It was another beautiful morning here in the desert. Rolled up S2 toward Scissors Crossing then made a right on 78 and into Borrego Springs, the first 45 miles of the 240 mile loop. This is a nice scenic road with canyons and curves that rival what you find in Colorado. A really beautiful drive.
There are vast areas of very rough terrain with some pretty deep canyons and washes. Lots of OHV trails and an OHV would be a great way to really explore the back country here.
On down the road a little ways is the small town of Borrego Springs and it was not long before some of the huge creatures that hang out in these parts started showing themselves.
It started as a Jurassic park of sorts, sculptures of animals that roamed the earth 3 million years ago. Today there is a wider variety of art although we mostly encountered sculptures of prehistoric animals. We missed the jeep, the serpent and the cowboy prospector and his horse. We’ll catch them on the next trip. After a just bit over an hour and a half of roaming around off road we were starting to get hungry, we found a great Mexican Restaurant in town, Carmelita’s and pulled in for lunch. I forgot to take pictures, I was too hungry!
So after lunch we headed toward the Salton Sea. What an interesting place it is! Somewhat sad and eerie rolled together. At one time this was a playground for the rich and famous, now it is an inhabited sort of ghost town and waste land. There are some nice homes next to some well worn residences along with a few abandoned buildings and various kinds of debris scattered all around the western shore that we rolled through. There are streets that intersect complete with street signs with nautical street names. The eerie part comes from many empty lots where houses once stood, most have been removed and there is little evidence of their prior existence. As I say it is kind of an eerie apocalyptic feeling you get.
After a short bit of driving through the area we were really needing to make our way to the eastern shore if there was any hope of seeing the Slabs, Mud Pots or the Dos Palmas Oasis, so we rolled on over to the north and circled around to the east side.
Up on the North Eastern Shore is a continuation of the same diversity as on the other side. You do pass through a lot of agricultural activity on the way. (More to come on that later). There is a Marina which is a shuttered reminder of what once was, all locked up with no trespassing signs all over so there were few opportunities for pictures except from outside the gate.
Continuing the exploration we came across the Salton Sea Yacht Club / Community Center. This had up until recently been the location of the Museum which we planned to see. However there was a couple there taking pictures also and we began to chat. Dave and his sister have a long history around the Salton Sea and drop by from time to time to reminisce. They began telling us about the renovation of the Yacht Club and a decision, (DUMB ONE) that was made to move the museum into storage in a nearby warehouse. The Yacht Club / Community Center was all locked up! They say 20,000+ people per year used to visit the Museum, I’d say I have to agree, closing it was a real dumb thing to do. The Yacht club building was an original structure from the early days and has recently been renovated with the primary purpose of housing what else? The Museum!!!
Well the folks I just mentioned, Dave and his sister, (we did not get her name) have lots of family history on the Salton Sea as I said. They told us about spending time here when they were growing up and some of their many memories of the area. Their grandfather had started a resort just a short distance south of the Yacht Club. He was advised at the time to build close to the water as the lake would be receding from the then current levels. Dave said that turned out to be very bad advice and the foundations of the original structures were still under water and the lake today IS a lot lower than it was at the high water point.
The history and story of the Salton Sea is way too long and detailed to chronicle here but a lot of info can be found on line and there are a few great books that tell the story also.
So back to Dave and his sister, I asked a question about the local agriculture particularly regarding Date palms and viola, learned from them a bit more about something I wanted to check out but had not really thought of it on this trip. Dates, yes this is the date capital of the world! Turns out one of the large producers is just up the road (in the opposite direction we were headed). So we got the directions and went to check out OASIS DATE GARDENS.
A slight detour to the north. Next up, the rest of the story…
UPDATE: Look for the rest of the story the week of 12/1, we are heading back to the eastern shore of The Salton Sea. We ran out of time and daylight on the first trip.