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Day 6 - Symphony of Speed

Day 6 title
Intro | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

This Hypertour occurred in 1993; some info may be outdated. Links to current info have been added.

Salt Lake City, Utah to Truckee, California

Salt Lake City challenges talk radio's accounts of the Decline and Fall of America. Our dinnertime waiter mistakenly brings us coffee - so he treats us to free ice cream sundaes. Our car develops minor engine trouble - so a dealership takes us in immediately and gives us free repairs. Women and young children stroll through spotless downtown streets late at night, unconcerned. The local paper is full of practical advice on how to make life more efficient and happy. Its "Two-Minute-Know-It-All" column makes you conversant for the day.

In the state capitol's rotunda, beside those of other Mormon immortals, stands a statue of Philo Farnsworth, "Father of Television," pondering a vacuum tube (#43). Don't like what you've heard about Salt Lake City before? Never would want to live here? That's the reason this city works.

44) Donner-Reed Party Museum, Grantsville, UT 45) Metaphor, The Tree of Utah, Wendover, UT 46) Bonneville Speedway Museum, Wendover, UT.

Nevada's license plate boasts "125 Years of Vision," and we experience some of that vision in Elko, self-proclaimed "Best Small Town In America."

White King. Undoubtedly helping is White King, The World's Largest Polar Bear (#47), a twelve foot tall, 2,000 pound mounted monster displayed at The Commercial Hotel in Elko. Huge statues of White King tower over each hotel entrance. One has a vandal's arrow embedded in his chest.

48) Thunder Mountain Folk Art Environment, Imlay, NV 49) The Guns of Elvis, Sparks, NV.

The radio goes dead as we cross the Sierra Nevadas into California, just as a Pinon Nut Industry Association spokesman expresses outrage that his product has been unfairly linked to the Navajo Reservation's mystery deaths. But we don't need the radio anymore. We know what's going on.

The fiftieth attraction of the trip, the Emigrant Trail Museum and Statue in Truckee, CA, is emblematic of most of what we've seen and heard the past six days. At one time it was called the Donner Party Museum, and its statue was credited for what it was - a shrine to a poorly planned, ineptly led journey across the mountains too close to winter that led to starvation, death, and CANNIBALISM!

Donner Memorial
The Donner party, on the lookout for someone to eat.

Now, however, the plaque on the front of the statue is a vaguely worded bromide to the "pioneer spirit." An even worse offender is the museum. With its non-specific, multicultural name, it gives no hint that the only reason tourists ever bothered remembering the Donner Party was because they ate each other. That nugget of knowledge is being silently swept under history's carpet by public relations consultants.

In a hypertourist vacation, the miles you drive compress themselves into infinitely small points in the memory, while attractions and insights expand. To have the fullest vacation remembrances, go as fast as possible.

Also see: Symphony of Speed

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