After stopping at Calico, we swung by a place I had only read about, Zzyzx, California. The reason I love road trips is it offers opportunities to stop at fun, unique and sometimes bizarre stops along the way. And Zzyzx is certainly one of those.
While many think of the Mojave as desolate, the area off Zzyzx road has seen its fair share of human life, from the pre-historic era, to an outpost for the government and Native Americans, to what has made it so interesting today, the work of a radio evangelist by the name of Chris Howe Springer. Here, along the shore of a dry salt flat, and two small lakes, he built his “health” spa, and named it Zzyzx Mineral Springs. He built a resort, which reportedly had a cross shaped pool even, though no evidence of it remains, and his sermons were delivered over load speakers twice a day. In 1974 the resort closed, when the land was reclaimed by the government. Today the old resort buildings are home to the University of California’s Desert Studies Center.
The place is certainly strange, made to feel even stranger as we were the only people there (well, tourists anyway, for all I know desert studies students could have been tucked away), with its faded signage, dilapidated swing set and beached boat.
To visit the last place on the earth alphabetically, take the I-15 exit named, you guessed it, Zzyzx road, and drive until you see the parking signs, directing visitors to park in an adjacent lot, then walk through the trees to the gravel road lined with palms.