Kristmas Kamping

We spent Christmas at a KOA campground owned by my sister (in-law, but heck, she’s still my sis) Roz

My sister Roz is the best hostess ever.

and her husband Cal

Cal is cutting homemade pizza into slices. Does it *get* any better?

in the Colorado Desert near Niland, California. They call it “camping with a K,” and we had a nice cabin with indoor plumbing: my kind of kamping! We’d driven Linda’s dad all the way from Phoenix (4:15 without stopping, but we do stop…), and we’d enjoyed both the staff Christmas Eve party, and Christmas Day dinner, a spectacular service of ham, yam, taters, the best dinner rolls you’ve ever had, etc. If this is camping, I’m all for it! (Of course, the campground exists so that big recreational vehicles can stop, park, juice up, and – in this case at least – have a superb restaurant meal. Some people even live there.)

The Glamis North KOA is situated very close to, but not too close to, the famous Glamis sand dunes, where far too many drunk people roar over unscouted territory, pretending they’re BULLITT stunt drivers, in All-Terrain Vehicles. The Glamis North folks like their ATVs too, but they prefer to head out into the desert to explore. We did it ourselves last year. It’s tremendous fun.

My bride waiting to blast off, last year. Take it from me: it’s FUN!

Linda’s dad can’t ATV these days, so we asked our hosts to send us on a driving trip. Easy, they said: go to Slab City and Salvation Mountain! They asked us, “Have you seen INTO THE WILD?” And of course we had, but we’d never pegged the real locations. Slab City is the “last free place on Earth,” the concrete foundation of an abandoned WWII Marine barracks. There is no electricity, no water, no nothing. And no charge for any of this nothingness. So, well-off “snowbirds” park their RVs alongside impoverished squatters.

You get to Salvation Mountain just before Slab City. It was painted by a guy who loves his Jesus. His name is Leonard Knight, and that previous sentence doesn’t even begin to describe the ardor with which he has dressed this place. I went down and talked to him.

Leonard Knight, who painted the mountain and everything else within reach.

Let’s try some pix:

Deep inside the works.

See if you can’t divine your own personal New Year’s message from these shots.

Everything he can see, he paints.

It’s up to you.

Man: that’s dedication.

However you receive these heartfelt sentiments, please accept my very best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2011.

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5 Responses to Kristmas Kamping

  1. Bill Fisher says:

    Tom, did you wave on your way by when you were in Phoenix?

    • Tom Dupree says:

      Bill, we were only in Sun City for a day or so, then off to Niland & back. The tough part was Sky Harbor to Newark after the East Coast blizzard! Next time I’ll even *call*! Happy New Year.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I couldn’t believe it when the post said you’d been camping! But then I read that it’s really DELUXE camping so I felt all was right with the world again.

    Have a fab 2011!

  3. queenofthedunes says:

    NOT everyone who goes to Glamis is DRUNK. I’m just sayin’ don’t generalize.

    • Tom Dupree says:

      Sorry if I gave the wrong impression, but read my post again: I didn’t say, and don’t believe, that they’re all drunk. I actually said, “far too many” are. Dune ATVing is a great sport, just as long as you have a partner spotting ahead of you, so you don’t leap off a dune without knowing if there’s anybody down below.

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