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Slab City & Salvation Mountain

A Last Minute Detour to Creative Salvation

We were awake hours before the warming sun had the chance to unite the new day, having not managed to shake the arduous jet-lag during a recent Fable&Co. trip to Southern California.

 

It was decided, we were to use this early start to drive hours into the Sonoran Desert, 156 miles northeast of San Diego to explore the legend of Slab City & Salvation Mountain on route to Los Angeles.

 

 

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Slab City

Life, Off The Grid

Slab City or The Slabs is a community of several thousand squatters & camper van dwellers who have built their very own city away from the constraints of conventional society. The site is decommissioned & uncontrolled, it has no electricity, running water, sewers or toilets.

We arrived in the neighbouring village of Niland as daylight broke, in search of this creatively inspiring, post apocalyptic masterpiece in the desert. After a few wrong turns we crossed a railroad track & continued down, what looked like an abandoned old dirt road, ladened with pot holes & discarded waste. We seemed to be heading towards nothing, when suddenly we reached a sign which read ‘Welcome to Slab City, The Last Free Place’.

Our early morning arrival into Slab City meant that the residents were all still dormant. This came as somewhat of a relief, as we had heard stories about the number of outlaws, convicts & addicts that were using Slab City as a place to hide away, enabling them to go about their lives without harassment from the authorities. The reputation of Slab City being as close to the ‘Old West’ as you are ever going to find seemed somewhat appropriate, as the tumble weed rolled by in the cold desert breeze.

 

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I doubt you are considering Slab City as your next holiday destination! However if you wanted a cheap getaway then you could take advantage of the thermal mud baths, a skatepark located in an abandoned Olympic-sized pool or you could even play 18 holes at the rather primitive ‘Gopher Flats’ golf course, all located within this eccentric desert metropolis. Free meals, entertainment & music concerts are also provided. All that is asked is that new visitors remember the rules, “Respect your neighbor, or stay the hell away”.

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Photographs America East Jesus Artist Community in Slab City, California Photographic Print by Carol M. Highsmith

Salvation Mountain

The legacy of Leonard Knight

Our inquisitive sense of adventure had led us off the beaten track & outside of our comfort zone. Like the many visitors that had come before us, we were not completely aware of the purpose or sentiment of this unique technicolored mountain, but only of its existence.

We later found out that this visionary environment covering a hill in the Colorado Desert, seven miles from the Salton Sea, is made from adobe, straw & thousands of gallons of lead-free paint. It was created by the recently deceased local resident, Leonard Knight.

Inside Parts of Salvation Mountain
Outside Salvation Mountain USA
Outside Salvation Mountain USA
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A lot of people in the valley just love me a lot. Everybody now, I think, in the whole world is just loving me. And I want to have the wisdom to love them back. And that’s about it. So, I really get excited.

Leonard Knight

Visionary (1931-2014)
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Leonards Technicolour Mountain

Dedication & Commitment

Leonard’s commitment & dedication to the mountain had been relentless for over 30 years. He originally only planed to stay at the Slabs a short while leaving a small statement behind. One thing led to another, the mountain grew & grew. The hard work didn’t go unnoticed, Salvation Mountain has even been documented into the Congressional Record of the United States proclaiming Salvation Mountain as a national treasure.

 

It is Leonard’s hope that his message of ‘Love’ will be seen all over the world & that people everywhere will show more love & compassion for their fellow men.

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