After the RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) Slab City, Five Palms and Parker Again


After the RTR in January 2018, I camped in Ehrenberg for a spell until my friends finished working at the Big Tent where they had a job during for those ten days. A group of us then decided to go to Five Palms Warm Springs in California and then Slab City. Since I’ve written about these places in the past, here are the links for those of you who haven’t read my previous posts (or wish to re-visit them). Five Palms, Slab City aka The Slabs, Salvation Mountain, The Tanks, East Jesus and The Library, Clubs and more…

While we were camped near Five Palms, we witnessed the Super Blue Blood Moon rising on the last day of January over this very sparse part of the Sonoran Desert

Above: Imperial Dunes on the way to Five Palms – Right ~ Close friends, literally. We all dug out feet deep into the sand around the pipe so we wouldn’t get forced away from the pipe by the incoming water. We could play footsie in the sand.

Below ~ The Super Blue Blood Moon rising on January 31.

We spent two days at Five Palms, then went to Slab City. We spent the first night gathered around the campfire listening to live music coming from a tent that was some kind of club nearby, and The Grill Master cooked a whole chicken on the grill, and as always, the group contributed to the dinner. A community at it’s best.

The musicians above let me take their picture in exchange for a bottle of water. The barter system is alive and kicking at Slab City.

As the evening wore on a variety of sounds drifted to our camp. There was an out of tune marching band, a variety of wonderful music drifting from various other groups, some Karaoke going on next door with the usual crooners and croakers, and one very drunk lady giving it all she had. One of the best sounds of the night was a man and his dog walking down the road and playing his banjo while singing House of the Rising Sun as he walked.

Above – They are Canadian, say no more,Smile and the disco lights in the big tent/club we were parked near. (The Canadian’s get a bit of a hard time from Nomads, but its all in fun).

Later that evening, after we had all gone to bed I was startled by a very loud explosion, then another. These explosions shook the earth and had me jumping from my bed. Not too far away I saw flames, and within minutes there was the awful stench of a burning trailer, and the toxic fumes from burning rubber and other man made chemicals. I grew concerned after a while when the fire started to get closer, as it consumed one nearby bush, then another. I woke my friends who had slept through it. People from the trailers all around were gathering to watch, and a good number of vehicles were driving away from the scene.

I later learned on Facebook that a propane tank had blown, which blew the one next to it. The guy was a Slab City local and elder, and his neighbors managed to pull him and his cat out, and also get his car out of the way. Thank goodness for their quick actions. The fire department arrived fairly quickly, they probably heard the explosion and saw the flames from town at the same time the 911 call came in. The town of Niland is very close to Slab City. I’ve been told that this kind of thing happens fairly often at The Slabs due to the poverty and lack of fire codes, and sometimes the fires are set deliberately to get rid of the type of person that is not welcome, known as the undesirables. People immediately assumed that a meth lab had exploded, but that was not the case.

With the fire department on scene, I closed my windows tightly and tried to sleep in the unbearable closeness and heat of an unventilated van.

The next day I went for a drive around and took some pictures, but my heart was simply not into it this time. I didn’t feel the desire to visit The Tanks, or Salvation Mountain, or even East Jesus. (I also have YouTube Videos on my Channel about Slab City). My friends moved to a camp near a relatives compound within the city, and although I was invited to join, I felt out of sorts and disjointed. For some reason I couldn’t put my finger on, I wasn’t feeling comfortable at The Slabs this time around. Perhaps it was the explosion, or perhaps my instinct was telling me it wasn’t a good time for me to be there for some reason. I decided to spend a night with some other friends in the LOWS section for a night because I hadn’t got to see them much at the RTR, and then the next day I left Slab City, after giving big hugs to my little nomad tribe of wonderfully caring friends.

I was antsy and very much out of sorts. I returned to Ehrenberg and then continued to Parker to meet up with Bob Wells so we could record the final segment in our Personal Locator Beacon video series for It had been a lot of work for me over the past year, and I was ready to put it behind me. After a few days I managed to meet up with Bob, get the recording done, and then I was ready to move on.

I hope you have enjoyed this update of my travels during the winter of 2017/2018. In case you aren’t aware, I’ve decided to start creating more video’s of my hikes and also have been putting out more short, five-minute video’s of how-to’s, ideas, suggestions, and a variety of subjects on my YouTube Channel. This way I can share more images with you in an easy to watch format, and those of you who love to to hike vicariously can join me. Please click one of the links below to Sign Up, and please RING MY BELL to ensure that you get notifications when I create a new video.

Until next time,

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature

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