Yesterday we began our journey from Southeastern Wyoming to Northern California. Previously, I've never been West of Salt Lake City, Utah or North of Bakersfield, California.
Pretty much as soon as we went past Salt Lake International Airport, I began to be treated to new scenery. The first clue of what was to come being the Morton Salt Plant. I've heard of "salt flats" before, but really hadn't given them much thought. Who was to know that a Salt Flat basically looks like a big field of flat snow?
What about the fact that when you walk on the field of snow, it crunches under your feet? Trying to break it up with your fingers is a tough endeavor. Better off to use your BRAND NEW shoes...
When you lick it? Yep! It tastes like salt.
But what's this? From a distance Tom thought it was a Cellular / Satellite Relay tower.
We needed a break in this vast (80 miles or so) field of salt flats. So, why not stop and inspect this oddity? We were greeted warmly by a barbed wire fence and "Emergency Parking Only" signs. As well as this...
"I didn't do it" says Tom while Jack shakes his finger at me...
What's going on here? Did these "pods" fall from the structure? They certainly are located regularly around it's base. What happened? What is this, Thing?!
Why, it's "The Tree of Utah", of course!
A quick internet search will procure you plenty of commentary on this piece of Modern "Art".
What we procured during this stop, was a small piece of glass / rock, some natural salt crystals, about $4.50 in change, and a Cabela's Token.
Which was quickly divided between the boys.
From the internet search, we learned that this structure is made of native materials of Utah, and was donated to the State of Utah by it's owner / creator. We also learned that the creator spent Millions of Dollars on the Tree, but didn't feel like springing for a freeway off ramp... because he didn't want people to stop and look. The State of Utah feels the same and tries to keep people from stopping (thus all the "friendly" signage nearby).
What we couldn't figure out was why we found so many coins littering the side of the roadway. Our guess is that perhaps people toss coins out to "The Tree of Life" the same way they would into a fountain or a Wishing Well. Of course, it doesn't do a whole lot of good to leave them sitting in the gravel along a deserted highway. Maybe we just stole away someone's "wishes" and maybe we granted a few wishes for my boys, for they are delighted to have pockets-full of money!