Hello Everyone. Well, we returned to the Slabs a couple of days ago, and the chain of events that has taken place has been completely nuts! Were we happy to return? Of course! We had much work to do, and we have really come to love our friends here. We love to see Pastor Dave, go to church, spend time with my sister friend Connie, Andrew and others we have come to care about. The more time you spend in the Slabs, the more you get to see who people really are. Some that we thought would be unlikely friends have turned out to be wonderful people. Some we thought were friends….well lets just say…… not so much!
So many things have happened during this pit stop, so I will highlight two stories. First, I suppose we should start at the Salton Sea.
George and Janet
Prior to pulling in the Slabs, we decided to stay one night at the sea, and have a bit of quiet time. When we pulled into park, we ended up right behind George and Janet who were also camped there for the night. We had met them when they had stayed at the Slabs before. George is a war vet, and between the two of them its hard to say who has the biggest smile or best hugs. When George realized it was us pulling in behind his unit, he was waving his arms around, and jumping for pure joy to see us. Gosh we had a great night with them. We talked about a million things. We got to know their story, and it was their story that led us to make a decision together to try and help make their lives a little better.
They had been traveling in their unit for about a year and a half, but in all honesty, I don’t know how they did it. As much as that unit was good to them, it was also one that was unsafe and needed a ton of work. The roof leaked so bad that when it rained, they had to find an over pass on the freeway to park under so they didn’t get flooded out. And being a class C, it was impossible for them to use the over head bed because of all the breaks George has in his back and injuries from the war. Their kitchen table was a full time bed, and they had little room to be comfortable with their two little dogs and bird. On top of that, it use to be used to run drugs, so it had false floors, and the inside was pretty much torn apart. However, it was home, they were grateful for what they had, and they were always happy, because they had each other and a place to sleep. Obviously times were often difficult for them. Long story short, we came to a wonderful agreement to give them a hand to get another RV, and they would pay us back. So now, we were looking for two homes. One for Connie, and one for George and Janet. Our hunt for units just became a little more urgent. So far out hunt has been futile.
George agreed to do a small video with us. As a war Vet he has been through some unspeakable things. Although he does not go into detail on what happened to him in Vietnam, he did have something to say about the need to look after our planet, and his thoughts on war.
We wanted to gather a lot of video and stories of people we met, so here is a clip of George and a few things he wanted to share with you. Love ya dude!
Pulling into Slab City was a family reunion all over, even though we had not been away long. Connie really has no concept of time, so for her it must of felt that we had been away for months. Even Pastor Dave was out there waving his arms to invite us back when we pulled in.
After we parked, he took us over to see a sign he had made. Is said Occupied! Reserved for brother Doug and Sister Sherry. 😉 Cool huh? We now technically had a home in the slabs. Our own camp!
During this stay I had the chance to finally get Pastor Dave’s testimony as to how he came to Minister at the Slabs with his wife Lizy, more than 15 years ago. I have been gathering videos of people willing to share some of their stories for our blog. Pastor Dave’s story is really beautiful. He sure loved his darling wife!
As he told his story, you could feel the gentle and committed passion he had for his ministry here. He’s a quiet soul, kind, patient and loving. I’m not sure I could have the patience with some people that he does.
As an example, when we are in church in the morning, it is not uncommon for people to interrupt him looking for food, water orsupplies. He just quietly gets up, and goes to get things for people, while the rest of us sit there and wait for him to return and continue Bible study.
One morning a while back, this dude comes in swing a machete. He was demanding, rude and obviously lit up on drugs. Now being the person I am, I might of told him to come back and clean up his filthy mouth and demanding attitude. Not Pastor. No, he just smiles, and goes and gets what they are asking for. There is even a woman who peals in with her car spreading dust everywhere. She is always yelling and cussing at her dogs, which makes me shake my head. I watch as he again smiles, and hands her a bag of food and fills her water, before she peals off again spinning dirt and gravel all over the place. Needless to say, church is interesting. For that matter, it makes Pastor Dave even more fascinating to me. Why doesn’t he stand up to these people? As much as things like this annoy me, I can see that he has a lot of respect. I can see that the way in which he chooses to handle confrontation seems to work for him. Slabs is a complicated place sometimes. You have to learn how to pick your battles, and when to just walk away and pray.
Pastor Dave is a different man. His life in the Slabs has obviously had a great impact on who he is. I do not know a lot about his life prior to Slabs, but he has been here long enough that his past probably does not define who he is today. Every time I see that tall lanky man wandering around the church or headed off to check on someone or pray, he reminds me of a solitary soul. Even when you talk to him, he will tilt his head to the side, and look like he is thinking deeply about his answer before he speaks. And I love it when he laughs. I’ve never seen him really have a good belly laugh, but rather a short and amused smirk. His stories intrigue me. I have always thought I have lived an adventurous and diverse life. Pastor Dave on the other hand, seems like he has lived a thousand life times. He is a brilliant true scholar, and philosopher, leading a very humble life in the desert. A community in the desert that some say is the last free world…. a place where you can thrive or die by your choices. Pastor has adapted to this world…. and it suits him.
On The Hunt for Two Rv’s
Anyhow, Janet has been on her phone through out the night looking for a fifth wheel for Connie and an RV that might work for her and George. They are spread out all over California. You have to be careful because about 90% of what we find are scams. The seller really has no unit, or they have one but when you get there to look at it, it has no tires, the generator is gone, the windows are blown out, the rats have destroyed the interior. Its common practice to put a picture of an RV on the add that they have swiped from the internet, that looks nothing like what you are going to see. We know because we have already put a few hundred miles on looking for a unit for Connie. There is not one we have gone to see that I would call fit for my dog to live in.
Armed with google maps and a massive list of potential units, Doug and George booked off in the jeep with the hopes of finding two suitable units. They were driving from the Slabs, to Ventura, San Diego, Moreno Valley, and beyond. I stayed behind with Chicago and Journey, and had a wonderful day getting to know new people, and visiting with Connie and Andrew.
As usual, in case I have not all ready told you, every time Doug leaves, is the time someone decided to start someones camp on fire or blow up someones home. Yup… every-time, and this was no exception. Today was a big one. We were enjoying our down time outside…when you heard explosions followed by towers flames and black smoke. We watched as everyone ran to help, and eventually the Niland fire department and ambulances showed up. Another day in the Slabs. Gladly, no one was hurt. We see this several times a week. It can be frightening is the Santa Anta winds are blowing. People here are terrified of fire. This place is a tinder box of fuel for a massive desert brush fire!
Anyhow, Doug and George were gone about 15 hours. As Connie and I sat outside in the dark waiting for the guys to return, there were a few guys hanging around the unit, and they made me a tad nervous with their meth induced rambling.
So I brought Chicago out and broke the golden rule again. I put her on her rope and let her bark her head off at anything she spotted moving among the brambles. Normally she is not allowed to bark because it can cause issues when you are in an RV park. She stands at the end of her rope… teeth snapping and foaming at the mouth. Its quite interesting to see how protective she can be! She is quickly learning that when we are at the Slabs, this doberman can let the whole world know she is there. It made me feel safer, and she is sure good at letting people know she is there. Good Chicago! 🙂 lol
The guys returned well after dark, and as we suspected, they had come up empty handed. Everything they looked at was junk or the sellers never showed after they had taken the time to dive 10 hours to see something that probably was never there in the first place. I just don’t get people sometime. So… the hunt continues.