Saturday, November 20, 2010

Salvation Mountain and Slab City

With the winds still whipping and errands to run, we decided to make a run down Route 111 past the Wister Waterfowl Management area to Calipatria, a mere 34 miles from the Mexican border. There I read some of the literature the Peace Corps had sent me with my invitation packet and Gordon did some shopping while our respective loads of laundry ran.

I stand on Salvation Mountain (Gordon brought his camera)

On our way back we hung a right at Niland and drove another couple of miles to arrive at Salvation Mountain. As took in the “mountain”, its famous creator, Leonard, arrived to the delight of a Christian youth group that had come to host a free barbeque at nearby Slab City. He gave us a tour and I would have stayed for the free chicken but something told me it wasn’t Gordon’s scene, so I graciously took my leave.

After an interesting conversation with one of Leonard’s self-appointed assistants, a social worker from New York who had come to the Southeast six years ago to work with native groups, Gordon gave me a cursory tour of he The Slabs, an informal constellation of squatters which together America’s longest-standing undisputed homeless camp. It was decidedly less glamorous and campy than its depiction in Into The Wild.

Inside Salvation Mountain

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