Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas.
Doreen’s daughter, her son and his wife, her niece and husband, and their two children, the two neighbor women, and Jean Sinclair celebrated with us. We were ten adults and the two boys.
It was a lively affair. With all the goings on I forgot to take a picture.
We almost finished off the turkey and part of the ham.

I decided to check out the motor home again.
It was a fast decision. We put a full propane tank in the car, filled up an ice chest with turkey and other leftovers and took off.
It takes about two hours to drive to the desert near Borrego Springs.
Upon arrival I checked for leaks. The motor home has survived the heavy rain. With all that rain, there should be lots of flowers in the spring.
After attaching the auxiliary propane tank to the main tank, I sat down with Ron Carlson and we had a nice talk.
Doreen had a nap.
Ron started a fire and we stayed outside until it was too cold to enjoy it anymore.
After dinner Doreen and I watched a Pink Panther movie. It was a pretty stupid film.

It was 41 degrees F in the motor home when I got up.
We left for home about 9:00 AM. By that time the outside temperature was pleasant.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dinner with Jean

This Christmas Season I probably will gain more than five pounds.
Jean Sinclair took Doreen, myself, and Libby and her daughter out to the Black Angus restaurant.
We all had the steak, shrimp, and prawn dinner.
Jean is the widow of Bill Sinclair. Bill is most likely building air planes in that factory in the sky.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Balboa Park

Today was almost a summer day. We went to Balboa Park and enjoyed a movie at the Imax theatre.
After the film we took a walk at the park.

Our next stop was the El Indio restaurant for some Mexican food.
On the way home we stopped at Doris and Jim Bower's house. It is always nice to see them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Parties

Today we went to two parties.
From 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM we went to the Convair Liaison Engineering party at the Rockin' Baja Lobster restaurant in San Diego Old Town.

Most of my pictures were no good because the camera was not set on automatic, the lever had moved and I found out too late.
The next party was the Convair Logistics Group party at
the Fiddlers Green restaurant on Shelter Island. It was a smaller party and started at 6:00 PM; it was wonderful to see all those people with whom I spent a good part of my life with.
Both parties were fun.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Convair Alumni Association Dinner Dance

The Alumni Association had their annual dinner dance at the Bahia Resort in Mission Bay.
The dance hall is at the fifth floor of the building and the view over the bay is spectacular.
We met some of the people I worked with. Oh, are they getting old.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Visiting the motor home.

We drove to Borrego Springs to check up on the motor home and bring some stuff back.
In the evening Doreen cooked a spaghetti dinner and we took it over to Ron's motor home and the three of us had a nice dinner.
During the night the wind came up. Doreen did not get much sleep. Between my snoring and the wind howling she was awake most of the night.
In the morning we left for home.
We stopped at the town though and bought a bag of grape fruit. Borrego Springs had very little wind. Ron's property is located on higher elevation.
We also stopped at Peg Leg Smith and talked to Dwight, one of the regulars, they come after the WIN's leave.
The drive home was terrible, we had fog and rain in Julian.
In my Slab City post I mentioned that the group was ready to go in one of the large water tanks.
Diana has the event covered on her blog. Click on "Life on the Open Road" under Diana's Travels.
She posted it Saturday, December 13.
Half Pint, the lady living in the box, is shorter than me, her hair is also shorter than mine. She is as thin as a rail, has tattoos all over her arms, and has a ten inch knife attached to her belt.
I know her from my visits to the Niland library, and I am scared of her. Her dog lets nobody close to the box she lives in.
She has a temper. One day she stormed out of the library because she could not win an argument with a man who also lives year round at the slabs.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Convair Camping Club Christmas Luncheon 2008

When I came home the oranges on the orange tree were more orange than when we left.
A few more weeks and we can eat them.

The backyard also enjoyed the cooler temperatures and the rain Carlsbad had.

Today we had our annual Christmas Luncheon, at the Best Western Seven Seas Hotel, in San Diego.

