Slab City, the roadside-sign-credited "Last Free Space," is a collection of trailers and sculpture sites just beyond Salvation Mountain. Out of season Burning Man types, down on their luck hippies, and die-hard red or blue anti-government hold-outs all live in peaceful distribution on an abandoned streak of government land.  

Brett and I spot art cars and get out at the "Church of the Broken Toys," then wander over to a stage where a glazed preacher ministers to some kids and women and a couple of out of place tourists sitting on broken couches. We meet Michael, a white man who carves Native American totems, and his grandson, who shows us pictures of the carvings on his cell phone.

A tent revival

We drive on to the "Slab City Oasis," where a few people are smoking pot and playing cards at picnic tables. Some teen boys play video games in a trailer marked "Library." The library is mostly musty mystery novels and empty VHS boxes, and smells like stale air.

Later we find another homemade library, this one prettier, made of wood and salvaged metal roofing. There's a "human powered fountain" that runs when you pour a pitcher of water into it.  


LEFT: Human powered fountain RIGHT: Simulacrum of technology

There are no police in the Last Free Space, just Border Patrol.