Thursday, January 1, 2015


Welcome to the Slabs, one  the strangest  areas I have ever visited. I don't know what to compare it. I am camped four miles east of the  small dying town of Niland, California, which  has a post office, a struggling Laundromat with one working washer, a restaurant the locals claim serves so-so food the locals at too high prices, and one gas station that operates as a market too.  
The rumors and myths of The Slabs are abound.
Slab City is 600 acres originally used as a training facility, Camp Dunlap, by the Marine Corp during WWI. Today the area is home to the homeless, the snow birds, and about a thousand locals. There is no electricity, no water, no trash, and NO RULES. There is   lots of sunshine, too much in the summer and stars that light up  the sky like a rhinestone blanket.  People come here to escape civilization and it confining restrictions.
The hot springs are clothing optional. The local entertainment at the Range is anything but smoke free, allowing second hand smoke from more than just cigarettes.
The homeless that live here walk to town. If they want a ride, they walk  with the flow of traffic, if not, they walk against the traffic. Dogs run free. I can't imagine life for those that life year around. It can be 120 degrees in the summer, and in the 30s on a winter night.
Below are some of the images of Slab City and the surrounding area of  Salton Sea.
 Above are concrete ducks and geese. This area of East Jesus flood during the heavy rains in the desert.

This was the swimming pool at the Marine Base. It is now a skate park for a group of youth who live here at the slabs and bathe (but not often) in the hot springs less than a quarter of a  mile from here.
This piece of art on the left, created by discarded computer  circuit boards, and the four following are examples of "Found Art"  here in East Jesus.  I could have spent  hours  absorbing the nuances each artist had implied.  East Jesus is a testament to the creation process, knowing that all of this was created by trash and discarded items found here in the desert.

When you visit the mud pots  around the Salton Sea, you feel as if you are taken back to a time that doesn't exist anymore, or perhaps to the future when mankind has depleted the earth.  The hot mud pots remind me of Yellowstone except there are no ropes to keep you away and  safe and  no crowds.

The following mud pots can't be found in Yellowstone. They are  cold mud pots. The water is only warm, not scalding  like the hot ones, although they still bubble and burp, forming cones that rise up from the desert floor.

And if the above depictions of Slab City and the surrounding area of Salton Sea is not strange enough, below are images from Salvation Mountain.  This began as one man's creation.  Leonard, the artist, created his tribute to Jesus  through countless hours of labor and many, many gallons of donated paint, over the last thirty years. Leonard died last year, but the tribute remains. I was amazed by the countless visitors who come from miles away and are in constant attendance. 
Salvation Mountain
Located just east of State Route 111, the entrance to Slab City is easily recognized by the colorful Salvation Mountain, a small hill approximately three stories high which is entirely covered in acrylic paint, concrete and adobe and festooned with Bible verses. It is a project of over two decades by Leonard Knight.

Salvation Mountain

Stay tuned for more pictures from this area.
Happy New Year!

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