Ladies and gentlemen, I have gathered you all here today to bring you salvation. Can I hear an amen? Amen! Each and everyone of you carries the answer to your own salvation. Because my friends, salvation is within all of you. Salvation is in your heart; your love is your salvation. Hallelujah!
I went on a quick road trip to Salvation Mountain. One man’s tribute to God. Now why did I go there? I had heard a story about Leonard Knight who had created Salvation Mountain starting in the early 1990s. He and his project sounded so interesting, that in the back of my mind I told myself that one day I would go visit. One day never came.
Last week I kept thinking about my 50 weeks activity which I had somewhat wanted to tie to Valentine’s Day. I had thought of another activity to do, but it was a little risque and I wasn’t really sure it was something to talk about in this PG-rated blog. (I’ll leave it to your imagination on what I was going to do.) Late one night I couldn’t sleep and started reading emails, playing Words with Friends, scrolling through Facebook -- the usual middle of the night stuff. I came across a news story that Leonard Knight had passed away. It reminded me of my desire to visit his mountain, and I decided then that Salvation Mountain would be my Valentine’s Day week activity. Because love comes in many forms.
I was able to finagle my friend Lacy to take a quick road trip to Salvation Mountain, which is about a 2 and a half hour drive away, east of the southern tip of the Salton Sea. We left at 6:00am, because I had to get her back to San Diego for a 2:00pm meeting. First, I would like to note that driving straight into the eastern rising sun while driving on the freeway is not fun, at times I thought I couldn’t even see the road. But otherwise it was a lovely drive through parts of California I had never seen. And once we were off the freeway heading north through the flat farm lands, I felt like I was in a different state altogether. Now, I have driven up the 5 freeway many times through California’s Central Valley, but have never gotten off the freeway to drive through the farms. Of course, I missed a turn and we had to work our way through farm roads, which are not always found on Google maps. But along the way we observed that crops were being picked, tractors were turning dirt, and cows were standing bored.
We finally get to the little town of Niland, find Main street, turn right and continue onto a barely paved road where rising up in the desert ahead, you see the Salvation Mountain cross and iconic heart enclosed bible verse. Your first impression is wow, how cool is this! Then you realize there’s more than just a man made mountain. There’s old cars, recycled tires, areas off to the side. The mountain itself is built up using adobe, and colorfully painted in a 3D whimsical Dr. Seuss-like fashion, stripes, flowers, hearts. Bible verses and “God is Love” sayings are prominently displayed.Straight away, we notice a young Japanese couple in wedding attire taking pictures in front of the mountain. What a cute souvenir for them. Then we read the “please stay on the yellow brick road” sign, which we then proceed on and climb up to the top of the mountain to the cross. I will say it was a little slippery and I thought for sure I was gonna slip off the side and break my neck. I really should learn not to look down. But since no one was really around that early yet, I clumsily and safely crawl up the mountain to make sure Lacy didn’t have to carry me down. While at the top, we see below what looks like a room with a bunch of branches. We did notice that we could walk down the dirt side of the mountain, which seemed safer, and headed down and towards the other side to discover what were those branch like rooms.
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