small working airstrip that still exists just acquired the sort of plane that comes with special security requirements.
This radio tower lets you listen to signals that originate from the surrounding area. I got obsessed with listening to the fast food delivery channel.
This hanger used to house the Enola Gay. I was excited to check it out but now it's behind the fence. We found a way in through a window, but then I noticed the new power lines running to the abandoned building. We decided against it which was wise seeing how as soon as we drove away, a police car cruised up to park out front.
The base is owned by the town, but The Center for Land Use Interpretation plays a role in maintaining some of the buildings and offering art residencies. CLUI is a really amazing organization and you should look in to what they do if you haven't heard of them before.
We found out that not all of the buildings were abandoned.
The Sun Tunnels were completed by Nancy Holt in 1976 and consist of four large concrete tubes, laid out in an open X configuration. The "tunnels" are pierced by holes of varying size, that correspond with the pattern of selected celestial constellations. There is a tunnel for Draco, Perseus, Columba and Capricorn.
Since I had slept a total of maybe 2 hours since leaving San Francisco, I thought whiskey might help me make another go at it. It did.
I forget what this was. We were on our way to something else when we passed a sign for this rocket exhibition. I think it was at the company who makes the rockets which kind of sucks since there were tons of replicas war missiles and other stuff that I have no interest in. Actually it kind of bums me out now that I think about it, but the NASA space rockets were cool at the time.
This is what we had been on our way to see. This is the site of the Golden Spike, where The Union Pacific and The Central Pacific met 1869 and completed the first transcontinental railroad. Nice work fellas.
As interesting as the Golden Spike was, this is what the whole trip was about for me. This is Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty. Smithson finished it in 1970 using black basalt rocks and earth from the site on The Great Salt Lake. The Jetty coils for 1500 feet, stretching out counterclockwise into the translucent red water and is totally above water in the winter. I might also add that it is utterly amazing.
The red hue of the water is due to the presence of salt tolerant bacteria and algae that thrive in the extreme 27 percent salinity of the lake.
Utah has some unusual liquor laws, but the only one that annoys me is the 3.2% beer. We sat drinking a good 3 hours before we remembered that one. I thought I was having one of those "I-just-can't-get-drunk-days".
They have bowling in Utah as well.
|< Prev||Next >|