Before we left the West coast on our big move to the East Coast I wanted to go to one last place, the Salton Sea. It was a test, to see how our baby would do on a road trip that was longer than 30 minutes and to see a place that is so fascinating that I've been obsessed with it ever since I learned its very peculiar history.
The Salton Sea was an accident. A massive flood of the Colorado River overtook a huge swathe of farmland in Southern California. For years it was a resort destination, a place to spend summers, a vacation. Now it is death and dying and decay. It is a giant middle finger to mother nature and it is completely toxic. Everything in it dies and is washed ashore. I stepped out of the car to take pictures and I was immediately hit with the smell of dead fish and rotting something. As I walked toward the white shores of the Salton Sea my feet sunk into piles and piles and more piles fish bones bleached from the sun and picked clean by birds who, no doubt, reached their untimely demise shortly thereafter. I ran back to the car screaming, "it's a bio-hazard!"
As we traveled onward we noted how beautiful it was from afar, and how and scary it was when you got closer. We stopped by what was once a resort town, Bombay Beach. I'm ashamed to say I was too freaked to get out of the car. Amidst the burnt out trailers and falling down old houses there was an awful lot of satanic graffiti. One of the busted old houses had "turn back now, abandon all hope, all ye who enter" spray painted all over it. So, um, yeah, we got the fuck out of there, because even though it could just be hype, and even though I'm an atheist, I didn't want to invite any trouble.
The highlight of our trip was Salvation mountain, an amazing installation by the now deceased Leonard Knight. It was impressive, and huge, and a bit spooky. I'm glad we went there. It was a really incredible day, weird, but incredible.