Slab City, A Squatter’s Paradise In The Middle Of Nowhere

Imagine Burning Man erupting inside a permanent Hooverville and you’re halfway to Slab City. A haven for homeless people and those who choose to live off the grid, Slab City is a commune on an abandoned military base in Southern California. I want to hang out with Purple and Two Horses.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

An old checkpoint, now painted as a welcome sign, is seen at a site locals call Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. A former military base that was closed after World War II, Slab City is a place on the fringe both geographically and philosophically and attracts a variety of people, including jobless and financially struggling recession refugees who can no longer pay for food and housing.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

A sign for an art installation called East Jesus is seen in Slab City.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Jeff sits at his trailer in Slab City. Jeff said he counts the days with bottles, every day represented by an empty bottle of wine.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Jack “Two Horses” sits at his campsite.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Randy Stevenson sits by his campsite.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Mark, who said he spends half the year on Vancouver Island, sits in front of his motor home.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Jack “Two Horses” (L) and “Purple” are seen at Jack’s campsite.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

People eat lunch at the cafe.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Tracy “Magenta” Moss hugs Frank, who runs the internet cafe.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

An art installation is seen in Slab City.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

From left to right, Timothy, Zack and Casey Spyder.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Tracy “Magenta” Ross, (L) another woman and Don.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Don (L) talks to Frank.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters
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Eric Thayer / Reuters
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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Frank (L) watches as a couple hook up their computer in his internet cafe.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

An art installation.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

A man bathes in the hot springs in Slab City.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

The same man shaving.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

A deputy with the Imperial County Sheriff talks to the man who was bathing nude.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

The first hole of Slab City’s Gopher Flats golf course.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Mickel smokes a cigarette at a campsite.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

People are seen during dinner at the Karma Kafe.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Ray smokes a cigarette.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

“Princess Stephanie” (L) talks to another woman during a dinner at the Karma Kafe.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Rob Walker (L) kisses Dayna Lambert as Walker’s son Andy walks toward their campsite.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Two men talk near a fire.

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

Jack “Two Horses” stands at his campfire.

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