Born and raised in Arizona, Mary worked as a chef on a gambling ship and then in a plant nursery. After 15 years in Florida, at the age of 64, she travelled to Thailand before returning to America.
'I came to the Slabs because I don't have the money to live in the city, it's too pricey. I'm living here to save up and travel to Thailand again.'
Slab City, known as The Slabs, is named for its areas of concrete where for many years, since the military based closed, people have parked their RVs as they travel south for the winter. There is also a permanent community of 'Slabbers', around 200 people, who have established themselves living free in the Sonoran Desert where temperatures can reach 48 Celsius in the summer and, while there is no rent, there is also no water, electricity or services. Slabbers are an eclectic bunch often escaping poverty but also holding in common the desire to escape the rules and order of society in what they like to call 'the last free place on earth'.