May 30, 2009

Minor Adventures


The Salton Sea used to be a dry basin, turned into a lake by the flooding of the Colorado River in 1902. In the 1920's it started developing into a tourist attraction, and by the 50's it was a hopping place. That didn't last. The lake's main source of water inflow is agricultural runoff and the extremely polluted New River. Its salinity level is higher than sea water. Algal blooms, massive fish and bird die-offs spelled the end of the Salton Sea vacation paradise.


There is an excellent and fascinating documentary film, narrated by John Waters, Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea. Ever since I saw it I wanted to see the place for myself. So I did.


It was just a quick, 2-day trip. I took the long and dull Hwy 134-210-10 route to Indio where I got promptly lost. I have no sense of direction. Eventually I got on the right direction. On the first day I drove all around it, but took only a few pictures. On the second day I went back partially and took more pictures at Mecca.


At first look the beach seems idyllic, however the photo doesn't convey the smell that hit me as soon as I got near the shore - a mix of rotten eggs and manure. I discovered the source of manure: industrial scale cow farm on the East shore. Wherever I stopped there were mostly gutted and boarded up buildings. The fancifully named Bombay Beach looked like a third world trailer park. I didn't take pictures there, it felt wrong, vulturish.

I headed home, but instead of the freeway I opted to take the scenic route part of the way. It probably added another two hours to the trip but was well worth it. I took Hwy 74 to the 243 and from there up to the 10. It was a fun drive up and down of windy 2-lane roads through the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains.


I stopped at a view point to take a look at Coachella Valley bellow. It was interesting how the vegetation changed as I was driving along. At first there were sparse anemic grasses clinging to rocks, but then it turned into short brighter green conifers further in the mountains. In the valley there was a sparse forest of tall pine trees, and by the time 74 hit 243 it was a dense forest made up of a wide variety of trees and shrubs. As I got closer to Banning and the 10, it was sparse grasses again.


At the start of 243 I found Idyllwild, an intriguing little town nestled in the forest. Right along the road I saw the most unusual sculpture garden. Apparently it is the outdoor studio of the local artist who carves sculptures from tree trunks of all sizes. There were assorted pieces around at varying states of (in)completion.

22 comments:

Cafe Pasadena said...

I luv Idyllwild!
Luckily, having no direction in life landed you in this wunderful area.

pasadenaadjacent said...

Mr V and I used to go the the Salton Sea on the opposite side of the town Mecca back in the late 80's. Would stay at the Bates motel and eat at a strange Tiki restaurant with a old lady regular who drove a VW bug with all these pipes sticking out the back. Then the town had a street lined with trailer homes covered in colorful oleander bushes and front yard chotchkies. I took a ton of slides but can't find them.

altadenahiker said...

Well done Vanda!

On the way to the Salton Sea, on a side road going towards Anza Borrego, there used to be a rather broken down structure, maybe once a house or gas station -- hard to tell. It was littered with weird curios, including a playpen with the sign "Baby Rattlers," that held, yes, rattles for babies. Anyway, we were poking around, figuring this was a store of some sort, and a woman came storming out of the house. What were we doing? She screamed. This is private property.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Wow The Eagle On The Wood Is Excelent...great Shot And Great Location Too..

-K- said...

I love the "RV Park" sign.

Petrea said...

This is just my kind of wandering. I haven't been to the Salton Sea in ages, so thanks for the tour. J & I went to Palm Springs once but didn't like it, so we left. We headed up into the mountains and ended up in Idyllwild. Much more our speed. We had a great time there and still talk about going back. So near, yet so far away.

mg said...

What freaks me out about the place is the "white sand" isn't white sand at all, it's millions and billions of tiny bleached out fish bones.

Glad you went. This is a great post.

Jean Spitzer said...

I like the names of the places, Indio and Mecca, especially and the photographs. The trip looks and sounds amazing; I've been to Idyllwild, but not the Salton Sea. Something to explore.

PJ said...

I came over from PA's blog and enjoyed the tour. I know the feeling of not wanting to post something from a voyeuristic point of view. Sometimes there are limits.
Idyllwild looks fascinating.

Vanda said...

Yeah, I noticed too how the beach was covered in fish bones. I couldn't figure out at first what it was. It's the most unusual place.

I'm not much of a desert dweller, like mountains and forests better. I'd like to go back to Idyllwild some day.

pasadenaadjacent said...

As to the film...the Salton Sea/Hungarian connection must of had you in stitches

Vanda said...

Yeah, quite a character.

Marcus Hollman said...

Your eagle photo has been archived at wordhigh.com Primary Reward in Heaven Web Buffet, Ark Old State House Museum Links List '08. And it's been beamed out into space! BlogInSpace.com

'A Savior we can All agree on,
is Savoring the moment'

Vanda, your site is fun!

Be sure to listen to the Exclusive, "Beautiful Liar" (Freemasons Remix Edit), on my site.

akbar eka said...

gosh....
you have so many experience about it....

SRG said...

Very cool site, thaks

AmyR said...

Hello,

I found your blog through AltadenaHiker. Great photos!

I recently went to the Salton Sea myself. What a bizarre place. Part of me wants to move there for six months to experience it. I felt the same way about Bombay Beach.

I want to check out the documentary.

Vanda said...

Hi Amy. I'd like to go back, it's a place that needs repeated visits for full experience.

K. said...

cool pics!

xHopex said...

Wow, wish I could visit it too.

Concord Carpenter said...

Very cool sculpture!!!!!

Norma said...

I love all of your pictures. I admire people who get to travel around and I love to see people manipulate photos making the old into something new. I'm definitely going to keep checking back and seeing what's new!~

J&D said...

 

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