Sunday, December 20, 2009

When the time was right to leave Borrego Springs behind I looked at the map and thought that I would perhaps head south and check out some of the vast southern parts of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

But when I looked closer at some of the places along the way, I realized that I had already been there. So, instead I decided to head over to the well known 'Slab City' on the east side of the Salton Sea, and just east of the town of Niland. I had heard a lot about the place, but had not yet paid a visit.
I won't go into great details, but the place was a former US military base that was decomissioned decades ago, and has since been home to a few hardy year-round residents, and a great variety of winter visitors and residents.

Here is one of the military guard posts at the entrance to the area. 'Almost there'.And another onefurther down the road.

Right at the entrance is Salvation Mountain. It has been written about a lot and photographed a lot and it and Slab City were featured in the movie 'Into the Wild'. In August I blogged about another part of the movie that took place in Alaska.
The 'mountain' is pretty amazing and obviously is the result of thousands of hours of work and thousands of gallons of paint. You can Google it and find out many more details.
Here, you canwalk right up the painted face.
On a painted trail.
To the top; looking back down at the parking lot.
The 'company cars' are all painted and well adorned as well. I spotted one of these in Niland, and there was no doubt where it had come from!
Another view looking down.
And the back side of a new area. Wood, hay bales, plywood, pallets, you name it.

I realized that it is very difficult to generalize about this place - the extremes are just that.
You will see pretty much anything and everything here.And everything in between.
Sometimes it is not clear if something is undergoing construction - or demolition. Or both?But at least there is a complaint department in the 'Loner's on Wheels' section!

While generally everyone is very friendly, there are some gates and keep out signs, with all manner of debris used as fencing or barricades, or decoration.

There are operating businesses, such as this solar installation place, and a library that never closes - well, there are no doors.
On the entrance road there is a free 'shower'.
If you don't mind crawling down into a hole on a ladder.The glossy brochure said the water was from a hot springs, but when I felt it, it was rather cool. Likely very refreshing on a hot day, however.

There is a downside as well (in case you weren't paying attention), including probably decades of non garbage disposal etc.

There is no electricity, therefore there is a lot of solar happening, and a lot of generators. And a lot of dogs in some areas. There is live music on Friday nites, and apparently happy hour every day at 3.
I pulled in at dark the first night and did not know where to go, and ended up where there were a lot of running generators and barking dogs.

So the next day, I moved a bit further into the desert where I found plenty of peace and quiet.
With a nice view all around, and also back across the Salton Sea up towards Borrego Springs.
I could occasionally hear the Friday nite live music.
But that did not detract at all from the nice little campfire I was enjoying.


  1. Crazy place Slab City...Your getting closer to my stompin grounds. If you make it up to Prescott, let me know. It would be my treat to a Hockey Game & a Burger at the Arena I Chef at. Happy Trails

  2. I was waiting for a Xmas posting, so, Merry Xmas Ivan, Be safe and have fun!