After Big Sur we started to drive inland to make our way to Las Vegas for our flight home. We stayed on a ranch with some hippies (found on Airbnb).  They were so cool and nice enough to show us a route home that would take us through the eclectic desert town of Trona, about 2 hours southwest of Death Valley.  Along the edge of Searles Lake, a dry lakebed, the town takes its name from the mineral trona, abundant in the lakebed.  Once a booming mining town, American Trona Company owned all of the business and housing.  The company who built it, abandoned it. Today there is still some mining but there is no government and several of the homes are abandoned.  I've read that it's "the meth and arson capital of the Mojave."  Still, in our opinion, a beautiful place, that makes you feel all kinds of things.