Imperial Valley/Salton Sea Road Trip, Day 1

Starting from El Cajon, this morning we traveled over the mountains towards the Imperial Valley, and our first stop was the Desert View Tower. It was built between 1922 - 1928 with wood salvaged from the old Plank Road (see further down).

It's an interesting place with a gift shop full of eclectic items and the grounds full of the oddest assortment of things ... like these mannequin bottoms .... nice to know they have another life after the storefronts ....
An unemployed engineer during the depression carved these creatures into the hillside in 1933. There are numerous stone critters carved into the boulders, along with steps, stairs and caves. A unique place, the Desert View Tower.
The Westside Canal delivers water to the western side of the Imperial Valley. There are three of these main canals.
The irrigation infrastructure is above ground here; the structures are simple.
The New River, one of the more polluted waterways in the country, outside of El Centro. The New River flows from across the border and it is already polluted once it gets here. This large gulch was carved when the Colorado River was flooding its banks and creating the Salton Sea. This water is not used for irrigation; instead, it is supplemented by irrigation drainage, eventually emptying into the Salton Sea.
The Central Main Canal is the middle main canal that takes water into the Imperial Valley. This is in El Centro.
 
I think this is a field of sugar beets. This area is all about agriculture, but field pictures are rather boring unless harvesting or something else is going on. There will be better field pictures later on in the week.

The remnants of the old Plank Road can be seen off the Gray’s Well exit on I-8. This road was originally 7 miles long, and from 1916 to 1926, it was the only way to cross the dunes. To find out more about the plank road, copy & paste this link: http://www.desertusa.com/sandhills/plankrd.html

This intake on the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona, was built in 1905 by the California Development Company, the first organization to deliver water into the Imperial Valley.

Hanlon Heading served the water users of the Imperial Valley until the All-American Canal was built in 1942.
Just upstream from Hanlon Heading is the Rockwood Heading, a historic intake structure that is no longer used as an intake structure, but now functions as a point of return for the Pilot Knob Powerplant (located just upstream). That is Yuma in the distance. Click on the picture to see what this structure looked like in the early 1900s.
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