When is a sea not a sea?
An old riddle asks: When is a door not a door? The punning answer is: When it’s ajar. I hope it won’t jar you to learn that California’s Salton Sea isn’t a branch of the Pacific Ocean but rather a shallow and briny lake in the far south of the state. On November 6th (you see these trip posts will trip around chronologically) we drove southeast on California Highway 111, which runs for miles along the shore of the non-sea sea, so I could finally get to see a geographical feature I first heard about as a teenager poring over road maps acquired for free back then from oil companies.
The Salton Sea looks nice but smells bad, at least in part due to dead fish that we found rotting along the shore in some places. That goes a long way toward explaining why attempts to attract tourists have run afoul. If you’d like a look at one of those decaying fish you can mentally hold your nose and click the icon below.
A would-have-been yacht club that we stopped at had clearly gone through hard times. A little later we drove through a small settlement called Bombay Beach, where our spirits sank upon seeing so many mobile homes and other structures abandoned and falling apart. According to the relevant Wikipedia article, this village “is the lowest community in America, located 223 feet below sea level.” Maybe it should change its name to Desolation Row.
© 2016 Steven Schwartzman