Winter West travel blog

Mother Nature put on a lovely display to say goodbye

With the RV in the sunrise

The watermark on the mountain walls, notice the tiny house!

Guess we're getting close to Slab City

And now we're there

Notice the cement pad, but not a lot of people use them

One group who does make use of the pads

Another group has painted the mountain and has various religious displays about...

The Salton Sea shoreline, note the strip of white

Where we decided to pull off for a lunch picnic

Really nice spots to pull off for a picnic

The view of the Sea

The morning broke with a wonderful display of sun and cloud.

For the past week, we have been living out in the country as it were. We love the quiet, the openness and the very laid back style of the campground we've been at. Campfires at night, picking lemons for fresh lemonade from your own tree, wildlife all around us... but without a vehicle we were pretty much stuck since we were miles from anywhere and taking our bus on daily excursions wasn't in our plans. We knew this would be the case, but then we also knew that since, like a turtle, if we wanted, all we had to do was move if we wanted something different. (And towing a car is a real pain). So today we up'd our jacks and rolled out in search of something closer into town.

But as all good plans go, instead of making the obvious left to head north towards the nearest town, we turned farther south. We decided to drive around the largest lake in California, Salton Sea, and it was a wonderful drive that only took us 100 miles out of our way. On the first little bit, we noticed lines on the mountains. We've been told these are one of the watermarks, from when the Coachella Valley was under water.

Of course Samantha, our computerized tour guide, didn't fail us... we were directed off the main interstates not soon after and down roads that weaved us through farm field after farm field... workers out picking and tending to the crops of vegetables or working on the irrigation systems all stopped and waved to us.

As we rounded the southern end of the lake and headed north, we once again were directed off the main roads and found ourselves in a strange and yet wonderful place called Slab City. This is an abandoned US Air Base where there are no services or rules... You just pull in with your camper, find an empty space in the desert and you can stay as long as you want. And, it would appear that some people have done just that. A fun but odd place to visit.

Time to roll again, we were still in search of a campsite more ... shall we say... urban and not extreme boondocking like this.

Our trip around Salton Sea was interesting. There are some 400 bird species and the lake is a major resting place on the pacific flyway for migrating birds. The lake (opps, I meant to say Sea) has very few species of fish due to the high salt content of the water - talapia is the main catch here. And lets be honest here folks... this lake...(SEA) is a run off basin some 35 miles long and it's a dumping ground from all the agriculture in the does have a smell from the decay... the white strips in the pictures of the shoreline are small shells and fishbone.

The history of the place is unique. Some strange and odd facts:

- The first dummy test drops of the Hiroshima atomic bomb were done over this lake.

- If this lake dried up, it would be farther below sea level than Death Valley. (as it happened, Samantha told us at one point we were 253' below sea level as we drove along side of the lake).

Just after lunch we rolled back into the towns of Indio and La Quinta and just across the street from the Costco we shopped at last week is our RV resort park for the next week at least. We're back to the parking lots of RV's with the little strips of grass in between, but from here we can ride our bikes to the golf stores, grocery stores, liquor stores and other interesting sites. Down the street is a Hertz car rental, we may take advantage of that as well.

This campground is well organized, with three pools, and practice putting greens all over the place (two are just outside our front windows), they publish a monthly calendar of events which include breakfasts, dinners, poker nights, shuffle board, computer classes, quilting and who knows what else old people think they need to learn. Oh and they have 3 times a week, golf outings to Palm Springs area golf courses. So we will have to see how this week goes, maybe we will stay longer. Just knowing that $11 tequila is sold just minutes away by bicycle, is a great motivator to stay here a while.

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