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Best of 2000: Best View Of The Salton Sea

Desert Tower
In-Ko-Pah Park Road,
five miles east of Jacumba
(619) 766-4612

You get no idea of the vast size of the "Biggest Puddle in the West" -- the Salton Sea -- until you see it from above. That means either hiring a plane or driving east to Jane Knap's place. Jane lives in a tower teetering on the edge of the gorge, just before the plateau tumbles 3000 feet into the Imperial Valley. Leave Interstate 8 at In-Ko-Pah Park Road, curl under the freeway, head half a mile east. The strange-looking tower rises up, like some lighthouse or prison watchtower. Little has changed since realtor Bert Vaughn built the monument to pioneers in 1922 and '23. In the silence you'll hear every foot crunch. Go in, notice antiques and collectibles for sale in the circular shop, pay Jane $1 per person, pass through the snug fireside living room, and climb the 57 steps and four floors to the "hurricane deck" (and the winds do howl). Cast your eyes far over the distant dog-bone-shaped Salton Sea. And the Imperial Valley. And the Chocolate Mountains. And, hey, Mexico. It's almost like a NASA space-shuttle view. But be warned: haze, the burning season, and pollution can obliterate the view. Avoid summer. Best views: after it rains.

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Desert Tower
In-Ko-Pah Park Road,
five miles east of Jacumba
(619) 766-4612

You get no idea of the vast size of the "Biggest Puddle in the West" -- the Salton Sea -- until you see it from above. That means either hiring a plane or driving east to Jane Knap's place. Jane lives in a tower teetering on the edge of the gorge, just before the plateau tumbles 3000 feet into the Imperial Valley. Leave Interstate 8 at In-Ko-Pah Park Road, curl under the freeway, head half a mile east. The strange-looking tower rises up, like some lighthouse or prison watchtower. Little has changed since realtor Bert Vaughn built the monument to pioneers in 1922 and '23. In the silence you'll hear every foot crunch. Go in, notice antiques and collectibles for sale in the circular shop, pay Jane $1 per person, pass through the snug fireside living room, and climb the 57 steps and four floors to the "hurricane deck" (and the winds do howl). Cast your eyes far over the distant dog-bone-shaped Salton Sea. And the Imperial Valley. And the Chocolate Mountains. And, hey, Mexico. It's almost like a NASA space-shuttle view. But be warned: haze, the burning season, and pollution can obliterate the view. Avoid summer. Best views: after it rains.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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