Our first two days in Slab City pass quickly.
Of course, the first order of business is to make our nest.
Bridget and Spike have their bed and condo placed in their wire pen. I put down a carpet square with their water dish on top. That way any spills don’t make mud. If they happen to be happy in their pen when dinnertime rolls around, I put their kibble in a dishpan and set that out on a carpet square in the pen also. This is known as a canine picnic.
The dishpan-as-dog-dish came to me in a burst of genius.
See, the crew likes to eat kibble scattered about, like all over the floor of the BLT. Putting the kibble in a dishpan allows them to scatter the kibble somewhat, without spilling it out into the sand which could draw ants or on the floor of the BLT which could draw my ire.
I know a big ol’ honkin’ dishpan is not cute like a dog dish with paws printed on the side or their names written with hearts. I’m not into cute. I’m all about function. If it doesn’t function . . . well, it’s outta here. In fact that’s pretty much what I said to Spike when he kept stalling during this morning’s potty run.
Later a portly gentleman with walking stick greets us as we set out for a walk.
He introduces himself as Rudy. His smiling face framed with white hair and beard gives him a cheerful, Santa Claus look. He sounds like a Scot to me, but he explains his accent is Dutch, although he grew up in Brazil where Portuguese is the language, and he speaks German, so his accent is . . . whatever, who cares.
I’ve discovered it’s customary to skip whole decades of life history when meeting a fellow traveler of retirement age.
We discuss our road habits (where we go and when we go there — camp, that is), and I decline his thoughtful invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner which will be served by one of the groups here.
The roads at the Slabs can confuse a newcomer.
Ken patiently explains them to me as the crew and I meet him on the road during our walk. One area is a collection of club neighborhoods.
Bridget, Spike, and I don’t venture far. If we walk too far, Bridget sits down frequently and it takes a long time to get back home. I don’t want to push her beyond her limits, although I suspect the sitting down might be another one of her mind games. A passive-aggressive power play, maybe? The dog can be weird.
For solitude we walk the huge wash away from the campers. Otherwise we walk around the maze of little “streets” and wave to those who are out . . . and keep on moving.
Getting back to making our campsite into a home . .
I unfold the blue patio mat to make a sitting area under the awning.
I’m happy to see the sunlight strikes the door side of the BLT first thing in the morning, and then it’s blocked by the awning and the BLT itself as the day goes by. The refrigerator side is shaded.
I place my two camp chairs and lounge chair on the mat, along with a side table.
I give the BLT a thorough cleaning, and I wash the dishes sitting under the awning with Bridget and Spike.
The weather is absolutely perfect here.
The three of us sleep well with a light cover and a window half-open. I’m pleased this is a quiet place by nine o’clock and it stays that way until a train whistle in the distance around five-thirty in the morning. During the day it gets up in the eighties. We’re comfortable inside and out. There’s only about an hour in mid-afternoon when the BLT is too warm, but it doesn’t matter. Our “patio” is cool, and we like being outside.
Ken comes over with his dog Scooter for a visit each day.
We sit in my outdoor room until way past sundown. Conversation is easy with Ken. His droll manner of speaking makes me laugh until my sides ache. Ken pays no attention and continues with whatever he’s saying, as if it’s perfectly normal for a woman to cry tears of laughter for no apparent reason. This makes me laugh all the more.
After Ken leaves, the crew goes to bed and I settle in for some television.
I run a scan and am thrilled to see twenty stations located by the BLT’s built-in antenna! Oh this is great! Surely I’ll find something good on! I flip through the channels and discover that thirteen are Spanish, six are Chinese (one live from Beijing!), and one is English, the latter selling make-up, food processors, and exercise videos all day and night. Oh-kay, where’s the kindle . .
Internet connection is unpredictable.
Today I couldn’t get online until almost four o’clock. Cell phones work, but you’d better speak your business up front because you only get a few minutes before the connection breaks, which is pretty much how I like phone conversations to go.
I was told to look out for roaming dogs.
I haven’t seen any, other than big, black Oprah who is like the community mascot, panhandling for hand-outs of love and food, even though she has a stable home. She’s a social butterfly and Scooter’s (Ken’s dog) best friend. Spike and Scooter, however, will never be BFF ever since “the incident,” but they apparently have buried the hatchet, unless Scooter’s wagging tail is a ruse. Ken and I keep them apart, just in case.
Readers say they are interested to read my review of Slab City.
I won’t give a review of this place. It’s a camp with positives and negatives, and like all the camps we’ve lived in so far, it has its own, unique atmosphere.
As Ken puts it, “It is what it is.”