Salton Sea

Took the family (and Bobbie) for a drive out and around the Salton Sea this weekend.

All up it was around 350 miles. Took pretty much most of the day, tiring, but fun. It was nice to get out and see some more the place.

We drove out by going south. We did this to ovoid any winding roads that way Terry would have a better trip, took a little longer, but was worth it.
The desert was beautiful. Once you get to Ocotillo Wells the desert rocks and scrub changes to sand and there is ‘hundreds’ of ATV’s and off road bikers having a blast. They also were kicking up an artificial sand storm. The wind was really blowing and you could hear the sand blasting the car big time!
From there out to the highway is just more desert. Turning south and we got into some small towns. They looked a little tired. Hard to say when the tide turned for them.
Before you know it, we got into some ‘farmland’… its hard to describe it. You are still in desert, there is not a scrap of ‘soil’ around, but there are scores of crops as far as you can see (which given how flat it is, and the fact that the road is a little lower than the fields, is not really all that far).
We stopped for lunch at some random road side stop. It was still really windy and so was hard to keep all the lunch stuff on the table. We gave up after about 1/2 a sandwich and retreated back to the safety of the car.
Sadly the lunch time distraction was watching some poor guy try and get his RV untangled from a pole that he had turned up against and got jammed. The council guys were there with shovels trying to dig the post out, to no avail. They must have been at it a while, they all looked tired and while we were there the guy just drove it out and ripped a pretty big hole in the back of the RV. Like I said, it was pretty sad.

We headed off and started looking for roads that lead out to the beach. The first solid one you get to is Bombay Beach. Amazingly it is also the single most interesting stretch of beach (as far as we were concerned). The Salton Sea goes up and down in water level as we get different rainfall around the state, as a result a chunk of town got flooded out, by salt water years ago… enough to say its pretty much got eaten away pretty quick. Check out the photos. They are not the best since we were there in the middle of the day (I bet the morning / evening light would be just beautiful), but it gives you a taste. The rest of the town is now protected from the sea by a pretty high berm wall.
We poked around for a while, then headed off to other beaches. They were very plain for the most part. One thing that is a little upsetting is that every beach you stop at has dead and rotting fish washed up…. Not only but also most of the ‘beach’ is made up of dead fish bones and shells…. Its really weird and a little upsetting. It also means that each beach has a…. well…. unusual smell to it.
Once you get past the north part of the sea it gets hard to get down to the beaches since there are no roads from the main highway down there.
Since you are pretty close to the Mexico boarder, there is pretty solid boarder patrol check point. Every car has to stop and have a chat with the guard. Soon as he heard our accent, he started asking questions about if we were citizens, where were had been, where did we get the car from and generally the grilling that were were not really expecting. We ended up showing him our Cali drivers licenses and that seemed to keep him happy enough to let us go.
Once past that, we came across a rail track with some of the longest freight trains we have ever seen. I counted 127 cars, Freddy counted 128. I trust her since I was driving and was paying attention to the road.
One of the trains was pulled up at a switch track to wait for a south bound train to pass so I pulled over to get a few photos.

We headed back via our fave little town, Borrego Springs. The kids really enjoyed playing ‘corners’ on the road out (in involves squashing who is ever up against the door on the leaning corner). From there it was home along the usual Highway 79.
Some how through it all Terry managed to talk us into getting some Coldstone ice cream for dinner…. Seemed a fitting end to the day.