Travelin’ Solo: Salvation Mountain and East Jesus | Gourmet party! | Laura Stec

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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I have been drawn to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, my profession and my enemy. I was a sugar addict, a vegetarian for 17 years, a food and… (More)

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Our first Travelin’ Solo trip has been underway for a while. Only. Whole. This is our last post of the trip. Thanks for coming.

We started in Bakersfield in MJC’s cozy Airbnb, strolled to Salton Sea Campground and mystical Mecca Beach with wooden slit showers and eternal views, went to the Biennale- Bombay Beach and now visit Slab City for the unexpected – art exhibits.

The Joshua Tree National Park area of ​​California has all kinds of playa art. Who knew? I would describe the style as Made from anything dropped in the sand in front of the artist at hand. The story traces desert creations back to the 1960s, an art form pursued by Burning Man’s friends and allies who set up their dessert studios with The Joshua Tree – a dusty white landscape open to inspiration and to interpretation – as muse and backdrop. Worth a drive around the Landers area and Morongo Basin north of Joshua Tree. treasure hunt to Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum and others. If you are coming from the southeast side of the national park, please check out Salvation Mountain and East Jesus.

From our conversation last time, some readers quickly switched from Slab City = Poor People = Bad People. We must caution assumptions. At no time did I feel in danger in Slab City. Hell, it’s MUCH riskier to DRIVE to the place than to go around it. But on that important solo travel note, I’ll go just about anywhere in the US during the day, but only stay at a structured campsite overnight (like Mojo’s, which is run by women). Never alone in a scattered place, no matter if it’s free (especially if it’s free).

On a more esoteric note – this type of outdoor art excursion, however you integrate the two, is a good solo trip. Fill your trip with outdoor entertainment – activities done alone, but in public with others. This way you get a bit of each. Successful solos balance both needs.

mountain of salvation

This artificial adobe sculpture built on sand has a rich history. It was one of those stories; Christian Leonard Knight’s truck broke down in Slab City and he decided to stay dagnammit, preach and build Salvation Mountain for 30 years, now designated a National Folk Site. 50 feet high and 150 feet around, Salvation Mountain’s mission is to spread love across the desert. An overly creative earthy bubbling of leftover paint, discarded materials, tree branches and tires, recovered from the desert or the dump. Walk the well-worn sandbar up the mountain – notice the waterfalls, rivers, the Sea of ​​Galilee, and the hogans, igloo-like structures of straw and broken glass.

Follow a yellow brick road to the top of the mount and take a selfie with God is love as a backdrop. A board of directors welcomes visitors to the site and helps repaint a mountain of art continually exposed to God’s fiery side – its harsh and unforgiving desert climate. To see mountain of salvation .

is jesus

Continue up the sandy road to East Jesus (better yet, hire the local bike tour and explore on 2 wheels). Unlike Salvation Mountain, there is no religious connotation here. Just an experimental art installation that some call “a place in the middle of nowhere beyond the edge of ease of maintenance. Hmm, where would East Jesus be? Would the Eastern Jesus be a Buddhist, and if so, what would his message be?




– photo by AR

Actually, it’s another story of a guy who left his life and ended up in Slab City. Charlie Russell quit, quit his tech job, headed to Slab City and started building trash sculptures around his car because what else to do in the middle of nowhere when it’s 120 degrees F? Years later, it’s a miracle! is jesus stands in a permanent installation hosted by The Chasterus Foundation, a 501(c)(3) formed after Russell’s death in 2011.


The dangers of television – photo by AR

A labyrinth of statues and collected materials, parts of dolls and computers, suitcases, even an old bus make up the sculptures. New works continually appear as old ones decay. Designated as salvagepunkthe pieces continue to morph and adapt, seen as part of the art form.



After Slab City, friends gathered and camped in the national park, then I went solo back to the Palm Springs area – a “sandwich trip” as we discussed earlier. Curious to travel solo? Stack one or both sides of your journey with companions – giving you that chance to travel alone but with social time built in at either end.

Courageous travelers – our journey has come to an end. But before you go, here’s a favorite camp treat for your next trip. Delicious cookies (without added sugar and gluten-free) that keep well in your car and won’t melt in the summer heat.

Peanut Butter Date Balls
Makes 25 cookies

1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp ground flax seeds
3 T of water
½ cup baking soda
1 cup apple cider vinegar
sea ​​salt course (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. Process the dates until they are crumbly (it’s okay if a ball forms). Add peanut butter – vinegar. Process until well mixed. Do not overmix. Form a ball, place on a baking sheet, 1 inch per portion. Sprinkle with sea salt (optional). Bake 15 minutes or until preferred texture. 13 minutes has medium undercooked, 20 minutes is firm, you decide. Let cool completely before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge for best results. Adapted from detoxinista.com

– Photos by ELIC unless otherwise stated

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