SoCal Takeover: Wanderers

I spent the last two days of our California trip riding shotgun and directing Mark how to get to the last stops on my itinerary. I might have directed him an hour in the wrong direction at one point…that man of mine is exceptionally patient. Plus, I think it was a pretty nice drive.

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We drove to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway first thing in the morning, to be sure that my mom & Tobias wouldn’t miss their flights back home. I had never been so high outside of an airplane in my life! The view was exquisite.

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After we dropped them off, Mark wanted to hit up the Palm Springs Air Museum. He loves all things planes and war history, so it was his kind of place.

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Then we set out for Niland, California. Better known as Middle of Nowhere, USA.

Salvation Mountain was something to look forward to. I had read about Leonard Knight’s mountain online and seen it in the film Into the Wild. The man who created it and painted it lived without any modern luxury like running water and electricity, every day, in the desert, painting away day after day. He really lived out his life’s passion.

However,  we got a bit sidetracked.

In my research, I found that on the way to Salvation Mountain we would come across Salton Sea. Because the mountain was so far outside of Palm Springs, I thought Salton Sea would be a good stop off.

Well, I was right about that part. However, I didn’t take into consideration that the signs on the road could and did take me to the wrong side of a sea that was certainly the same on both sides. Whoops!

Salton Sea isn’t just any body of water. It’s a strange phenomenon that went from a vacationer’s paradise of water sports and relaxation to beach made of a foot thick of solid fish bone “sand” with a stench that you won’t soon forget. The town surrounding looked very post-apocalyptic, and based on what I read prior and what I saw, I was shocked and saddened to see that people lived there.

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It looks so normal….from a distance.
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We realized we had gone too far in the wrong direction, and made our way backward. As we continued toward our destination, the sun started to go down! It was nerve wracking to think that we had spent all afternoon in pursuit of something that was impossible to see after twilight. (Which, mind you, hits before 5:30 p.m. in that side of the country.)

When we were more than a several miles shy of our destination, we zoomed past a border control checkpoint. Mark realized he didn’t know where his paperwork for the rental car was and was worried about what we were going to do when we got back. I reassured him that the officer wasn’t looking for us, but the situation reassured him that we were in the middle of nowhere.

Then finally, during sunset, we arrived!

SoCal Wanderer-14 SoCal Wanderer-15 SoCal Wanderer-16 SoCal Wanderer-17 SoCal Wanderer-18 SoCal Wanderer-19We had a phenomenal dinner when we arrived back in Palm Springs, then had dessert and drinks at Norma’s in The Parker. Before we headed back for Houston the following day, we shopped in the mid-century shops a tad and saw Elvis + Priscilla Presley’s Honeymoon Hideaway.

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I still miss those mountains!

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