August 2005 Archives

My Salton Sea Adventure

Today I headed south on Highway 86 from Palm Desert toward the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea (as the name implies) is a large saline body of water in southwestern California. This "sea" is actually a lake which lies 225 feet below sea-level, and with a surface area of 376 square miles is the largest lake in California. (But before you bow down and worship Salton Sea for its sheer size, please note that my own beloved Lake Michigan covers a whopping 22,300 square miles!)

Due to several factors both geographical and chemical the Salton Sea has been increasingly viewed as an ecosystem in its final stages of survival. Only in the 1990's have efforts to salvage this unique resource emerged with rationales ranging from environmentalist concerns to San Diego's increasing need for water sources.

Here's a satellite map (via google maps) showing the relative location of the Salton Sea. (BTW: From this map you can see why certain theorists suggest the Sea of Cortez once reached as far north as the Salton Sea and that somehow a land barrier seperated the (saline) Salton Sea from the Ocean.)

Highway 86 South descends on the West side of the Sea and passes several small sea-side communities. I pulled into the communities of Desert Shore and Salton Sea Beach (here's a satellite pic). Both towns were well-trafficed resorts from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Here are the photos I took today with brief description:

Anza Valley, California - UFO Hotspot

As we drove through Anza Valley today on our way to San Diego, my father informed me that this small town has one of the highest occurrences of reported UFO sightings in the USA. (And he was right. According to, the town ranks third in the nation.)

I felt this was a rather remarkable statistic and decided to take a picture of the place. Unfortunately, I failed to find anything out of the ordinary...

Desert Mountain Terrain

These pictures were taken a few miles from my father's house, travelling up Route 74 into the mountains from Palm Desert, CA. The elevation is about 3000 feet.

Wilbur William White - Happy 94th Birthday!!

While here in the Desert I was able to attend my Grandfather's 94th birthday. Wilbur William White was born on August 26, 1911 to Andrew White and Mary O'Shanks (maiden name). Wilbur married Elinor Fletcher and had three children: Jeannie, Charlotte and Douglas.

Wilbur now lives with his daughter Charlotte, my mother, in Palm Springs, California where he celebrated his latest birthday festivities. [factoid: Wilbur's mother Mary celebrated 100 birthdays before departing this world.]

Here are a few of the pictures I took at his party, with brief descriptions.