Monday, June 6, 2011

The best flat tire ever.

This morning started out great despite the fact I woke up in the parking lot of a truck stop. Surprisingly I slept pretty decent. First stop was to head to a camera store to get a remote cable release. Surprisingly this plan turned out to be a really good one, you will see why a in a bit.I fueled up the Jeep and started to make my way to the Newfoundland Mountain range when fate stepped in.

Afrer all of the off road miles these tires have seen in past few weeks I was a bit shocked at what caused the untimely demise of the tire. A wheel weight broke free from the front tire and lodged itself deep into the tire. The leak was so fast that by time a safe spot to pull over was found the tire was ruined. To top it all off the spare was flat and was slowly leaking air. Being just one freeway exit away from Tooele and a Les Schwab I headed that way. The issue with the spare turned out to just be a leaking valve stem. So with the spare put to work and the front tire rebalanced I tried to decide where to head next. The decision was made to go check out the Bonneville Seabase then play it by ear from there.

The Bonneville Seabase was started in 1989 by George and Linda. The Seabase is a series of geothermal ponds that are home to an assortment of tropical fish, sting rays and even two sharks. The water is not as salty as the ocean and the levels of dissolved minerals are not really all that close. According to marine biologists the fish shouldn't be able to make it, however they thrive here. If you come in the morning they feed the sharks and it is an interesting site to see. Even if the sharks are only 4 feet long. Also bring along a head of romaine lettuce. You will get mobbed by lots of hungry fish! Don't come to the Seabase expecting Caribbean style diving, or you may be a bit disappointed. The water at times can be a bit cloudy depending on the algae and how badly the divers have stirred up the water. But it is still a really unique experience to swim or dice with tropical fish in the middle of the desert. Speaking of diving the Seabase is fully equipped with SCUB0, wetsuit and snorkel rentals at really reasonable rates.

Several of the pools are covered when the weather is cooler to help the fish survive the weather.

I forgot the name of these fish and my pictures fail to do them justice but they are beautiful. A few of the tropical fish were rescued from the Mirage casino in Las Vegas, apparently their display was being taken out and the fish were just going to be killed.




Linda gave me a tour of the facilities and invited me to stick around for the festivities later in the evening. Some Utah burning man dudes were putting on their own burn on later, complete with fire dancers and music. You heard me right! A mini burning man right here in Utah!

The burners had assembled a large wall of wooden ammunition boxes that was probably around 15 feet tall with pile of wood just as high behind it.

As the sky darkened the burners donned their outfits, the music started and the festivities began. (the following pictures were made possible by the remote shutter release)






Made some new friends along the way: Tavish and Mackenzie. They were an absolute hoot to hang out with and they kept a cold beer in my hand the entire time! Thanks guys, next time the beer is on me!

The flames grew in intensity and heat. Before too long you could stand 50 feet away and still be roasty toasty. Even this old military surplus crane seemed to be basking in the warmth

As I retired to bed sometime in the early morning the sting of the flat tire faded. I began to realize that if not for a stupid flat I wouldn't have enjoyed such a wonderful night with such a wonderful group of people!

Trains, guns and cars.

Today was the restart of my journey. With the new throttle cable installed and my fingers crossed I hit the road and headed south. I decided that I would make a quick side trip to the Ogden Depot. The Odgen depot was a major hub for train travel in the intermountain west. Today It has been converted into a couple of museums. One is a railroad museum,the second is the Browning Gun Museum and the last is a small classic car museum. I started out with the rail road museum.

This trestle section is part of the original Lucin cutoff trestle before it was turned into a dirt causeway. It was interesting to see the pictures of the trestles construction and use. Considering how many years ago it was constructed it truly is and engineering achievement. The timbers of the trestle have been reclaimed and re purposed for other uses by a company named Trestelwood.

What is old is new again. The Bamburger Railroad was a local passenger rail system that serviced the Wasatch front. This rail line was abandoned due to low ridership when cars became a mainstay in Utah. In Bountiful (the town I grew up in) there is still Bamburger bridge standing and is traversed by cars nowadays.

An old train switch board

Then I headed off to the Browning Museum.
Browning known the world round for their guns and they are based in Utah. In 1846 the browning family joined the Mormon church and in 1852 they made the 1100 mile journey west to Utah. Among the possessions they brought with them was a gun lathe.
Display of the tools of the trade that the Brownings used to manufacture their guns.

There is display case after display case full of historically significant guns to view. Browning has made shotguns, rifles, pistols and has provided firepower for tanks, battleships, submarines and airplanes. If it shoots chances are they have made one! Browning was very instrumental in firearm development and has thousands of patents to prove it.

Then it was off to the car museum


There were old Packard's, Cadillac's, Plymouth's, Oldsmobile's and a steam powered Stanley parked in the display. All fine examples of automotive history.

While I was there the staff of the museum was trying to start this 1901 Oldsmobile. It is the oldest registered car in Utah. (possibly even the oldest west of the Mississippi) They were having issues starting it because of some stale gas in the tank so I didn't get to hear it fire up.

This old steamer was capable of 110 MPH in its heyday. The bit ears on the front are designed to deflect the smoke up above the cabin. It also has drive wheels that are over 6 feet tall, it has a massive presence. It is one of three left in the world.

This locomotive is one of the worlds most powerful. The power plant is  a diesel turbine capable of turning out 8500 horsepower. It carries 24000 gallons of fuel (thirsty train!) and is capable of pulling 7 miles of train cars!


Some of the rail cars on display here have seen better days but are still interesting either way. They have a rail crane, a hospital train, several cabooses, a mail car and even one that carried the Olympic torch.

I was heading back to the Jeep when I noticed a car show forming on nearby 25th street. A sucker for good looking cars I crossed the street and started wandering around.



This car was an interesting one. Talking with the owner I was told it was a SCCA Formula V race car. The basic idea is to take a VW beetle suspension and drivetrain and turn it into a 800 pound, 1200 cc VW go-cart.



I had planned on visiting the Hill Air-force Base Aerospace museum but the unexpected car show took longer than planned, so it will have to wait for another day. I headed south and ate dinner with some friends. With full bellies we headed over to the shop and drooled on his race truck while his CNC plasma cutter burn out some fire extinguisher mounts. I headed up towards the B with intentions of camping near Buckland flats. However Skyline drive was gated off and the flats was off limits due to concerns of landslides and flooding as a result of the wet spring. It was getting late and my options for places to camp were limited so off to the local truck stop it was for me.