Saturday, December 5, 2015

Slab City

Just a few words and pictures about "the Slabs".

Once finished with our Salvation Mountain visit, we continued on down the road, past hand painted signs alerting us to our next destination, and into "the Slabs".....the last free place.

A lot has been written about the slabs, favorable and unpleasant accounts of what it is and who lives there.    I'm not going to pass judgement, its not my place to judge the inhabitants or their lifestyles.

What I see is a gathering of retired snow birds, itinerants, squatters, meth and alcohol addicts and free spirits living together in what some say is harmony, some say is discord, all drawn there by the allure of free living.     This place used to be a Marine training camp called Camp Dunlap.   The military pulled out after WW 2 and left the abandoned concrete slabs behind.

Creativity abounds.   Whether as artistic expression or out of necessity, everything is used.   Wooden pallets are transformed into fences, homes and shelter from the sweltering summer sun.

There is a church, a community center, a library and a live music venue in the slabs.

live music on this stage Saturday nights

Some of the "properties" are neat and clean, some are not.   There are tents, lean to's under trees, derelict trailers, old school buses,brand new motorhomes and an assortment of folks, young and old,  living in them.

ever wondered where East Jesus was?

Some sections of the slabs are quirky and interesting, a dead tree decorated with shoes sits by the side of the main road.

Some places are scary.   There is no water, electricity or sewer, no garbage pickup.

People just trying to live.


  1. Definitely a different place. I can't believe all the trash!!

  2. I've often thought that if I were still in college, studying sociology, I would want to spend time at the Slabs interviewing those who are living free. Of all the services they don't have, the lack of trash pick up probably makes the most impact - makes me appreciate the simple "luxury" of having a trash bin to drop mine :-) You got some great pics. I especially like the "slow" sign.......very clear.

  3. Sue, this is a terrific piece of photojournalism. "Just trying to live" seems to capture it all.