Today was errand day, nothing special. You have to leave Slab City to stock up on groceries, water etc. because there isn’t anything like that here. The closest town, Niland, only has a small grocery store so like everyone else I drove a few towns away for Walmart, my bank, etc. and to find a dumpster to throw my trash in. It was nice to hang around the campfire tonight with a friend I met over a month and a half ago that is now back camping with us. Several of us have been talking about how it has only been a little over a week since the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous ended but it feels more like a month, probably because we have done so many interesting things since then – many community dinners, listening to people playing musical instruments and singing at our camp area and many other venues in Slab City, taking walks, going to the hot springs ( I haven’t gone in yet), visting local art attractions (Salvation Mountain and East Jesus) and hanging out around many campfires. I used to just do those type of things on weekends. Now I get to do them every day along with watching beautiful sunsets every night. 😊
There was an all day talent show at The Range today. It is an outdoor area in Slab City that has the worst beat up looking couches I have ever seen in my life that I sat on anyway. The talent show started at noon with a few people in the daytime to hundreds of people there this evening. There were bands, solo singers, poetry readers and comedians. Lots of talented and not so talented people. I danced a lot (as usual) and met a lot of interesting people. There were a lot of people there that live out of their vehicles (rubber tramps like me) and that live outside sleeping on the ground (leather tramps). Most of the leather tramps were pretty drunk or high on drugs. I was talking to one of the leather tramps and he seemed pretty normal until he told me he just bought 200 hits of acid. I am so glad that I can have fun without getting drunk or high.
I am still in Slab City, California. I will probably be here until the end of February. There was a windstorm here today. My van was rockin like crazy. Our campmates were walking around with scarves around their nose and mouth and wearing goggles because of all of the sand blowing around. For dinner tonight we cooked baked potatoes in tin foil in the campfire and had a baked potato bar of toppings. After dinner one of our campmates did a poi fire show where she spinned fire on rope. I am always being entertained out here.
I feel like I am on a permanent vacation, except for the few hours of work I have to do each day. I am enjoying camping with the group of people that I’ve met so far in my travels. This afternoon a friend and I had lunch while watching the military bombs go off in the distance since we are near an active military bombing range. Every once in a while we would hear an explosion and then see smoke in the distance. Takes a little bit of getting used to. There are also military planes often flying over us. Most of the people in the group I am with went to nearby hot springs that I heard is pretty dirty and the way that some people bath out here and that it’s usually filled with a bunch of naked people. I heard it referred to as ‘hippie broth’. I think I’ll pass on bathing in the ‘hippie broth’. Tonight we had chili night where everyone contributed ingredients to make chili. Another girl and I made vegetarian chili since we are the only vegetarians here. I love our community meals and hanging out with my fellow camp mates.
A lot more people from the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous are at Slab City now. Last night we cooked hobo dinners over the campfire. Hobo dinners are when you put a bunch of different food in tin foil or a tin container and then cook it on the coals in the campfire. Everyone contributed different veggies and meat to throw into their tin containers. Came out delicious. We also walked to some old water towers that had some really cool graffiti art on them. After dinner a group of us went to a place called Ponderosa. Slab City residents create businesses out here to make money to live on. Staying out here is free to camp on. Ponderosa is a place where people take turns playing musical instruments and singing. I was very surprised by the talent out here. I danced to some very talented singers and guitar players. We met lots of nice people that live out here year round last night at Ponderosa and this morning at this place called Oasis where they serve coffee. Last month when I drove through Slab City I didn’t feel comfortable staying overnight because of people living in shacks and due to some areas and people looking a little sketchy which made me assume that most people out here are sketchy. I have completely changed my tune on that. Most people out here are pretty nice and pretty cool to hang out with. Of course I will still not walk around at night by myself due to the minority of bad people that I’m sure are here, just like any other city. I met this really awesome guy at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous that is now my boyfriend. I wasn’t expecting that. We both live full-time in Chevy Express cargo vans. Right now I am sitting in the front seat of my van looking out at the desert listening to a neighbor nearby playing guitar. I have such an awesome life 😊
Yesterday was the last day of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. They burned a wooden van that everybody signed and called it ‘Burning Van’ like the Burning Man celebration they have in the desert. Sounds like weird names though because why would you burn a man or a van😬Afterwards we had a big party with pizza, snacks, drinks, several campfires and lots of dancing. I had so much fun dancing! Right now I am in Slab City, California with someone I met from the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. Others from the RTR are coming tomorrow. I was in Slab City last month but didn’t stay overnight because kind of a sketchy area so I feel better camping with others that I know. We drove past some beautiful sand dunes on the way here that I wouldn’t mind going back to and renting ATVs to drive the dunes.
We had very stormy weather the last couple of days and nights so we had movie night in my van last night watching a movie on a laptop. We got five people and a dog in there. Cozy and fun. Eating lunch in town right now, haven’t done that in awhile and then going to the Big Tent where they have a big RV show today.
They had a talent show tonight at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. There was a guy doing yo-yo tricks, a woman playing a flute, a woman doing a comedy routine with balloon animals, people reading poetry, a woman walking with a basket on her head and some other talent. On Saturday night we are going to have Burning Van (instead of Burning Man that’s also in the desert) where we will be burning a small wooden van made out of wood that everybody has been signing. Tonight my campmate and I walked around handing out candy and making smores for people again at their campfires. We added a new campfire to our tour that had some really nice people at it. One desert street over is the Boomers Escapees RV club that had live music tonight. We tried crashing their party but it was over before we got there so we just enjoyed hanging out at a campfire in our area.
The nice guy in the Breaking Bad RV made Lithuanian potato cakes and rolls for a group of us tonight. He was even nice enough to prepare some of the food without meat so that I could eat it. I also ate dinner at my campsite that my neighbors made. Delicious Indian food. I honestly didn’t think I would be eating this good out here. I thought I would be eating canned beans and other easy foods. My co-candy girl and I went on our campfire tour tonight but didn’t bring smores fixins or candy. When we went up to peoples campsites they would say things like “the candy girls are here!” and looked disappointed when we didn’t have any candy. We have a reputation to live up to so we are going back to handing candy and smores tomorrow night.
People are starting to call me and my friend ‘the candy girls’ because we hand out candy every night to campers, which we did tonight. We also made Smores for people. There was at least three people that we made Smores for that said they never ate a Smore before. I worked most of the day today in the van and ate way too much candy while working so I gave the candy bag to my friend to keep in her van and told her that she has custody of the candy from now on. It is pretty chilly here – in the low 40s. I run my propane space heater for about a half hour before going to bed and I then get under about five sheets and blankets to stay cozy and warm during the night. I am starting to get used to the cold in the evenings. Tomorrow is errand day in town. I am going to do laundry (I am down to wearing clothes from the free pile) and stock up on food and water and more candy and Smore ingredients. I like being a candy girl🍬🍭