Slab City, Here We Come: Living Life Off the Grid in California's Badlands

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Reader, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2105597,00.html?xid=feed-yahoo-top-linkbox

    "Chicago" Joe Angio and his wife Anna did everything by the book to secure their slice of the American Dream. They earned college degrees, started a small business, bought a house and pair of cars, paid their taxes and credit-card bills on time. But when the economy tanked, so did the dream. Between two jobs they could barely pay their mortgage, reaching a point where they had to choose which creditor to shortchange at the end of the month in order to keep the lights on. With foreclosure no longer a matter of if, but of when, the couple looked on the Internet for the ideal place to lay low, spend less and experiment with solar power to "get more for our buck out of our environment." They bought a used RV and went off the grid. Way off.

    Slab City, their home for the past three months, is a squatters' camp deep in the badlands of California's poorest county, where the road ends and the sun reigns, about 190 miles southeast of Los Angeles and hour's drive from the Mexican border. The vast state-owned property gets its name from the concrete slabs spread out across the desert floor, the last remnants of a World War II–era military base. In the decades since it was decommissioned, dropouts and fugitives of all stripes have swelled its winter population to close to a thousand, though no one's really counting. These days, their numbers are growing thanks to a modest influx of recession refugees like the Angios, attracted by do-it-yourself, rent-free living beyond the reach of electricity, running water and the law. And while the complexion of the Slabs, as the place is locally known, may be changing in some ways, the same old rule applies: respect your neighbor, or stay the hell away.


    More with pics at link....
     
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  3. buffetoflies

    buffetoflies Active Member

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    Sounds like a plan. I'd do it.
     
  4. tiredblondy

    tiredblondy New Member

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    I'd like to think I could make it there.
     
  5. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Not without air conditioning. Slab City is about an hour from me and I'm here to tell you this desert gets HOT.
     
  6. Kat

    Kat Kind words do not cost much

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    The article says about 120F in summer (we lived in the Chihuahuan Desert upper northern part when we lived in El Paso and it's not quite that hot but hot enough for me to appreciate what it means to be in 120 degree weather hah :))

    I'm wondering about the logistics for water. In that environment you'd need quite a bit to just stay hydrated.
     
  7. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    You do indeed need a lot of water to stay hydrated. I don't know if they rely on bottled water (rather expensive) or if they have some access to municipal water in the nearest town (Niland).

    120 isn't an everyday temp; even for us, it's a heatwave. Average highs in July hover near 110, however, and days above 110 are quite common. We also get a surprising amount of humidity (by our standards) in July wafting up from the Sea of Cortez.

    I can only imagine what it's like in a metal house (i.e., an RV).
     
  8. SwampMama

    SwampMama Insomniac Extraordinaire

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    I'd love to visit there, preferably in the winter months. I first saw slab city when it appeared in the Shooter Jennings ( Waylon Jennings and Jessie Colter's son) video "4Th of July". It looks pretty interesting.

    I'm all for the living for less kinda life. We live way in the boonies in a little house with no mortgage, use well water and have cut our expenses to less than 800 a month which will soon be about 500 a month. We have electricity, internet, cell phones and car insurance and love living a life where we are not in debt or scrambling to pay bills every month.
     

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