Heather Arundel

The Diva of Darkness

Salton Sea Sunset Photo by Ron Niebrugge

Salton Sea Sunset Photo by Ron Niebrugge
The Beauty of Hell...

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - also known as my personal life motto!

All Human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Who I am...

I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a survivor.
My family has made me who I am...my past family with past hurts...my current family with current joy.
Family is something you are born into and cannot choose,
family is also what you choose it to be once you are old enough to start anew...


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Journey

Hot.  Hot, hot heat.  When you arrive at your first stop at 8:30am and the thermometer reads 96 degrees F, you know you are in trouble.

My journey began when my husband and I loaded our three children into the van and my two friends came along for adventure - at 6:30am there was not much talking or laughing, it was not quite jolly.  I drove because I wanted to "recreate" this elusive past I've dreamt about; and so I was in charge of the playlist.  Our travels started with the Indigo Girls "Get Out the Map"...I'm singing along and everyone else is asleep, all is good.

By the time we arrived at Hadley's Fruit Orchards for our date shakes, we all needed to stretch our legs and the kids were in need of a bathroom break.  My daughter did not like the shakes, my eldest son did and the baby was just angry we woke him up to get out of the car.  After about 45 minutes we were all loaded up again and had another hour to travel down into the pit of the desert.  The Salton Sea is more than 200 feet BELOW sea level.  As we merged back onto the 10 freeway, Sarah McLaughlin was singing about "Fear"...and it was so apropos.

After missing the unlabeled dirt road that I was suppose to turn down (thus leading to an uncomfortable argument with my husband and about 30 minutes of extra driving) we backtracked, found it courtesy of GPS and the memories were really flooding my brain.

This place is NOT a vacation spot, it is in NO way appropriate for children.  I had completely forgotten about the tsi tsi flies and horse flies that will literally swarm you and try to eat you alive; I had completely forgotten about the stench of death that permeates the air - well, death mixed with sulfur.  The old camping spot is pretty much abandoned - except for the creepy guy parked in his red SUV doing god knows what.

I left there as quickly as possible, my husband took two pictures while we fought off the man-eating flies and we jumped back in the van to get the hell out of there.  Did I forget to mention the heat?  Oh, right.  When we were are Hadley's, 96 degrees was bearable...when we got to the edge of the sea 117 degrees was UNBEARABLE.  It felt like the air was going to burn your lungs, and your body instantly triggered the fight or flight response.

Remember, this is where I lived from the week after school got out - until the week before school began, three summers in a row starting when I was 5.  Approximately six of the hottest weeks on the planet were spent in an illegal camp with no electricity, pissing and shitting into a bucket that was thrown into a trench dug by the various degenerates that lived down there year round.  Dear god!

The most important lesson I took from this trip?  How in the hell did my mother and grandmother ever let me go down there with my grandfather?  Why did my grandfather think this was an appropriate place for a small child to be?  What the hell????


  1. Whilst your last stop doesn't sound like a great place, with some truly awful memories, I hope that - in some way - it helped you.

  2. Great picture. At least the date shakes were good, right?

  3. That experience sounds unpleasant. I hate flies...much less man-eating ones.

  4. Sounds brutal, especially the heat and man-eating flies (I got bitten by a horsefly once...It weren't pleasant)!! You're right - not a good place for small children. Glad you survived it, though!

  5. @Sarah: It did help me...it helped a lot! I will be posting soon on the deep emotional journey that has arisen out of this uncomfortable physical journey I took...

    @Liz: Hadley's has the BEST date shakes! They can never disappoint! :)

    @Michael: I know...right? Flies that eat at you...so disgusting! ;)

    @Crystal: We survived and I am learning new things about myself...it wasn't all bad! :)