Driving through the area between Salt Lake and Reno, we kept trying to explain to The Shortlings what the Salt Flats are and how fifteen thousand years ago, The Great Salt Lake used to be much greater... and saltier.
Imagine a place so flat you seem to see the curvature of the planet, so barren not even the simplest life forms can exist. Imagine the passing thunder of strange vehicles hurtling by on a vast dazzling white plain. This is not an alien world far from earth; it is Utah's famous Bonneville Salt Flats.  

But there's really nothing that compares to actually seeing it in person, so we stopped at a rest stop to let the girls get a good look.  I know there are a lot of photos here, but it's so very different from anything you'll see on the right half of the map, I decided to include the whole photo essay.  Scroll by quickly if you like.

We kept telling The Dormouse about how people spelled out things with dark rocks along the side of the road between Reno and Elko, so she was excited to see this tradition here too.

It's such a giant expanse of... nothing.  I keep wondering what the pioneers thought as they first encountered this and I think it falls along the lines of, "Oooooh.... craaaaap."
So did The Dormouse.

The Caterpillar immediately slipped in the mud and broke through the crusty surface of the earth.  Underneath is a thick, slimy dark mud.  She was less than thrilled.

And required The KingofHearts to take her back to the rest stop for a quick foot bath. Too bad that wasn't there for the pioneers.

Salt crystals

In some places, the salt is up to six inches thick.

The Dormouse couldn't have cared less how dirty she got.  She's a little less OCD than The Caterpillar.

But even she didn't venture into this.

This looks like a blooming flower in the desert,

...but it's actually the exposed tip of a 4x4 buried in the ground.

Nothing that sits there for any length of time is beyond corrosion.

I have googled until my fingers are bleeding, and still I cannot find any information on this man-made formation.

It's basically a square within a square of 4x4s buried in the ground and then left there until they are pretty much beyond recognition.  Then inside the square, there's a big X of metal pipes also buried up to about an inch.  If anyone knows what it is/was, feel free to enlighten me because The Dormouse's theory involved a landing place for an alien ship and I wasn't able to provide any more reasonable possibility.

Close-up of the wood pillars.

Not a clue what this is.

But this is still recognizable.

It probably goes without saying that The Dormouse needed a foot bath before we were done too... but for different reasons.