Wednesday, April 13, 2005

We are at the infamous Slab City in the Imperial Valley (map).

Slab City is an abandoned Marine training base from WW-II, then known as Camp Dunlap. When the navy pulled out, the nearby community of Niland reclaimed the wood and metal from all the structures on the base, leaving only the eponymous concrete slabs. The land came into possession of the state of California, who has never done anything with it (including fencing it off or patrolling it). It has since become, essentially, a limitless free boondock area, with winter residents numbering in the thousands, and a few hardy souls who live here year-round -- modern-day squatters.

The place has such fame (or infamy) in full-timing and boondocking circles that we had to come see it for ourselves. As we expected, it is not really our cup of tea.

Sure, it's free, but so are many forest service and BLM locations. Those locations generally have 14-day stay limits, and this place seems to have no rules or law whatsoever, which makes it attractive to folks who want to stay put for months at a time without coughing up the $100 or so annual fee that the BLM wants for its "long term visitor areas." Since staying put in the desert for more than two weeks at any given location has little appeal to us, neither does Slab City.

Louise characterized the area well, after we got settled, as being the worst of two worlds -- no services or amenities whatsoever, including even a trash can, which is the downside of dispersed-area camping, yet still within sight and earshot of dozens of other rigs, some quite dilapidated, which is the downside of developed campgrounds.

I won't bore you with the details of Slab City or the goings-on here, as Googling the term will net you more information than you ever wanted about it. Suffice it to say that the one local attraction that we will likely visit tomorrow is a fellow who goes by the name "Solar Mike" and has set up a small business here installing solar panels and the associated hardware on rigs. Purchasing and installing 100-200 watts of solar panels is one of the remaining Odyssey projects still outstanding, and if his prices and offerings are decent, we may spend another day or so having panels put on. If not, I will order them on-line and have Infinity install them in July.

Lacking any other reasons for staying, we will likely leave tomorrow (or whenever the panels are done), en-route to Yuma, AZ.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!