The food was very good and Doreen and I enjoyed the company of the group.
Every couple received one raffle ticket. We won a quilted table runner. It is beautiful and took a lot of work to make it. I had my eyes on the box of See’s candies though.
Some people wanted to trade with me, but Doreen did not let me.
I can taste those fine candies without physically having them.
Darwin and Linda joined the club last month. When Dottie and Chappy arrived, Linda and Dottie got a surprise. They are friends and had not seen each other for twenty years.
Rich and Wanda were at the luncheon. We had not seen them for almost a year. They were working at a County Park in King City, in Northern California.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Slab City 2008

I left Peg Leg Smith at 8:30 AM and arrived at Slab City at noon. I had stopped in Brawley and checked out the new Super Wal Mart. This store is really large.
Slab City is not a city, it is a former World War 2 training area. Troops trained here for the Africa campaign. The buildings are gone, but the concrete slabs are still here. People have motor homes and trailers on the slabs.

Here are old, run down rigs and very expensive motor homes site by site. Some poor people, and people who want to get away from it all, live here all year. It gets very hot in the summer and not much fun being here then.

There is a place to take a shower. They tell me the water is very hot, as hot as it comes out of the ground.
I prefer to shower in the motor home.

We had a 4:00 PM circle meeting and plans were made for activities for the next few days. Randy and JoAnn are hosts. Randy has some good ideas.
At 6:00 PM I went over to the LOW (Loners on Wheels) area for dancing. They had invited us.

The LOWs have several trailers in their compound. The trailers stay all year. One trailer is a library, another trailer a game room.
I stayed only an hour.

After Hugs and Mugs we went on the Randy guided "Saints and Sinners" tour. We walked by the pet cemetery. All kind of animals have their final resting place there. Patricia’s bird is there too. It had a elaborate funeral, with a lot of people participating. I am told they all dressed up for the occasion.

The Saints portion of the tour started at Salvation Mountain, where Leonard Knight, for the last 25 years, has been building and painting the mountain.

Leonard was happy to see us and gave us the tour. His major theme is Love, not the sex kind. He enjoyed his part in the movie: "Into the Wild". Part of the movie was filmed in Slab City, and featured Leonard.
After the movie he got more visitors. I have been many times here but never went inside the area. I always looked at it from the road.
When we left, Leonard gave each of us a DVD: "A lifetime of Childlike Faith", telling his story.
He makes adobe from mud and straw and keeps on building.
He paints parts of the bible on the mountain and on his old trucks. There are many interesting characters at the slabs and Leonard is one of them.
From salvation Mountain we went to two large water storage tanks. From the distance a saw the beautiful female figures, drawn with a yellow outline. The figures were dancing.

When we came closer I noticed underneath gray figures. All around this large tank were couples in all possible sex positions, or impossible positions. The figures were bigger than life size.
The paintings were done by a good artist. When I was told who did it, I had a difficult time to believe it.
Tom is a WIN, he never participates with the group. He sometimes follows the group, but stays away a bit. Tom must have been inspired by Kama Sutra.
This was the Sinners part of the tour.
After our tour I drove to the library in Niland and got my E mail. Unfortunately Sharon and Bob, from who I got my E mail at Peg Leg Smith, are not here.
At the circle meeting, Linda Barnett, who is the unofficial mayor of this interesting place, answered our questions.
In the evening we went to the Chinese Restaurant in Niland. We had told them that we were coming. Still, they had a difficult time to bring the food out. Since we shared, it was no problem. We ate each dish as they came out of the kitchen.
This was a very interesting day.

After Hugs and Mugs, Randy, our leader, walked with us to the Slab City library. There are thousands of books, neatly stored on shelf units. It is a self service operation.

A volunteer takes care of the library in the winter.
Our next stop was the new canal. It is lined with concrete to conserve water.
We also stopped at the "Traveling Pals" club and talked to their president. They accept singles and couples.
Like the LOWs, they have permanent buildings on this government land.
We also took a look at the place where a lady made herself a home. It is shaded by a large tree. She has a lot of desert flowers and she keeps everything neat and organized.

After lunch I went to the library in Calipatria.
In the evening Bagpipe Bob cooked again potatoes in the camp fire. We all brought finger food, and Nelda had baked one of her famous cakes, but not her "Better than sex cake".
At 8:00 PM it started to get cool and we dispersed.

We had one of those extreme beautiful desert sunrises. I was up early and thoroughly enjoyed it.

