Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Slabs

For the past week we've been with the WINs at the most unique place in the entire United States - Slab City or The Slabs. Between 1942 and 1946, these 640 acres were utilized as a marine training camp. When WWII ended, the buildings were given to the town of Niland and carted off leaving the concrete 'slabs' behind. Retired veterans, snowbirds and drifters moved in and created a city of their own. With EPA requirements, the land would cost too much to be of use to anybody, so the residents are left in peace.

As you can see, the guard shack at the entrance artfully welcomes the visitors.

With no zoning laws, there are some amazing sights. We weren't sure if this person was selling these treasures or just collecting.

Anybody need a slightly used piano?

There are some creative people there. I liked the truck garden and the lampshade tree.

And decorated cars seem to be a fad. This one even has a hedge trimmer.

There's a very successful free library - it expands each year.

Keeping up with technology, they have installed 'internut' equipment.

I particularly liked the reading room. It even had a puzzle in the works just like at all the RV resorts.

The pet cemetery is full of beloved friends who have passed on. Our friend John just brought his doggy companion's ashes here to be placed under a piece of marble that he acquired in Marble, CO. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of that, but each plot speaks of love.

Probably the most famous local attraction is Salvation Mountain, the inspiration and work of Leonard Knight. This continuous work-in-progress is something that has to be seen to be believed. Leonard expresses his beliefs with colorful paint and boundless enthusiasm.

For more on this National Treasure, see Diana's posting here.

A week was enough time for this restless duo to spend at the Slabs, but there are lots of year-round residents. We met Mayor Linda who hosts a CB broadcast and publishes a newsletter. I especially liked the nicknames of the locals - it seems nobody goes by their real name. Here are a few I pulled out of the deceased list in the newsletter. Rest in peace to Happy Bo Pappy, Rockin' Granny, Gimpy, Jailbird, Coondog Frank, Vegas Streaker, Roadkill Kenny and Insane Wayne who was immortalized in the movie Into the Wild. I hope they all have found their own personal slab in heaven.


  1. Great write-up, even if your sister did beat you to it ..can't wait to see where you guys go next .. Happy Holidays .. We traveling vicariously.

  2. You and Diana both have me very anxious for a visit to the Slabs. It's been quite a few years since I've been there. I'm definitely due for a visit. I'm thinking February.

  3. Great pictures! And I enjoy reading through your posts. I found your page from the nomadic home blog. If you don't mind, I would like to add you to my list of links on
    Happy travels, I'll be back to

  4. We enjoyed your write up on Slab City and awesome pic's to boot!, can't wait to check it out now, I'm a very creative soul and we both have a healthy sense of humor, sounds like our kinda place... :-)

    Cindy Lee

  5. Love your pics, If you don't mind I would love to share your pics of Salvation Mountain.
    God Bless,