I've been to the End of the World and it is called Slab City, California.
Slab City is a former marine base, current RV squatter frontier land, 60 miles from Palm Springs, 30 miles from the Mexican border, within view of the beautiful, but toxic Salton Sea, just a fence an irrigation channel across from an active bombing range.
There is no electricity, water, or any municipal services whatsoever, but there is a golf course (no greens, only browns), pet cemetery, a library that is always open and operates on the honor system. There is also a stage that hosts a talent show every Saturday.
The locals also call the place "Check Republic" because most of the residents persist on government checks. The norm is extreme poverty. Yet in the winter months the "snow birds" arrive, from as far as Canada, often in hundred thousand dollar campers.
It would be easy to write this place off as a bizarre Mad Max style site, but like most things in life, it's more complicated. I barely got a glimpse under the surface, and I will not make any attempt to pontificate about it. It would not be my place.
Just outside of Slab City is Salvation Mountain. The creator of this artwork is Leonard Knight whose car broke down at this spot decades ago. He stayed and built/painted his message at the side of the mountain.
In 2001 it was declared as a National Folk Art Site by the The Folk Art Society of America, and in 2002 it was entered in the Congressional Record as a national treasure.
Leonard is 78 years old, but he still lives at the site and works on it every day. He welcomes visitors who drop by any time of the day, he loves showing them around. He often gives the visitors gifts; postcards, puzzles featuring his mountain.
6 days ago