From I Da Ho to Land Ho… of the artistic type. It’s all about bein’ a ho.
One of my perennial, bucket list items has been to see Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, a land art installation created in 1970 on the northern part of the Great Salt Lake. Who wouldn’t want to see a spiral made up of rock and salt crystals jutting into a lake? Of course, everyone would. With this idea in mind, the fact that something so cool would be popular enough, I didn’t do any research whatsoever. I mapped it out. How hard could it be to get to the northern part of something as big as the Great Salt Lake? It’s big. That’s why they call it ‘great’, for frak’s sake. If you look at the map you’d never know you could die getting there and no one would find your body. Ever.
We arrive at the highway exit, the excitement mounts. After twenty two miles of two-lane, paved road, we get to the Golden Spike museum. Pretty easy, no big whoop. It’s a small house that sits at the spot where the transcontinental railroad meets. We didn’t go into the Golden Spike museum.Take it from your friend, me, if you decide to go on this artistic pilgrimage, enter the Golden Spike museum. That way, when they find your lifeless, vulture eaten body, maybe someone at the museum can give an accurate estimate as to how long you’ve been dead.
We bypass the museum, that’s where the unpaved, gravel road begins. Just for the record, a Honda Civic is not an off road vehicle. This was painfully obvious when the steering wheel started to violently shake as the bumps in the road became hills and valleys. At one point I slowed down to five miles per hour. It’s seventeen miles from the Golden Spike to the Spiral Jetty. On a paved road it would be about 15 minutes. On an unmaintained gravel road with a compact car – much longer.
About halfway through the gravel road drive, you realize there actually is a ‘middle of nowhere’ and you are directly in the middle of it. Not just any nowhere – Utah nowhere. The silence, as they say, is deafening. No trees. No cars. No nothing. You are completely and utterly alone. Go ahead and scream. No one will hear you. Try to use your cell phone. No signal. If the car breaks down, at least you know help awaits at the Golden Spike Museum, but that is of little comfort in the face of the brutal walk back. Besides, this would be a perfect place for a Zombie attack.
We trudged on, hoping the tires would hold out and Zombies were not beyond the horizon. Just when you begin to think you are the only living beings left on the planet – horses. Yes, horses. Actually, the road is part of a ranch. But still, where the hell did the horses come from? From the ranch, obviously, but where the hell is the ranch?
By this time I’m wondering where the hell is the lake? Forget about the ranch, there’s supposed to be a lake here. A huge lake. A GREAT lake. It’s huge. Where is the lake? I keep asking this over and over. The queen says nothing as she knits.
We have driven thirteen of the seventeen miles when the road becomes so difficult I suggest we head back. Four more miles to go, but I had to slow down to less than a crawl. A turtle could have beaten us to the Spiral Jetty. The queen looked and me and emphatically declared we would not head back. We had come this far. We would continue. So crawl we did, thankfully the road became a bit more drivable and after a couple miles we finally see it – The Great Salt Lake.
Just a mile left…