Charleston to San Diego: Day 12

Today we set out early for the last leg of our trip having said our goodbyes the evening before.

Our route took us down toward Phoenix and then cut over through Prescott on what looked to be a major, fairly straight road. Turns out it wasn’t. My plans, again, of progressing with a little sewing were neutralized by the very windy road. But we finally got through and onto I-10.

Our first stop for the day was at Joshua Tree National Park. Anson had been there as a child, for an overnight camping trip and wanted to see it again. We stopped at the visitor’s center to look at the map and decided that it was close enough to where we would be in San Diego that we should really make a day trip of the area or even come back to overnight.

The next thing on our evolving agenda was the Salton Sea, which turned out to be the highlight of our day. Driving down from Indio we took the interesting route along the eastern shore. The first place to pull off near the edge of the sea we stopped at was an abandoned fish and tackle store. Anson’s brief moment of wanting to stick a toe in the water evaporated as soon as we stopped, and I was not prepared for the smell that awaited me in the washed out parking lot. Imagine the smell of hundreds of dead, rotting fish. Like a Indonesian market on a very hot day. The smell was quite pungent. And unsurprisingly, the source was hundreds of dead fish piled up on a little boat launch beside our car.

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Once past the dead things we wandered to the beach nearby. What was really weird just got weirder. The sand wasn’t sand at all, it was made up completly of fish bones, most of them very small and unrecognisable but there were still lots of backbones and even a few whole fish. Really weird and cool at the same time.

The “Salt” in Salton Sea is very salty. As we found out from the visitors center a little further on, the sea is 75% more salty than the ocean, since there isn’t an outlet for the water to escape. Most of the streams and rivers that flow into it carry fish (along with everything else) that then die in the sea. One of the few fish that does survie is tilapia.

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While we were in the area I had to see a place that had some more abandoned things. I had seen photos from the little town called Bombay Beach. There were a few old vacation homes, vintage trailers really, that were partially flooded. We found the place at the very edge of the water but sadly not intact at all. All of the homes had disintegrated with only foundations and a few sticks remaining. Bombay Beach was quite the rundown little town; with a barier of dirt 5ft high between the houses and the sea, there wasn’t even a view from the main streets. Most homes were trailers of varying age. Many of the very well kept homes with grass and potted plants had neighboors that lived in complete squalor or the houses were completely abandoned. Sort of a eerie and strange experience.

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After that we headed to our final destination, San Diego, over the mountains on I-8. Despite our better judgment we decided to spend the night at a hotel in downtown San Diego for a bit of culture and one last thing before moving into our semi-permanent hotel on the Navy base. Priceline has been good to us on this trip and we got a fantastic deal on a four star hotel. Not our usual choice but it was amazing! And I’ve been really surprised how many pet friendly hotels there are out there with little to no fees. I belive we were the first to bring two cats for the night.

Aside from the ridiculus valet parking fee we had a fantastic time. Apparently I’m likeable or something cause the valet gave me two coupons for free beer at their rooftop bar. I won’t comment much on the hotel other than there was some amazing art throughout (I’m not easily impressed). Downtown San Diego that night was busstling with all types. We walked up several blocks to TGI Friday’s for dinner and enjoyed people watching. Once back we took advantage of the free drinks on the roof top. The view from there was amazing. And then we hit the sack. Traveling is tiring.


And that is the end of our very long trip across the US. If you missed the beginning of our story here is day 1. Enjoy!

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