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California 2012 – Part 5 | Salton Sea and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Family Vacation

Nate was up bright & early at 5:50am, so I grabbed my camera and went outside for the sunrise. Nice. I wish I’d been in a more picturesque location than the little side road outside our rental, but hey, you get what you get.

I went back inside to get ready for our day-trip down to the south end of the Salton Sea and liked the way the light was hitting one of the framed prints in our bedroom, so boom. Self-portrait of sorts. I appreciate that the home owners had decorated the house with art & photographs by local artists, and listed sale prices in the binder that had all the information about the house & the surrounding area.

We packed up the car and headed south through Indio and down the east side of the sea. Many stops for birdwatching were made. This juxtaposition made me laugh. Nate needs his own binoculars.

After doing a LOT of basically fruitless (birdwatching-wise) driving on very, very, very back roads, we made it to the Sunny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. It lies within the Pacific Flyway, but unfortunately there was not much to see the day we were there. There was a pretty flowering tree though!

From there we drove through Calipatria (which seemed to be populated mainly by agricultural workers) and down to Brawley for lunch. We stopped at a Carl’s Jr. for burgers – we did eat fast food several times on the trip, but only at chains that are not available in our area. We also purchased gas at $4.23/gal because we didn’t know how many gas stations there might be as we ventured out toward the Anza-Borrego Desert, and it was the right decision since the gas station we passed in Borrego Springs was $4.69/gal (pictured below)!

Between Ocotillo Wells and Borrego Springs, we happened upon an art installation that we had no idea existed – huge oxidized metal sculptures in the fields along the road. We stopped and did a family portrait with these horses:

By the time we made it to the Borrego Springs-adjacent visitor center for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, it was already starting to get late and major clouds were rolling over. We went inside to check it out, and although they had bumper stickers proclaiming the park “very hot,” in actuality it was chilly enough for hoodies and when I stepped outside for a look at the plants just outside the building, it was raining! Not hard, but enough to create droplets on the signs & benches, and to show on the sidewalks and windshields of cars. I took pictures anyway. We saw hummingbirds, but unfortunately all I had brought from the car was my 50mm, and it was inadequate for pictures of such a small, flighty bird.

After we left the park, we drove north and east, passing more huge sculptures. This is one of my favorite family pictures from the trip, and definitely the most unique.

I wish I’d waited a second or two for him to get closer, but in the moment, sometimes you get what you get.

As dusk came, we continued east back toward the sea and back to the highway. Definitely slammed on the brakes and put the car in reverse to back up for this photo. Didn’t matter, wudd’n nobody but us on the road anyway. I loved that about a few of the places. On the road, all alone. Just us & the scenery.

A brief overview of our excursion. Natey is such a good little car-rider. Love him.

By the time we finally made it back to the house, it was definitely bedtime, so we hit up the hot tub one last time before packing it in for the night. Nathan informed us that we should get one for our house. I told him that a lot of things sound nice in theory. He’s four, so he didn’t understand what that meant. We put him in bed and started to mentally prepare for leaving this beautiful place the following morning.

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