San Jacinto Mountains.

I remember first hearing about Palm Springs on the Edwin R. Murrow Television show Person to Person. That show was my first exposure to Murrow. I don’t know which star he was interviewing, maybe it was William Holden, but we were riveted to our ten inch black and white TV like we were every Sunday. I was amazed that they were sitting at a pool in swimwear but it was the winter in Cleveland (freezing,cold,tons of snow) and they were sitting at a pool and looking at the snow on the surrounding mountains.

What a magical place I thought.

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Jumping Cholla

I learned years ago, and the hard way to not get too close to these beauties. There are a number of Cholla cactus all seemingly have needles on springs. If you get to close the needles seem to to wind up on you even if you don’t touch the plant. These opuntia type cactus is primarily found in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico.

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Jumping Cholla

Jumping Cholla

Another View of East Jesus

This will be my last post now on the Art Commune at East Jesus California. In reviewing the images I found that I really liked this one and left it out of the original post. Maybe it is just my way of paying the Artists of East Jesus a thanks and adieu!

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Adeu East Jesus

Adeu East Jesus

Wall of Bottles

Earlier this week I published an article on the artist commune in East Jesus California. It was the third in a series of our day trip through some California Weirdness. The sculpture garden at the artist commune in East Jesus is open to the public and contains literally hundreds of art installations. One of my favorites was this wall of bottles.

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Wall of Bottles

Wall of Bottles

Palm Desert California

It is easy to understand the attraction of Palm Desert in California, especially in February. Last time we were there was in July. We were up early, off on a hike and in the pool before noon. After our afternoon siesta it was finally below 95 and we could venture out again to dinner or night life . It was HOT!! In the winter though the air was crisp, the days were in the low 70’s and the nights required a light jacket. Picture perfect.

Snow on the mountains and palm trees in the sun, what a beautiful place.

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Palm Desert

Palm Desert

East Jesus California

We left Salvation Mountain and headed down the dirt road towards East Jesus. This was ultimately the destination for our off the grid day trip from our cushy digs in the Palm Desert. We had read about an artist community in East Jesus and were eager to see their outdoor sculpture garden.

The road leading there was beyond bizarre. More rusted out trailers, twenty or so washing machines lined up in a row in the middle of the desert. We then saw a sign that said Slab City. Slab City was a collection of tents and rusted out trailers, broken down buses. One large tent had a sign that said “Martini Lounge, Live Music Nightly” another said “Furniture and Crystals for Sale”. In front of the tents people sat on lawn chairs and waved at us as we drove by. It looked like a movie set from Mad Max or A Boy and His Dog.

I thought about stopping but I had my sister and wife with me. I have another friend who attempted to go to East Jesus but turned back after seeing Slab City saying they were too scared to go on. Another musician friend went into the Martini Lounge but seeing the dark layout of couches and chairs went backed to the Salton Sea and played around a campfire for an audience of one. He said he could have played there but would have been scared to have his spouse sitting in the audience alone on one of the couches.

We came to a fork in the road. The fork was about six feet high and had a sign pointing right to East Jesus and left to West Satan. We finally arrived at the artists commune. A nice young man was there with a cute friendly dog. He gave us some information on the artist group and you can find out more about them at their website. . All in all it was a unique day trip from the Palm Desert and well worth the drive.

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East Jesus California

East Jesus California

Salvation Mountain

We continued south on California route 111 towards Mexicali 1eaving Bombay Beach and the Salton sea behind us. We were heading towards Slab City and when we got to Niland California we made a left turn and after a short ride through town we left pavement and electricity behind us. We were now off the grid. No cell towers, electric lines or even buildings.

Beside the road were rusted out trailers and campers. Some were occupied, we even saw a couple with Direct TV dishes and gas powered generators. Then we saw in front of us a bunch of cars parked just off the dirt road and an artificial mountain made of rusted junk that was spray painted bright garish colors.This was Salvation Mountain, a tribute to Jesus Christ made out trash in the middle of the Great Sonoran Desert. Another stop on our trip through California the Weird.

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Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain