Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Monday, February 1 – Traveled 156 miles today to Indio, CA. It was about a three hour trip. We are parked in the Fantasy Springs Casino. We plan on being here about 3 days.

Crossing into California we were stopped at the state line for an agriculture inspection. They asked where we were coming from, and if we had any citrus aboard. Negatory….on we went.

Soon we drove through the Imperial Sand Dunes. Huge amounts of sand and dunes on both sides of the road.

Not far down the road, we were again stopped by the Border Patrol. They had dogs sniffing all the cars, trucks, and RV's. We were asked what part of Texas we were from and then simply waved through the road block.

Gas prices in California are as high as people say......$3.05 per gallon for unleaded......Yowse!

There was snow in the higher elevations of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Thank goodness we didn't have to drive through there. We could sure see it up there!

After setting up camp, we drove down to Niland by the Sulton Sea to tour Slab City.

One of the most famous parts of the “Slabs” is Salvation Mountain.

Salvation Mountain is located in the lower desert of Southern California in Imperial County just east of the Salton Sea and about a hour and a half from Palm Springs. Salvation Mountain must be seen to be fully appreciated as those who have made the journey will attest. Its 50 foot height and 150 foot breadth is made totally of local adobe clay and donated paint and is truly unique in the United States and probably the world. From its Sea of Galilee at the bottom, to the big red heart in the middle, to the cross at the very top, the reoccurring theme of "Love" is everywhere at Salvation Mountain.

Marsha saw him on 20-20 or Dateline a few years back and thought it would be such a cool place to visit. Well, scratch another item off our “bucket” list.




Salvation Mountain is Leonard Knight’s tribute to God and his gift to the world with its simple yet powerful message: "God Is Love."  Leonard estimates over 100,000 gallons of paint were used to create the gospel message on the mountain, trucks, trees and whatever else surrounds the acre of land. Leonard's passion has lovingly created this brilliant "outsider art " masterpiece resplendent with not only biblical and religious scripture such as the Lord's Prayer, John 3:16, and the Sinner's Prayer, but also including flowers, trees, waterfalls, suns, bluebirds, and many other fascinating and colorful objects.






It was so wonderful to meet Lenard. He took us on a personal tour of his home. After we were done looking around and taking pictures, he gave us 25 postcards of Salvation Mt. and gave Marsha a jigsaw puzzle of the mountain. She is holding it in her hand in the picture below.


Leonard's "house" of 24 years, is built on the back of an old 1939 White fire truck decorated as ornately as his mountain. He has no electricity, gas, running water, phone, heating, air conditioning, or any of the other things that so many of us take for granted. He is also one the happiest men I know. He built Salvation Mountain using hay bales and adobe. It is so big however, that he has had to construct "trees" to help hold it up. Leonard continues to add more supports and more hay bales all covered with adobe all the while painting and repainting with bright colors that his visitors bring. It will be yet another, amazing, one-of-a-kind creation when completed.


He used tires to build the truck of the tree.


This is the “yellow brick road” that leads up to the top where he has constructed a huge cross.


This is just part of the mountain.


Can you find Marsha in the picture below? She looks like one of the flowers. Right Hon?


This is what it is all about!


While we were talking to Lenard, he asked us where we were originally from. We said Ohio. He said I have a brother that lives in Ohio, maybe you have heard of Akron? Just more proof that this is a small world. We told him it was just up the road from us. We laughed. He said his brother wants him to go there for a visit next summer. He has so much work to finish and with 400+ cameras visiting him each day, he isn’t sure if he will be able to get away. What a great opportunity we had!

Enjoy so many more pictures of this amazing place here.

Just past Salvation Mountain is the entrance to Slab City, “The Last Free Place.” Slab City is a free RV oasis located in the desert southwest near Niland, California. It takes its name from the concrete slabs and pylons that remain from the abandoned World War II base Marine Barracks Camp Dunlap there. A group of servicemen remained after the base closed, and the place has been inhabited ever since, although the number of residents has declined since the mid 1980s.

You may not be able to read it, but just below the words SLAB CITY, it says…..The Last Free Place.


The site is both decommissioned and uncontrolled, and there is no charge for parking. The camp has no electricity, no running water or other services. There are many slabs and campsite areas within Slab City. There is even a church and an 18-hole golf course (in the desert, no grass). One woman started the Lizard Library, where you can borrow, donate or trade books and magazines.


Another Slabber set up a nightclub called The Range. It is a stage between two old buses.


The people who live there year-round are living on their social security benefits or other limited means. There are about 150 year-round residents. They may have been forced there due to poverty or maybe they chose to live there to fulfill their need to be free from the American government or social strictures.


You can find just about anything on one of these slabs. Yes, someone does live here.


More pics here.

Such wonderful experiences we are having. Come back again. Safe Travels.