The biggest crowd comes during the winter and many return year after year. Some tough it out all year even in 118 degree heat. Some of the permanent residents have house attic turbine vents installed on their RV roofs. Many have lean-tos setup for shade. Trash can be hauled into Niland to a dumpster. Dumping tanks costs $10 in Niland but many go 10 miles south on Hwy 111 to the rest area to get water and dump their tanks free.
We didn’t see as many solar panels as we expected. There were several wind turbines and they were spinning pretty fast. Gas generators could be heard.
We checked the signal there and we were able to get phone signals for Verizon and Boost out there. I was even able to browse the Internet there so work over the Internet is possible from there. They do also have a free Internet cafe.
Checkout their skate park and a dip in their hot springs (clothing optional).
Greeting you on arrival is an unmanned booth with “Last Free Place” and You Are Almost There” painted on it. Past that is Salvation Mountain, built by Leonard Knight to praise God. It is 3 stories high and made of dirt, mortar, and paint. It is a beautiful piece of art and affirmation. To one side is a colorful small mountain with alcoves filled with God’s praises. Once done looking there, follow the yellow path up the main mountain to the cross on top and an excellent view of the RV areas beyond it. For you geocachers, this is a virtual geocache so be sure to get a picture of yourself and your GPS in front of or on Salvation Mountain. There are many other caches in the area too.
I can see why folks come here. It would be nice to save on rent and utilities for 6 months a year here in the winter or all year if you can take the heat. There is certainly lots of socializing going on too.
On the way out, be sure to check out the back of the unmanned booth. It says something like “Returning to Reality” on it. LOL
On the way down to the slabs we stumbled on Imperial Dunes where it seemed a 4 wheeling event was going on. There were lots of RVs parked in the dunes and more coming in constantly. Out in the dunes were numerous ATVs, dune buggies, and dirt bikes and all had flags on them to be easily seen.
Headed home, we drove up the east side of the Salton Sea and checked out the state park there at the Salton Sea Recreational Area. I wouldn’t recommend going there in hot months when it can stink to high heaven but the smell is fine in winter and the state park was very nice. Kayaking appears to be real popular there as evidenced by all the kayaks on the beach. As we stood watching the sunset, a straight line of about 50 geese glided within inches of the water and squawked their goodbyes as they flew in a northern direction. We know. We know. The snowbirds have also started moving on and are leaving our campground more empty every day. In another month, we will join the flocks.
For more pics click here.