Plan Road Trip to Salton Sea

Post Apocalyptic Lanscape and Bird Watching

salton sea, post apocalytic, road trip, vacation, lake, california

One day you wake up thinking, "plan road trip,” perhaps dreaming about the next thing on your to do list. It's an unusually hot and humid day, and you smell something. Maybe you're in your house, and you think, I thought I took the trash out, but I must have forgotten.

So, you look all around your house, and all of the trash is gone. You did take it out. Dirty dishes, maybe? But you look in the sink and see nary a dirty plate of rotting food. What the heck is that smell? Then you remember...ah, yes, the Salton Sea. Up to fifty miles away, and you can still smell it on one of it's Extra Dying Days.

It's a Kooky Accident

The Salton Sea is a huge lake of about 525 square miles located far south. It's not natural, it's a kooky man made accident as a result of a turn of the century irrigation debacle, which diverted the Colorado river into a deep desert land basin. Opportunists said, hey, what's not to like? And they made it into a thriving tourist destination and had a good old time, boating, fishing, and generally frolicking about.

But the only water to the sea was agricultural run off, and the sea became saltier than the ocean, unfathomable amounts of fish died from botulism poisoning, summer hit 120 degrees, and the tourists fled. So did mostly everyone else.

The Sand is Bones From Dead Fish

The beaches are not made of sand, they're made of pulverized fish bones. There's dead fish in varying degrees of decay along the shore. The only signs of life are the birds, which thrive on the copious amounts of fish. The Salton Sea Wildlife Refuge has recorded over 380 species of birds that migrate there. Great bird watching place. Bring your kids' binoculars! That way you can divert their attention if they ask you why you brought them to such a God forsaken hellhole.

My son loves it, though. It's unique and strange, that's for sure. It has such a post apocalyptic feel to it, and you really feel like you have stepped into another world. Plus, it's weirdly peaceful.

There is a gift shop there where you can buy books about the Salton Sea, and even watch a short movie about how the unintentional sea came about. There also appears to be RV parking in the parking lot next to the Salton Sea Visitor Center/Gift Shop. But steer clear in the summer months. It gets hot! Up to 120 degrees hot, and it stinks and you feel like you are being cooked alive and it's just wrong.

So the next time you wake up thinking, "plan road trip," do plan a road trip to the Salton Sea.

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