Salt Lake City – Home of the World’s Largest Traffic Jam

Dawn Clarendon, Tx - Time to Hit the Road

Salt Lake City, Utah is the home of the worlds largest ongoing traffic jam. Or at least it’s home to the largest traffic jam I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some big ones. Been in jams in New York, Berlin, Boston, Tokyo, London, San Jose, Osaka, Dallas, DC and Los Angeles. Salt Lake City has them all beat hands down. The good news is that every few miles there are big signs announcing that the road construction is a “put people to work” project. We saw a lot of those signs during our trip, and our roads could use some work.

The problem in Salt Lake is that instead of tearing up the highway for 5 or 10 miles at a stretch, they ripped up the entire 50 miles or so coming into the city from the East. And it’s pretty much the only main road through there. I didn’t mind too much because I was road weary and all I had to do was sit there and take my foot off the brake pedal occasionally so the car rolled forward a bit.

The KOA (Kampgrounds of America) in Salt Lake is right smack in the middle of the city. A little oasis of trees, RVs and cabins tucked in between a car wash and what appeared to be a nuclear silo. But it was home for a night and we were glad to be there. We didn’t build a fire that night, not that anyone would have noticed a fire or the smoke. The main street was torn up as well with all kinds of enormous machines that looked like they could tunnel to the center of the earth and be back in time for dinner. They kicked up an amazing amount of dust and even pebbles from time to time.

We met a young woman who asked if she could see our cabin. She was considering upgrading from a tent now that she had toddlers to corral. We showed her and a while later she came back with a gift of some beef jerky her husband makes. It was the best jerky I’ve ever had in my life! Yum yum.

Campers are an interesting breed unto themselves and come in all varieties. We saw everything from hard-core campers with little more than a pup tent and a pocket rocket to heat water, to RVs the size of a small country, a car hitched to the back, equipped with TV satellite dishes.

Their behaviours are just as varied. Some groups arrive and scurry around immediately, getting all set up and within 15 minutes it looked like they had been there for a month. Others arrived, built a huge fire, argued about what to have for dinner, set off their car alarms 15 times trying to sort things out and eventually gave up and drank beer and play cards. By dark everyone is pretty much settled in and it’s peaceful.

Mom and I usually arrived, chucked our sleeping bags in the cabin, cracked a beer and watched the show. When it got dark we stared at the fire. It’s relaxing to just watch a fire and not say much of anything and to be with someone who is OK doing the same thing.

7 responses

  1. The roads department where we live, also like digging up huge sections of road and causing traffic problems! Wonder if their engineers spent any time in Salt Lake City?

    Your descriptions of your fellow campers is very funny. We have a problem in that Willie is the neat, super-efficient type who likes to organize things as soon as we get somewhere. I’m more of a “take a break and take in the scenery first” kind of person. Which results in some “conflict”. 🙂

  2. I wonder if they put that on the brochures?

    1. I seriously doubt that. My husband kept telling me I should visit the temple there. Not my cup of tea.

  3. I love the last sentence – and yes, it truly is!

    1. Fire is a wonderful thing… when planned 🙂

  4. Oh, I agree. I love watching a fire and losing myself in the flicker of flames, especially when there’s no need for chatter. Salt Lake City sounds like a busy place. Traffic sounds horrible.

    Hope you have a great week!


    1. You have a great week also. Build a fire!

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