Tuesday, September 17th

Land Art - Journal Entry No. 3

9:47 am – Motel 6 Parking Lot • Wendover, Utah

Yesterday, we drove several hours to get to Wendover, Utah- a strange town that could easily serve as the poor man’s Las Vegas. Wendover is comprised of typical looking casinos, motels and not much else. Situated between the renowned Bonneville Salt Flats and the state’s beautiful mountains, you would almost think that you were stepping onto a movie set. It just doesn’t look real. There, we stayed in the town’s Motel 6, which is just as scenic as the city it’s located in. The two-floor facility requires you to walk directly into your room from outdoors. In your room you’ll find two double beds with American highway printed comforters and a simple bathroom. There are no fancy elevators, no bellboys to assist you, no room service and no cool amenities. The motel was incredibly basic, but after two nights of camping, it actually felt like a temple of lavishness. It was so amazing to sleep in an air-conditioned room with a real bed. Now, I realize just how much I took for granted the simple things that make life so much easier. Understanding that there are people in this world who do not have the luxury of a roof over their heads, I am more grateful and appreciative of what I have. I am lucky and anyone who is reading this from a computer screen or a smart phone is too.

After we got situated in our rooms, Sheenagh, Naomi and I went to the local convenience store to buy some supplies. Once I saw the prices of everything, I went a little crazy. To put it all into perspective- a box of cigarettes was $4.50. In New York the price of that same box of cigarettes would be around $12; nearly three times as much. So with that said, I left that store with a large haul that included cotton leggings, a fashionable looking turban (which was only $2 because no one in Utah would dare wear a turban), shampoo, conditioner, and a bar of chocolate. My shopping came to an underwhelming total of $14.00. A real steal if I do say so myself.

Later that day we went out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, The Salt Flats Café. It was a cute little restaurant that, like most of the places we’ve stopped at on this trip, was almost empty. Like the convenience store, the food was incredibly cheap. I ordered a delicious burrito that was accompanied with generous sides of beans and rice. The meal, a larger and more authentic version of America’s favorite Mexican fast food joint, Chipotle, was only $5.00. Needless to say a couple could easily take a weekend trip out to Wendover and have a quality time for less than $100. It’s amazing to see the quality of life in other American towns in comparison to a city like New York. Somehow governed by the same institutions, these two places are dramatically different from each other.

10:36 am • Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

After a small breakfast we left Motel 6 for a quick stop to the Bonneville Salt Flats. I had googled this location ahead of time and was excited to see it in person. The Bonneville Salt Flats is one of the flattest places on earth and as a result is a popular location for speed racing. Normally, the Flats appear to be miles of sparkling salt that stop only as the large beautiful mountains take their place, but today they are covered by a shallow layer of water. So, it’s not as impressive as I hoped it would be. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the endless seeming glimmering water. We stayed for less than hour, took some photographs and are about ready to leave and head to our next destination.

11:49 pm • Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Every single place we’ve been to so far has been amazingly beautiful and completely unlike the last. The Valley of Fire is no exception. As the sun began to set, we drove through the massive red sandstone rocks that give the park its name. Above the red-orange landscape, was a sky that started pink, faded to purple and then seemed to disappear into the valley. Everyone in the van immediately brought out a camera and began snapping away at the captivating view. The colors surrounding us felt almost surreal. It’s unimaginable to consider that the earth is able to create tones in shades of pink, purple, and orange like this.

This new campsite promised to be a bit more advanced than the last two. It had running water, a built in fire pit, toilets and a lovely picnic area. The sun had already set midway through setting up camp, which made putting up the tents a bit more difficult, but I’ve found that this team of artists is incredibly driven not just in their work, but also in whatever they set their mind to. So, in fabulous fashion the tents went up. A fire was also erected, although it’s presence was completely unnecessary other than for the light it gave off. As its name implies, the Valley of Fire is hot, very hot, which makes sleeping there incredibly uncomfortable.

I’m sharing a small tent with Naomi, who like me, cannot bare the heat. As we struggled to get comfortable I got to know her better. Initially, I assumed Naomi was much younger than she is. That was not a result of her demeanor, but more so her youthful girlishness. She’s an adorable strawberry blonde, with a sweet face and long legs. She often keeps to herself, wandering off with her camera, observing things more closely than the others do. She seemed a bit shy and quiet at first, but I guess the heat brings the bitch out of anyone.

Naomi appears to be very grateful for the opportunity to be on this trip. A student of art, her passion didn’t find her as quickly as you might think. After years of working different jobs in London, she decided to take an art course for fun. The class sparked a desire to be a career artist and a dedicated undertaking to achieve a Bachelor of Arts degree. Now in her late 20’s, age has no influence on Naomi’s determination.

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Photography Credit: Alexander Getty 

Alexander Getty is a San Francisco based photographer with an immense passion for what he does. Having started at a very young age, Getty honed his craft learning from mentors, family members, and professors in Rome, London, and New York. He began his career in New York where he attended the School of Visual Arts while balancing a job at Getty Images. Today Getty lives and works as a professional photographer in San Francisco, California. His work has been featured in galleries and publications internationally.

Originally published on Promote & Preserve.