Friday, January 16, 2015


WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH ODD, WITH (SOMETIMES)TROUBLESOME PEOPLE?? I will go wander among a community of mavericks and see what I think---

And I will take 40 of my friends with me.  These are fellow WIN (wandering individuals network)
members----many of whom have never been to the infamous SLABS.

Every day I lead them to one or more of its distinctive areas. The SLABS community is likely the "most free" (least governed) place in the US---which is both good news and bad for its inhabitants.
Good news because misfits such as Leonard Knight can express their creativity publicly.  Where else can you--on public land--build a monument such as this? Salvation Mountain took 25 years to build--and is now on the National Registry of Folk Art. 
The Slabs are perhaps the only permanent, free campground in the world.  You can go there and stake out a homestead and build yourself a home like this?
Or this?
Or this
Or this

Or create your own personal museum and art colony like this?

Turning junk into art.
This very creative (he built that glass wall on the right) and articulate guy is a relative newcomer to a community of artist who live and do their art here in a place they call East Jesus

Sometimes pretty good art. (yes, that's a bus they partially buried just for the effect)

At the Slabs--misfits say whatever they wish-- to the world.

Or build their own religious sanctuary?

You can start your own business--paying no rent?

Or build your own theater.  I am standing where a scene was shot in the movie INTO THE WILD.
You can start your own community.  This is a well established one with about 50 members.
These facilities are owned by the largest community there--the LOWs (Loners On Wheels)-- a chapter of a thriving national organization.
A warm pool---104 or so degrees---free and open to all.
The Lows welcomed us into their space for our visit here---threw a party and a dance for us.

Complete with a professional DJ
As you leave the Slabs--after what will likely be a surrealistic visit--this sign warns you that conventional reality is just ahead.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I APPROVE---I APPROVE---I TOAST---I CELEBRATE--THIS SERENDIPITOUS SQUARE MILE.  Started as a quirky accident on the remains of an abandoned Marine base---it has endured for 40 plus years---evolved---adapted---achieved national fame.
It serves hundreds as a PLACE TO BE.  (the existential minimum)

I say we can afford to give everyone a place to BE.  It is SOCIAL SAVAGERY to squeeze blood rent from everyone.  A fair percentage of us cannot and will not live "respectable" lives.
Like Thoreau, we "hear a different drummer" and "march to the music we hear".

Friday, January 02, 2015


I REJOINED THE WINs (Wandering Individuals Network: after a hiatus of 3 years and rediscovered the joys of belonging to a mobile tribe.
This is the best of travel groups in my opinion because they do it together---and cheaply--have a 20 yr history--a very satisfying culture that respects privacy and freedom--yet knows how to act cooperatively.  They're friendly and fun to be with.
They asked me to compose a poem about the experience here. (Peg Leg Smith--an old prospector who based here in the desert and claimed to have found a fabulous gold mine) Here's the poem I wrote and performed: The gold boa is for effect.
Finding Peg Leg’s Gold

There’s gold, there’s gold, there’s gold here ’bouts.
Peg Leg Smith was right!
There's lots and lots of gold around
And most of it's in sight.

A golden sun up from that hill,
Broadcast on every channel,
Beaming golden kilowatts
On every solar panel.

Here’s golden agers by the dozen
Sharing this holiday,
Eating golden turkey in
Our golden hide-a-way.

We’re making golden memories-
What more could one desire?
Than sharing golden moments
Around a golden fire.

Some say gold is where you find it-
Where miners dig and take it.
I say gold of the precious kind
Is where good people make it.

About 75 of us collaborated on Thanksgiving dinner.
Went hiking in the nearby canyons
marveled at the metal sculptures scattered across the landscape around Borrego Springs.
These are new ones since I was last here.
Love the detail on this one. I estimate there are a total of 100 of them.  All depict the various animals and people who visited or lived in this area.

And speaking of living in the area----some miles away are the remnants of an incredibly bold mountain top experiment.  Read about it here and here.
It's about 20 miles away from Borrego Springs and a challenging climb up a mountain.
Here's what's left.
Water was stored here.
Looking down from their mountaintop home. For 17 years they lived here.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  It's a weird, wild and wonderful world out there.  GO SEE IT.
There are warm, wise, wandering folks to share the experience with. CONNECT UP.