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San Diego

By November 19, 2009No Comments

Dead grebe in the Salton Sea One of about 10 million dead fish on the beach at the Salton SeaAfter two weeks at Joshua Tree we left behind the chollas, ocotillos, coyotes, and kangaroo rats (yes – we did see one) and headed to San Diego via the Salton Sea and Anza Borrego State Park. The Salton Sea is weird with a capital W. High salinity and extensive human interference and pollution have made this very low altitude lake virtually uninhabitable by fish (I think only one species survives). Pelicans hang out on the shores and the wreckage of attempted human settlement is dotted around the lake’s perimeter. It seems various dreamers over the years have attempted to use the lake and its stable climate as a draw card for holiday makers, but these days these ‘resorts’ are abandoned and deserted – along with many homes, shops and countless businesses. It’s amazing actually, as we’ve driven around California over the last couple of months how many derelict shops and abandoned homes and businesses we’ve seen. Parts of the Mojave Desert felt third world.
Town on the edge of the Salton Sea.
Salton Sea Signage

Anza Borrego is a mountainous desert region between the Mojave Desert and rolling hills that take you into San Diego. We spent a day or so poking around, but after Joshua Tree, the Mojave and the deserts east of the Sierras we were feeling a bit deserted-out (plus it was about 10,000 degrees!) – so we hot footed it to San Diego and the refuge of Tom and Anna’s place in Oceanside – 50 miles or so up the Interstate from San Diego’s CBD. We spent a week there, checking out various San Diego curiosities with Tom and Anna (thanks guys!), getting some van servicing done, and generally enjoying some time out of the camper. Next stop – Arizona! [hover over the photos for captions] Anna's working at the prestigious Salk Institute as a researcher/scientist. The complex is perched on the edge of cliffs above the pacific and is a classic example of Brutalist architecture - awesome to look around.
Tom, Anna and Hana at the Salk Institute - Anna's workplace.
They took us to some hippy gardens too
Giesel library at the University of somethingorother. Wicked building
It's hard to escape the military in this part of the world - there's bases, testing complexes, launch sites and stuff everywhere. This shot's from the military cemetery at Point Loma, above the city.
Ever wanted to tour an aircraft carrier? San Diego's the place to do it. The USS Midway (in service from 1945 to about 1992) has been turned into a museum here and you can spend hours checking out most of the ship. Ex-serviceman volunteers are on hand to give you the engineering details behind aircraft launches and landings (recoveries) and there's planes from the Korean War through to Desert Storm all over the decks. Well worth $17!
Bridge instrument on the USS Midway
USS Midway flight deck
USS Midway bridge at the end of a long day exploring the ship!

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