Three Days in Los Angeles, One Day around Salton Sea

On Friday, after more than six hours of driving, I arrived in Los Angeles. Years had passed since I last visited the city for pleasure, and my negative impression of the place was as hard as a calcified fetus.

But this wasn’t the same city I left. No longer was I the lonely, poor student subsisting on free grapefruits and oatmeal. Nor was I the well-paid and hectic “ad guy” that slept in sumptuous beds in the finest Santa Monica hotels.

This new LA was full of friends, food, and physical activity. The air was crystal clear, and the weather warm.

The drug of choice for the sophisticated gentleman.

Los Angeles’s mythic “marine layer” in the morning.

Palm trees.

Backyard citrus.

A sidewalk of autumn leaves and a classic car.

Old Chevy.

Good advice for life.


Birds of paradise.

Gulls in a row.

Municipal figs.

Meet me at pedophile garage.

Caution: Oxygen.

400,000 bird balls in Ivanhoe Reservoir.

Another view for scale. See some cool photos at Curbed LA.

The world’s saddest Christmas tree.

Winona Ryder’s house.


Buryin’ time at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Riding trail at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center at the southern edge of Burbank.

Paved river.

Horse head says hello.

Black Star.

A weird man and his one year old dwarf horse.


Closed shops.

The ascension.

A clear day offers of view of Eagle Rock, seen in the lower middle.

C on a, get this, cell phone.

Pigs and a duck.

Awesome house.

Oranges against a blue sky.

A thorny floss silk tree.

A desert garden.

A fence to “Rape Hill.” According to C and I, the razor wire means that we should climb to the other side.

Palm-lined streets seen from the hill.

The 134 highway seen from where a single tick climbed onto my pants.

Buzzing power lines at a secluded and massive landfill in Scholl Canyon.

Structure of unknown purpose.


Sidewalk closed.

Metal bin for metal.

Pipes presumably used for pumping liquid through the putrefying trash.

A smiling, rusty man marks the back gate to the landfill.

My rental car, wheels turned away from the precipice.

Pomegranate with squirrel damage.

The old L.A. Zoo ruins at Griffith Park.

JK climbing the spooky stairs.

Bird cages?

Dirt filled cage.

Creepy corrugated cabin.

Another old cage.

The velociraptor paddock.

Griffith Observatory.

If only there was some sign telling me where I was…

Hillside in the evening light.

Two dicks.

Downtown Los Angeles.

Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal going for a hike.

C at sunset.

The warm light on the San Gabriel Mountains.

Telescope to the left.

Lenny Kravitz and Slutty Betty get frisky over the view.

The way south.

Lights of downtown beginning to sparkle.

M and JK celebrate their anniversary with fireworks.


On Monday, C, JK, and I drove 2.5 hours southeast to the Salton Sea.

The Salton Sea is a 376 square mile lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault. It’s the largest lake in California, as well as the saltiest and deadest.

I’ve never seen any place like this before. It’s simultaneously beautiful and repulsive. The water is edged with salt crust and dead fish. The landscape surrounding it varies from prehistoric desert, agriculture, and failed developments. These towns are largely unoccupied and very spooky and sad. The trash filled husks of buildings and empty streets feel like the setting of a zombie apocalypse.

It’s my Mecca.

A map view of the Salton Sea area.

The sadness of the satellite view of Salton City’s failed housing developments.

Brush, mist, and mountain.

Abandoned bait shop.

The road to nowhere.

Abandoned cafe.

A fence protecting squalor.

Empty building and levees at Bombay Beach on the east side of the sea.

The frame of a flooded house.


Wooden structure near an abandoned garage.

The Salton Sea. The water looks blue, but it’s actually the color of vietnamese soup.

The crusty shores of the sea.

Non-dead pelicans.


Pelicans, light pole, and barrel at an old boat dock.

Half a trailer.

Dude, you’re flooding a Dell!™

Inside the abandoned garage.

Floor cover.

Rusty lamp.

The garage.

Beautiful color scheme.

Cracked earth.


The road to power plants.

Hill in the middle of a bird sanctuary.

Dessert cottontail rabbit and quail sharing seed.

Tacos no estan aqui.

Two of the college themed streets in the abandoned subdivisions of Salton City.

All kinds of power lines but no one to power.

The ritzy side of town, where every home had its own backyard dock.

Dusty road.

An intense duck voyeur in his skivvies.

Sign pointing to the marina.

RV in the middle of brush.

The abandoned marina.

Pink trailer.

Pink stove.

Buggy riders gave us a nod.

Low angle sun on abandonment.

Another abandoned building.

Four stools covered in bird stool.

The shell of a motel sign.

Inside the motel.

The side yard of the motel.


Trailer missing wall.

Busted house.

Trailer and shed, not creepy at all.


The final showdown of the zombie apocalypse.

The unearthly colors of sunset.

Another view.

And another.

A crusty shore of barnacles, salt, and fish carcasses.

One of many dead fish.

Crunch, crunch, crunch,” the sound of walking on thousands of dead fish.

Salt humps the sky.

How can this be real?

On Tuesday, I awoke at 6AM and drove home. I walked twenty-two blocks from the rental shop to a warm shower and comfortable bed. I slept for seven hours until J got home from work. I was still out of it, and my better half described my state as a “zombie on ecstasy.”

Maybe I caught the zombie virus in Salton Sea.


I borrowed one of your photos for my blog, hope you don’t mind. Attribution included!

I notice, btw, that Harvard and Princeton streets are actually Harvard and “Priceton” — either a deliberate misspelling or an omen that the housing development was doomed from the start.


I also noticed the “priceton” and my money is on the bad omen option.


Awesome shots!


just wanted to say thanks for presenting these photos,
from a night shift idle browser.

and I noticed the telling priceton too.


Ernest Troll:

Great photos. I have never been to LA and will probably never go there but your photos sure are tempting me. It looks like a fascinating place. Thanks for doing what you do.

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December 15th, 2010. Categories / Los Angeles

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