Slab City is known as “the last free place,” and seems to be free for a reason. People have called it a ‘hi-tech hobo camp,’ others a ‘year-round Burning Man.’ This December, we decided to check it out.
We arrived late at night and pulled into an empty dirt area, something not hard to find in this desert community. We were too tired to set up camp so we slept in the car. We awoke to find ourselves in a barren wasteland, surrounded by run down RV’s, art cars, and trash.
Our first priority was to visit Salvation Mountain, the nearly 40-year-old work of Leonard Knight. It was just as impressive as expected, with thousands and thousands of gallons of lead-free paint, straw bales and dirt supporting it. The message was clear and repeated hundreds of times: God is love.
We then scaled some abandoned graffiti-covered water tanks and stopped by the town skate park, which unfortunately was full of water due to a recent rain.
We passed West Satan on our way to East Jesus. The sculpture garden was quite the attraction and featured an 80 ft tall sculpture built in one hour during their annual art competition.
The few people we talked to were very nice. They seemed to be happily living in their own dimension, undisturbed by the outside world. Some people sat in groups and relaxed, this being their main preoccupation.
Occasionally a thin, leathery, old human would slog across the desert, sometimes with a dog or a backpack.
Despite the harsh realities of no running water or electricity, If simply existing in freedom and expression is the goal, Slab City is quite the place to do it.
The nearby Salton Sea is also quite interesting as well, It's surrounded by dead fish and ghost towns but provides some surreal views.
Have you been to Slab City? If so let us know what your impressions were.