On my way to Texas, I stopped in Tombstone, Arizona, home of the infamous OK Corral. No longer the dangerous, wild western town for which it’s so well known, it has become an off-the-beaten-path tourist trap stop.
Downtown Tombstone, Arizona… seems a little quiet.
I don’t even know where to start. Really, I don’t. That’s partly why this post is so late in coming.
Many RVers know about Slab City, some like it, some don’t, but everyone said, ‘You have to experience it at least once.’
I asked, ‘Why? What’s the attraction?’ No one could really say why, they just said it was ‘different’.
My readers and fellow travelers have led me to some of the most interesting places so when they say I have to go somewhere, I usually go.
Plus, Me = Different.
While Slab City looks similar in some ways to scenes straight out of the Mad Max movies, it is unlike anything I’ve ever seen or experienced. I now understand why no one could muster an answer when I asked why I should go.
Rather than attempt a lengthy description, I’ll do a series of bullet-point descriptions occasionally accompanied by photos and a video. It’s that “A picture is worth a thousand words” thing. Plus, it’s easier because I’m swamped trying to get a new dinghy tow vehicle so I can get out of Dodge A.S.A.P.
Slab City, Calif., is a desert oasis in a down economy.
There is no running water, no electricity, and no sidewalks. There are no buildings, unless you count the outhouses. Structures are either RVs or trailers, or a combination of scraped parts from the two.
Building codes don’t apply here.
For all it lacks in amenities, Slab City – about two and a half hours east of San Diego — has a lot to offer: two libraries, two churches, several social clubs, a night club, a skate park, a pet cemetery, a golf course, hot springs, and kitchens providing free meals. Local churches and charities regularly deliver bags of food and clothing.
There is enough folk art to fill two metropolitan museums.
Slab City, sign, just a hint of the folk art you’ll find.
And it’s all free. Yes, free.
Slab City has an estimated 150 year-round residents. From November to April approximately 3,000 snowbirding RVers arrive to camp for the winter in the warm southern California desert.
The infamous Area 51 is in Arizona, a state where many people claim to have seen UFOs.
I’ve met some of them. The people, not the UFOs.
One told me there is a local support group for alien abductees.
Huh? (I looked, but I could not find a link to the meetings.)
To capitalize on the alien folklore by simultaneously combining themes from Area 51 and nearby Route 66, some enterprising folks came up with Area 66.
It’s in a town called Yucca. Yes, it is.
A "UFO" at Area 66. It's just landing, and in a minute the green VW Bug will be flattened.
The woman running the small convenience store at Area 66 has seen UFO-type lights. She seems completely sane. Probably because she considers they were most likely aircraft from the nearby military facility.
However, the guy who insisted on building the above flying saucer for Area 66 claims to have been abducted by aliens.
Seligman, Arizona, a small rural town, is known as the birthplace of Route 66. It’s full of Route 66 memorabilia.
Reportedly held notorious outlaws that they didn't teach us about in school. And the evening news is worthless as usual. Thanks for nothing, FOX.
Along with a few themed restaurants and shops, there is the old Territorial Jail House from 1860. At one time it housed notorious outlaws such as Seligman Slim, Four-fingered Frank, and Carl “Curly” Bane. (Don’t feel bad. I don’t know who they are, either. Sorry, Dead Guys, but it’s been 150 years.)
While researching my trip, I’d read somewhere “not to miss Pandora’s Box” in the men’s room of The Roadkill Cafe.
Of course, a place named The Roadkill Cafe sounded like a good place to eat, anyway. And I was on a mission to find this Pandora’s Box in the men’s room.
When I walked in to the restaurant, three friendly ladies greeted me. I inquired about ‘Pandora’s Box’ in the men’s room. They all gave me blank looks. No one knew about it. Well, none of the ladies. Not so sure about the men.
How can you not love a town with castles, energy vortexes, fertility deities, and huge phallic rocks?!
Sedona, Arizona has everything a traveler could want. Well, travelers who like men.
Shall we start with the spiritual stuff, and work our way down? Err, I mean south. Wait, scratch that. NO, NO, don’t scratch that!
Sedona, in case you’ve never been, is known for its spiritual and metaphysical community. The town has four energy vortexes, places where you are likely to feel energy coming up from the earth.
Whether it was the suggestion of such or an actual spiritual experience, my friend (the one I connected with while standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona), and I both “felt” something. (Now, now. Remember we’re talking about the spiritual stuff here.)
This is a view of Sedona from the top of the Airport Rd Vortex.
Me: I felt it, did you? Him: *dirty laugh* I felt a lot of things.
This post is a slight departure from my usual. The Grand Canyon’s North Rim being one of the most beautiful places I’ve yet seen on my travels, I feel it deserves reverence.
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Words can’t express the emotions that wash over you as you stand on the edge of these expansive vistas, hearing only the occasional bird and the rustle of the wind.
Peace, tranquility, and serenity come to mind. But even those descriptions feel somehow incomplete. Magical? Humbling?
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a few feelings, too. Rather than try to tell you about it, I’ve created the photo slideshow below. And below that is my video of the North Rim set to relaxing music. Take a little time from your day and enjoy the peace and serenity. (to see the slideshow and video, click the following link… But, wait! There’s more…