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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Epic Bonneville Salt Flats but Harleys to my rescue!

Salt Lake City, UT to Ely, NV via Bonneville Flats International Speedway - 254 miles - Saturday 7 July
Left the lovely Inn on the Hill around 7.30 after breakfast and making sure the bike was once again prepped and ready for what has to be the highlight of the trip.
Riding on R80 from SLC passing the Great Salt Lake, once a popular holiday 'beach' resort, it eerily started to get quieter and quieter until about 150 miles further the terrain started totalling flattening out with white salt plains as far as the eye could see.
And finally the first stop to view the Flats - spectacular.
Then drove into the flats to the famed starting point to view the incredible length of the course.
Utah's famed measured mile is well infront of the mountains on the horizon but due to the curvature of the earth (there are only about 6 places in the world to see it), it's impossible to see from one end of the course to the other. 1st record in 1935 reached 301mph and current record by Blue Flame is 622mph!
The conditions of the sands were too wet to venture out but clocked up about 80mph getting to the view point on the flats!
Amazing place and to watch them racing on it must be wow! But hey I was very happy with my little experience and accomplishing riding a Bonneville out to the Bonneville flats!
Leaving Wendover onto Rte 93 it was posted that there were no gas stations for over 100 miles so topped up and thought everything would be OK.
The roads were empty and were straight for tens of miles - I was starting to think that just maybe for the 3rd time on this trip I wouldn't be able to reach my destination!
I'm not saying panic set in but I was gauging the fuel getting lower and literally calculating how much further I could go - if I didn't get a top up in 30 miles I had problems and there was no station for at least 50!
Envisaging pleading with any driver to get me some help!
Then all of a sudden literally in the haze I see 4 Harleys parked at what looks like a gas station!
Unfortunately no gas there but explained my predicament and wow they were absolutely amazing and literally came to my rescue. They suggested we ride in convoy and if I ended up with no fuel they would transfer some over from their tanks. I counted every mile and extraordinarily with just 2 miles left in the tank we entered McGill that even my Harley biker friends didn't know had a station. Talk about glad to fill the tank!
They were all biking down to Ely too having come from SLC the same morning, so we all continued the trip together which was really cool.
Plans to meet up for drinks later which can't be a bad idea!
Checked into the hip retro Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall - opened in 1929 at the height of prohibition and provided bootlegged refreshment and gambling 24 hrs a day ! In the same year the Stock Market crashed and Depression struck and the hotel provided illegal gambling and booze - sounds like my kind of place ! A place that has welcomed many celebrities and more importantly prioritizes bikers who can park right out at the front doors of the hotel and also get a discount!
Took a fascinating trip on the Ely Steam train line thru to the old mining towns and then met up with my Harley buddies for one last drink in the eclectic gambling rooms of the hotel - something else!


  1. I think that was a truly unforgettable experience you had! I felt thrilled and excited for you while I read your post. And it’s good that there were other bikers who helped you along the way. The adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly holds water. I wish you’ll have more adventures in the future, and more friends to meet and share the experience with!

    Max Piedra

    1. Thanks Max. Yes, my trip 100% proved that you can't take anything by first appearances. Travelling makes you much more open minded and non judgemental. These Harley guys, on this tough day, were incredible - respect! My HD friends will be one of the highlights in the book! Keep in contact ...