From the abandoned road the abandoned motel looks inviting
...until you notice the boarded up windows and peeling, sun-baked paint
North Shore, "The Glamor Capital of the Salton Sea" as it was billed in the 1960s. Palm Springs, to the north, was already the hangout for movie stars with all the hip clubs and year-round sunshine. The Salton Sea was the natural extension of Palm Springs - now you can have a desert hideaway with a yacht! North Shore had a resort, yacht club, restaurants... The Yacht Club building is cool, with it's space age, streamlined air conditioner - 4 intakes on the sea side to bring in the "fresh air" and two afterburners on the other side, I guess to give the idea that there's massive air conditioning going on! That was probably inviting to tourists who'd been suckered into heading out to the 120F desert in the summer!
The sea is a good example of man's folly with nature.
Rolling up on the abandoned yacht club, the abandoned pool and spa is to the right of the abandoned driveway
It was originally formed when a canal project went bad on the Colorado River to the east. In 1906 the river was accidentally diverted into a low spot in the desert (the sea is at 200 ft. below sea level...) and flooded the entire floor of the valley. At about the same time, the Imperial Valley was being converted to agriculture. The soil was so salty that the only way to grow things was to flood the crops and let the salts leach out through drains, and into the Salton Sea... along with pesticides, fertilizers and all sorts of nasty things. All of this drains into the sea and has turned it into a huge, salty cesspool.
By the 70s, the salt level had reached concentrations that killed most of the fish, and the resulting stench drove off any remaining vacationers. It's funny, there has been a succession of introductions of increasingly salt tolerant fish, and subsequent die-offs as the sea becomes too salty for them. All that's left now are talapia, which are nearly indestructable, but are now dying off...
As a result, the sea has "interesting" beaches. From a distance, they appear as white stretches of beautiful, soft, undulating sand. On closer inspection you find that they are made entirely out of fish bones, bird bones, and barnacles killed by the salt. I rushed around to get the shots since the smell was pretty unbearable. And then there are the famous clouds of flies....