We left Oasis Palms RV resort in Thermal and headed towards Borrego Springs.  We camped in a free site, but this time it wasn’t on BLM land.  It is land owned by the Avery family (Avery labels and office supplies).  They have lots of land out this way, but they have left some of it for the public.  There are signs where it is private, but the rest is open.  The property was very clean.  People are respectful and do not leave trash around.  There are some good hiking trails in the hills (but too precarious to carry a camera up there).

We met up with Yves and Boogaloo again.  Sadly, the Land Rover is out of commission.  Yves accidentally towed it in first gear, so the engine is dead.  He has put out an SOS, and hopefully someone in California will have a spare engine for him.

View from our window and door:

We went in to Borrego Springs to get wifi.  What a sweet town!  The public library has outside benches, free wifi, and charging stations.  There is a nearby post office where people have packages sent “general delivery.”

This is the little mall around the library: (I love the MCM light fixtures)

When we got to town, we saw a Chinook parked, so we parked beside it.  We had a clear view while we were at the library, so when the people returned, we went to talk to them. They asked if we were heading to the Chinook rally in Yuma.  What rally?  That got our wheels literally in motion.


That evening, Yves wanted to have a potluck, so he invited some nearby campers, and we had a delicious Mexican meal, complete with French beignets.

Daisy loved it there, and she had many walkabouts:

Yves got busy and gave Boogaloo a shave.  Yves said, “I don’t do fantasy.”  Boogaloo just got a basic shave down.  He must have felt so much cooler.

We were hoping to stay another day, but we got talking and thought we should head back to Yuma to find the Chinookers.

Yuma truly is the centre of the universe!  We keep finding our way back!  We found the Chinook rally, and they welcomed us.  It turned out that another couple paid their fees but couldn’t make it and couldn’t get a refund.  We got their spot.  It was very exciting for us because the only Chinook we had ever seen was ours (and the one in Borrego Springs).

Find our Chinook:

IMG_7297(far right, near the little brick structure)

The oldest is the crowd was a 1999, so they all were pretty hard to tell apart.  We had an ID tag made for Poppy with our Chinook on it.  If she got lost, we had hoped someone would locate the RV from the picture.  Ha!  Not in this crowd!

dog tag

Bob and Debbie also have a Destiny.  It’s a 2001, and they’ve owned it since it was 2 years old.  They were a fun couple.  Bob collected all the brochures he could get his hands on while Chinook was still in business.  We got to pore over them one afternoon.  Delightful!

Karen and Kenny also arrived late like us, and they were not members either.  Karen is my trailer soul mate!  You should see the trailers that have followed her home!  She has renovated some serious machines.  She has even sold trailers that found their ways to RV parks to be used as rentals.  One trailer, a rare Aeroflyte, was listed on eBay, and a museum was bidding against a personal collector.  Check out this 1959 Spartan that she sold to Enchanted Trails.  Three of her former trailers are at this park.  We hope to stay in touch to see what projects they are working on.  Kenny built a “tiny house” 25 years ago, long before anyone had heard of them.  He built it to take to swap meets so that he had shelter and a washroom.

Tomorrow (Sunday February 11, 2018), we are heading into Mexico.  Our first stop will be Puerto Peñasco.  Six friends are flying in from Saskatoon and Calgary.  Ted and Dona are picking them up at the airport.  Then we are all driving over together.

Here is a local treat that we indulged in on the way.  They are sold everywhere in southern Arizona and California.  Try one when you are this way!






Salton Sea, CA

After leaving Slab City, we drove around to the western side of the Salton Sea, but we backtracked by going south and then around so that we could see Salton City.

Here is Spreckels Sugar in Brawley, CA.  I actually took this picture on our way to Slab City.  What’s interesting is that the sea level is marked on the side of the structure.  That’s how low it is here.

The Salton Sea is an environmental disaster, not unlike the Aral Sea.  Instead of learning from the mistakes made by diverting water from rivers that flowed to the Aral, history is repeating itself here.  Water from the Colorado river is diverted for farming, but also for San Diego and the Coachella Valley.  This is expected to increase over the next year, causing the Sea to shrink even further.  It is having disastrous effects, both on the wildlife and humans.

Back in the 1960s, Salton City was developed and was intended to be a beach community.  All the infrastructure was put in place, but with a dying sea, the town died too.  It looks like a ghost town.  What a sad state!  However, the population has started to rise in the last few years due to rising housing costs in California.  You can buy a serviced lot in Salton City for less than $5000!  Of course, it comes with health risks because the Sea is in such poor shape.

We stopped and made lunch at what was supposed to be a parking lot for the beach.  Poppy was ecstatic to roll around on the polluted shore.  We let her.  Life is short!

