Wednesday, November 16, 2011

a message of love: Salvation Mountain

If only my mother were still alive to sigh and coo and swell with love upon beholding Salvation Mountain - a floral dappled, Seussian looking, striped creation, inspired by Love, and brought to life by the diligent hands, creative mind, and pure heart of Leonard Knight. I am not a bible thumper, though I have many holy rollers on my southern side and both my folks were missionaries, but I do have a deep appreciation for those rare kind hearted and idealistic creatures who follow a calling that is right and noble. It seems to me that Leonard Knight is a righteous man. He lives in a small trailer on the side of Salvation Mountain and put all of his time into spreading a message of love. We were lucky enough to meet him. He was a sweet old man, hard of hearing, with a sparkle in his eye.

I thought it fitting to wear a long, flowing, white dress. Pete & I were later teased for our outfit choices by the entertainment at our humble lodging “Hey, look they’re going to get married.” We stayed at the Desert Hot Springs Spa, a mid-century desert hideaway, with several natural hot springs surrounded by palm trees. This kitschy oasis received a lot of bad reviews on Yelp, but most of the disparaging comments seemed favorable to me – “It hasn’t been updated since the fifties, the lady at the front desk had an actual beehive...” I am so happy that I found out about this place. It’s only a few hours from my home, and I want to return all the time. It was completely unpretentious, and there were all types of folks there. The outside entertainment was provided by an older couple who sang duets and scatted while playing the keyboard and tambourine. One guest gyrated to the music with a glow in the dark hula hoop. At night, the sky turned a velvet blue with smudges of white chalk. The moon was full and positioned itself between two over-sized palm trees. Sometimes, it bounced on top of the roof top as I jumped up and down from a different pool trying to get another look. An elf owl greeted us on our porch, and a reclining tan and muscular lady, most likely a desert local, in the voice of a lifetime smoker, told us that was a good omen. I couldn’t get over how dang cute the elf owl was! For dinner, we ate at the hotel diner where they had several vegetarian options. Later, we watched karaoke at the bar. I didn’t feel like singing that night. I was content to listen and watch everyone else.

The next day, we hit about 10 thrift stores, with several in Palm Springs. Poor Pete, he only came away with one pair of pants. He is always bemoaning how hard it is for guys to find stuff at the thrift store, though he’s been known to score pretty big on many occasions. I did better than I thought I would with the Palm Springs thrift stores - they are usually so picked over. I suppose my best find was a 50s denim playsuit, but I also found several pieces that I turn around and sold at the Rose Bowl Flea Market the next day. Life is sweet.

Outfit: 70s dress (American Thrift, Los Angeles), motorcycle boots (thrifted).


  1. Salvation Mountain is on my list! Don't you feel like you're due for palm springs trip every few months? I can't get enough of the desert!

  2. Gorgeous photos, and I loved reading about your trip! I have heard about this place and seen so many photographs of it, it really seems like magic! The man who built it seems so sincere and the desert so wonderfully weird; it's just perfect sounding.

  3. Melissa, I do love the desert & I'm glad it's so close. Dakota, thanks for reading. The desert is definitely weird but peaceful.

  4. Looks and sounds like an amazing place, I would love it if people wandered around like they were stuck in the past. And you look gorgeous love the dress x

  5. Oh wow, it truly looks like the most amazing place! <3

    Lost in the Haze

  6. Ah what beautiful photos! I think your white dress was the perfect choice for Salvation Mountain. Also, the place you stayed at sounds like a real treat. Whenever my boyfriend and I are in the area we usually stay at the Ace which can be pretty pretentious depending on the crowd that's there...where you stayed sounds perfect :)


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