The Slabs - finally!

Trip Start Jan 14, 2010
Trip End Sep 02, 2010

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The Slabs, aka Slab City

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life has a way of changing things. Changing paths, travel destinations, timing.  This morning when I awoke the sky was alive.  Dark clouds were moving in so fast that I stayed in bed just to watch what would happen.  After a while I got up, made coffee and pondered what to do next.  Things did not look good.

I have never seen a rainbow at my own height, so when I saw a rainbow approaching me at lightning speed, I figured maybe I should skip the tour and head out.

Good thing I did.

Rule one – don't dump your black water while it is raining.

Rule two – don’t dump your black water while others are looking.

Bummer for me.

I got most of my housekeeping done before the rain, but when it hit, it hit HARD.  I had no regrets about abandoning my ticket for 1:15.  If I had kept it, I would be docking in the dark, which is Rule three - don’t dock in the dark!!

Note to Alan: don’t set me up with a bunch of tools to take my rig apart and not expect me to take my rig apart when I am bored!!  Geez.   Alan, my BFF, set me up with kits before my inaugural journey last year which would allow me, if needed, to take apart this rig as well as airplanes, small buildings and some shopping malls.

So, I started to take apart my lights, since EVERYONE at the rally said that I needed to upgrade to LED’s and lose the bulbs.  Okay.  But what is the black wire, vs the white wire?

So, that’s why I am in Quartzsite, the world’s largest swap meet.  To find stuff.

That Alan can install.

Thanks Alan.

Last year when I was learning about Burning Man, I had no idea what a "white out" was.  Now I know with carnal knowledge.  Today, while I was driving I went through 3.  When you are walking, with scarf over your nose and mouth, it is one thing.  When you have to keep pace with traffic going 75, it is another.  Oh, yea, baby, baby.  Burners are wimps.

Let me take one on the ground any day.  Any Day.  I can’t believe rigs want to pass me doing 75 in the white.

Anyway, I digress.  Did I mention how I love my “lill buddy”?  Greatest thing.  Hook a propane bottle to a thing that makes the rig get warm and cozy.  Plus it’s rated to work indoors, although I don’t trust it enough to be one when I sleep…. Cuz… it may… uh….er….yyyyyy,

Yikes!!!  Anyway, no issues yet, but I just crank it up while I’m awake and then shut it off when the cabin is.. oh, about 90.

Uh huh, more later.

In Quartzsite I found LED’s with the right kind of connector to hook into where my bulbs were.  Cool.  I mean really.  They produce little to no heat and use 1/3 the energy.  Double cool.

I took the longer, more southern route to get to The Slabs, passing through the dunes (gotta go back there!) and through Ripley, finally depositing me in the quaint (uh hem) town of Niland.  I stopped for ice and beer and asked where The Slabs were.  “Turn right, pass the railroad tracks and keep going.”  Okay.  So I did.  Within a few minutes I was beyond town, moving to way beyond town.  When I passed a small shack that had “You are almost at the slabs” painted on it, I knew I was going the right way. 

Then I saw it: Salvation Mountain.  The Mountain is the life long work of mostly one gentleman, Leonard.  He’s quite an odd soul and seems to be without a proper church, other than this shrine.  The whole thing is built onto/into the dirt using sawdust and paint.  It is amazing regardless of what you think of the belief system.  You must see this to believe (bad pun) it.

Then I turned right at LoW blvd, past Traveler’s Lane – yes, there are sign posts – and found two of my new found SoloTrekker buddies and Charlie! The dog.

The Slabs, or Slab City as it is more formally called, is an abandoned air field from the 40’s.  It’s still close enough to a real military installation that you can hear the jets and blasts and booms near the mountains.  I suppose it is formally BLM land, but no one seems to care about it anymore – except the residents.  Some are here full time.  Most are snowbirds, and some, like me, are visitors.  It is free of charge, without politics or governing and without any services.  I do mean any – no services at all.  Nada, none, zippo.

At Burning Man you can buy coffee and ice, and if something bad happens someone will come scoop you up.  No chance here.  You are fully, completely and totally on your own.  Other un-burning man like things include:

-         It is free – did I mention that already?

-         You don’t have to dress up, well I suppose you could

-         There is no entertainment (unless you count cribbage and cards)

-         You can bring your dog

-         It is year round – like now, in February when the weather is absofuckinlutely great!

-         There is a lot more room for all the RV’s

-         No porta potties

-         You can drive your car around the desert

-         There are no kids

-          you can stay as long as you like, and you don't have to wait in line to get in

-          it gets quiet after sunset, cuz everything is on solar and when the sun goes down, well, the batteries start to drain, and that's a drain.

Part of this list are pro’s, part con – to each his own.  And, believe it or not, there are a lot of people out here that are 70 years old and better, doing just fine in the desert.  The LoW’s (Loner’s on Wheels) have a club house, theater, happy hour (each night at 3 – they go to bed early), library, communal kitchen and a card room.

Beyond the LoW’s group there are two abandoned water tanks – we are talking huge – takes several minutes to walk all around them, and they have become the canvas of one artist – who will remain nameless and photo less as requested.  One is decorated with dinosaurs and un-war images.  The other is a very erotic, playful depiction of Kama sutra characters.  There are quite a few images of nakedness and some cross species goings on.  Fun!!  Don’t bring the kiddies without expecting a few questions.

As I was cooking dinner Jim and Charlie! The dog came to visit.  Jim doesn’t know it yet, but I may run off with that dog.  We’d be two bitches on the run!

My plan is to be here until Friday morning and then head to Carpentaria State Beach.  But I will be back – ah yes, I will be back!
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Toni Jane on

Did you really do Burning Man? Ron and I have done it twice. What a kick.

Don Kauffeld on

Just came through Quartsite 2 weeks ago. Moved back to Palm Springs from Dallas. Good to be nearer family and long-time friends in So Calif. Hope that you are well. Your Travel Blog is fun to read! Stay in touch... Cousin Don

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