Slab City for a warmer winter

Snowbirds welcome - bring your own 12-gauge

CBS Evening News has reignited interest in Slab City – the off-grid community near Los Angeles. It is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is growing steadily as a result of foreclosure victims looking for a place with few rules, where they can get on with life undisturbed.

The 2000 residents are gathered in the desert around concrete slabs placed there during WW2, living in tents, trailers, elderly mobile homes and other dwellings made from found materials.

There are no municipal services, no streetlights and no water or sewage service, reports the LA Times in a follow-up piece to CBS. “But nobody charges rent or collects fees or tries to impose homeowner covenants.”

“It has a post-apocalyptic look and we like it that way,” said Don Case, 41, who worked as a chef in Colorado and is planning to move to Alaska — someday. “It’s peaceful here, people have it together.”

CBS’s Ben Tracy reports that it is “home base for more and more people who can`t afford to live anywhere else.”

Vince Neill parked his RV here two months ago, along with his wife and six kids. He recently lost his audio-visual business and their home in Modesto, California.

Neill tells CBS: “I would apply to 30 to 40 jobs a day online, and there was just nothing.” He could no longer afford to stay at an RV park and his family lives on food stamps and money from odd jobs.

“I`ve always wore a shirt and tie, worked in an office, had a nice car and house. But we lost pretty much everything.”

There is a church, a music venue called the Range, and even an Internet cafe. But electricity comes from the sun. There is no sewer, no running water. A hole in the ground is the only shower for miles.

Another family told CBS they came here because they cannot afford to heat their house in Washington state this winter

The community is spread over about 600 acres of rutted roads and bushes. To the west is Niland (population 1,100) and the Salton Sea. To the east is the Coachella Canal (ripe with catfish) and the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range used by the Navy.

“This is the last truly free place in America,” said Jim Merton, 54, who spends the winter at Slab City and the summer in Washington. “I can smoke some weed, drink some beer, be loud and rowdy, skinny-dip in the canal, and there’s nobody to tell me I can’t have fun.”

14 Responses

  1. Well I refuse to judge the ones that has no reason to be judged from my self or in that case anyone at all. For as I have been reading upon S.C. its pretty much whatch your step keep a tight hold upon your mouth, respect others as you want your respect. For every person there has his or her reasoning. As for me feel free to judge. I will be there soon along with others there already withmy story of why iI will be there. Let me say this for now. I am a vet from the army, I have skilled hands in wood working, for I see things that are there that are not yet built. I would love to share my vast knowledge with others willing to learn a different type of skill. And no I am not a criminal on the run nor am I a drunk or druggy. I am me and you are you. That said….”LIVE LIFE WITH EMPTY POCKETS, AND LEAVE LIFE FULL OF RICHEST. MAHALO

  2. Seige and I are still talking about coming and trying to save up some money to come for a visit. Hopefully this fall/winter we will be able to do it. We are currently working on our off-grid situation and trying to get everything together for self-sustainability. It is slow going, but we are finally making some progress. Working on getting running water and finishing our solar energy source! Yes, we pretty much live with very little modern convienences currently.. Hi Nick. We would be interested in participating in your documentary. We live in Southeastern Kentucky next to Daniel Boone National Forest. If you are interested in speaking with us drop an email and I will give you our cell number!

  3. I am also curious about Slab City. Chuck makes a good point. Could I come live there safely, how would I aquire food, and how would I get drinkable water? I play a little bit of guitar, am skilled in carpentry and also some welding. I am just tired of trying to please everyone else in this world just so I can get by.

  4. Ive got some questions about Slab city, First is it safe ? i mean can a guy come live there without worry of being murdered in his sleep? is it possible to live in a tent there, how do you get food. i would just like to get lost, no im not a criminal on the run, im just tired of this shit called life that i live in right now. would really like to just be lost and actually enjoy being alive. is this possible in slab city, im a master carpenter with a lot of different skills, thanks for any comments or advice

  5. I would like to go down to the Slab for the winter.As far as Sociopaths or Psychopaths I’m not worried.I studied psychology for 35 years and I can spot them in an instant.

    Anyway,there are 12 million of them living in the US so what the hell is the difference if you meet them at the Slab.You will know them by what they say AND THEN DO and how you feel INTUITIVELY AFTER YOU TALK TO THEM.

  6. Hey Nick,
    His name is Howard Luken – “Luken Limousines” he doesn’t even have a limo, he has an old worn out Lincoln Town Car and a crappy SAAB convertible with no back window. He asked my 18yo daughter, my wife and I to help him with his commercial; which we did for free, since he was 64 and living in his RV. He would buy my 18 yo gifts and take her out, claiming to want to work on the commercial . Then he asked her to move into his RV with him. We later found out that he preys upon young hippy girls who work in a friends fruit trucks and have offered them the same deal. He was thrown out of Public Access in Columbus Ohio; for being Vulgar, Rude, and Perverted. Just search You Tube for Angsto the Clown; and you will see how warped this individual really is. As for his cars being vandalized it could be any of the individuals on Topanga Canyon and PCH1 near Malibu; whom he has pissed off; including the LA County Sheriffs department. He dumps his raw sewage on the side of the road up there and then blames it on other disabled RVers. He also thought that my Uncle was trying to get with my daughter and tried to run him down with his car. Real people use there real names.

    Vince Neill

  7. la guy who knows ….. lol …… i stay at the slabs also and your post smells exactly like the stink of the ahole that was ” asked” to leave the childrens area , vinces name is here .. mines here…. the other three posters are here … but you lol… some guy in la…. give it a rest. its stupidty like this that makes life there harder for all…

  8. I know this vince neill and went to slab city with him, his wife and daughter 1 time. The place is an absolute shithole full of borderline criminals and lunatics. If your idea of paradise is hell this is it. Old Vince there is quite the con man. I’m not surprised he got national attention. He never worked but spent his time flim flamming men out of money and anything else he could all summer here in topanga. Sadly he uses his 18 yr old daughter as bait and as a result she is confused and abused. He encouraged her to work on me until it became clear I wasn’t going to be the next meal ticket then I became just another “creepy old man”. One disfunctional family which is unfortunate because those kids don’t deserve living that way. I’m sure the daughter is miserable down there if she hasn’t split like her older sister did. 9 or 10 people living in a decrepit RV I tried to help him fix up. He left LA after trying to scam an LA county sheriff’s deputy that led to him using his daughter to set the dumbass deputy up on a false rape charge. He tried to use me for an alibi after I drove him and her to a hospital for a “burn”. Seems the lapd who investigated this just told him to leave town because you don’t mess about with lasd deputies here and survive. Of course he vandalized my cars before he left. Much weirdness thru the summer. Now he’s back in that hellhole.

  9. Not sure its a good idea to talk about where you are an what you are doing. Just a matter of time before someone will show up to tell you that you cant be there or do that.

  10. That image reminded me of a retired couple I met out in the Arizona Desert east of Tombstone. They seemed very happy and living well on Social Security and selling the few odd rocks and Ghost Town relics.
    I could see spending the Winter there and coming back to Maine in the Summer.
    Birds are smart. They figured that out long ago.

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