Blog Archive

Nov 17, 2009

Slab City Riot. Slab City, CA (Part 1, "The Day")

Some know Slab City as the place where "Into the Wild" shot some scenes. Others know it as the weirdest place in the middle of no where. For additional info check out Wikipedia.

I headed out there for the Slab City Riot. A motorcycle rally that my brother's bad The Hudson Drags were playing at.

I headed out Saturday morning along the I-10. I decided to turn south at Blythe, Ca and started looking for a way to cut across a dirt road into Slab City.

I found what I was looking for. This road was not far from the famed Glamis.
The tires were digging in and I knew I should stop and air down, but I didn't dare stop and get stuck to do it.

The dirt firmed up and I started making good time. Actually, because I was driving more as the crow flies and I was doing about 65mph I would be there faster than I would have on pavement.

I saw 20 or 30 hunters in the area along this canal. It seems that this must be a good place for wing shooting.

Nice old building with a funny sign.

I ended up hitting Slab City from behind and with the time change it was really early in the day. I decided to explore the desert around what was once a military base to see what I could find.

The Sheriff underwater recovery team and about 5 other Sheriff vehicles were parked next to the canal. Seems like a likely place to dump a body...

I could see this in the distance.

The art out here is amazing. All of it weird, but some of it pretty despite its odd content.

As odd as this is, I think its my favorite.

I like the message in this one. Sort of, everyone has a religious reason to kill. As ironic as that is most people don't see it.

There are two large cement tanks out here. It looks like the same artist painted both and one is his WAR WALL and one is his ODD FREAKY FERTILITY WALL.

I then drove over to the "other" one. There was an old Toyota camper and a fella on a ladder painting away. I figure if he chooses to do his art in the middle of the desert he doesn't really want to be photographed so I didn't take any pictures of him. I did however ask if he was the one that painted all of these. He paused for an awkward amount of time and said "I'll never tell." Pretty cool.
These walls remind me of a cross of Egyptian, Hindu, Tantra, and Pagan paintings.

Both cement tanks have a run on word along the top of them. They are hard to read. This word jumped out at me though:

The artists studio/home

These ultralights were flying around. I saw them again in a minute.

The "Slabs" seem to have different communities. They each have a name and signs. There were even home made street signs everywhere.

On the east edge of the city was another military range of some sort.

Even from the desert side of town there was a sign.

Nice old Dodge which was the west side of the stage AKA "The Range" where the bands play.

A memorial to some of the locals friend passed on.

The stage in all her glory.

The bar

The seating is a collection of old movie theater seats, couches, and airline seating.

One of the friendly locals. He was jamming away with his car battery powered amp.

The guys from Biltwell, who put this whole event together, were there nice and early. Very friendly folks and I was glad to have met them.

Great looking flat tracker Honda CB400.

The local church.

Art cars!

The community center sign.

The old guard house for the base complete with rifle slots.

Will a few hours to kill I headed over the most famous structure in Slab City, Salvation Mountain. One man has built this place from bails of hay, adobe, plaster, parts of dead trees and tons of paint.

Follow the yellow brick road. Yep, seriously. No handrails here, in California. Amazing!

These ultralights were flying around and even landing on the main highway. Cars would just wait for them to take off or land. Pretty cool!

The old fella with his back facing the camera is the star of the show. He built all of this.

This shot from the back give you an idea of how crazy this undertaking must have been. Just stack them up and lather on the plaster!

The color is really beautiful.

A little info on the creator.

An old timer from Ohio offered to take a couple pictures of me. Time and time again I run into folks from Ohio. They always seem to be the nicest.

First guy I saw clearly headed to the riot.

Well, back to exploring. I saw what looked like a couple of bunkers. Maybe some old ammo dumps.
This one looked lived in. Notice the pouch hanging out on the roof.

This one looked pretty abandoned, but my senses were sure on point trying to make sure I was alone. After all, it was Pirate Cove.

This made me laugh, and then get a bit scared...

The inside was extra creepy, but at least it was empty. Except for that brand new tent that my mind told me had to contain a dead body...

Was this foreshadowing for the night ahead?

I then headed into Niland, Ca. The nearest town to Slab City. It looks like a forgotten farming community. This remarkable structure looks like it would last forever, but no one was using her.

Right on the main street was this amazing looking home. I don't know the story behind it, but it looked great.

So, wondering if that line of 20 bikes I saw going the other way included my brother I finished my carne asada burrito and headed back to Slab City.

Sure enough he was there along with some other folks. Part two will be most of the bikes!

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