Bonneville Fact Sheet

Getting there:This time we flew to Salt Lake City and drove a rental van to Wendover, which is on the far side of the Salt Lake.  This two-way coach flight on NorthWest cost $236 non-stop.  We left MPLS on Thursday night and got into Wendover (about 120 miles from the airport down I-80) about midnight.  Friday is a vehicle inspection day, and a great time to meet some of the racers who are waiting in long lines with nothing to do but bench-race.  The van we rented cost was $79 plus tax.  We needed to line the floors with garbage bags and tape before exposing it to the salt, and took about 30 minutes to clean off before returning to the airport. The hot ticket for keeping the car clean is to coat the underside and wheel wells with PAM cooking spray. It really does work. The salt doesn't cake up and what does stick comes off much easier.

Staying there:  If you intend to get a hotel room you should plan on booking it perhaps six months in advance.  They fill up fast, especially for the first Saturday night of the event.  The big casinos also have some camping areas for R.V.s . Among the places to stay are the State Line, State Line Inn (where the old racers stay), Silver Smith, Pepper Mill, Red Garter (most inexpensive),  Rainbow Inn(Non-smoking rooms are also handicap accessable and have showers-no baths, which are sort of like in a high school locker room....)., Exel Inn, Comfort Inn and KOA campground.  Expect to pay about $40 per night and $10 per extra cot.  You could park on, or just off the road on the salt near the entrance to the race-course, but don't expect any services.  There is a gas station with a few convieniences near the entrance road.

Eating there:  All the casinos have buffets, and none are bad.  I liked the Rainbow , the Pepper Mill and the State Line best. Expect to pay about $17 for dinner, a beer and tip.  After dinner, some racers go to the bar in the basement of the State Line.  You can find a meal in the coffee shop of each casino until really late at night.  Buffets work for breakfasts too, and there is a rate for seniors.  Many have real cheap breakfast specials as well. ($3-$7). For lunch, there is some food available out on the salt, but a cooler stocked with some sandwiches and GatorAde lets you stay out ther where the action is.  There is a Mexican grocery on the main street in Wendover.  A burrito wagon is usually parked somewhere in town.  We found it on the west side in the liquor store parking lot.  Good and Cheap.  Don't expect anything too fancy out of that liquor store.....  There are also a McDonald's , Pizza Hut, Burger King, Taco Villa, Arby's, Subway and allegedly a chinese place.

Time Zones there:  The line between the Mountain and Pacific time zones is the state line. Technically this means that West Wendover, Nevada is one hour behind Wendover, Utah and the Bonneville Salt Flats. In practice, West Wendover runs entirely on Mountain time. This is important to know when arranging that automated wake up call in the casino hotel! Mountain time is one hour behind Minnesota.

What do you do when you get there:   Once you have arrived and are settled, you may want to get out on the salt.   Spectators are free, but the best way is to get a pit pass for about $20.  To get one of these, you may want to contact SCTA with some reason you need one....  If you can align yourself with a team this will be easier, however if you are there in some type of professional capacity, you may be able to score one.  Spectators are allowed at the starting line, and in marked areas over the first 2 miles or so of the course.   There are two courses if weather and salt permit.  The short course is for vehicles which are running up to 175 mph and the 7 mile long course is for cars qualifying faster than this.  The return roads are reserved for "officials" of SCTA.   These are a great place to be if you can arrange it, meeting cars at the end of their runs, you may be the first person to speak with a racer after their run.  Most racers appreciate visitors at the pits or in the line waiting for inspection or to race.   If you find a racer who  is especially interesting to you, you may find that they will accept your help, and you can become a groupy.  I have been offered "rides" in this manner (provided I could find a fire suit that would fit....).   You may wish to correspond with some of these folks beforehand, and offer your services at the meet.  Most are happy to have someone doing some "photo-journalism" for them, as they are usually too busy to do stuff like that themselves.  Get a rule book ahead of time and study it.  Everything will make more sense.  Annuals are available at the SCTA trailer on the salt.  There are lots of t-shirts to buy in the pits since everyone has figured out that it is an easy way to bring in a few extra bucks for the project.

What to bring out:  Some basic things we came up with to bring if the opportunity presents itself...... white tennis shoes ,white pants, white shirt, big hat, sun glasses, SPF 45, ladder, CB radio, walkie talkie, photo equipment, sound recording equipment, ear plugs, binoculars, spotting scope, business cards, "Goo Gone", Aloe, auto sun screen, canopy, camp chairs, soft sided cooler, duffle bag, nap-sack, lip balm, Insurance cards, discount info for car rental, 12 volt to 120vac convertor, umbrella, poncho, plenty of fluids and some munchies.

Other stuff:  The car wash is at the Chevron station.  Vacuum a hose and air are at the Pilot station.  There is a single auto parts store at the east end of town.