Tara took off this week for Canada so I took a day and drove from Los Angeles down to the end of the Salton Sea to have another look at Salvation Mountain and Slab City — places I first visited a few years ago.
It’s an incredibly fascinating place and the uneasy state the area can put you in is all part of its strange appeal. Here’s how the day went:
Where To Eat On Your Way To The Salton Sea
I sort of forgot to eat all day and it came back to bite me in the ass that night with massive headaches. Lucky thing for next time that I now know all the spots to eat along the way including this gem in Yacaipa.
Also when passing through El Monte, make sure you stop at the California Snack Foods outlet store and get a man-sized bag of super-salty (the way I love it) cheese popcorn for eight dollars.
The next major stop was the recently opened International Banana Museum on the North Shore of the Salton Sea. For a measly two bucks you get to see ten billion banana collectables and if you want, have museum curator Fred make you a fresh banana milkshake.
The Salton Sea has a crazy boom-bust history. As the result, all the towns (maybe better described as settlements) are rundown, half-abandoned ghost towns. It’s why it’s a little scary and why it’s also a great place to shoot.
The sun was quickly fading so I only had time for a few pictures from the front of Salvation Mountain and didn’t go “inside” it as you can. It’s an amazing place and if these shots whet your appetite I recommend you go visit very soon. The creator, Leonard Knight, is now in a home and by the sounds of it no one as figured out how to handle the upkeep. As the result, in just the few years since I last visited, parts of the site are noticeably deteriorating.
Just behind Salvation Mountain is an off-the-grid settlement called Slab City. Slab City lives in the middle of a venn diagram between Burning Man and The Postman. I don’t mean that negatively. It’s an weird mix of artists, shady characters, hippies and probably a quiet outlaw or two. I was invited to an evening concert but didn’t have the time. I bet that would have been interesting to say the least.
North Shore After Dark
Some shots from the return trip after sundown.