Day 11: Salt Flats and Driving Through Nevada to California

Today was a heavy driving day across Nevada toward San Francisco.  Nice thing about driving like this is coming across interesting sites along the way that you never even knew about.  Today on our way out of  Salt Lake City we were looking at the big snowy looking piles of salt along the sides of the interstate.  I was reading about Salt Lake online and came across information about the Salt Flats in Bonneville, which would be just ahead on our route.

From the utah.com website:

The Salt Flats were formed when ancient lake Lake Bonneville dried up. The lake was huge, filling much of the Great Basin. It eventually shrank below its outlet and so its water became salty. As water continued to evaporate, salt deposits were left in many areas. The Great Salt Lake is a remnant of Lake Bonneville.
Several roads probe the Salt Flats from many directions. They often extend into very remote locations where conditions are harsh and there are no services.
The flats include a variety of micro environments. In some spots the soil is so salty it prevents vegetation growth. These spots seem to be totally desolate. In other places you will find numerous kinds of plants and animals. Ponds and marshy areas can be found in spots near the edges of the flats and they provide critical habitat for plants and animals.

 Looks like another planet

  The ground is packed solid & feels like rough concrete, 
though you can scrape off small pieces of salt.

The rest of the day was driving across Nevada.  It looked pretty much like this the whole way:

Taking a driving break at the Nevada Welcome Center playground

 Using the RV curtains to try to shield some of the hot desert sun

Sunset in Nevada

As the sun set the winds picked up near Reno. They blew so hard against the front of the RV that the "doghouse" (the engine cover that sits inside the RV between the driver and passenger seats) blew loose multiple times.  We drove for a while with me holding it in place with my feet until we found an exit to stop so Matt could find some extra screws to attach it in place.  Several things outside had jiggled loose throughout the bumpy, windy drive.  Beginning to think we'll  be driving a convertible before long!

We finally made it to California.  At the state line, we had to go through what looked like a toll booth but turned out to be an agricultural inspection checkpoint.  They boarded our RV, searched through our fridge, and confiscated our apples and peppers.  Apparently there is a beetle that is common on fruit from some areas and that attacks their corn crops.  

We had driven much further than planned, and it was very late, rainy, and dark.  We had no place planned to stay, but when we pulled off at a rest stop in the Tahoe National Forest to figure it out there were multiple RVers, trucks, and cars parked for the night there.  Not all rest stops allow that, and some are not places we would want to stay, but this one seemed like a good bet, so we camped there for the night.

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