Our last post about Slab City was one of ambivalent feelings. Yair wrote it on Thursday, and we ended up staying at The Slabs through Sunday afternoon. Those few days made a big difference in the impression that The Slabs left us with.
- We ate dinner at Karma Kitchen, a free kitchen in Slab City that has for two years been serving meals on Tuesday and Friday nights. They operate on donations (food and money) and perform a wonderful service. Angel and Scooter are the people behind Karma Kitchen, and we were impressed by how they made everyone feel like they were helping out. If someone couldn’t donate, they could help cook, toss salad or serve. The dinner was preceded by a very brief but touching reflection circle as the group said their version of grace. We enjoyed incredible and copious amounts of food, but were surprised at how few people attended dinner (~25) considering the population of Slab City.
- Movie night at The Range. Yes, Slab City has its own event space. It actually has two, but The Range is the main attraction and has everything you would find in a mainstream event space – and more. The Range boasts a parking area, concession stand, comfortable seating, dance space, good lighting and sound, a projector, large stage, dedicated generator, fire area, and bathroom. Friday night at The Range brought a band shooting a music video, a tribute video to a recently deceased Slabber, and a film on how not to get caught growing weed in the forest. We also met some very cool people. (More to come on that.)
- A relaxed and relaxing Shabbat at Slab City had us hanging out at The Oasis Club with “New York Mike”, a well-educated, thoughtful, articulate and cultured artist from Queens. Not your typical Slabber, but he still fits in.
- Saturday nights are a big deal in Slab City, as The Range is open with all-night music. People come from surrounding towns to attend the shows including families with children. The evening brings out a nicer and more giving / communal side of The Slabs.
- Friday night’s new friends were Abby and Moth. Abby is a pretty sick hula-hooper who can also play her hand like a musical instrument. They showed up at The Range on Saturday night along with their friends Nikki (another hula-hooper) and Bobby (a fire dancer) and Ayo learned some cool tricks. [Warning: Lots of pics of Moth's place follow.]
- The hooping continued on Sunday morning, with an early-morning meeting at The Oasis Club (they were serving breakfast) followed by a trip to the Kama Sutra water tank and Moth’s home, a thoroughly clean and disinfected massive septic tank. Moth keeps chickens and has lived at The Slabs full-time for three years. He’s seriously tricked out his home and we had a lot of fun roaming around in and atop it.
- On our way out from The Slabs we visited the geothermal hot springs, which reportedly can get as hot as 108 degrees. There – while bathing – we chatted with a man who was writing a book on a particular long-distance hiking trail in the northeast (I don’t recall the name).
Our Slabs-o-meter ended up in the green at the end of our weekend. The Slabs would be a very different place if not for The Range, and we are glad that we stuck around to experience it. And if you’re interested in checking out Slab City, don’t shy away from it. The worst thing that might happen is that you’ll decide that a nearby RV park is a better fit for you, and you’ll have fulfilled your curiosity. If you’re going for your first time, send us an email for some more specific advice on where to park.
On an only mildly related note, there’s a really well-maintained free dump station about seven miles south of The Slabs. It’s funny to be able to rate dump stations, but this one was set-up in a very well thought out way. Two thumbs up!
posted by yair and ayo