The Salton Sea

As we made our way from Desert Hot Springs to Winterhaven, CA this was a stop that was on our list of things to see. Back in the 1960’s this was once a booming resort area and a haven for fisherman and boaters. First came the floods which wiped out many of the towns and resorts, then in the 1980’s the wildlife die-offs began. Millions and millions of dead tilapia line the shores. Today you can still see the carcasses and what looks like white sand is actually pulverized fish bones. It’s amazing there’s any wildlife remaining.

We stayed at the Corvina Beach Campground. There is only dry camping available there and the fee is 10.00 per night. Our first day and night there was great. No wind and no smell. However, the next day the winds picked up and the smell?? WOW unbelievable. The stench was so bad it was almost unbearable along with all the blowing sand.

It’s really sad and there is a lot of controversy on what can be done. Interestingly enough, when we arrived in Winterhaven CA and I told the camp host where we had come from she said she grew up in that area. She remembers swimming and water skiing at the Salton Sea and said she can still taste the salt in her mouth to this day just thinking about it.

Slab City

This was another of one of those must see locations. It was on our route and it’s one of those must see to believe it places. We considered staying here for a night or so we took a drive through first to check it out. I’m really reaching for the words to describe it. There’s no place we have ever been to compare it to and there’s really nothing like it anywhere.

Slab City gets its name from the concrete slabs remaining from the abandoned WWII barracks of Camp Dunlap. It is uncontrolled and sometimes called “The last free place in America”. There’s a very diverse group of people and many different reasons people go to the slabs. Many snowbirders will winter there just because it’s free and can stretch their incomes out over those months. Some are there because they are extremely poor and live there permanently. Others just want to be left alone and live off grid. Then there are those who drop in for a short visit or overnight and move on.

When you first pull in to Slab City you are greeted by Salvation Mountain. It’s a small hill covered in paint and bible verses. Sadly Leonard Knight the creator has since passed away, however paint donations are still accepted seven days a week and his work still lives on thanks to many volunteers. Click here for a link to a trailer of one of the latest documentaries on Leonard Knight and Salvation Mountain. It is called “The Love Story of Leonard Knight”

After some time of checking things out and taking a few photos we decided we would move on. Maybe if we were with a few other people we would have stuck around for a couple days. Since we were on our own we decided that it was best for us to find another place to hang out for a few days.

Hot Spring – LTVA BLM Land

After leaving Slab City we opted for a nice quiet 2 lane road and decided to head towards BLM land just outside of Holtville, California. It was kind of like taking a drive in the country back in South Dakota with nothing but miles and miles of farmland. Except instead of corn and beans it was carrots, broccoli, lettuce and other veggies.

This particular area is one of the Long Term Visitor Areas which requires a paid permit. You have 2 choices, a short term 14 day permit which is 40.00, or a long term permit which is 180.00 and is valid for the entire season. By entire season meaning, September 15th through April 15th, both permits are valid in all 7 of the LTVA’s. This link gives you a map and additional information regarding the BLM Long Term Visitor areas. We opted for the short term permit and found ourselves a nice spot to settle in for a few days.

The weather was great! Nice and toasty upper 80’s and the winds weren’t too bad. We were actually able to work outside most of the time. Almost daily we had military planes overhead. The cool ones to watch were the Ospreys, half plane half helicopter. There were always 3 of them flying together. The only thing we noticed here was once it got dark there were (gasp) mosquitoes!! This was the one and only time we encountered those pesky little bastards on our entire trip. In fact, it really was the only time we had any bugs period.

Where To Next

A short jaunt east on I-8 to Sans End RV Park in Winterhaven, California where we’ll be staying for one week and playing for their Leap Year Party!

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