Friday, 14 January 2011


A PLACE TO BE. We all must BE someplace. Come with me to the world's most surprising campground---A place where you may camp rent-free ---even build a house--in a super free--almost anarchic-- community. The state of California inherited the land and has chosen to permit unlimited free living. It is a sanctuary for distressed or impoverished or just curious individuals. In succeedings entries I will focus on its Denizens and on its Drama. Now, I acquaint you with its Domiciles. To see the precise location of the Slabs note the tiny town of Niland California at the lower east edge of the Salton Sea. Now note the road going east and see where it intersects with the Coachilla Canal---bingo--the infamous SLABS.
Settled myself in on the edge of our "tribal" grounds about dark and noticed this scene in my front window.
Of course I stepped outside to catch the full glory of the moment. My 5 pronged experiment begins tomorrow.
But this first morning, I will amble around to show you the variety of Slab domiciles. This neatly engineered shed with camouflage material for shade adjoins his motorhome.
Territoriality expressing itself here. A year round resident is building a pool. (Odd because there's no running water at the Slabs---nearest faucet is in Niland---4 miles away.)
A classic Teardrop trailer---from the 1920's---minimalism for sure. But note the solar panel for electrical power.
A somewhat isolated 6ft x 12ft home built literally on the sand and shaded against the summer sun.
Can you see this camouflaged tent. Also located on the Slab's periphery and occupied by Leonard's defender--the escapist social worker mentioned in part 1.
Lots of old trailers like these in what I call the spooky zone--thickly vegetated.
A traveling guy and gal set up temporary housekeeping amidst the trash--seemingly untroubled by their unsightly surroundings.
Guy and his wife fenced themselves and their dogs in---with chain link no less. Said he's here for the long haul.
Lots of tents around---reasonably comfortably living if one has water. Many Slabbers do like this guy--buy a 50 gallon tank and pay a small fee for water delivery. Using an average of 2 gallons per day, that is a 25 day supply.
A residence and a business---"Solar Mike" and his wife live here---I judge them to be the Slabs most substantial citizens. He sells and installs solar panels and windmills.
The Slabs most colorful citizen---container charley. (more about him later) showing off his summer nights sleeping loft. The Container behind him is an insulated one shipped in from San Francisco and used as his primary residence. He has claimed a large swath of land and is constructing a museum/estate.
Xanadon't is the name of this quirky structure. Do you get the literary reference?
Inside Xanadon"t --- My friends inspecting.
Perhaps the strangest of all the homes---and occupied by the strangest of Slab Citizens---Will show him to you in the next entry.
This was a sewer holding tank for the military base---made of reinforced concrete. Its current occupant---a character called Moth---apparantly "claimed" it , chiseled a doorway and moved in, decorating his windoless home with odd paintings.

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