Thank goodness we opted to take out our coffee, that way we didn’t offended the staff at Brigham City’s Bad Coffee Cafe (not its real name) by spitting it everywhere while gripping our throats making gagging and loud gurgling sounds. Instead, being British and polite, we parted with three dollars for two Styrofoam cups of brown liquid which we carried to the nearest drain and poured away.
After a few days of skiing the temperatures have rocketed again, so rather than ski in porridge-like snow, we opted to take in history and art, with liberal quantities of coffee to help us on our way.
Back in 1869 railways from the east and west met on a desolate piece of land more than 4000ft above sea level. There, at Promontory Summit, the rails were ceremonially joined with golden spikes, which were then whisked away for safe keeping before someone nicked them. The meeting of the tracks and the magnificent trains that rode them is commemorated with a re-enactment and replica engines at the national park, there’s cheering and merriment, with cake and sodapops. But not today. Today there was nothing, no engines, no crowds, nothing, just tumbleweed skittering across the miles of wilderness. Two hours driving for this. And they didn’t even have a cafe or a vending machine selling Twinkies.
After the coffee incident, this did not bode well for our next stop, the 1500ft-long Spiral Jetty, just 16 miles from Promontory at the edge of the Great Salt Lake. We’d come this far, we weren’t going back, even though the road turned from tarmac to gravel then to hard mud. Fortunately we have a car which will go anywhere, it’s a rental.
The miles just juddered by. Travelling at what seemed like 20mph, we were able to appreciate the features and attractions of each individual mile. For me mile 14 was the highlight, there was a slight kink in the road which temporarily changed the viewing aspect. For Noel it was mile 11 where we followed a cow who seemed to think he owned the road. How we laughed.
At the end we were rewarded with a fabulous view of the Great Salt Lake, some sticky-up timber and the stench of salty mud. Not a spiral in sight. Another couple who’d arrived before us said the sculpture was now submerged, but if we closed our eyes, we could see it in our imaginations. By this point, we were imagining a transporter which would take us back to Salt Lake City where the roads have multiple carriageways and the coffee is good. I pointed my camera in what seemed like the right direction and just hoped, trusting post-processing to reveal at least something spiral-shaped.
The day was saved by a stop-off at a park full of rockets and missiles, rather a bizarre sight in the middle of the desert, though I suppose it’s the best place to put them. For a jape we’d brought along a bag from a Pudsey butcher to photograph for his collection of Bags in Strange Places. The there was a therapeutic potter around Barnes and Noble, a massive bookstore with coffee shop. We both agreed, we’d find the whole thing massively funny when we got home. I’m sure we will!