Monday, January 28, 2013

I Have No Idea, But it Sure is Small...

While driving down the road through the Southern Arizona desert, we spotted this chapel or church looking building in the middle of a big field, in the middle of nowhere in the  middle of the desert. Of course we had to check it out.

Because of the crops in the last photo, the location of this building is a little misleading. This is truly a desert with some nice irrigation courtesy of the Colorado River.

My wife is standing in the door. Yep, it's pretty darn small.

Maybe a wedding chapel for those with very few friends or family members? 

WAIT! What is that in the background? It looks like the towers of a suspension bridge! What is a suspension bridge doing out here in the middle of nowhere?  All I know is that  that bridge is not on any of the maps I've been looking at.  It's pretty obvious where our next stop is...


Monday, January 21, 2013

Road Trip to Yuma

A few photos of our drive from Orange County to the Sonora desert in Southern Arizona.  We went from the sunny ocean front by our home, snow in the mountains, a huge expanse of desert and sand dunes to get there. In Southern California, you really can surf at 9, snow ski before 11 and ride your dirt bike or dune buggy in the desert by noon.  Not that I have that kind of energy, but you could do it, if you wanted to.  These photos aren't intended to be artistic, but snapshots taken out the window of a moving RV.

I really don't like it when there isn't a cloud in the sky when I want to take a photo. They add so much and a shocking blue sky can be much too stark for me (and a photo).

The San Onofre Nuclear power plant. Because we live inside of the first evacuation zone (in case of trouble), I'm happy to report that it is currently shut down and I'm hoping it stays that way. Yes, everyone says they look like boobs.  It opened in 1968 and despite friends and family laughing at me, I have held my breath when driving by it from that day forward. Even now that it's closed. Obsessive? Who me?

Snow! Not much left, but still...

Probably not the kind of mountain scene you are used to seeing. Even though the elevation at this spot is over 4000 feet, it's considered "high desert" and very arid.  I love this scenery.

If you've been following my travels for a while, you know how much I love scenes like this one. In fact, I hunt for them. 

Yet another example of inspiration and failure in the desert. If you are like me, sights like this fill me with questions. This is the southernmost highway in the western United States and very close to the U.S./Mexican border.

Are all freight cars covered with graffiti now? It sure seems like it. Actually, it's a nice break after seeing nothing but scattered scrub, dirt and sand for many, many miles. 

And then sand, more sand and nothing but sand! Sand dunes for miles and miles. I think my wife might have made a wrong turn and we ended up in the Sahara.  They are officially called the Algodones Dunes, but usually referred to as Glamis or the Imperial dunes. Either way, that's one big pile of kitty litter. Every person in the southwest with a dirt bike or dune buggy has either been to, or heard of Glamis.

More questions...

I think this used to be a bar/restaurant. I'd love to know the back story. I'm sure the cold beer they served here tasted pretty good when it was about 112 degrees outside.

This is what Cell phone towers look like in the desert.

From one minute to the next, the barren and arid desert is transformed into hundreds of square miles of incredibly productive farm land. It is truly one of the world's bread baskets. All of it made possible by...

Irrigation canals from the Colorado River.  The hills to the right are in Mexico.

This is where we are camping (camping being a relative term of course). In about 10 seconds these geese will chase my wife away from their turf. 
We've been here for one week, with one week to go.  "Here" is in the middle of nowhere south of Yuma, just above the U.S./Mexico border. We're very close to the Colorado River (what's left of it this far south, that is) and Gila River. There is so much history in this area. There is also some of my favorite desert craziness here as well. The kinds of things you know I'm always looking for. Desert folk art, relics, abandoned places and things that make you raise an eyebrow, if not both.  We've seen some of these things already. I'll be posting them soon.

Today, old town Yuma... I have no idea what's there. Hopefully, no staged gun fights...


Monday, January 14, 2013

End of the World Again?

Last month
There was another "rapture" scheduled
(as our Jehovah Witness friends would say)
Or end of the world scenario
(as the Mayans never said)
Didn't it totally fizzle out?
Just like all the others
I'm not expecting another one
Anytime soon
I don't believe in the rapture
I did however, have a rupture once
It was very painful
But I didn't ascend to anywhere
Except to the hospital


Monday, January 7, 2013

Another Desert Oddity - Post Apocalyptic Water Park

I said I'd be back! I usually don't do very large or long posts, but I figured I'd come back with a bang. These photos (except for three) were taken a few weeks ago when my wife and I drove to L.V. to celebrate our anniversary.  Well, here goes...
You all know that I love to find odd things that can only exist in the desert and then show them to you. Here's another!

Lake Delores Resort, AKA Rock-A-Holla Water Park, AKA Discovery Water Park, was America's first water park and opened up in 1962 and closed around 2001. It had a lake (from underground water), go karts, motel, RV park, jet skis and boating. A lot of money was sunk into this place. One BIG problem though! It's in the middle of the Mojave Desert. No matter how much money they sunk into it and how much they added to it; it was STILL in the middle of the desert. Just like most failed enterprises in the desert, it was closed and simply left there to rot. There is currently a group looking into reopening the place. The new name would be Oasis Lake Dolores (I think). I hope it works out for them. This old video is three minutes long, but it's worth watching at least part of it to get the feeling of what the park once was. Also, it's a great setup for my photos (below).  I really wish I could have posted this for the recent "Choose Your Own Apocalypse" blogfest  at my friend Chuck's great Apocalypse Now blog, because this place really does look like a post apocalyptic theme park. The only thing missing was the zombies... 

If the middle start button doesn't work, please use the start button in lower left corner. 

"Mily fun!" I'm sure some of you have seen this sign while driving across the desert from Southern California to Las Vegas (or the other way around.).

The next exit that the sign offered was a preview of things to come. I've driven past here many times and this place hasn't been open for many years.

A mile or so down the road is this monument to desert aspiration, failure and heartbreak.  It used to be a real estate office.

This water tank/coke advertisement used to be very brightly painted. Even if this photo wasn't B&W, the tank would be...

This was the vehicle gate to the resort. It leads to a huge dirt parking lot and the pedestrian entrance.

Circa 1977 (photo from Oasis Lake Dolores)

December 11, 2012.  I didn't even need a ticket to get in! I was the only person there that day. Actually, my wife was there also, but she followed me in the truck.

There must have been a mile of these slow moving "rivers." (photo from Oasis Lake Dolores)

Same view (a little closer to the turn though). 

There were several big water slides that came down this hill.  You can see by all the poles stuck in concrete that there was sometimes long lines to get up there.

Several of the small slides are still in place. The plywood ramp means that there have been skateboarders here at some point. No homeless folks here though.

There wasn't much graffiti, but most of what was there, was pretty interesting. 

I would have done a lot more in B&W, but then you wouldn't have seen just how colorful the place still is.

Something to eat?

Fountain behind the entrance (photo from Oasis Lake Dolores)

Here's the fountain today

I love finding these places and I'm usually more than content to let the desert slowly take them back. This place did pretty well for quite a while, but then water parks started opening up all over the southwest and this one lost much of it's business.  Now, many of the water parks have closed and the group looking at reopening this place, just might have a good shot if they decide to do so.  If they don't open it up again, I'll be stopping by whenever we pass this way. You can rest assured that I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for mutants, zombies or whatever else might be found in a post apocalyptic place like this...

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. We sure did! Next week we'll be hitching the jeep up behind the RV and heading for the deep desert environs of Southern Arizona. Just south of Yuma and just north of la frontera Mexicana.