reply to post by davespanners
About 8 years ago, my best friend and I drove cross-country from Chicago to Los Angeles. We decided to do it the spontaneous way, without a preplanned
itinerary. The glorious roadmap being our guide, we'd point at little dots and patches of color - towns with interesting names, or points of
geographical interest - and drive toward that destination.
Nearing the end of our trip, we noted a large body of water in the desert, and took a detour to go see what it was all about. When we arrived, it was
as if we were suddenly sucked into a time warp. We passed ghostly remnants of opulent resorts. I kept wondering out loud, "What IS this place?....What
happened?" The architecture was pure hip fifties, but the lively painted facades and vibrant spaces were now peeling, empty, eroded skeletons. There
was a deep sadness emanating from these buildings. As we continued driving, the mood changed from sad - to haunted - to totally creeped out.
However, this did not dampen our resolve to remain there. We stopped at a camping area on the waterfront, and if I remember correctly it was part of
the state park system. As we pulled in, the realization of just how eerily deserted the place was grabbed us. We were, after all, two girls alone with
a little wilderness experience but no hardcore self defense skills. The fetid air was also capturing our attention. By the time we reached the park
ranger in the little shack at the entrance of the campsite, we no longer had the desire to stick with our original plan. Neither of us wanted to admit
it though, so we proceeded.
We paid a small fee and were given our receipt along with a sheet of paper that was a disclaimer of sorts... a required notice to campers. It spoke of
the trials of the Salton Sea - how it came to be, where it went, and that the water was - well - essentially toxic, and wildlife in the area had been
nearly extinguished. BUT, worry not... things were improving. We sat in the car, looking out onto the beautiful, expansive, post-apocolyptic sea.
After a few minutes, we turned and stared at each other, silently agreeing that we were not badass enough to take on the challenge of staying
overnight. So, we promptly turned around, told the ranger (rather sheepishly) that we changed our minds, and went on our way.
We drove aimlessly for awhile, trying to find another place to camp, but the more we drove the creepier and more desperate the landscape became. Even
though sundown was quickly approaching, we decided to continue driving.
My biggest regret....I regret not taking any pictures. I was shooting up a storm the entire trip, but I was just so immersed in the experience of such
a bizarre environment, that thoughts of photos fell by the wayside. What a shame. I would love to have visual documentation of that day, but at least
I can reflect on the experience.
edit on 5/18/2011 by HolographicPrincipal because: insomniac grammar correction