In 1942, the US Marines activated Camp Dunlap as a World War II training facility. Now, all that remains are the slab foundations, giving the area it’s name, Slab City. The Slabs are home to about 150 fulltime residents. During the winter the population swells with snowbirds from the north.
Saturday found three Airstreams on their way to the Slabs. There we ran across Michael Depraida who winters there.
While he is known here as Radio Mike, he is known in the Airstream community for his Airstream related artwork (which is a small part of his portfolio). We ended up adding another print of his to our collection of Airstream art.
While some are here in the Slabs by choice, many who live here have nowhere else to go. They are either castaways or those who have cast society from them. Dilapidated RVs and non-standard housing is the norm here. Wandering the area, you find piles of refuse everywhere
as well as several signs of tragedy.
Yet Michael shared with us stories of the success that people have found here, that some have improved their lives in this desert wasteland. People such as one man (name withheld) who was homeless and destitute. But he has found his place here and is now a well respected man of this desert community.
While this is not an area that draws us, it obviously does others and serves a need for those that are in need. My reading for our morning here included a thought that I found quite appropriate for our visit here.
I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think… - Rom. 12:3
The area is also dotted with quirky artwork.
And of course, Slab City is home to Salvation Mountain.
And remember, the hirsute quails are counting on you.