This is the avenue leading to the beach parking lot.  There are 2 lanes leading there and 2 leading away on the other side of the median.  The city planners had expected lots of traffic.  Now, it looks post-apocalyptic with all the dead palm trees and crumbling pavement.IMG_7229

This is the beach parking lot, where we made our lunch.  We were wondering if Mad Max would show up.  Eerie.

Of course, a beach is a beach, and dogs must have fun.

We tried to brush off the dusty sand from Poppy’s fur before she got into the Chinook, but it was deep in her fur.  Whenever she shook, there was a cloud of polluted dusty sand in the air.  Mmm!  Then, we all got to inhale it.

Next, something wonderful happened.

We arrived at Oasis Palms RV Resort and discovered something we hadn’t seen in months . . .

. . . G R A S S ! !

Imagine the dogs’ joy!

Imagine our joy!  We could finally give Poppy a bath!  Before she could sprinkle more of that Salton Sea dust around, we lathered her up.  We are near a town called Thermal, so the water from the pipe came out warm, so I didn’t even need to warm her bath water.

Here she is, all fresh and clean!


It didn’t take long for her fur to dry in the late afternoon sun.  Of course, Poppy had to lick herself a bit to “improve” her scent.  She wouldn’t want the other dogs to think she was one of those kinds of dogs!


Oasis Palms RV Resort is one of the nicest parks we have ever stayed at.  The facilities are well-maintained, clean, and orderly, and we can pick fruit from any of the trees in the park.  The best part is that the managers are dog-lovers and dogs basically run freely within reason.  They can go in the buildings and in the pool and hot tub area.  There is a fire pit with a mountain of firewood.  The managers start the fire every afternoon for happy hour, and the dogs are welcome to come to happy hour.  Poppy is in her glory!  Daisy also enjoys watching all the dogs play.  There is a separate “dog run”, but it’s mostly for the dogs who are high energy and don’t play well in the public areas.

When we were in Yuma, the RV park we stayed at was pretty run-down.  It wasn’t anywhere close to being in the same league as this one, yet there were still people there watching every move the dogs made.  Some insisted that dogs be taken outside the park to pee (like a dog can hold it on the walk to get beyond the entrance!  HA!).  This park is glorious, and dogs bounce and play together everywhere in the park.  There was a concert tonight in the clubhouse, and 2 dogs where wrestling on a sofa near the stage.

The RV park is fairly well situated to the Palm Springs area.  Today, we went to Palm Desert, Indio, and La Quinta with Ted and Dona.  This evening, we went somewhere special for dinner.

There is a Mexican family that lives fairly close to the park.  On Saturday nights, they set up a shelter and tables in front of their house and cook up Mexican food for the locals.  Someone got wind of this in the park, and the secret gets passed on to new park residents, and we got in on it!  Dona got 2 quesadillas, Ted & Paul got 2 tostadas and a beer each, and I got 2 tostadas and a pop.  The food was divine!  Our bill came to $25.25 for the 4 of us!


East Jesus: Slab City


East Jesus is not a religious site, as the name might imply.  It is actually, an ever-expanding sculpture garden.  The artists that live in this section of The Slabs work daily on new art, which is mostly composed of refuse from around Slab City.  They work off-grid on these sculptures.  It is meant to show the public what recycling and sustainability can be.  I think it also shows how much waste were produce.  Some of the art is thought-provoking, some is funny, some is down-right crazy.



I love this MCM chair.  I feel this sculpture represents my former life when I was marking term papers while sitting on my orange fibreglass chair. 😉


Bottle wall:


Television message board: (Free thought, only $89.99)


There were several bizarre installations about dolphins.IMG_7083

and vehicles . . .

car-b-cue anyone?


and other stuff . . .

This is one of the artists personal trailer.  How cute is this?


We are thankful to Ted and Dona again, who came out to visit us on the Slabs so that we could tour East Jesus and Salvation Mountain.  We had so much fun!

God is Love: Salvation Mountain


As soon as you enter Slab City, you will be welcomed by Salvation Mountain.  It is the creation of Leonard Knight.  He started building this in 1984.  In 1994, the County tried to have it torn down, but today it is registered as a National Folk Art Site.


There are flowers, waterfalls, and the Sea of Galilee depicted, along with messages of love and repentance.


This structure is nothing short of monumental.  I can’t imagine the drive he had to build in the blazing sun of the Sonoran Desert.  He built using adobe clay, straw, tires, and anything he could find.  Then, he painted it all.  Of course, this structure needs constant maintenance, and there is a non-profit group that works to preserve it.

