Tuesday, February 07, 2012

FOUND THE BURBLING GURGLING MUD POTS

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Watched a beautiful California sunrise from the comfort of my Ikea Poang chair this morning.  Facing east, I saw the rising sun come spilling over the horizon through a low cloud cover washing into our rig & casting it’s warm rays through the big scenic windshield.  For us, this is what RV dreams are made of.  Not another rig in sight & only the sound of distant birds awakening to the dawn of another new day.  Yes, it’s time to get back to the finer basics of boon docking:))

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At the moment we are located right on top of the SAN ANDREAS FAULT at 227 feet below sea level somewhere in the large 37,600 acre SONY BONO SALTON SEA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE in southern California.  Just the Bayfield Bunch & and whole lot of birds.  Love it:))

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On our southern horizon we have 5 Geo Thermal Energy plants visible.  How strikingly beautiful they stand against the night sky with all their white & amber lighting.  Watched a helicopter with it’s own red & green lights land near one of the plants last night.  The twinkling lights of a distant Salton City were visible on the far away shores of the Sea to the Northwest.  Two other centers cast their visible luminous charm into the night sky but I have not been able to identify them yet.

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A commenter had a question about the Salton Sea being smelly. Yes, there is a definite salty sea smell here and depending on where one is & the direction of the wind there can also be ‘dead fish’ smell in the air. We have experienced that over in Salton City & we have experienced that in our present location off & on. This area has a surreal beauty all it’s own but I think tourism has declined over the years because of the Salton Sea’s declining state. Where once fisherman plied the sparkling waters, movie stars water skied & big band’s played at the water’s edge on Saturday nights, now there is little left for the most part from those wild & crazy heady days.  Now it’s dead fish along the shorelines, flat salt plains & white residues where the Sea has receded over the years. A few old ruins can still be found over in Salton City from those long forgotten Saturday nights.  Dancing in the moonlight under the stars by the water’s edge is now little better than a long lost memory remembered by but a few.

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Had to get busy this morning moving the town of Niland from Arizona to California where it rightly belongs.  A commenter had noticed I incorrectly identified Niland as being in Arizona in a caption under one of my photos.  I always appreciate the corrections.  Must have had Arizona on my mind last night when I wrote that.

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Turns out the sunrise was the best part of our day.  Temps dropped as a solid cloud cover moved in for the rest of the day.  Our scenic area by the sea took on a look of dull & gray.  And, along with the cloud cover & unmoving air it seemed the pungent seaside smell took on an extra nasty odor of heavy pungenacity.  Not good & we did briefly consider pulling up stakes.  Fortunately a slight breeze picked up & lifted the smells out of our nostrils for a bit…..but just for a bit.DSC_5939

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I particularly like morning walks in places we have never walked before and it’s one of the reasons I never like staying in one place for long periods of time.  Despite the overcast morning we did hike up onto a big rock formation & have us a look around the neighborhood.

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There are only 3 ‘mud pot’ areas in the United States and we knew we were near one of them so without further ado we set out to find them.  Fifteen minutes later we were standing amongst some very strange looking gray upside down clay funnels & curious bubbling holes in the ground. 

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ALL THESE GEO THERMAL PLANTS IN THE AREA ARE SOMEHOW TAPPED INTO ALL THIS UNDERGROUND VOLCANIC ENERGY

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I TOLD KELLY NOT TO THROW ANY CLAY DOWN THE SPOUTS OR SHE WAS LIABLE TO WAKE THIS SLEEPING VOLCANIC GIANT UP!!

‘Quote’ Mud Pots are found near the town of Calipatria. The mud pots are formed in geothermal areas where there is water pushing the ash or mud up to the surface forming mini volcanoes. This is a virtually undiscovered area where one can get up close and personal as the mud pots burp, gargle and croak without a sign to mark their presence and without a fence to protect them.  This area is on the St Andreas fault and there are power generating stations in the area using geothermal techniques to generate electrical power. ‘Unquote’

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From the Mud Pots we headed south to the town of Brawley for some groceries.  Walmart has a nice store there that we have been to before.  Kelly started on the shopping while I went to Subway & started on a Tuna Sub.  Forty minutes later we were out of store with another ton & half of groceries.  We will be breaking camp in the morning so figured it was a good idea to do groceries today.

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Back at the rig things were smelling better as it seems the wind had shifted.  Pheebs & I took a walk way out across the dried sea bottom to the old tree where I had taken the photos of the Herons & their nests.  Pretty smelly out there with lots of long dead fish along the waters edge a few hundred yards away.  Not one of the nicest places I have been too.

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I so much wish I could recommend this Red Hill Marina area near the Sonny Bono Visitor Center.  But, I can’t.  It’s a great boon docking spot if you want peace & quiet & it’s a great spot for birders & bird photographers with quality equipment.  But, the odor here is just too bad for the most part.  Not always mind you, but when the air is still & the cloud cover holds the air down……peeeeuuuuu!! 

