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Photos This weekend from Slab City.

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by TMG51, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. TMG51

    TMG51 One of the Regulars

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    Came over to the Slabs for the weekend. Figured I'd post a few pictures and details for anyone who hasn't been.

    I picked up a French exchange student on the way. He had a grant from his university to come to the States and study people living the vehicle life, and as part of that he wanted to see the Slabs, so I gave him a ride. My new foreign friend and I took a more outgoing approach than most here; we just walked around at night to anyone with a fire out and struck up conversation. Since we were drinking rum we were drawn to the giant fluorescent blinking red man off in the distance and walked over to see what was going on. We later realized this meant we were stumbling into the private backyard of East Jesus but whatever, and we asked first.

    The only real rules that seem to be practiced by the locals are 1) if you mark off a piece of land (with beer bottles, old tires or whatever else you have) it becomes yours as long as you're occupying it, and 2) don't cross into a marked plot without permission. So, at the base of the fluorescent red man I called out to someone before crossing over the marked plot and asked if it was cool if we came to say hi. We got the clear and partied with these folks all night. Everywhere we went people offered us booze and, err, edibles. I accepted only the alcohol. And I did that in spite of it being mixed out of sight. Frenchie however got real high and chased by dogs in the dark and got scared and left after only one night. I have not felt at all threatened while here. In cities where I think I might need protection, I carry a thumping bar around when I walk at night. I've felt no need to carry that here. I've gone in several locals' homes without concern.

    There is a library, internet cafe, hostel, public stage / night club, skate park, and other facilities. Most all communal areas and permanent homes are made of burnt out vehicle husks, trash, and old military structures. The locals are a mix of travelers, artists, squatters and sun-baked druggies. The tweeker population is mostly kept to one side of town and not welcome in communal areas.

    There is a bombing range still used by the military only a mile or so away. It was active Friday night.

    A sand storm came through today, followed by a rain shower, and ending in a double rainbow over the slabs. How often does that happen!

    Here are some pictures I took, and a link to more below. Feel free to ask questions as it's hard to describe them all.


    41Bh5OP.

    sMNmhLr.

    M3WE8Eh.

    Hu5Ui3w.

    46fDWhr.

    yemgUF6.

    Zj60O3O.

    cmMxo5l.

    YuaDm08.

    1kCAkou.



    See more pictures at this album link:




    Footnote: Although I said I don't feel threatened here, I did hear that a girl got stabbed last week, and I've been privy to some local rivalries including vandalism of property. But this stuff happens in any city. I find common sense is still what counts here and I do feel safe.
     
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  2. Tude

    Tude Sometimes traveler is traveling.
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    Cool pics - thanks!
     
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  3. taylor black

    taylor black is getting to know the place

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    I'm so glad that you posted this!! I'm going to try to make it out to the slabs for the first time here in a couple weeks. I have two questions for you: What are they chances of catching some good live music there? Anything I should make sure not to miss out on?
     
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  4. OP
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    TMG51

    TMG51 One of the Regulars

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    Oh yeah, The Range has live music every Saturday. They call it the "talent show," but it's essentially an informal concert / club scene. You can buy a burger there too but BYOB.

    The two biggest tourist areas are Monument Hill and East Jesus. You should also know that both of those places are getting bought and lots of locals are upset about the slabs changing once people start owning property. So there are some politics there if it comes up in conversation.

    Otherwise I suggest walking around and seeing the niche art areas rather than just the two main ones. Get a feel for the place yourself, talk to people. Chat up Jack Two Horses over at West Satan (parody of East Jesus). He's a pretty equal opportunity kinda guy and he's actually on some of the land getting bought out so his camp may be coming to an end.
     
  5. Kal

    Kal Can't get enough of the site

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    Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been to the Slabs good times and good people.
     
  6. CheezusCrust

    CheezusCrust is getting to know the place

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    Looks awesome. Hope to get there some day.
     
  7. taylor black

    taylor black is getting to know the place

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    Thanks so much man!
     
