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 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.
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 😊
They had a talent show tonight at the gathering. 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. 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.
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🍬🍭
Today was open house day at the gathering. Since this event started they handed out green and red ribbons. If you put a red ribbon on your vehicle it means don’t approach as that person wants to be left alone. If you put a green ribbon on your vehicle it means you welcome company. Our campsite area was too far from everyone else so I didn’t bother with the ribbons. I enjoyed walking around and checking out everybody else’s vehicles that had a green ribbon for open house day today. There were people living in their cars that made a great use of their space, homemade truck campers, a log cabin on a trailer, cargo vans like mine, teardrop trailers and a cool army truck and trailer, to name a few. A friend and I went on our nightly cramp fire tour tonight handing out candy except that tonight we also brought the ingredients to make Smore’s for people. We met our campfire tour friend here and invited her to stay at our campsite area. She is 23 and just started living in her van full time. Her dad helped convert her van for her. She saved up money and plans on eventually getting a job on the road in the conservation field. I think it is pretty cool that she’s doing this so young.
This morning the nice guy in the ‘Breaking Bad’ rv and a few other campers made a group of us pancakes and cappuccino for breakfast, which is much better than the banana and instant coffee I am used to. This afternoon they had a solar seminar. This evening I met a leather tramp that wandered into camp. I am a rubber tramp because I travel in my vehicle. A leather tramp travels by foot. The leather tramp asked me where the music area was so I pointed him in the right direction and then he asked if I could just walk him there which I did and soon regretted because he was acting very eratic like he was on drugs. He told me he hitchhikes and hops trains to get where he wants to go and then just sleeps on the ground wherever he is at. He didn’t even have a tent or a blanket. I asked him his age because he looked young and he said 19, which is the same age as my son. I asked him if he keeps in contact with his parents and he said ‘yes’ but I didn’t believe him. All I could think of was how worried his parents must be because I would be if my son was doing what he is doing. He asked what I slept in and I said my van. He then asked to sleep in my van and I was like ‘no way’. He started to sleep on the ground near the group campfire so me and some other campers put down a flatened cardboard box for him to sleep on and I found a blanket from the ‘free pile’ to put over him. He kept getting candy from me all night so I put the last of my candy next to him while he was passed out. I felt bad for him and at the same time grateful that I have the son that I have.
I love walking up and down the desert streets going up to peoples campsites to talk to them and people calling me over to their campsites to eat with them or just hang out. There is such a diverse group of people here but we all have in common that we all love the outdoors, living a simple life without a lot of material things and the freedom to roam that comes with having a home on wheels. Several times a day I have thought to myself ‘I have a really awesome life’. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that. I am so glad I found this way of life. I feel like I did when I was a kid and enjoyed doing silly things like skipping around the campground with two new friends (yes I really did that), singing with others at the campfire and not caring that I don’t have the best singing voice, dancing around the campfire to people playing guitar and drums and just overall acting silly and laughing a lot. I never get tired of the beautiful sunsets and beautiful moon rises in the desert. When I put my head to my pillow at night before I go to sleep I always smile and think what an awesome time I had tonight😊
After working in the daytime I had such a great time tonight walking around meeting people. I stopped asking people their names and telling them my name because there’s just no way we are all going to remember each other’s names. There must be at least 400 people here. A friend at my campsite area and a new friend we met today went on a campfire tour tonight just going up to peoples campfires and meeting them and then going onto the next one. Everybody was very welcoming. Lots of people were jamming together playing guitars, harmonicas, drums and singing. Some offered us food. Some offered us chairs to sit on. At one of the campfires this guy was teaching everyone how to do yo-yo tricks. On the way to one of the campfires this guy was telling us about his job as a psychic working from his home on wheels. Such a diverse and interesting group of people. I used to just go camping on weekends, now I get to camp everyday and with a lot of really cool people that have a wandering spirit like me. ⛺️🔥