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The first thing you imagine as you hear something about California are huge cities, sunny streets and flashing lights. But as you’re traveling through it by car, you can see the state from the other side.
Well, as you drive outside of Niland you can soon see nothing but a large desert, full of sun and tiny cities, passing by. So, we were driving like this for a while, when we noticed something colorful and bright, sparkling and shining ahead. We went on and soon we came up to the strangest place we have ever seen.
Just in front of us spread a big mountain, all covered with vivid paints, pictures, quotes and more. It was a rather strange discovery in the desert, so we stopped by. It was a colorful artificial mountain, called «Salvation Mountain», made of adobe, straw, lots of junk and, as it seemed, about thousands of gallons of paint. Its author, the 72 years old folk artist and just a religious man, wanted to convey his thought that «God loves everyone».
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In 1985 he decided to create a permanent statement by building a small monument on the side of a forgotten riverbank just outside of Niland.
But that wasn’t the only reason of his inspiration. «Who will remember me after I’m gone?» – that’s what he was thinking about, as he continued building his installation, enlarging it day by day, week by week, and then, eventually, year by year.
What impressed us the most were its originality and a very strange beauty and atmosphere of that place. When you look at all these things, you can’t say anything and you just walk along silently, admiring and watching around you. But that was just at the beginning. Later we were climbing the mountain, making photos and listening to the author’s thrilling story.
The mountain is about 50 feet high and about 150 feet wide. It includes about 100.000 gallons of paint and even more with everyday, as many visitors donate it to the project and he continues to repaint, improves and enlarges his masterpiece.
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It was strange to hear that he’s living just over there, near his creation, in a huge vintage bus and tells everyone who stops by (and that’s about 100 visitors per day and about 100.000 visitors per year) about his strange and so interesting story.
The «Salvation Mountain» includes not only various quotes, but also very beautiful pictures, sculptured birds, flowers, hearts, trees, waterfalls and even more. He’s been improving his installation for about 20 years, that is why it became a national treasure of the country.
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We had a great time. That day we understood that your destination doesn’t always have to be serious to be satisfied. Sometimes we all just need to have some rest and believe that one day our dream will come true.