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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Salvation Mountain

I thought I would share this with you , Last yr on one of our trips , we spent some time at Niland California, a Place called the slabs.
click on the link to read about it. Its a very popular place for Rver's to spend the winter months for free. No hookups however, but going into town you can dump your sewage for a small fee and get water. It used to be an old military base. It has made news for many yrs.
Anyway The story of Salvation Mountain is quite interesting.

Leonard Knight has been painting and repainting his bright Biblical messages on the sides of Salvation Mountain for fifteen years. On the arid flats east of San Diego, his mountain pokes up into the bright sun. Odds are you'll get excellent photos, and Leonard will be busy repainting faded parts of his vision. He requests that all donations be in the form of paint, preferably acrylic.

Leonard Knight.At 68, Leonard is a classic lone dreamer, intent on feeding his vision. But he's friendly, welcoming all who visit. He sleeps in the Salvation Truck, a decorated vehicle with a house on the back. The truck, like the mountain, is lettered with biblical quotations and a large "REPENT" warning. The sight of Salvation Mountain -- his three story tall, 100-foot wide riot of concrete, adobe and paint -- greets him each morning.

A few years back, environmental fanatics stirred up the local government. Samples were drilled and tests were done -- Salvation Mountain was declared a "toxic nightmare" by county officials. Signs went up warning about "Hazardous Waste," and Imperial County was on its way to hosting a veritable Superfund cleanup site. Plans were laid to treat it like nuclear waste -- haul it away in trucks and bury it in Nevada.

We imagined a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" scenario: the first bulldozer cleaves into the sacred mound, and out bursts a blinding light. One by one, the bulldozers and environmentalists burst into flame, poisonous smoke filling the air. Soon, nothing is left of the troublemakers save for some greasy stains. Leonard pops out of his truck-house and starts incorporating the stains into his living masterpiece.

Salvation truck.This is not what happened. Actually, we don't know what happened, but maybe townspeople rallied to defend the important local attraction.

Niland, along the Salton Sea, is the gateway to Salvation Mountain, and two other post-apocalyptic sights: Bombay Beach(a half-submerged wasteland of derelict buses and vehicles), and Slab City(or "The Slabs," a WWII-era Marine facility where squatters and seasonal snowbirds live in RVs and vehicles among the concrete remnants, a "great place to spend the winter."). Salvation Mountain is now part of the cultural landscape, like the Watts Towers, or Carhenge. Salvation Mountain continues to thrive and grow. Steps carved into the mountain allow visitors to ascend to the upper terraces. You can pretty much climb anywhere you like for a photo opportunity. Just bring some paint.


Kerri said...

Great post! This is the first I have ever heard of this.

dot said...

Wow, this is interesting! Never seen such in all my days. I'm not so sure I'd want to stay at Slab City but I'd like to see it and Salvation Mountain also.

Pepper said...

I have another place to go for photo calendars. It is I was in their store yesterday and they had a sample of thier gift items. Good quality but more important - inexpensive! I like that word. Things have been crazy here - in a good way. Haven't had much time to update my blog. Anyway I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

A few corrections:

Leonard is, at the time of this writing (2007.11.20), 76 years old.

It was not "environmental fanatics" who tried to bulldoze Salvation Mountain by falsifying its toxicity, but rather greed-heads bent on removing the "religious monument" in their way of turning Slab City into a public, for-profit campsite. But due to the nature of the accusations that the mountain was toxic, a lot of people assume environmentalists were the ones causing the fuss. Not so.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Thanks for the update, i guess they should update the website.Love to know who you are? are you at the slabs now? Or are you going to be.?

Andrea said...

This is a wonderful post. Beautiful!

USAincognito said...

Wow! I never knew this place existed. That man sure does a lot of work....will have to check that place out sometime.

Suzi-k said...

what an intruiging post, I do love travelling with you guys! And thanks for the link, all those stonehenges, car henge, fridgehenge, and cadillac park kept me entertained for ages!