Chuck & Jan - 2008 & 2009 travel blog

'An the livin' is easy

Only in California

Gershwin had it right! It may not be "summertime" in this part of California, but the livin' IS easy. We're just mostly kicking back and enjoying 70 - 80 degree weather.

This MUST be California. Where else in the world would an accident create the biggest lake in the state? The Salton sea is 268 feet below sea level, was created because the canals that were used in 1905 to bring water to the desert for agriculture were subjected to a huge flood and most of the Colorado river flowed in to the area for about a year and a half before it could be stopped. The resultant lake is 360 square miles, and of course has no outlet, since it's 268 feet below sea level.

It does have input - rain runoff, and agricultural runoff. The resultant lake water is gaining in salinity, and currently is saltier than the Pacific. There are/were many fish in the lake, but between increasing salinity, and algal bloom fed by the "nutriants" from the agricultural runoff causing a decrease in oxygen content, there has been, and is die off in the fish population. When we were there, there were large numbers of dead fish around the shore, and the water was muddy looking from algae.

The claim is that there are plans to keep the lake as is, by increasing the flow of fresh water. I didn't see any plan for removing minerals (in 20 minutes of research), so can't see how it will be possible. It seems to me they will have to pump water 268 feet up before it can run off to the ocean, or process the water to remove "nutrients" and mineral. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

We returned to Desert Hot Springs via a back road (Dillon Road), and it was an interesting drive. All desert, and built just the way the roads I mentioned a couple of entries ago - just follow the contours of the land. Our drive was a whole lot more undulating that the earlier ones, and it was quite interesting to see, or rather to feel, the cruise control trying to keep the speed constant. Actually, the road was quite reminiscent of the prairie grid roads Jan and I remember from our younger days. It was a highlite to sit in the back of a half ton truck, or the back seat of a car while the driver gave us a thrill by accellerating down and up the gullies, then cresting the hills with the gas off.

We stopped off for lunch at the Oasis Date Gardens. A tourist trap in the middle of a Date farm. Who knew there were so many different kinds of dates? Had a sandwich, and a date shake. Remember the old Dairy Queen shakes, so thick you ate them with a spoon? I guess they still exist - I just never bothered to get one in the last eleventy four years.

Great couple of days!!


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