The Sea and Surf Hotel was the only place on the Salton Sea that had a web page listing a phone number so when I contacted them and the clerk responded to my question of “do we need a reservation?” by chuckling and saying “no” I should have been ready for a curious check-in experience. Steve and I arrived near midnight here:
I rang the night bell and was met by madness in the form of two mouthless eyes that scanned me and said “what do you want?” After a few false starts, I paid for the room and was billed exactly $45.00, marking the only time that the stated room amount included taxes, occupancy fees, and other state add-ons. The room was spartan and looked as if it had been painted by detonating a stick of dynamite in a paint can in the center of the room as the area behind the towel rack and the toilet tank had been missed and the rest was splotchy. The shower, toilet, and air conditioner worked so the single dead cockroached seemed a reasonable trade for the sub-$25 per bed rate. Morning came quickly.
Salton City was perfectly separated from the shores of the Salton Sea by a chain link fence that forced elemental aphatheid on the area and that stretched as far as we could see. I don’t know if it prevented residents from claiming the water or vice versa but we drove 30 minutes south to the Salton City wildlife reserve where again access to the sea was stopped by fencing. I took a pano of the nothing but found Steve’s response to the environs more interesting.
A single shot redeemed the Salton and not because of its splendor but for its farce.
We stopped at Fuddruckers for lunch and swallowed our tears at their lack of Diet Peach Green tea which was a large portion of the reason we stopped and hit the road again towards Socorro, New Mexico. New Mexico’s roads aren’t so much transit methods as they are apologies. “We’re sorry you have to be here. We’ll give you a nice speed limit, the ability to pass just about anywhere, and cops that won’t bother you unless you’re swerving or exceeding the speedlimit by an order of magnitude if you’ll just be civil about the whole thing and buy gas from us.” The roads are straight in terms of latitude and longitude except around bodies of water as mountains and hills are simply surmounted or transected by the pavement except on the three digit state routes that wind up mountains and down canyons. Socorro seemed like it would have otherwise been sleepy were the Trinity site not open tomorrow which was expected to receive 2500 to 3500 visitors. Steve commented on how one could quickly die walking down a row if playing the license plate game as I counted 22 states or provinces including Pennsylvania, Alaska, and Ontario while walking down the 30 car parking lane.
The room was more expensive here, but we received wifi, more towels, and one of those neat “we’ll keep you warm while you poop” lamps on its own switch.
I thought the Salton would be enjoyable and that I’d get peach tea. APRIL FOOLS!