Can I Get An Amen?

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Trip 2 – Day 33

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday is a day when we all try to have breakfast together.  That means, I join the boys for breakfast at “Freddy’s Fountain” at FOY.

The boys heading into breakfast at Freddy's Fountain

The boys heading into breakfast at Freddy’s Fountain

We had lovely blueberry pancakes, and during the time we were eating, I made a dash to the laundry room to switch up a load of laundry. (sheets)  By the time we finished our meal the deed was done.  It was practically painless.

The highlight of the day was a little trip we took into the town of Niland, located 13 miles south of FOY.

Wiley, in the backseat of the Jeep, enjoying the sights

Wiley, in the backseat of the Jeep, enjoying the sights

When we got into town, we turned east and drove 3+ miles taking us to Salvation Mountain and Slab City.  Yes, it was out in the middle of nowhere, but what we found was a Sunday treat.

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Salvation Mountain was the life’s work of Leonard Knight.  He had a vision, and spent the next 30 years bringing that dream into his reality.   From an article in the LA Times, comes this quote from Fred Riggs, age 22, that may explain it all:  “Leonard was free, man; he lived (his life) to spread the gospel of love.   That’s why he painted this mountain.”  Using straw, mud, water and a LOT of paint, he fashioned his tribute to love.

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Apparently, as his health was failing and he was contemplating the future of his domain, various churches offered to step in and take over the care and maintenance of his “mountain.”  He declined their offers, saying that a church’s vision was too narrow to encompass his simple message of loving each other.  So as you view Leonard’s masterpiece, I ask that you take the advice of Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Dad, inside Salvation Mountain

Dad, inside Salvation Mountain

Again, another quote from the LA Times; “Knight still marvels at his journey from obscurity to fame. “It’s amazing how little me got so famous outside California,” he said from his convalescent home earlier this month. “All I did was put ‘God Is Love’ on the side of a mountain and people started loving me.””  So. True.  Anyone who faces the world with determination, perseverance, and love for others gives all they touch a joyous gift.

Slab City entrance sign (or one of them)

Slab City entrance sign (or one of them)

Leonard’s “Salvation Mountain” serves as the entrance to the next cultural awakening of this area.  Slab City is a loosely organized collection of folks living in the desert.

Slab City as viewed from the top of Salvation Mountain

Slab City as viewed from the top of Salvation Mountain

This area is the former home of Camp Dunlap military base.  When it was decommissioned in 1956, only a few bunkers and the concrete “slabs” where the buildings once sat were left.  In the 1960’s a group of folks “camping” (squatting) in the city of Mecca, were ordered to leave.  They moved to Slab City.  There is no fee to stay at Slab City hence, it is a group who live here, in the middle of the desert, for many different reasons.  Some enjoy the challenge of living without electricity and water hook-ups, some relish the lack of government “intervention” in their lives, and some have a financial motivation.

"Boondockers" (dry-camping or camping without water or electrical hook-ups)

“Boondockers” (dry-camping or camping without water or electrical hook-ups)

A Slab City residence

A Slab City residence

Some "off-the-grid" folks

Some “off-the-grid” folks

Live music

Live music

This denotes the "singles" area.  "Loners on Wheels" are single RVers

This denotes the “singles” area. “Loners on Wheels” are single RVers

It is a true glimpse into another life……a lifestyle that falls off the radar.  This is America, folks – don’t overlook this simple fact.

Our next stop was the “Mud Pots” at the edge of the Salton Sea.  There is not a lot of fan-fare that goes with this local attraction.  I don’t know how we actually found this.  We turned off the main road and drove on dirt roads heading towards the Salton Sea, looked to our right, and there they were in the middle of a field.

One of the many geothermal plants in the area with the mud pots to the right

One of the many geothermal plants in the area with the mud pots to the right

When I say dirt road, I mean exactly that.  It was a slightly wider version of a one-lane road, with a VERY deep ditch to the right.  As we began to travel down this lane, Dad admonished Craig to, “Keep both hands on the wheel.  If this thing gets away from you, we’ll be in the ditch!”  We did make the trip without incident, and walked through the dirt field to view the bubbling mud pots.

Dad at the Mud Pots with a geothermal plant in the background

Dad at the Mud Pots with a geothermal plant in the background

Other visitors told us that when the geothermal plants that surround the Salton Sea were built, the activity in the mud pots decreased.  There was not much action, so we figured it must be true.

Mud Pots

Mud Pots

Beautiful marshy area down the road from the mud pots

Beautiful marshy area down the road from the mud pots

Waiting for a train

Waiting for a train on the way back to FOY

On Sunday night, FOY offers entertainment in Hay’s Hall.  Tonight Rod Erickson, cowboy, yodeler, singer, came to share his gifts with all of us.  He had a lovely voice, and his choice of songs, more than once, brought tears to my eyes.

Rod Erickson, performing at FOY

Rod Erickson, performing at FOY

There are only so many songs about loosing mothers and children, the passage of time, etc. that one can take without falling apart.  Maybe I should pay more attention to the fliers next time.  Dad did enjoy it; his Swedish/Norwegian jokes were pretty funny, and helped in regaining composure.

Today’s Weather:  Sunny and warm

Daytime temperature:  In the 60’s

Nighttime temperature:  In the 30’s

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