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Category Archives: the salton sea

On Wednesday I was TICKLED TO DEATH when I realized how many friends I have in New York are going to be meeting up out-of-town in the next week or so. Kate and George are meeting up in Cincinnati or whatever city that’s in Ohio; Stearns and the roommate are going to bro out in Vegas; and Stan, Beth and I are meeting up in California. Basically this is why New Yorkers are douchebags: they leave the city to hang out with other New Yorkers.

We have vague plans of hanging out in LA, driving down PCH, going down to San Diego maybe (if so, I may pick up a friend’s acoustic guitar so I can terrorize everyone with MY COUNTRY SONGS), and the thing that Beth and I spazzed out about all day yesterday: the Salton Sea. Beth and I maybe think Stan might not be so happy that we have planned the entire itinerary, but whatever we’ll just nag him to death and he’ll concede, right?

The towns near the Salton Sea are full of crazy insane people, which would make sense if you think that the entire area smells like dead fish. The area was thought to be an up-and-coming Palm Springs, and so it is now full of the detritus of failed American capitalism. Empty abandoned motels and outdoor spaces and rusty cars in the water. There’s a documentary I’m dying to see–narrated by John Waters–called Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea. Here is the trailer:

Basically, the people there remind me of the citizens of North Haverbrook.

A collection of my favorite images of the Salton Sea and its surrounding towns:

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A rusted car in the New River, near where it enters the sea.

GOD I AM SO HUNGRY AREN’T YOU?!

Mud volcanoes!

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Salvation Mountain (that is not a drawing), located in Slab City, built by this guy, who was featured in Into The Wild as himself, spouting Jesus love messages to Emile Hirsch and a bewildered-looking Kristen Stewart. The best thing about that scene is that it was not written and he was not acting. That is actually what he’s like. I cannot wait to meet him.

There are some absolutely fantastic pictures captured here as well.

I was talking to someone about the Salton Sea and how excited I am to see it, and I was met with a look of vaguely repulsed shock. The intimation being “Why would you want to go there?” The reason, to me, is simple when you look at those pictures. This is part of our weird America, Lynchian images made real–a breathing microcosm of lives marginalized and pushed out of society, of the failed promises of American prosperity. I want to go to there.

The Salton Sea is only 30 miles east of San Diego. I love California.