The Continuing Series of Unfortunate Events

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continued from last week’s Tire Blow-Out post…

So after a night in Joshua Tree National Park we drove to Palm Springs to get Pearson’s glasses fixed and procure four new tires.

Joshua Tree National Park at sunset

As an aside, someone please tell me the appeal Palm Springs. Seriously, I don’t get it. It’s miles and miles of strip malls and traffic, all I felt there was panic and anxiety; it took all day to run a hand full of errands.

After we successfully got four new tires and Pearson’s glasses patched up, we were back on the highway when the car started handling funny again. We immediately took it to another tire shop (there are two of the same chain tire shops within about 10 miles, this sums up Palm Springs). We spent a few hours at the shop but got no answers.

Our plan for the night was to sleep at a rest stop about 30 miles east on i-10. We got a late start driving there, and a windstorm made it slow going. We arrived to find that the rest stop was closed. It turned out that all i-10 rest stops in California were closed, but we didn’t know that.

So we slept in the small parking lot of a Loves Travel Center right in front of a ‘no loitering’ sign. And over the course of the night were joined by half a dozen other weary travelers.

The next day, we drove south through the Imperial Valley, along the dying Salton Sea.

Salton Sea beach late sunrise

The Salton Sea is interesting for a couple of reasons, first: it lies entirely below sea level, and second: it was created accidentally. In 1905 irrigation canals were dug from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley, but rain and snow run off caused the canals to overflow and the Colorado River flowed into the Salton Basin until it could be stopped two years later.

Entrance to Bombay Beach Bombay Beach is closed

The Salton Sea would have just evaporated, however in 1928 it was designated a storage spot for agricultural run off (I passed on taking a swim).

Corroded crane on Bombay Beach

Because the lake has no outflow and salty inflow, its salinity is increasing and is now 30% saltier than the ocean, which is killing the fish. The beach in the picture below is a field of fish bones and carcasses.

Beach of dead fish bones  Dead fish on Bombay Beach

Resorts, like Bombay Beach, were built around the Salton Sea but unfortunately, are now largely abandoned and crumbling, probably because the area stinks of rotting fish.

Bombay Beach abandoned house Bombay Beach abandoned house Abandoned Bombay Beach, California Rotting piers at Bombay Beach  Old couch on Bombay Beach Old foundation and toilet on Bombay Beach in California Destruction at Bombay Beach


We stopped at Salvation Mountain at Slab City. Which is fascinating and strangely beautiful.

Leonard Knight's Salvation Mountain entrance Wide shot of Leonard Knight's Salvation Mountain Wide shot of painted trucks at Salvation Mountain up the steps of Salvation Mountain Salvation Mountain folk art

By the time we arrived at our hotel in El Centro, California, we hadn’t bathed in three days and we were so blinded by the shower that we overlooked the condition of the room.

We had planned to stay in El Centro at the hotel that shall not be named for four nights while I did our bookkeeping and prepped our tax info for our accountant. When we awoke the next morning, there were cockroaches swarming the bathroom and a bed bug on the wall. Needless to say, we immediately packed our stuff and checked out of the hotel that shall not be named. However, we both had work to do and now needed to wash everything we owned, so we were stuck at a coffee shop and laundromat in El Centro for the day.

Sadly, El Centro has the highest unemployment rate in the country. I won’t elaborate on these conditions, but if you’re debating where to take your next vacation, you can safely skip El Centro. We stayed the night at a rest stop just out of town on i-8 and the next day we battled rainstorms all the way into San Diego.

Driving in the rain on i-8 in California with a Rainbow Rainbow across i-8 in California


Thankfully, once we got to San Diego our luck turned around and three weeks later, when we were rather positive that we didn’t bring the bed bugs with us, we started to laugh about the whole sequence of events.

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