These photos are from the last two days of my desert excursion. I drove around the West side of Joshua Tree, where I got stuck in the sand while attempting to make a photo of my van in front of the giant windmills. A friendly woman and fellow photographer pulled over to help me. As it turned out, she had lived in SF and we had some friends in common. She also had a disco ball in her trunk. Thanks Amanda Michelle Smith!
Once Conrad was free I proceeded towards the Salton Sea, one of the more bizarre places I’ve been, which is probably why it’s so heavily documented. I did a quick pass-through of the small town of Bombay Beach. Arriving at the shores, I found a music video being shot, a group of guys bound for Modesto from San Diego who had stopped to fish (the lake itself is pretty much dead with the exception of algae and tillapia) , and a European photographer lamenting that it isn’t what it used to be, though it was clear that he had never been there before. On my way out of town I stopped at the Ski Inn for a cold beer. If you’re in the area, don’t skip the Ski Inn.
From there it was on to Slab City, an entirely of- the-grid squatter camp (in the winter thousands of RV enthusiasts go there, but the summer is a much more hard-core group) that has a pretty impressive infrastructure built up, including an amplified live music venue, internet hotspot, church, and two giant art installations – Salvation Mountain and East Jesus. I only spent one night there, but had a hell of a time – jamming on stage with the locals, driving drunken Navy SEALS back to their dessert gunnery range, swimming in canals, and beating the heat in a tree house.