This is the final post covering my recent mini-Southwest road trip, which I’ve been blogging about in no particular order. It’s come full circle — so to speak — as I’m finishing up where it began: Las Vegas. But this post is about what happens outside Vegas! For me, that meant a trip to Seven Magic Mountains & Red Rock Canyon.
Hello all, I’m taking a different approach with this blog post. In fact, it might be the most quickly produced post I’ve ever published! That’s because this post (“Just a Bunch of Narcissistic Selfies at Joshua Tree National Park”) is what it says it is: a bunch of pictures with less focus on text, and more focus on — well —
Let’s just say that what this post lacks in substance, it makes up for in selfies!
Lucky for me, Greg made sure I didn’t miss out. He explained that East Jesus is another art project just five minutes up the road from Salvation Mountain.
“You can actually touch and tinker with the art,” Greg told me.
“By Jove, I’m going, and that’s all that there is to it!” — sums up my sentiment in that moment.
Slab City (The Last Free Place)
In order to get to East Jesus, I had to drive through Slab City, a pretty unique and somewhat daunting place. It’s residents call it “the last free place on earth.” Or sometimes it’s known as “the last free place in America.” Some slabbers live there year round. Others are “snowbirds” — seasonal visitors who come in RVs and make Slab City their temporary home for off-the-grid living.
Activated in 1942, Camp Dunlap — just 85 miles southeast of Palm Springs — was a Marine Corps training facility during World War II. When the base was subsequently decommissioned, the land was returned to Imperial County, California, and only concrete slabs remained. Today it’s known as Slab City — a strange haven for squatters and off-the grid living. It’s also home to two unconventional art installations: Slab City’s Salvation Mountain and East Jesus.
A year ago, I’d never heard of Slab City, Salvation Mountain, or East Jesus. Yet again, Instagram was the instigator. It was the reason I first laid eyes on Salvation Mountain. And from the very first glance at images of the cool and colorful creation I thought to myself: “Must. Go. There.”
Like many travelers I now follow, I first came across Kiona on Instagram, though I didn’t know what her name was at the time. In fact, I knew nothing about her then, except that her Instagram handle was unique: @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch. Hmmm. How not to travel like a basic bitch?
It’s one of the longer IG handles, but serves its purpose well. It’s memorable and gets people to stop and think, “hold up — here’s something different!”