Throwback Thursday: Legend Drive to “Spiral Jetty” in Utah

Odometer (Legend):  530,083


Odometer (ILX):  88,611



What type of alien life form would have created something like this?

spiral jetty

I don’t remember how I found out about the Spiral Jetty, but once I learned of it, there was no stopping me from going there.  It was Saturday June 18, 2005 and for some reason or another, I was in & around Salt Lake City, Utah that weekend.

Spiral Jetty is a 1,500-foot-long, 15-foot-wide, work of art on the north shore of the Great Salt Lake.  It was actually constructed by a human – Robert Smithson –  in 1970.  It’s made of mud, salt crystals, basalt rocks, and water.  Construction took only 6 days and cost $9,000.  Due to varying water levels of the lake, it’s possible at times for the spiral coil to be completely submerged.  On the day when I visited, it was clearly visible but partially underwater.  I would’ve loved to hike out on top of it, but that would’ve definitely ended in some wet sneakers & socks.

The Great Salt Lake is a bit fascinating itself.  It’s the largest salt water lake in the western Hemisphere and the 4th largest “terminal” lake in the world.  It covers 1,700 square miles and is a remnant of ancient Lake Bonneville which covered most of Utah.  But how salty is the Great Salt Lake?  Salinity ranges from 5 to 27%.  For comparison, the salinity of the ocean is 3.5%.  I won’t be filling my canteen from the Great Salt Lake anytime soon.  Here’s an attempted “selfie” (though that word didn’t exist in 2005) thanks to a remote timer on my camera with the lake in the background.


Though I learned that the road to the Spiral Jetty was unpaved, that didn’t keep me from taking my then-173,000-mile Acura Legend coupe out on a Saturday morning adventure.  In all, I remember driving about 9 miles one-way on a gravel road.  The last couple of miles progressively got more and more technical.  By the time I got to the last hundred yards or so of the drive, the road had narrowed to just one skinny lane with huge ruts and jagged rocks everywhere.  I did my best to weave around them – fearing that I might scratch one of my 17″ chrome rims or, worst case scenario, catch a rock on my oil pan and cause some even more serious damage to the car.


I did make it, though, and celebrated with a photoshoot of my filthy Legend and a partially submerged work of art in the background.


The area around the jetty was littered with metal waste:  Empty, rusted barrels, vehicle hulks that had been abandoned and vandalized decades prior, etc.




I made my exit and stopped for a photo in the barren wilderness of northern Utah.


Remarkably, the Legend survived unscathed and after running it through a coin-operated car wash in Salt Lake City, I took it to a Legend “meet” at Sugarhouse Park that very same afternoon.  Though we hadn’t planned it that way, every single Legend that attended was a 2-door coupe.  I wonder how many of those guys still have their cars, 9 years later?


I know for a fact that Jeff, who was driving that Canterbury Green coupe parked on the end, is now in a black 2008 Acura TL Type-S after having spent the last 8 years in a CL Type-S.  He’s been as brand loyal as they come!





Summertime fun from years past.  Thanks for coming along with me to Memory Lane.

7 Responses to “Throwback Thursday: Legend Drive to “Spiral Jetty” in Utah”

  1. Looks like the jetty was empty! When I was there, there were quite a few people following the spiral all the way until the end.

    Those coupes look pretty amazing! I guess back then the paint was still pretty young.

    Coin op wash, hmmm. Manual or automatic wash? That is the question! 😉

    • Manual wash only! As I recall, it was around like 500 South Main in SLC. Something like that. Spent a couple bucks in quarters and the Legend coming out looking like new again. That was a fun meet. We drove up Parley’s Canyon to Park City for food after the Sugarhouse pics.

  2. Its the Nav’i !!!
    I did not know of this adventure. Cool place!

    • Haha thanks Dave! I’ll have to google “Nav’i” to see what that’s all about – the place definitely felt a little out of this world. Happy Friday and I hope you have some fun weekend plans in store. Get the GS ready to rock and roll!

  3. Always a good read!

  4. Nav’i : Avatar (the movie) aliens!

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