I had decided to take a little trip and it turned out to be a disaster, but now I am back and things will pick up. Here is a short version of the mis-adventure. As you probably remember I have a grand daughter in Salt Lake City, Utah right on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Ceci Gull and her friends have been urging me to come and visit so I could see the large gull rookery on Antelope Island and look into all the statutes the local residents have put up honoring the California Gull. The old ship was kind of quiet after all the action with the loud airplanes and big crowds so we decided to take a road trip just like in the old days. Well, anyway we all took off on the trip east using a carefully planned route designed by my friends.
Since the big winds blow from the ocean toward the mountains we left early in the morning and flew due east until we crossed the mountains and dropped down into a sunny calm area with a very big lake. The strong tail wind kept up all day and we were able to cruise along with no trouble. The water in the lake was very salty, and there were these funny towers that looked like they were made out of salt. There were lots of small, slow fish squirming around in shallow water so we had a good feed.
My friends told me the second day was going to be a little rougher because there was going to be less water along the way. We took off early in the morning and pretty much followed the road east across what looked like a dry patch of land with very few trees. We still had a good tail wind so we could cruise along without too much effort. About mid day we found a large open body of shallow water next to a small town so we settled down for a short rest. Food was kind of scarce, but we did find some left over scraps and fish parts in a campground right next to the lake. We continued flying with the sun at our back until it started to get dark and we found a small lake near a town and the base of some mountains. There was white stuff on the tops of the mountains and the weather was turning colder.
The next day dawned bright and clear with a strong wind. My friends told me that all we had to do was get up into the air and catch the tail wind. Sure enough we did, and once we had gone only a little way we got over the mountains and we could see a very big flat area and a large lake far off in the distance. This, my friends told me, was the Great Salt Lake !! Once we got up in the tail wind and began to cruise we were at the lake in just a little while. We saw a large island on the far shore of the lake and guessed that it might be Antelope Island. Once there we mingled with the many birds we found and once the word got out that we had flown in from where the sun sets we were welcomed and my grand daughter found us. We had a very nice time. The Great Salt Lake has lots of small shrimp and there is lots of food for all.
I am going to leave it here for now and write more tomorrow. We had a long three day flight and I am very glad to be with my grand daughter.
Editor’s Note: We all have missed Bob and we are glad he is back. The trip he undertook was quite a feat for a Gull, and we can try and determine where he went from his notes. There is a strong jet stream that goes from west to east in this area so if Bob and his friends did catch that a trip of several hundred miles per day was entirely possible. There is lots of agricultural acreage between the San Francisco Bay Area and the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains so stopping for a mid day snack would have been no problem.
Bob’s mention of the lake where they stayed the first night leads us to believe that he stopped at Pyramid Lake in western Nevada just northeast of Reno. The other lakes in the area, like Lake Tahoe, are certainly not salty, and Pyramid Lake does have tall limestone tufa towers along the edge.
The second day must have been tough for the birds. The Truckee River ends in Pyramid Lake and does not extend to the east. There are some small local streams and there is a large U.S. Government irrigation project near Fallon, but it is most likely that the birds found the Humboldt River which flows from eastern Nevada into the Humboldt sink in central Nevada. The Humboldt extends over three hundred miles and was an important part of the historic trail west across the Nevada desert into California. There are numerous wide wet spots along the way where the birds may have stopped. It is likely that Bob and his friends stopped near Wells, Nevada for the night.
The final part of the flight took the gulls over the Great Salt Desert and Bonneville Flats and to the lake. This final 100 miles must have taken them only a short period of time with the strong tail wind.
We are certainly glad to have Bob back on board. He has always had a bit of a gimpy leg and it looks a bit worse now. Perhaps he will share his experiences with us soon. The SS Jeremiah O’Brien would not be the same without Bob and his friends and we are glad to see him on board again.