After Hugs and Mugs we went to see Container Charley. He has a large shipping container, which was his home for a while. He added on some buildings, and the shipping container is now his shop.
Charley is a musician and an artist. He is a very interesting person, well educated, still young, and spent a small inheritance on solar equipment. He has enough solar panels to run an air conditioner.

A lot of the residents, who live all year at the slabs, do not have enough money for gasoline to run their generator.

Charley is also clean, not like some of the characters we saw on our way to his home.
On the way back we walked on Insane Wayne Boulevard. Insane Wayne was furloughed from prison to be in the "Into the Wild" movie. He was heavily guarded. Shortly after the movie was released he died.
His song about the slabs will live on though.

The names of the people who live around here are something else.
At 3:00 PM we had another ice cream social. Some of the women baked cakes, Nelda baked two.
Solar Mike came to the circle meeting at 4:00 PM and informed us on correct battery use. He also answered a lot of questions about solar panels.
The temperature is now about 75 degrees F during the day and 54 degrees F in the night.

Today we learned about the spiritual needs of the people living at Slab City. Randy made an appointment with the preacher of the church.
We arrived at the church at 9:00 AM, and the preacher and his wife greeted us.

The man is suited for the job. He was a drug addict and an alcoholic. Crashing his car into a tree changed his life.
He knows what some of the inhabitants of this weird place have to go through. There are some with drug problems and some with alcohol problems, and some have both problems.
The church is an old school trailer, nothing fancy.
Their income is below the poverty level, but they say that they are happy. Their home is a motor home, a lot better than the shacks, and old buses around here.
This place attracts a lot of people who have to hide something, or are running away from the daily pressures.
Slab City is the only place in the United States where on can stay all year free. Imperial County and the State of California tried to change that, but they had to give up. They started with Salvation Mountain. It was to be torn down. Leonard got a lot of help from rich people and he was able to get good lawyers. Now his site is actually protected. The lord was on his side.
I have been here several times, but this time I learned a lot. Randy has a way with people and he is curious and wants to know how things work.
This visit at the slabs is fascinating.
In the afternoon I went to the library in Calipatria. The librarian thought I was brave to come back. Wednesday I saw what she had to do to keep the kids in line. They came in after school and she had to tell them where to put their back packs, tell them to sit down, keep quiet, do their home work, and so on. The older children were on the computers. The poor women had her hands full.
From the library I went to Finney Lake. Last year I saw 300 white pelicans there. Today there were none.
My next stop was the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge. Last year I saw 7000 Snow Geese, today none.
It was not my day for wildlife viewing.

After Hugs and Mugs we left for the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge. The snow geese were feeding in one of the large feeding areas. There were several thousand of them.

We went to the viewing area and then took a hike to the little mountain near the shore of the Salton Sea.We had a good view of the area. There are several geothermal plants generating electricity. White clouds of steam are visible everywhere.
At 4:00 PM we left for Bombay Beach, to take a look at the town and to eat catfish at the American Legion.
Lola and Bruce were riding with me. Besides the locals, the WINs, the LOWs, there were also people from the resorts around this area.
After dinner we went to the Fountain of Youth Resort for dancing. I gave Lola and Bruce a little tour of the resort before we went to the dance hall.

I left the Slabs at 7:30 AM and brought the motor home to Ron Carlson’s place in Borrego Springs. Doreen and I will be going to two Christmas lunches, and one dinner dance in the next two weeks.
It is better for me to be at home, instead of driving home from Yuma for each occasion.
I would have liked to stay at the slabs this Monday. Randy has big plans for that day. The WINs will enter the large water tank. He arranged to get two tall ladders from Leonard, the Salvation Mountain man.
A safety committee, ritual committee and other comities were formed.
This is the tank with paintings of couples shown in different sex positions. Randy told the group that the paintings on the outside of the tank will influence people who enter the tank. A person who comes out of the tank will never have to use Viagra again.
I wanted to stay, but we have lunch with the Convair Camping Club on Tuesday.
After setting up the motor home at Ron,s property, we had a little talk and then I drove home.
This was an exciting experience. Slab City is home for about 100 people. There are a lot more Snow Birds, who stay about three months in the winter.
Some of them come every year. The contrast between the slabers and the Snow Birds is extreme. There are a lot of people who have no teeth. I was told that is the consequence of using methamphetamine.