East Jesus

“East Jesus is an experimental, habitable, extensible artwork in progress since 2006.”

In truth, I can’t do it justice in a short blog post. Much unlike the trashy chaos of Slab City this group of artists is well-organized, growing their own food, generating their own power, turning cast-offs into crazy art, and they’ve started a non-profit entity with the goal of purchasing the land they are on.

Read more here: http://eastjesus.org/ and here: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/apr/16/slab-citys-east-jesus-not-waiting-bulldozers-arriv/

These people look like fun. We would have stayed for a tour, but again at 110F it’s not sensible to be wandering around in the sun and there’s a lot to see there. Will have to come back sometime. Here’s a few photos.




“In early 2007, Charlie left his tech job, packed all his belongings into a shipping container, and began to surround his two art cars with the sculptures that would become the foundation works of East Jesus.” Some of you will recognize Charlie’s bus:

Chocolate Martini

more choco martini


They are also hip to the danger of dolphins! Beware!


dolphin 2

dolphin 3

“A dolphin named Carl invented fast food to subtly kill poor people”


Giant see-saw anyone?

Slab City

Ah, Slab City, the Last Free Place in America.


A former WWII Marine base, currently land owned by the state has slowly evolved into a place for people to live cheaply off the grid and/or away from the trouble of modern society. It’s also a scorching desert covered in trash and homeless people.

Welcome to Slab City

It was pretty empty when we visited on a 110 degree afternoon in early October. Didn’t take too many photos because most of it is as described – scattered trash heaps and broken-down trailers. Also it was too damn hot to want to get out of the car and chat people up. Some future trip when the weather’s more copacetic we’ll return with snacks to share and chat up some of the residents. It certainly is an interesting story of our Modern American Society.


Here’s some photos of “The Range”, a communal stage and gathering spot:

The Range

skull thingie



Mad Max

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain is one man’s life-long effort to bring the message of God’s love to the world.  It’s also a monumental work of folk art and well worth a visit.

Read more here: http://www.salvationmountain.us/

While we where there four vans and an RV pulled up. Out poured 20+ people to film a Japanese music video. In 110 degree heat. I hope that went well for them and they left a generous donation.

salvation 1

Salvation 2

Salvation 3

Salvation 4

Salvation Mountain 5

Salvation 6

Salton Sea State Recreation Area and Bombay Beach

Salton Sea State Recreation Area

Tired of elbowing your way through the crowds? Visit the Salton Sea on a 105F degree Thursday. Plenty of parking! (Note: The facility is well maintained. Almost as if, at any moment someone might use it.)

parking lot

Nice beach, eh?


Oh wait, what’s that smell? Ah, the beach is covered in dead fish and heaps of dead barnacles. Maybe you’d wade into the water, but all the lovely brown algae might convince you otherwise.

dead fish

Let’s move on to Bombay Beach, shall we?


Hoo boy. Not much left. I could have taken a hundred photos, but I didn’t need to feel that sad. There’s a small number of very well maintained homes, but clearly few that are still occupied appear to be just holding on. Looks like at least half of the homes / cabins / trailers there are completely abandoned and left to rot. On the other hand, there’s plenty of parking and real estate is cheap. Someone who’s into renovating classic travel trailers will make a mint there someday.

Apparently, there’s also a movie about Bombay Beach.

Let’s stop in the Ski Inn – apparently named back in the days when you could put a boat in the water:

Ski Inn

A friendly elderly couple runs the joint. Stop in for a beverage and a BLT. The place is covered with dollar bills from visitors. Here’s someone who stopped in from Salem, Oregon:


Bombay Beach is not without a sense of humor:

stone 1

stone 2

Enter the Salton Sea

Those of who grew up in the Reagan years are likely to be familiar with the novel (and phenomenon of) Douglas Coupland’s first novel, Generation X: Tales for and Accelerated Culture.  What some of you might not remember is that the events of the novel take place in and around Palm Springs, which is one of the reasons I like coming here.  I keep looking for the characters around every corner, though they’ve long moved on.  (for more on the book, the movement and the author check out this.)

…one of the locations in the novel is the Salton Sea, to keep a short story long, the sea was created when the Colorado River burst a dike and poured into the desert for almost two years, creating the largest inland body of water in California.  In the 50’s and 60’s this was a hot place for fishing and all sorts of watersports.  Then a series of disasters.  First a couple of hurricanes flooded the beach towns.  Then the inevitable evaporation caused mass die-offs of fish as the sea became to salty for them to survive.  What’s left today is a boulevard of broken dreams.  Abandoned buildings, desiccated beaches covered in barnacles and dead fish, a sad feeling of loss and a set of post-apocalyptic ruins inhabited by a small number of die-hards too stubborn or too poor to move on.

It’s splendid desolation.  Enjoy some photos:


At one time there was a real estate boom – reportedly so hot that people were buying property site-unseen. Today, not so much.

boom sign

An abandoned marina. Currently the lake level is too low for anyone to get a boat in the water.



joyce and marina

It’s not all bad, why look! The International Banana Museum!

international banana museum

Banana Robot

banana machine

banana robot

…and who doesn’t love Giant Gas Station Guy?


…and more fun

Shield’s Date Farm is good old-fashioned tourist fun, and the food in the café is also quite good.


You need more stuff, go shopping!


Dinner at the Tropical, a fun retro place that’s also modern and post-modern at the same time!


And Marie from the Tonga Hut says “HI”!