Monday, March 9, 2015

The Salton Sea Area

We traveled west on Highway 8 from Yuma and took Interstate 111 north. Interstate 111 is nice as it bypasses going through the communities along the way. Highway 111 turns into 78.  We then exited onto Highway 86 north to our destination near the community of Salton Sea Beach. Salton Sea Beach is only 4 miles north of Salton City. The scenery between Yuma and the Salton Sea area is a mix of desert and agriculture.
The Salton Sea has an interesting history and future! The basin it is in was at one time a salt mine! The modern sea was created accidentally in 1905 when an irrigation canal coming off the Colorado River broke! It took two years for engineers to stop the water flow and the Salton Sea was born! The Salton Sea averages 15 miles wide by 35 miles long and has a depth of 44 feet. The lake's salinity is about 54 grams per Litre (i.e. g/L) which is greater than that of the Pacific Ocean at 35 g/L, but less than that of the Great Salt Lake which ranges from 50-270 g/L. The Salton Sea had some success as a resort area in the 1950's and had a housing boom in the 1990s. As to the sea's future, the water level is expected to decrease significantly between 2013 and 2021 due to changes in water apportionment agreements. There is a current movement to save the Salton Sea, as plans are underway to dry up the center section leaving a horseshoe shaped lake on the north end and a salt marsh on the south end. This plan's projected completion date is 2035! 
We pulled into Silver Sands RV Park on March 4th planning to stay a couple of days and then move closer to other points of interest.  We were given such a warm welcome by the park residents, that we decided to make the rv park our home base for traveling to nearby points of interest. The park is very basic, but is only $10.00 per night for a place to stay that provides water, sewer, and electricity! We stayed until the 11th alternating days of running and lounging at home.  Our camper is in the center, with all our wonderful neighbor's homes around us! 
This is our view across the highway to the sea. It was such a quiet and peaceful existence up on our hillside!  It will call us back!  
On the same side of the highway as our r.v. park and not more than a mile away is the Red Earth Casino and travel plaza. Both were a nice convenience and Roy won $100!
Here is the entrance to Salton City. There is a small market, post office, and restaurant close to the highway and the rest consists of housing. The 2010 census showed a population of 3,763 residents.
Many of the homes are of this style and spread out through the desert. The landscaping is mostly natural desert!
This is the community sign for Salton Sea Beach. I'm not sure why I'm including it other than it seems to somehow sum up the casual lifestyle of the area! I can't quite figure out the strange feeling it projects! Is it a breaking with society's code of conduct to plaster all those signs over the Salton Sea Beach Marina sign?  What does it say about the community to have this as their community welcome sign? Hmmm???  I think the marina is no longer in operation.
The community of Salton Sea Beach has a beach community feel.  It has lots of modular homes and sandy yards.  The lifestyle is relaxed. The 2010 census showed a population of 422 residents.
On the northeast side of the lake is the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. It has 14 miles of beach front and several campgrounds. Some have amenities and some don't. Those that do are about $30.00 a night!
We took a drive through and looked at the beach from the truck. It didn't look inviting, as it appears sticky with salt. The air seemed fresh, but we could feel the salt in the air. I had to chuckle that we were starting to locate home by the mountains across the lake!
This landscape is along State Route 22 going towards Borrego Springs. The community of Borrego Springs is about 30 miles from Salton City. Off in the distance you can see lots of campers. There was a San Diego based ATV club having a rally here. It looks like a great place for it! More about Borrego Springs in the next post!