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And why quality camera equipment??  The water’s edge is distant and that’s where all the thousands of water birds are.  No way to get close to them.  No trees or shrubs to hide behind.  Quality long lenses are needed here for sure.  My equipment is OK but for quality photos…..better camera gear is needed.  I used my Nikkor 300mm lens for many shots & my 700mm telescope lens coupled with a 2x tele-converter giving me 1400mm but the quality just isn’t there when I use that tele-converter.  Saw a couple folks with those big white Canon lenses today so I knew those people were into some serious photography for sure.

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2X TELECONVERTER ON LEFT & TUBE DEVICE CONNECTING THE CAMERA TO THE TELESCOPE

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THE HERONS WERE FAR OUT THERE ON THAT BARELY VISIBLE DEAD TREE ON THE SALT FLAT

So, where are we headed in the morning.  Don’t know but we have two options we are considering.  One destination is about an hour & a half west of us & the other one is about 4 or 5 hours northeast of us.  Maybe we’ll reach a decision over coffee in the morning.

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Believe it or not but I have been trying to keep my photos down to a dull roar, but as you can see, I have not been very successful.  I know my site is a big download for some folks & you ought to see what it does to the $$ side of things on our monthly 10 Gig Verizon bill every month.  My problem is that I see so much beauty around me every day I just can’t seem to set my cameras down.  Tomorrow I am going to get Kelly to hide my cameras on me…………………

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GROANER’S CORNER:((  Two old men had been best friends for years, and they both live to
their early 90's, when one of them suddenly falls deathly ill. His
friend comes to visit him on his deathbed, and they're reminiscing about
their long friendship, when the dying man's friend asks, "Listen, when
you die, do me a favor. I want to know if there's baseball in heaven."

The dying man said, "We've been friends for years, this I'll do for
you." And then he dies. A couple days later, his surviving friend is
sleeping when he hears his friend's voice.

The voice says, "I've got some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that there's baseball in heaven."

"What's the bad news?"

"The bad news is that you're pitching on Wednesday."

16 comments:

  1. Ah!...but your photos tell SUCH a story!...and being one of those "artsy-fartsy visual kind of people"...your photos are what keep me coming back to your blog!
    Renee from SSI.

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  2. Too bad that area is not as nice as it could be but those dead fish are nasty. Hope the dogs didn't try to roll in them. I enjoyed the photos through the Google Reader but when I went directly to the blog to post, I saw the huge difference it made--on the blog, they look spectacular.

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  3. I don't know which is worse, Slab City, or where you are now..Toss up for me... Nice places to HAVE BEEN TO!!:-)

    Your Groaner is neat, Heck I would be glad to see my name was on that baseball roster. It would be kinda nice to know they are expecting ya!!!

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  4. OK Al and Kelly--time for you guys to lead the way to a nice place--no smells please!

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  5. Intriguing area, but the smell got to us also. Once was enough, I think.

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  6. OK, I'll say it. This post stinks! :)

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  7. The photos do tell s great story so much better than words. We too enjoyed our stay (and the smell) by the Salton Sea, a few years ago, such an interesting bit of history about its rise and decline.

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  8. You can never have TOO many photos! They are always great. Thanks for posting them ALL .

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  9. AL, Some of your commenters just don't get it, sorry to say. That is a wonderful place to visit if only once. A lot to learn there. We spent a few days there & it was a great experience. There was little smell on that side of the sea, if any. We have always hoped they could bring it back to the way it was pr better. Can you imagine?
    Jill

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  10. I think I will put this place on the long list. Loved the pics Al.

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  11. Great pics and very interesting commentary. I can't say I'd want to go there, but it's nice to know something about the area. I think you are pretty brave being right on the San Andreas fault. Earthqakes scare me to death!

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  12. Love your pictures.Kelly dont hide the camera..why are there so many dead fish? When we first moved to Dardenne Prairie still rural and there was pig farm down the road....sometimes in august if the wind blew the wrong way no sitting outside.Those mudpots are very interesting, never heard of them before. must be same principal as a geyser

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  13. Glad you found the mud pots... very interesting phenomenon.... wonder if that is in the mud pack treatments they use at beauty spas? LOL

    As for the Salton Sea, one school of thought is the damage that has been done by re-routing the natural flow of fresh water due to the massive irrigation efforts for the miles and miles of flat green fields. Producing vegetables in that area is very big business, but what detrimental damage has been done to the Salton Sea in the efforts?

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/

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  14. With the steaming from the distant towers, and the boiling mudpots, I thought you were in Yellowstone!! (Which, by the way, is a fabulous place to visit!)

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  15. We were there about a month ago, just for the day the smell was horrific, too bad because it can be so beautiful.

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  16. Even little Motormouse looks like she is sniffing the air. Although the fur kids might appreciate the unusual smells. Like all places, there is beauty if you look for it. Your pictures prove that is true even for the Salton Sea.

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