Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Jordan, after a dip in a desert hot spring, enjoyed a cigarette and then wrote:

    "I'm Slab City because
    the idea of a "still free"
    amerka, in a Post-apocolyptic
    world ... Of hum bums


    Slab City, located about two miles east of Niland, California, is home to a few dozen during blistering summers, but draws thousands during the temperate winter season. These migrating snowbirds seek the sun and warmth of the California desert, as well as the alternative lifestyle that flourishes here. Slab City is named for the remains of concrete foundations that dot the area, once part of the military naval reservation, Camp Dunlap. The site was decommissioned in 1956 and deeded to the state of California in 1961.

    Residents of “The Slabs,” as it is called, are squatters living in trailers and recreational vehicles in various stages of upkeep: broken-down or brand new "land yachts" worth several hundred thousands. Many people also build their own structures, tents and shacks.

    Most subsist off of food stamps or social security benefits: usually for retirement or disability. Some support themselves through barter, trade and odd jobs from other Slabbers, or Slab City residents.

    Slab City is a vibrant community, home to artists and musicians who create and display their work in places like East Jesus' art garden or Builder Bill's stage, The Range, which hosts a weekly open mic show every Saturday night. Residents join social clubs like the Oasis Club or Loners on Wheels where they meet for morning coffee, meals and happy hours. Others prefer to live on the edge of it all, because even in the desert, quiet can be hard to find.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.