Road Trip 2011 – Niland, Slab City, Salton Sea and Joshua Tree National Park CA – Day 79 – Part 2

After exploring Slab City, we headed North just a little ways farther and decided to try to get closer to the Salton Sea, which looked like a literal Mirage in the distance to our left.  We came to two different Salton Sea recreation areas, both of which were closed and chained up.  It was a little strange to have a huge parking lot with camping, etc, just completely abandoned in the middle of Summer.  But it was one of the hottest desert climates we experienced the whole trip, so perhaps that’s why?  Finally we came to a tiny little speck of a lakeside town called Bombay Beach.  It was all trailers and shacks and empty shells.  It almost looked abandoned.  We turned left off the street into the little “town” and the first thing we passed was a tiny little convenience store that said the hours were from something really bizarre like 2pm-4pm.  We followed a little sign to the recreation area and once we got to the back side of town that was closest to the lake, there was a huge dirt wall built up so you couldn’t see the lake.  Every couple hundred feet, there was a road that surmounted the hill to the “recreation area”  but each road we came to was chained up so you couldn’t even walk through.  Finally we came to one hill where the chains had been busted through so we turned in not knowing quite what to expect but a little creeped out and scared to find out.  This is the first sight we saw…

I was just like uhhh…. no wonder it’s all closed up.  It was really bizarre.  I did some research afterwards and found out that in like the 70s or 80s after this guy created this town, there was a huge flood and like 500 homes got completely buried in the mud.  Apparently they’ve just left it that way ever since.  Only a handful of people still live there.

After getting our fill of exploration at the Seaside, we headed to Joshua Tree National Park to see those funny little trees.  Don’t be fooled… most of the park is very boring and looks like everything else you drive around in the desert.  The coolest spots were the Cholla Cactus garden and the Joshua Tree section… both very small.  And apparently we arrived during bee season so we could barely get out of the car without getting chased.  Bummer.

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