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2013-03-03  
Salvation Mountain & Slab City, CA
mini location map2013-03-03
24 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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Salvation Mountain & Slab City, CA 
Salvation Mountain & Slab City, CA
 
Scenic Drive avatar Mar 03 2013
rwstorm
Scenic Drive
Scenic Drive
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After camping at Headquarters Campground at Salton Sea State Recreation Area, I started the second day of my California trip by heading down to the Niland area to take a look at a couple of well-known, quirky, "off the grid" spots. I had become aware of them by watching the DVD "Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea" (highly recommended). Both places are next to each other along Beal Road east of town. This is the road that heads out to the former site of Camp Dunlap, a WWII Marine Corps artillery training base. First stop was Salvation Mountain, an art creation of adobe, straw, wood, etc, and thousands of gallons of paint. It is Leonard Knight's tribute to his belief. Leonard arrived in the area in the 1980's and had been adding to his creation until recently. Failing health required that he be relocated to an assisted care facility in El Centro (he is now 81). Next, I did a brief drive through part of Slab City (or The Slabs), which is located at the site of the former military base. Camp Dunlap had long been abandoned, and most everything that was there was removed in the 1950's, except for the concrete foundations (hence the name Slab City). The military turned the land over to the State of California in 1961. The start of people settling and camping there dates back to 1965, when Riverside County ordered folks to leave an encampment at Painted Canyon near Mecca. They migrated down to around Bombay Beach and Slab City. Today it is very popular with the RV snowbird crowd, and the population swells during the winter months, then of course diminishes to only the diehard local residents during the blazing hot summers. Basically, it is attractive to folks with limited funds, as well as others who just don't want to be a part of conventional society.
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