Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at

My Photo

I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Into the Slabs

The Slabs are a real-life outland; a desert "Freedom Zone," more or less outside the rules and restraints of conventionality; an accidental experiment in anarchy. A hundred or so call it home, a few hundred more come visit in the winter.

To see it is to be underwhelmed, many hurry away on first encounter.

Yet Sean Penn came here to film "Into the Wild." CBS and ABC did segments on it. Several independent and foreign filmsters documented it. National Geographic came. High dollar motor homes and junkyard trailers are parked within shouting distance of each other.

What is so different about this one square mile of scrub desert, 3 miles east of Niland, CA? It is the most free place in America! The only permanent free campground in the Western world. You can, honest to God, come here and live rent-free for the rest of your life.

We love this bubbling cauldron of eccentricity and hope to give you a sense of it, here and in posts to come.

"The Hole" Certainly one of the most famous showers in the world. A warm stream falls into and runs out a concrete tunnel. Thousands have bathed here.

The protocol is to wait your turn out of sight.

One of the first things you see when entering the Slabs is Salvation Mountain!

It's made of mud, laced with straw, formed and painted; the major life work of Leonard Knight, a gentle religious guy. He did a different thing and the world beat a path to his door. He's been featured on CBS, ABC, and National Geographic, as well as in "Into the Wild."

Gateway to an alternative world. Other than this guard shack, only concrete slabs remain as evidence of a once bustling marine base.

You'll also see this stage, called "The Ranch," in the Penn movie. The singer featured in the movie is "Insane Wayne," who was brought from jail to perform his Slab song. Every Saturday night locals perform. Spotlights and amplifiers are solar/battery powered.


Anonymous Corrie Clay said...

I've never seen that movie, maybe I'll rent it sometime.

You guys do find some interesting places to bathe. I think the hot springs in Oregon looked a lot nicer.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Bob Parker & Donna Huffer said...

Been there, done that. Glad we're back east thanks for the reminder. But miss all you guys..

PS. Who does the narrative. Randy or Diane? We know who does the pictures.

7:11 PM  
Blogger squire said...

Slab City is one of the places I hope to experience before I am pushing up daisies..

7:54 AM  
Blogger Steve and Nancy(aka Morningstar) said...

While there say hi to Golfer Mary and richard.
They are in a MH and should still be there. Tell them Steve and Nancy say Hi. Give hugs for us.

6:18 PM  

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