Slab City has been on my radar for years! But if I’m being completely honest, I was really nervous about going by myself – I didn’t know what to expect. There were some blog posts about other peoples experiences but nothing that could answer my ONLY concerning question: “Was it safe to go alone?” Turns out, it is (in case any of you were wondering). There are actually quite a lot of tourists driving through.
Located in the Sonoran Desert it took us about 1.5 hours to get there from Yuma, AZ. The Slabs is a community of artists, squatters, hippies, desert dwellers, outcasts and of course, RVers. They live in a place that was once a Marine Corps barracks (Camp Dunlap) during WWII. It was used for 3 years and then dismantled, leaving only the slabs from the buildings behind (hence the name). Now it’s home to lots of people living off the grid. The amount of solar panels in this place is enough to make anyone a little jealous of all their sun power!
One of the most notorious sites in Slab City is Salvation Mountain. It’s at the entrance of Slab City and is very easily recognized. This art installation/project took Leonard Knight 2 decades to complete.
We stopped and snapped some photos of Salvation Mountain. Fun fact for you – Salvation Mountain was in the movie “Into The Wild.” For those of you that know the movie, McCandless met Leonard Knight at Salvation Mountain. Knight even appears in a scene in the film as himself.
East Jesus – The Art Garden
East Jesus is an art ‘gallery’ where fellow slabbers display their own sculptures and art installations. Most of them are made from ‘junk they found’ & recycled materials, demonstrating the residents’ ideal of self-sustainability. The unique & quirky art from the people on the fringes of society is part of Slab City’s extraordinary appeal. You just have to see it for yourself to really get a feel for the place.
East Jesus has some of the most unusual (and symbolic) art I’ve ever seen. I would’ve loved to have had a chat with the guys and gals who came up with it. It’s bizarre and really interesting… & I’m a sucker for good stories! 🙂
My favorite art installation is the stacks of broken TVs. It says a lot about common culture & the things some American’s consider important.
I realize this blog post has been mostly photos – there was so much to share! If you’re ever in southern California and in need to a day trip to the desert, make a stop at Slab City. Chat with the locals and look at alllll the art! After all, it’s the last free place in America! 😉