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  8. Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    awesome pictures man, sorry if i asked this already, but what kind of camera are you using? those are some really impressive shots and i'd like to be able to do that someday.

    as for the purchasing of land, to be honest it's a lot of hot air. they've been talking about it for well over a year and east jesus isn't anywhere even close to generating the money they need to make that happen. neither is anyone else in the slabs, so no one is buying any land there anytime soon. overall, it's just a shit ton of drama and posturing that isn't going to lead to anything.

    just fyi :)
     
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  9. Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    also, what is monument hill? i've been going to the slabs for years and i've never heard of that...
     
  10. Dmac

    Dmac Can't get enough of the site

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    I bet he means Salvation Mt.
     
  11. OP
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    TMG51

    TMG51 One of the Regulars

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    Yes salvation mountain. I was deliberately using different names for it in passing, didn't mean to be confusing.

    The camera is a Nikon D300 (actually, some were taken with my cell) but no one needs an expensive camera or even a DSLR to take pictures like those. There are some really good "bridge" cameras out there these days for anyone who wants something to learn on.

    The talk I heard is that the land deals are actually happening this time. And that it's the family with the money at least where salvation mountain is concerned. It might just be talk, I have no way of knowing, but the talk was that this time change is coming.

    *shrug*

    Thanks for the interest and comments either way guys.
     
  12. HippieGangster

    HippieGangster Appreciated Participator

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    Awesome pics, I love the "tvs" kind of reminds me of the movie They Live. I tried going to the slabs last summer but couldnt hitch a ride out of Indio for the life of me. Will try to make it this next trip
     
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  13. Free Jones

    Free Jones is getting to know the place

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    if u ride trains at all and ur stuck in Indio u can take a bus to north shore (the north shore of the Salton sea) for a dollar. it's like the second to last stop, the train sides out on a big curve, it's hard to miss. only don't do it at night because the people living around there have dogs that will probably bark till u leave, also north shore is a bit shady at night. the train goes past border patrol so u could get pulled of there. there's a slight chance it could side out in Niland which is three miles from slab city. otherwise it might side out in El centro ( I don't know this for sure, I hitched from Bombay beach where the border patrol is). If u can get to El centro it's much easyer, the bus runs into Niland.
     
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  14. BoomHower

    BoomHower is getting to know the place

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    Nice photos, One day plan on visiting this hippie commune, the slabs that is... east coast right now, but when i venture out west the slabs are located around the LA vicinity correct? The last time I heard of this location was told it was an old abandoned military checkpoint or something . . .
     
  15. Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    It's near niland, CA.
     
  16. BoomHower

    BoomHower is getting to know the place

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    Thank you Derrick I found it!!, It will be cool to check out when I get the time to do so
     
  17. Sirius

    Sirius Sir Posts a Lot

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    I spent my first season in slab city this winter. It was a really rewarding experience. Me and my partner got our windshield fucked up the first night of being there and left, vowing never to return until we met one of the slabers who encouraged us to come back. We had an awesome time and got to meet some amazing people that night including @Matt Derrick. Of course not all could go well that night and one of our road dogs decided to get a little (or a lot) too drunk and tried to fight me and his other friends so we bailed again. On our third trip back (place seems to have a vortex quality about it) we had the awesome opportunity to donate some time into building the Library fence among other smaller projects. @Cornelius Vango and Caveman were both very kind to give us those opportunities. They are doing amazing work there and I'm proud to say I had the chance to spend some time there. I also met the incredible, kind, intellectual and over all badass @creature there which has been a life changing event. I absolutely love that individual and the things he stands for, and what he does for people.
    Slabs is somewhere I had heard many differing opinions of in my travels, but when I finally explored it for myself the experience was very different than what I had expected.
    I highly suggest any traveler whose interested in seeing what alternative life would look like post-revolution or need a little bit of an idea the possible ways to live outside of capitalism to go to Slabs. Hell, its a fun ride no matter what your intentions are, but it certainly is a good example that anarchism/non-centralized community can absolutely work given the right amount of self and community regulation and the drive to work towards the greater communal good.
     
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  18. Squelch

    Squelch Just signed up

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    Loved the pictures man. I need to go out there, but I'm stuck like Chuck right now. Liquid handcuffs..
     
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