Day 174: Ancient Roads and Modern Ruins

This morning we headed back to Los Algodones for Tricia’s glasses. The Indian tribe’s parking lot was quite full by 10am when we arrived:

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We headed through the gates.  Once through the turnstile, there’s no returning without a passport.  I checked my pocket one more time to make sure the passports were there before heading through:

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We picked up Tricia’s glasses and they seem to fit well.  We did hear another couple being told that their glasses weren’t ready, which made me wonder if perhaps the “they’ll be ready in 3 hours” promise is just something they say to make the sale.

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One of the things I noticed about the street peddlers that came up to us and asked us to buy something is that all the peddlers of a given type had identical merchandise.  For example, all the men selling jewelry had the exact same jewelry, all the women selling wallets had the exact same wallets, etc.  I wonder if they are working for a company, or perhaps they just all get their wares from the same supplier.

Standing in line to leave, we could see that the security forces in Mexico want to have a visible presence here:

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Today we managed to get through the line with only a 25 minute wait.  Heading back to our rig, we headed North to I-8 and drove West to the Grays Wells Road exit.  After a few miles, we reached the remnants of the old Plank Road.  The segments here are all that remains of a 6.5 mile boardwalk-like “road” built over the dunes nearly 100 years ago to allow travel from Yuma to San Diego.  A paved road would replace the plank road ten years later:

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Farther along, the road disappears into the shifting, blowing sands:

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We’re quite close to the border here.  The steel wall goes on in both directions to the horizon:

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Looking back towards the RV:

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The dunes are about 5 miles wide where the interstate cuts through:

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Next we headed West and North to Niland, CA, and from there we briefly drove into and out of the Slabs, where 150 or so squatters called “Slabbers” live all year round in RVs, other vehicles, or in modified structures left behind when the Army base once here was torn down.  If you’ve ever wondered what life might be like after a Zombie Apocalypse, this is the place to visit:

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Continuing North, we followed the Eastern shore of Salton SeaLast time, we were on the West side.  We stopped in at Bombay Beach, which was thriving resort town until the Salton Sea ecosystem collapsed and all the fish in the lake died as the lake salinity rose beyond that of the ocean:

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Structures closest to the shore have deteriorated the quickest:

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As on the West side, a horrible smell was in the air and the water was soupy with minerals:

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We reached Palm Springs around sunset.  The locals didn’t seem to notice or care about the sunset:

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After doing some food shopping and picking up a package shipped here for us, we retired to the Walmart of Thousand Palms, just a couple of miles from Palm Springs.  See the trip map for driving details.

Day 173: Visit to Mexico and Meeting MNFG
Day 175: Heading to Anza Borrego

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