Dirt, art, and God

This past Saturday C and I met up with a group of photographers and headed out to the Desert to take some photographs. Being that photography is only a hobby for me and something that I am still learning, I enjoy gathering with groups of people who I can ask questions of, and discuss the process with. Meeting other people, and adventuring to new places while being safe in a pack is a plus as well.

Our meeting place was a small hole in the wall called Bobby D’s Pizza Plus in Niland, CA. If you aren’t familiar with the great state of California, Niland is about 155 miles from San Diego, in the middle of nowhere, somewhere between El Centro and the California/Arizona state line.

After enjoying my turkey burger, and C enjoying her cowboy burger, we headed down the road to a man-made monument called Salvation Mountain. You can learn more about Salvation Mountain by visiting this website, but to abbreviate, a gentleman named Leonard Knight went out to the desert with his hot air balloon and was planning to fly the balloon around while proclaiming his love for God. Unfortunately the balloon never made it in the air, but Leonard’s love for God never wavered. Instead, he build his monument in a dried river bank where thousands flock every year to witness his remarkable efforts.

God is Love

Leonard's main message: "God is Love"

After visiting Salvation Mountain for a while, we went about  a mile down the road to a place called Slab City. Slab City was once a military base, and when the military vacated, they took everything except the slabs that once served as the foundations to their buildings. Through out the year, many people park their RV’s on these slabs and call it home, for however long they wish. It’s the closest thing to communal living that I’ve ever experienced and quite eye-opening for C, she was not impressed and I hope this experience will deter her from ever running away from school.

The entrance to Slab City

Next, we headed out to East Jesus to see the unique art created solely out of re-used materials. East Jesus is a great place to go, if one wants to get off the grid. It was founded in 2006 by Charles Russel, who was the only full-time inhabitant. Russell passed away last May, but the area still stands as a growing monument to him.

A buried house

To some it may be a junk yard, to me, it's Junk Yard Art

Finally, we headed over to the Bombay Beach to take shots of the sunset over the Salton Sea; it was beautiful and though a bit crowded, it was a great finale to such an interesting and self-developing day.

Sunset over the Salton Sea

The evening sky over the Chocolate Mountains

After a quick bite with the last few remaining group members, it was time to head back to San Diego. It had been a 14.5 hour day with more than 5 hours of it driving, but it was worth every minute. C and I got some valuable Mommy/Daughter time in, I learned a lot about my camera, my fellow-man, and where to go if I never want to be found!

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