Slab City Part 3: Art Tour

Radio Mike told us that if we woke him up at 7am on Sunday, he would take us to the hot springs. He also mentioned that clothing was optional. We opted for clothing.

The hot springs are about 107 degrees, so we didn’t stay too long. We had it to ourselves for about 30 minutes. As we were leaving 2 older gentlemen and a lady gave us a free show.

From there, Mike took us on a tour of the graffiti covered tanks. He told us stories and showed us places we might never have found if we didn’t have him as our tour guide.

I think I saw at his t-shirt stand that he actually does paid tours, so if you ever find yourself at The Slabs I would recommend finding Mike. His love for the place is contagious and we were lucky to see it through his eyes.

It’s quite possible that without our tour guide we would have walked away with a different impression. There is a LOT of garbage in Slab City, where some areas actually look like a city dump. We rarely see garbage when we’re camping on BLM land, so I’m not sure why it’s such a problem here.

reality-aheadSlab City is not for everyone. There’s no water, power, sewer, garbage or amenities. There are some perfectly “normal” people here, but there is also poverty and drug addiction.

This past weekend, we learned about some people who were out of options in this world, moved to Slab City, made a life for themselves and found a community that embraces them.

Bryan Soderlind Journal – really wonderful photos from The Slabs.
Portraits From Slab City: ‘The Last Free Place On Earth’ – NPR’s photo essay
Pioneer Valleyist Archives – a great blog post about Slab City.

Dinner Last Night:
Red lentil kofta. This was AWESOME. The patties didn’t want to stay together when I was forming them, but if I was careful they would. I think a bigger more powerful food processor would have fixed that issue.

I served this with the tzatziki and a basic salad dressed with lemon and olive oil. The recipe made a ton of food, but we’re ok with that. It’s a keeper.

2013 Cost of Camping:
16 nights paid camping
76 nights free camping
Total spent on camping this year: $495.75
Daily average cost of camping: $5.39

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  • Reply Andreas April 3, 2013 at 8:43 am

    “Clothing Optional” – that made me smile.

    I’ve spent a lot of time working in Scandinavia, where communal saunas are a way of life. It was always easy to spot both the Americans and the Brits – they were the people wearing bathing suits.

    Not in any way making fun of your personal choices – simply reminiscing.

  • Reply jerry April 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Amazing blog about life lived in a different reality. That rocks.
    And your menu made me salivate.

    • Reply Leigh April 4, 2013 at 7:23 am

      Thanks Jerry!

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