I have a horrendous memory! However, I envisioned Slab City as I remembered it from the movie, "Into The Wild". Just a few trailers in the desert around some empty concrete slabs (ergo the "Slab" in Slab City). For those of you who have been here, you'll recognize how wrong I was!
Slab City is located in Niland, California. Back in WWII, it was a US Marine Corps training base...Camp Dunlap. Once it closed, the cement foundations became the origin of the name, "Slab" City. It is now also known as "The Last Free Place".
Smiley has been a "Slabber" for 4 1/2 years and has owned the church (Christian Center) for 2 years. He's a caring and friendly old man (he may be my age for all I know but wears it harder). He offered me a second night beside the church because I was a newbie and he didn't want me to run into any of the less appealing humans in Slab City.
Slab City is "home" to a wide range of personalities. You'll see for yourself as you drive the roads around
|My "neighbor" giving freely
As in everything, you generally get what you give. I don't judge others situations, lifestyles, struggles, or weaknesses. I have plenty of my own. Acceptance is what we all desire and, in this place, it is given freely. It is the last free place in all ways, no question.
Saturday night, I walked down the road towards the sound of music and conversation at "The Range". There is a stage where people come out to jam every Saturday night and it is where you want to be! Interacting with the locals with a mix of snowbirds is surreal and fun! I danced and intermingled with them all. The following morning, I walked with my new friends to the Oasis Club where you can get all you can eat breakfast for $5.00 (only on the weekends). The Oasis Club is a small plywood kitchen that opens to a circle of trailers with tables and chairs available for anyone who stops in. I generally don't eat breakfast so I had a cup of coffee and visited before walking to Radio Mike's set up for a few minutes (at his invitation after meeting at The Range). An interesting man, musician, and artist who has been full time RVing for 16 years and spends his winters at Slab City, I found myself completely intrigued. He'll be in Paradise, Texas in May and, since I'll be returning to Dallas in May for a couple of months, we may see each other again soon!
|Slim City Oasis Club
Smiley had a bad day on Saturday. His 12 year old dog had a tumor on it's face but hadn't seemed to be in any pain from it. Saturday, he found maggots crawling around in the tumor so he took his old companion out into the desert, put a 9mm hollow point bullet in him, and buried him nearby. He said that when he shot his old friend, the dog "dropped to his knees as if in prayer and wagged his tail before falling over.". As sad and disturbing as I was to hear the telling, his description seems perfect for this place called, Slab City.
I don't feel that I've accurately described this place but it was a lot to absorb in 1 day!! I'll definitely be back to enjoy more!!
|Seen as you leave Slab City