April 2nd, 2018
Getting back to the Slabs this trip was a bit of an adventure and took some juggling. We had three units to get back now. George drove the Bye Bye house, I drove their new Class A, and Doug led the way in out rig.
Janet rode with me, along with the two dogs and of course their birdy. He whistled an Andy Griffith tone for most of the trip. It was sort of funny really. Janet kept all of the fur and winded babies calm as I drove, so I was able to focus on the freeways and traffic as we made our way back to the desert. I have no idea how the Bye Bye house even made it. It back fired most of the way, had some trouble on the hills and George had to deal with exhaust fumes filling the cab. Me, well I had never driven this rig, so I was just trying to keep up with Doug and not panic in traffic that was unlike anything I have really driven through before. I’ve driven rigs before but its a whole new ball game to hop in something unfamiliar and hit the I 5.
In due time, we made it to the Salton sea and decided to spend one night there so George could finish emptying the Bye Bye house and get it cleaned up before he surprised Andrew and gifted him with the keys. Everyone was looking forward to pulling into the slabs the following morning. I was just wondering how Connie would feel to find out we had found something for George before we had found her a suitable home. Her hopes are so high, but at the same time I know she is afraid to believe we will be able to pull through for her.
Chicago was feeling a bit better so she wandered around on her leash, and we took great care to keep Journey away from her. Pups and stitches do not mix.
The sea that night was calm, and it was a beautiful night under the stars. We made something to eat, and George worked frantically through the night organizing things in the new unit, and making sure the Bye Bye house was clean and ready to go.
The following morning he made sure the septic tanks were empty, and the holding tanks had fresh water. He had already filled the propane tanks back in Temecula so if Andrew wanted a place to cook, it was ready to fire up. What a thoughtful guy!
In the morning after folding in our unit, we formed a convoy and made the final run for the slabs. When we crested the hill leading to the church, Connie appeared from her little home, and waited impatiently for us to park. In her hands were to huge Easter baskets! When we stoped and got out, there were hugs for everyone, and Connie had the biggest smile when she gave us our Easter gifts. I got a pink bunny, and Doug got a blue one. What a gem she is!!!!
Then of course she noticed as did everyone else that George parked the Bye Bye house by our unit, while the red RV I had came out of was parked further back. Well it did not take them long to figure out that George and Janet had a new home. Everyone was so excited for them!
Andrew was there of course, so George walked up with the biggest smile and handed him the keys to the Bye Bye house. What a thrill to see a pay it forward in action! Andrew was rather speechless.
After the shock of this gift wore off. It became clear to Andrew that this unit was not his immediate ticket out of the Slabs which he was so anxious to get out of. The unit needed work and it did not have a smog certificate. It would take work for him to get it running properly, or he could always sell it for enough money to hitch his way to where he wanted to be. Regardless, it was a beautiful gift, and one that gave him some options to work with.
The following morning it was Easter. Everyone got up before the sun rose, had their coffee and gathered to make their way to salvation Mountain, a couple of miles down the road. I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone had taken time to wear the best cloths they had for this wonderful Sunday celebration. George and Janet were dressed to the nines, Connie looked beautiful as always, and Andrew showed up in a clean white suit. How fitting to have such respect for Easter.
The service at Salvation Mountain was small, and beautiful. Pastor gave a brief and lovely sermon. When he was finished, we all took the time to marvel at Lenard’s creation. His 30 year labour of love to share God’s love. It was truly a sobering and awe inspiring morning.
We returned to camp and made breakfast with orange juice for everyone that came by. While we were eating, Jingle Bells wandered bu to show us his Easter dress. He never ceases to amuse me. Everything he wears has a matching hat and accessories. I am not sure why he does it, but he has a lot of fun doing it. “Doc” by the way, has been there for 11 years and was once a computer technician of some fort for a massive corporation.
He took sick for a while, and after that decided that the so called civilized world was no longer for him. Interesting character. He has the greatest smile!
The rest of the day was spent learning about Prom Night that was about to take place at the Range.
Apparently it was originally started to have a fun night where people in the Slabs would dress in their finest, and for the most part have a prom night many were never able to have. Over the years, it has grown into an annual event where people come from all over to dance, party and relive their high school days. Pastor told us that for months people would go through the donation piles and collect gowns and suits just for this occasion. I had no idea what to expect, but it sounded like something we would have to check out.
On the night of Prom, we managed to talk Connie into coming with us. I couldn’t believe that in all her years of living there she had never gone over to the Range. She was a bit apprehensive, but agreed to go as long as we stayed close. Like I said, we went out of curiosity.
When we arrived, I could not believe how many people were there! They had come from all over. Many of them I had never seen before, and Connie said they did not live in Slab City. Girls were dresses in beautiful gowns, men in suits or dress pants. There was even a beautiful Arch of flowers that you might see at a high school prom and a professional photographer to take pictures. Doc had changed from his Easter dress and came in a stunning black evening gown and matching lace hat. I must admit, he has more fashion sense that most women I know.
What caught my eye were the men in ball gowns. I thought that rather strange. I know men wear dresses at the Slabs to keep cool, and there are many there who are transgender or in the middle of going through gender reassignment. And it was in your face in pretty much every direction. While a lot of people were just there for a good time, there were the ones who came ripped on drugs, and full of liquid courage. In all honestly, the night went off with only on altercation, and people seemed to be having the time of their lives.
Without sticking my foot in my mouth or offending anyone, I will keep the rest of my thoughts to myself. After all, it was their night and for the most part… everyone was just having a great time! 🙂
I have posted a video of the prom King and Queen dance. Good on them for putting together such an event so people have a special formal occasion to attend! The picture booth looked like it was a blast! Connie was pretty happy to leave 🙂
Well it was another interesting day at the Slabs. Ya just never know what is going to happen, who you are going to meet or what on earth you are going to see. CULTURE SHOCK! Lol…well…sort of.
Sherry, Doug, Chicago and Journey