Our original plan was to leave Casa Grande, AZ and dry camp the night in Slab City where we were going to meet the Bogers family. Well they had RV problems so we had to change plans a few times. We started out in a Casino parking lot in Maricopa, AZ on Saturday night. About mid afternoon we got a message from the Bogers that they could make it to Slab City on Sunday morning. We were about 5 hours away so we either had to leave immediately and drive at night or leave early in the AM. We decided to leave then and drive to CA to get a little closer. We ended up getting to the Yuma, AZ area and staying in another Casino parking lot for the night. That put us only about 2 hours away from Slab City where we went first thing.

We had heard a lot about Slab City over the past year and really wanted to visit the area. Slab City 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 climate. The temperatures during the summer are unforgiving; 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. There is a library, church, and entertainment stage.

One of the biggest attractions at Slab City is Salvation Mountain created by Leonard Knight. The mountain is 50 feet tall and 150 feet wide and made of adobe clay. Leonard’s intent was to spend a couple days and create a small monument to show his love for God but it turned into something much larger. You really must visit the official website and read the inspiring story of Leonard Knight and his love for God and to tell the world that “God is Love”. We had the great pleasure of having Leonard give us a personal tour of his mountain. You can tell he is so excited to share his creation. Leonard lives in front of the mountain in an old truck (see pictures below). He has lived there for 29 years with no electric, running water, sewer or anything. He works on the mountain everyday but is happy to stop to give you a tour. He says his favorite thing is talking to people and having them take pictures. It is estimated that he has put over 100,000 gallons of paint on the mountain.

I left Salvation Mountain inspired to determine what my passion in life is. Slab City is one of those places where you don’t really want to live but you admire the people that do. It is a simple, cheap life where you are not faced with many of the worlds issues. I hope to revisit Slab City in the future and actually get to camp a few days.  Thanks again for the Bogers for meeting us there!

Our next stop is Julian, CA for a week and get ready for some activities in the San Diego area.  We took a ton of pictures and you can see some below!

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5 Responses to “Slab City and Salvation Mountain”
  1. Brenda Summers says:

    How old is that man and how does he take a bath, shave, and use the bathroom? I have no desire to live like that!

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