Bonneville Salt Flats | Road-Tripping

Weeklong wander the ultimate dragstrip

Going from 0 mph to as-fast-as-you-can over a quarter-mile is pretty good for getting your kicks while experiencing the sound and fury of dragracing. But how about going flat-out for seven miles, with another four miles just to slow down? that might sound like a lot of space for deceleration, but not if you were going 350 mph. so it is at the Bonneville salt Flats, where the annual BuB motorcycle speed trials have taken place for the last four years.

Approximately 120 miles west of Salt Lake City, Utah, off of I-80, the Bonneville Salt Flats itself is an amazing natural phenomenon. A remnant of ancient lake Bonneville, the flats cover about 160 square miles of land in northwestern Utah near the towns of Wendover, Utah, and West Wendover, Nevada (complete with casinos). At the peak of the dry season, it is a featureless expanse of blindingly white salt that stretches past the horizon. the effect is such that distant mountains appear to float in the air as the vista expands toward infinity.

That huge, flat expanse of salt is also perfect for those trying to go faster than anyone has gone before. And so around Labor Day people come from all over the country (and sometimes beyond) to race their two-wheeled vehicles and attempt to set new speed records. Classes range from stock motorcycles running pump gas in different displacements to home-built streamliners with engines as small as 50 cc (don't laugh, the record is just shy of 134 mph!) up to 3000 cc. the ingenuity applied here is truly astounding, as is the very large number of V-twin-powered racebikes you'll spot. make the trip and you might see history in the making-or make it yourself.

Off the salt, fuel your inner explorer with a dash to the scenic silver island mountain National Back country Byway. take exit 4 off i-80 east of Wendover and jump onto the silver island mountain loop road 1.5 miles north. Continue on the gravel road for one mile to the junction. the payoff comes after you turn right at the junction and head east, circling the silver island mountains. The ruts you're riding over were carved into the rock by pioneer wagon trains more than 130 years ago. The 54-mile loop will take about two to three hours of riding time, but it is a gravel road and you should check conditions before traveling on it.

The Goods

When To Go:
Labor Day Weekend
Where To Stay:
West Wendover, NV; Wendover,
Salt Flats Caf, 1 N. Bonneville
Speedway, Wendover, Ut
Points Of Interest:
Salt Lake City, Ut;
Great Salt Lake