You can climb the mountain by following the “yellow brick road.”  It is a little precarious, so I feel for those volunteers who willingly go up to painstakingly apply paint.

Paul and Ted at the top:


Looking down from the top:

Adjacent to the mountain is the “Hogan.”  It is built from 80 bails of straw.  I found it peaceful and a reprieve from the blazing sun.


Around the structure are several vehicles, also decorated, including an Airstream.


At the top and out a little way there was a geocache, so we were able to deposit the Travel Bug we got near Yuma.

Overall, I loved Salvation Mountain.  It is a masterpiece.  It was uplifting and cheerful.  I couldn’t help comparing it to the Sistine Chapel, which I found to be oppressive.  And, Salvation Mountain is free!

Welcome to Slab City

Population: Unknown
Water: No
Power: No
Sewer: No
Garbage collection: No
Police service: No
Fire service: No
Mail service: No
Freedom: Yes — It’s considered the last free place in America



Slab City was once known as Camp Dunlop, a US Marine Corps training centre. (Yes, marines in the desert).  It was decommissioned in the 1950s, and the buildings were removed, but the cement slabs remained.  These slabs are now used as the base for “homes” for people who have left society for one reason or another.  Most of the permanent residents live in travel trailers, but some live in tents or makeshift shanties.


The slabs are in remarkably great shape, and the roads are not too bad either.  Honestly, the pavement is crumbling on the main roads, but it is in better shape than some Saskatchewan highways.  There are street names, and people do have numbers painted on their trailers.  Also, Google maps has the streets marked!


Besides the permanent residents, there is a large group of snowbirds that converge on The Slabs too.  They usually stay in the Slab Low Lows.  That’s where we went.

Slab City has a seedy reputation.  We had been warned to put everything away at night or when we left camp because belongings grow legs.  We didn’t heed the warnings and nothing got stolen.  Instead, we discovered a vibrant (and generous) community.

On the night we arrived, there happened to be a free chili night with live music at the Oasis Club.  The next day, there was live music at the Viper Club from 3:30 until sundown.  We didn’t go to either event, but many in our encampment went and had a great time.  You might be wondering about these “clubs”.  Well, this is a community, and they do have places to go for entertainment (the Range, the Viper club, the Oasis club), a library, a church, art, etc.  And, they do their own “policing.”  In the last year or two, we heard of a trouble-maker.  The residents had had enough, and set his trailer on fire.  The burnt-out remains are still there.  In fact, anything that has ever entered Slab City is pretty much there.  Garbage is everywhere.

The Range
Everyone Saturday night people go to The Range to perform on the outdoor stage or watch the performances.  I don’t recommend sitting on the sofas out there.


Our encampment:



We were in Slab City during the lunar eclipse, full moon, blue moon, blood moon (a full blue blood eclipsed moon?)  We all set our alarms to be up at 3:30 am to witness it.  It was the most subdued party, as you can imagine, at that hour.  We sat quietly in our lawn chairs while we watched.  I didn’t bring out the camera, though.

We met many interesting people, and so many were Canadian.  Yves, from Quebec, drives a 1986 Wanderlodge (Bluebird Bus), his “toad” is a vintage Land Rover, and his companion, Bugaloo, is an Old English Sheepdog.  Yves said that he is virtually invisible — people always want to meet Bugaloo, see the Rover, or tour the Wanderlodge!  He drove the Rover over to where we had the campfire and made beignets for everyone!

Poppy really enjoyed herself that night.  All the dogs were out frolicking.  A brindle pit-bull from the Slabs came over to our encampment, and Poppy made her first friend out there.  He had her temperament — a little shy and submissive, but playful.  However, once it started to get dark, he went home.  When he came back (after dinner, I presume), the other dogs weren’t in a playful mood anymore, and Bugaloo basically told him to get lost, so he left.  Poor boy.

Do you recognize this boy?


This is Jax from the YouTube channel Nomadic Fanatic.  We met Eric and Jax at our encampment.  Jax is huge!  He is about 25 lbs, and he’s such a ham.  As soon as he saw my camera he started to move towards it.

One couple even travelled with a chicken!


She acted like a dog.  She was left as a chick on this couple’s driveway, so they raised her to travel with them.  The only difficulty is when she needs to lay her eggs.  She wants to find a bush, so they confine her to their RV when she needs to nest.  This keeps her safe.

I’ll end with a picture of Princess Daisy.  The flies are really bad here, so Donna Dee suggested hanging a mosquito net around Daisy to keep them away.  It did the trick.  Now, we need to find our own net for her:


We had been warned to avoid Slab City, but I recommend it to anyone travelling in the area.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would have stayed longer if we hadn’t made plans to move to the other side of the Salton Sea with Ted and Dona.