Monday, July 6, 2009

Slab City

While we were out on our road trip today, I was on the phone with Diana. Her grandmother just had surgery on her hip today so I called to check in and see how she was doing. She is doing great! She asked what we were up to and I told her we were going to Salvation Mountain and to give a point of reference I said it was by Slab City. That didn't mean a thing to her. So I tried again and said Slab City was like Quartzsite. Again, this didn't mean a thing to her. I then laughed because I realized this was full-timers speak and there was no reason she would know about such things since I didn't before going full time on the road. That's ok though because she had to patiently explain to me why her husband had the day off from work on the 3rd of July. I apparently have forgotten such things since we left the corporate world behind. Boy, did I feel like a total social retard by the time she was done. This is why it's important to have friends from all different walks of life!

So, compliments of Wikipedia, here is what Slab City is:

Slab City or The Slabs is a camp in the Colorado Desert in southeastern California, used by recreational vehicle owners and squatters from across North America. It takes its name from the concrete slabs and pylons that remain from the abandoned World War II base Marine Barracks Camp Dunlap there. A group of servicemen remained after the base closed, and the place has been inhabited ever since, although the number of residents has declined since the mid 1980s.
Several thousand campers, many of them retired, use the site during the winter months. These "snowbirds" stay only for the winter, before migrating north in the spring to cooler climes. The temperatures during the summer are forbidding; nonetheless, there is a group of around 150 permanent residents, who live in the Slabs all year round. Most of these "Slabbers" subsist on government checks (SSI and Social Security) and have been driven to the Slabs through poverty; some of the "slabbers" also have a strong desire for freedom from the American government.
The site is both decommissioned and uncontrolled, and there is no charge for parking. The camp has no electricity, no running water or other services. Many campers use generators or solar panels to generate electricity. Supplies can be purchased in nearby Niland, California, located about three miles (5 km) to the southwest of Slab City.
Slab City was featured in the book Into the Wild and also in the 2007 movie of the same name. The video for Fourth of July by Shooter Jennings is partially set at Slab City.
Austin thought this was as fascinating as Salvation Mountain and told me he might want to come and live here for a little bit when he is grown, just for the experience of it all. I could see that.


laurie l. goodman said...

wow! now that is cool! thanx for sharing the info.
i loved that book and movie...did you see it? the soundtrack rocks too incidentally.. gotta love eddie vedder... i think it's so neat that you were there...tell us about some of the people you met while you were there...i bet some interesting stories...neat about austin...great experiences for him! i wish i could have got to know him better and hang out more!
keep writing!

little castle said...

I'd never even heard of the book or the movie until a few weeks ago when I grabbed it on an audio book through the library. Can't wait to read/listen to it now. As to the interesting people, I wish I could share stories. We didn't see anyone at all there to talk to-probably because it was so hot. We did however see a man riding a bike outside of the slabs that was interesting. He was wearing what I imagine was a speedo bathing suit. Because it was so small, it appeared that he was naked at first. We all did a triple take on that one. ;o

jaci said...

No photos of the guy in the speedo?

Wasn't Slab City also featured in Independence Day? I thought the Vietnam Vet pilot was living in Slab City when the aliens came... ?

little castle said...

What is really funny, Jaci, is that I would have probably taken the pic of the guy in the speedo had I not taken the time to do the triple take.

Yes, I believe it was featured in Independence Day! Good catch!