On Sunday we had the whole day free, so we decided to roadtrip to the Salton Sea and explore. We'd seen an Anthony Bourdain episode of No Reservations where he visited the Salton Sea, so obviously we were curious! We figured we could drive out, explore some, and then get lunch where Anthony Bourdain ate.
Our first stop was the Sonny Bono wildlife refuge (it was the closest thing to San Diego, so we figured it'd be a good first stop).
Looks somewhat promising, right? Our drive to this point was pretty ugly, (don't get me wrong, the desert is pretty....but honestly only about 1/2 of the drive was actually desert...) all just badly cared for agricultural fields and highways. The town this nature preserve is in was the first gas station we saw for two hours, but that's about it! We didn't even see a McDonald's.
Here's what we actually saw upon walking the ten feet into the "wildlife reserve".
Andddd.....that's it! Literally just an irrigation canal and a field. The "observation deck" was severely unimpressive. Not worth a 2 hour drive....that's for sure.
So we spent approximately five minutes here, and then decided to continue on our exploration of the area and check out Bombay Beach, the supposed epicenter of the Salton Sea tourist attractions - plus where we were hoping to have some lunch!
Another 45 minute drive took us across more nondescript desert, past more agricultural fields, and through one US Border Patrol checkpoint. (Don't worry, they let us through)
As we turned left off the desert highway (with literally ZERO around) we were definitely starting to feel a little skeptical about this whole "attraction" thing....and then we started seeing the truth.
The smell hit us first. We drove through the (very broken and abandoned) little "town" and couldn't even see the water over the berm...so we drove up over it via a VERY SKETCHY little path. As soon as we opened our doors the worst rotten egg/rotting fish smell hit us, and we weren't sure quite why at first, but then we walked down toward the water....
There were fish skeletons and other rotting marine life washed up on the dirt shore. Even the sand was disgusting. Not exactly the "Desert Paradise" we were thinking we were about to find.
Honestly, the only thing I can call this whole "town" is a bone yard. It was really sad to walk around.
I didn't even wander around with him...I just stuck to the road. The dirt was so gross and I was only wearing sandals.
Our drive back out to the highway from the "beach" was equally as sad - even the inhabited houses looked pretty abandoned. I can't imagine living in such a desolate place!
Moral of the Salton Sea story....don't go. It was definitely an interesting trip, but NOT at all what we were hoping for! Apparently Bombay Beach has been the site of lots of movie filming, though. (I'm guessing mostly horror films)
On the way back we drove south and then west on I-8 so we could see a different landscape and it was a pretty nice ride. The roads weren't quite as boring, plus we came within sight of the Mexican border.
Dreamer, decorator, wife, business owner, personal fitness trainer. 20-something.