In July, headed west on I-80, we stopped briefly at the Bonneville Salt Flats rest area, which is west of the Great Salt Lake, in northwestern Utah. Driving through this harsh, hot, desolate and inhospitable stretch of land, thoughts strayed to matters such as the condition of the spare tire and AC.
It was deliriously hot. Visible waves of heat shimmering in the air made the strange and forbidding landscape seem an enchanted mirage.
Taken by itself, the utterly exposed, waterless, rocky, fenced-in “Pet Area” was merely ridiculous. But set in its larger context, the contrast between this tiny pet area (which was only there to corral dog shit) and the vastness of the surrounding landscape elevated this little structure to a work of comic genius. Here in the middle of nowhere I’d found a witty sendup of the very idea of a “Pet Area.”
Needless to say, Aktis refused to enter. (Not that I thought he should.) Instead, he and his pal headed out to play in the Animal Area just behind the Pet Area. Well, not to “play” so much as briefly just to experience this exotic place.
Originally the flats extended for 90,000 acres but that area has been reduced to 30,000 acres, due to the extraction of the salt to be used for making potash, a mineral ingredient in fertilizer.
If any reader has a candidate for a pet area worse than this one, please send it along to me. If it’s a contender I’ll post it.