Salvation Mountain and East Jesus

Wait, before we go to the edge – hold on, “the edge” is being kind, the guy who built Salvation Mountain is flat out fucking nuts – of sanity, check out our new (January) overhead dining light. We hated the piece that came with the Odyssey and we hated everything we saw at Camping World and online, so, we went to a Lowes.

This little section is for RVers or those who would like to learn a little about our world. 100% of the built-in lighting in our RV is 12volt DC. You don’t need to plug in to have light – that’s a plus. Most of it’s ugly – negative. We have purchased a couple of 120v AC table lamps because we are plugged in 99% of the time. One of those has an owl base and the shade is a black and white Manhattan skyline. With a beautifully embroidered and framed, 8×16 Mets logo in the windshield – oops, I’m told that has been banned and sits in a storage box (sorry Tricia, your sister did it), a Mets pillow (from one of those giveaway weekends when I had season tickets) also, that is, now alone, in the windshield, the “NY” Giants logo on the Jeep’s spare tire cover, and the Manhattan skyline on a steering wheel table (a good use of dead space when staying a while), there’s no mistaking where we came from – yet people look at our Montana plates and ask what part of Montana we’re from. (Yes, Miss Krippenstaple, long, run-on sentence. Sue me.) But I digress.

Andrea started researching RV lighting after one of our kitchen fluorescent lights (again, 12v DC) blew and almost caught fire. I mentioned this previously. A little detail here for RVers. Besides a wall switch that controls both fluorescents, each light has its own on/off. To avoid future excitement, I turned the bad one off and I jumped on the light replacement bandwagon. Seems as though everyone is replacing fluorescents with 12v DC led strips so I bought some on Amazon. Not needing a ballast and all that clunky hardware, I snipped the wires coming from the ceiling into the ballasts, removed that junk, the bulbs, and extra wires, and hard-wired the led strips to the ceiling wires. I ran the strips back and forth across the reflective metal several times – the led strip has a sticky back – and wow! Brighter than before. Next one won’t need as many led’s.

For you electrical novices, there are websites to guide you in this modification, even a You-tube, I think. Just understand that you’re not dealing with killer voltage so don’t be afraid.

Back to the dining overhead. Andrea impressed upon me the fact that though standard lighting thingies sold at retailers like Lowes are intended for 120v AC, if you screw in a 12v DC light and wire it to a DC power source, it will work just fine, safely. The trick is finding screw-in DC bulbs. At Lowes, this light fixture jumped out at Andrea and said “buy me”. She loved it. We bought it.

But, they only had one DC bulb that fit. It was hard finding bulbs, even online, so why not try the strip lighting again?

I lined the top of it, rerouted the incoming wires to the strip lighting and it looks great (first picture is with strip lighting). The light is more evenly distributed.

The original RV light had a push button switch, no wall switch as it is in the slide. I surgically removed the switch and rigged it on a hidden bar on top of the light but that was only until I got this installed:

Oh, and those are the strip lights. That remote control was easy to install. It even dims. I ended up buying a few different remotes because the same manufacturer uses the same RF signal – it would end up controlling the bathrooms and kitchen lights (when I get to them). I also bought easy plug-in connectors (bottom) to avoid dealing with loose wires:

The remote signal receiver is on the left. Different remote than one in picture with led strip box.

This particular brand of remote, sold by a dozen different Amazon retailers – buy the cheapest, they’re all the same – gets mixed reviews. Many say it craps out after one use. I agree. But somebody posted a fix. Every couple of days the remote seems to stop functioning. It has a couple of “Speed” +/- buttons for blinking speed. I suppose that’s for when you’re smoking some good California Kush, but if you press both buttons simultaneously, it restores functionality. The lights blink several times and then it works.

And that’s all about RV lighting.

Ok, already. On to Salvation. What a mountain. If you are staying in Palm Springs and need a quirky adventure, this is it. I think the pictures speak for the sculptor though you can Google this place and learn more:

There’s a photo-bomber everywhere. Maybe Michael Jackson coming back as a woman.

Just a half mile down the road is a town, and yes, you can go to Google maps and find it, East Jesus. If you think Salvation Mountain ain’t crazy enough, you can totally drop out in East Jesus, population 6. I spoke to the chief resident and he gave me that approximate number (as of Jan 21).

Welcome to East Jesus:

The interesting irony of all the peace, Love, Jesus, and God stuff is the constant background noise of machine guns, artillery and mortar fire, and ground shaking bombs. The Chocolate Mountain Gunnery Range is very close by.

If you continue south and follow 112 around the bottom of the Salton Sea, the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge awaits you. Total bore. You can see the same birds everwhere in the area.

Just down the block (west), turn north and at the end of that road is a giant pile of obsidian.

We picked up a bagful of the shiny glass, from quarter inch pieces to six inches square. I’m going to do something with it. Not quite sure what yet. Stay tuned. Suggestions?

We left the Fountain of Youth on February 2nd, but had one stop to make up the road on 112 on our way to Desert Hot Springs. Next installment is The International Banana Museum.

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