Mandan News

Vern Davis: That’s one more off the bucket list

Hello from Morton County Parks.

It’s the last week of October as this is written and I can’t believe we haven’t had any snow to speak of yet. Of course, this could change at any hour of any day in the future. Where did the summer go? This I’ve asked myself a couple times.

Of course, there were a few “bad times” with the flooding and all of the related problems, but this summer will stand out for me because of a single week in August.

One of my favorite movies of the last few years was “The Bucket List.”  I guess when you get to a certain age, things like this happen to cross your mind. Well, I crossed an item off my list in August.

For many years, I have wanted to go to speed week at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. I started talking about this over a year ago with my wife, Bev. She wouldn’t have any part of such an insane idea. “Why would any normal person want to go there? There’s nothing there.”

Well, I kept talking and finally she said, “Take someone with you.” She suggested son Jon. Well, Jon is the father of soon to be 2-year-old twins and special dispensation from his wife, Daphne – we were on our way on Aug. 13.

We did a little “touristing” on the way to Utah Beartooth Pass, Yellowstone, the Tetons and South and West. We arrived at Wendover, Utah, on Monday, got our room and then headed out to the salt.

My wife was right. There isn’t anything there – most of the year. But for a couple of magic weeks it is one of the most beautiful sights to be seen. Yes the salt is real – just like in the Morton box – tastes like salt too!

The vehicles and people who are there are some of the most friendly on earth. They’re not snobs, or if they are, they come down many notches for a while. They explain their race care with a passion only a motor head (like me) would understand. You don’t race each other – you race the clock and distance one person at a time.

This year some of the streamliners went 300-plus miles per hour. We saw one run that was at least that fast. You observe the runs from at least 1/4 mile away (safety). Not too great of a spectator sport I heard one fellow say. The neat thing is the starting line – a person who is a spectator can wander amongst the cares and support crew at the start line as you don’t get in the way.

This is racing at its purest level. You can see vehicles running for records from the 1920s to brand new. A lot are highly modified for less end resistance and higher speeds. They even race diesel trucks in another class.

So, it was a fun week – we hit a couple museums on the way home. The curiosity of running the salt can easily turn into fever and disease!

See ya next time.