Tuesday, February 17, 2009
after spending the last month in the "slabs", i finally got a real shower last night!
you might say that not having a real shower for a month is gross. and you would be right. but in the slabs there is running water, a la geothermal hot wells, but it ain't that clean. the cleanest you get is showering in the culvert downstream, with volunteer maintained bio-remediation pools with cattails and fish etc to clean the water pretty good. well, it still smells a little funky, and it gives you dreadlocks as you can see in this lovely photo.
but the slabs are really great, and i recommend a trip out there for anyone who can poop in the bushes, or has an RV. there is tons to do, and it is a great place to chill out and get with the natural rhythms of the day, like going to bed when it's dark and cold. we've had alot of time without electricity, heat, water, and all that jazz, and let me tell you, sitting in this cheap hotel is feeling pretty damn luxuriant. but i digress...
the slabs are a decommissioned military base near niland california. at some point in the sixties the tore the base down to the slabs except for a couple of defunct water tanks it is gone. being federal land it falls into a classification where you can camp there indefinitely, and many people do. the chocolate mountain gunnery range forms the nearest border, so there is plenty of bombing, which surprisingly becomes background noise at a certain point. it's a trip on the slabs.
the folks are friendly and highly social. we got invited to join two clubs on our first day out there. i am not a joiner, but i would consider membership. they make some great omelets at the oasis club for 3 bucks, but if they invite you to play scrabble, be prepared to lose. these guys have scrabble pretty much nailed down. we made alot of friends on the slabs, lots of visitors, lots of fun.
but as i sit here in calexico, just walking distance from the border, in this warm hotel room, with all this electricity, so i can even start to think about getting back to work (gotta thaw out the brain) i can see how some people never leave the slabs. you are completely cut off in a way. something insular and warm about shutting out the outside world and getting off grid, even without the actual heat.
more to come as the brain thaws and batteries charge!