Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I think the U.S. Air Force found out Kelly was in town because there were no more aircraft flying after 11 p.m. Even the freight trains quit running for the night & the traffic finally diminished. However, I woke up around 3 to the sound of somebody talking on a police radio. A cruiser must have stopped a car just outside the park's gates because I could here them running a California license plate. Finally made it back to sleep only to be jolted awake at 4:30 a.m. by the crash bang sound of the Monday morning garbage truck picking up the big metal trash containers just around the corner. What a night, what a night!!

Kelly phoned home in the morning to see how her parents were doing & then we headed for the awning repair place. Well, that was a big bust!! We had been under the impression they had vinyl awnings in stock but they didn't & it would take about a week to order one in to fit our motorhome. So, that was it for that & we headed back to the Wal-Mart parking lot to regroup & hook the car up again. We were very disappointed but decided to just carry on to Niland California. We headed west on I-8 & could see downtown Yuma on our left which looked very nice. But, no matter which way you slice it, Yuma is a big city & we don't care for all the hustle & bustle, traffic, noise, etc of big cities. It was so nice to get out into the countryside again. I guess once a country bumpkin, always a country bumpkin:))

Just west of Yuma are the big Imperial Sand Dunes which looks like pictures I've seen of the Sahara desert with it's endless sea of sand huge dunes. We could see RV'rs here & there boondocking with their ATVs. The rest of the drive to Niland was kinda boring because there isn't much to see. This land is pretty flat with scruffy shrubs for the most part. We did notice a huge amount of air pollution ahead though as we got to within a hundred miles of San Diego. When one thinks of California they think of lush palm trees & green but out here it seems to be more dust, dirt, litter, & air pollution.
Swung north at El Centro & couldn't help thinking while coming around the ramp that this is the farthest point we will be from home & in effect, from this point here we begin the long journey home.
Made it to Niland around 2 I think. Kind of a scruffy looking little town out here in the flatness of nowhere & nothing. Not a particularly pretty area compared to where we've been. Headed east out of town a few miles to a place called Slab City.................................

Well, what can I say about Slab City. Oh boy, this is quite the place!! Where do I start. Slab city was an old air force base in the desert years ago. The wooden buildings are long gone but the cement slabs they were on are still here. Thus, slab city. People have been coming here, living & camping on & around the cement slabs & on the desert floor for decades. It was hugely popular with the hippies back in the 60's & is popular with RV'rs now. There are probably around a hundred rigs here right now. Some are permanent & some are just passing through. The biggest attraction here is something called, Salvation Mountain. First, let me say that Salvation Mountain is not a mountain as we think of it. A fellow by the name of Leonard Knight has dedicated his life to building a religious shrine that people call a mountain. It's hard for me to describe what this is but I have uploaded a bunch of pictures I took yesterday when Kelly & I stopped to have a look. http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy Leonard Knight was away in town but his helper, a nice old fellow by the name of Jack was there & Jack took us for a tour in & around the, "mountain." I will include a link here to a website that tells about Leonard Knight & his Salvation Mountain. Leonard just got back as we were leaving. http://www.salvationmountain.us/menu.html#house

Now, back to slab city which begins right where Salvation Mountain leaves off. Our first impression of Slab City was not good. There is litter, garbage, & debris most everywhere. Generations of squatters, hippies, & transients have left behind burned out buses, twisted & rusted old vehicles, collapsed & rotting old trailers, & garbage paraphernalia of all description. For us, coming from Canada, we are constantly appalled by the amount of litter & garbage on the ground in the American Southwest, & here at Slab City it is disappointing to see the mess left by careless & uncaring people. Mother Nature has worked overtime in creating such a beautiful land & man has worked hard at making a lot of it such a mess. I guess there are many things in life we don't understand & for Kelly & I this is one of them. Now, having said all that, there is still something appealing about Slab City here. As I look out one window I see big million dollar Class A motorhomes scattered about & as I look out another window I see an old beat up trailer with a couple old derelict pick up trucks, makeshift shelter made out of bits of scrap plywood, old rusted carparts, cardboard, sticks, & whatever. I think there are probably more dogs here than people by the sounds of it & last night I was fortunate enough to see fire coming out of the sky!! To the east of Slab City on the horizon is the Chocolate Mountain Range & between here & there is the Naval Gunnery Range. We knew that so when a helicopter went over low about 9 last night I went outside & watched it head in that direction. I could see aircraft blinking in the night sky in that direction as well. About 10 minutes later I saw yellow streams of light coming out of an invisible point in the sky which I assumed was rocket fire from the helicopter to a point on the ground. Seconds later came a burst of bright red streams fanning out at a point on the desert as well. I assume that was machine gun fire from the helicopter using red tracer bullets. We talked to an old timer yesterday who said the it's quite a light show some nights with all the gunfire & bombings that go on. We had heard explosions earlier in the afternoon.
We are on generator power here because there is no electricity so we can only use the computer when the generator is running & generating power to the coach. Definitely a different way of doing things for us but it's something we want to do more often to escape the expense & overcrowding of most RV parks.
We are actually in Slab City to talk to a fellow who installs & outfits motorhomes with solar power. He was recommended by people on some of the RV forums we belong to so we wanted to see what he had to offer & for what kind of price.

OK, time to start the generator & send this off. We set up our satellite dish yesterday & had no problem at all so it's nice to have satellite TV & internet out here in the middle of no place in the California desert:)) Leonard Knight lives in that old truck...(picture bottom right)

1 comment:

  1. Hello. I found your siye while I was poking around for information about Slab City. I was intrigued from the movie, "Into The Wild". I appreciate your information and the great pictures here. It looks to be a very interesting place and maybe a little dangerous from what I have read on other sites also. There are quite a few videos of the place on YouTube.com. I have driven by this place two times and never knew it existed. I was on I-10 headed for the coast. Maybe I'll check it out if I ever get back out that way. Thank you for your site, it was useful and nice to look at. Be careful out there. I envy you folks! Have fun. My Name is Mike and I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.