East Jesus Sculpture Park
Salvation Mountain may be bigger and gaudier and attract more attention but East Jesus is where the artists are. East Jesus was created at an old Slab garbage site using what was there. Various artists are invited to use found materials to create sculptures for the park.
Also unlike Salvation Mountian East Jesus is not religious. When Charles Russell, who founded East Jesus was asked where he lived he would say, “way out there in East Jesus”.
Salvation Mountian is the most famous tourist attraction in Slab City.
Salvation Mountian was created by Leonard Knight over many years. The Folk Art Society of America declared it a "a folk art site worthy of preservation and protection" Since Leonard’s death a small group has been tending the site. Due to the environment and the nature of the construction Salvation Mountain could disappear in a few years without constant maintenance.
The Oasis opens mid October and closes sometime in March. They serve a $5 full breakfast every Sunday and a dinner on Wednesday night. For a $20 membership you get free coffee every day from 7 to 10. $10/month adds Internet from 7 to 7. The food is good as is the company. The Internet is too slow to be useful. No interior photos, they don’t like any sort of media.
The Range is an open air nightclub built on a big slab. Two very similar vintage buses bookend the stage and serve as backstage rooms.
Full time in a 31' RV.
Fountian of Youth - The Fountian of Youth (FOY) is a large RV park in the desert about 15 miles from Slab City. We often go there for the Farmers Market, Saturday dances and square dancing.
I've often said that the Ballroom Dance folks have done for American dance what McDonalds has done for American cuisine. They've standardized, sanitized and removed the soul from traditional dancing. To some extent the American Square Dance Association has done the same thing. They even have levels like Scientology (please no letters). However, the square dancers seem to have more fun than the ballroom people do, they have fewer affectations and the classes are a lot less expensive. Most important it makes Barbara smile
Some of the musicians have yet to realize that if you’re playing a tune in 4/4 time every bar has to have 4 beats, not just most of them. Others, for all their energy and enthusiasm, aren't too subtle. It's like hitting someone with a bat and calling it massage.
Still this is a great social venue for Slab City. The Range is a meeting ground for all the Slab City groups sort of like Rick's American Cafe in Casablanca.
And like Rick's you're likely you're likely to hear German, French and from the locals a bit of English all in the same night.
At the concession stand you can get hamburgers for $2.50, hot dogs for $2.00 and drinks for $1.
(These photos were taken at 10,000 ISO on a Canon 5D III.)
Dogs - Then there's the dogs. The Slab City is great for dogs because there is no leash law. Well behaved dogs can go for walks and play with each other unfettered. The dogs love it.
The Weather - Besides free parking another Slab City attraction is the weather. Winter time here is warmer than any other West US location. Here’s the Weather Channel app forecast.
Steve and Matilda. Matilda is a really smart Red Heeler. When she plays with Dilly she tries to look smaller so as not to scare Dilly.
Roxie is another great dog. Still all puppy she will sometimes be waiting at my door for a treat when I go for morning coffee.
Gordo loves the Slabs because he can run and play with other dogs. He was a bit uncontrollable at first but lately has become a nice dog. He also knows where the treats are.
Slab City don’t like media yet at one point they not only allowed but encouraged the National Geographic channel, majority owned by News Corp. to shoot an episode of a six part series called American Fringe at the Slabs. At one point they had 4 cameras and two sound guys to record all the wireless mikes people were wearing. The American Fringe trailer will give you an idea of the kind of publicity Slab City gets. As we used to say in the news business, “if it bleeds, it leads.” Fortunately the series was never aired.