Slab City’s East Jesus

After having spent my morning exploring the nooks and crannies of Salvation Mountain, I was about to hit the road again — direction Phoenix. That’s when the drifter I’d been chatting to, Greg, mentioned I should visit Slab City’s East Jesus before I go.

East Jesus? Never heard of it!

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.

Greg with his dog and epic beard at Salvation Mountain. I’m really glad I got to chatting with him, otherwise I would have missed out on East Jesus!

“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.

Slab City, The Last Free Place

If I’m honest with you, though, I’d been apprehensive about entering Slab City. Continue reading “Slab City’s East Jesus”

Slab City’s Salvation Mountain

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.” 

Last Wednesday, that’s just what I did! Continue reading “Slab City’s Salvation Mountain”