Sisters Road Trip to Salvation Mountain

IMG_1957Here’s a short biography about me: I have quite a handful of siblings. 5 half sisters and 1 half brother from my dad and 1 full sister and 1 half sister from my mom. I won’t confuse or bore you with detailed explanation but I can tell you this much: WE ALL GET ALONG VERY WELL.

Since one of my sisters will be moving to Nebraska, and one of them will be going off to College and one of them will be getting married (ME) we all have planned to go on a road trip to Salvation Mountain before we all part ways. One thing that you should probably know about me and my sisters is that aside that we all love to eat (#castorilloeats) we all also LOVE to take photos and have a random photo shoot so you can imagine how excited we were to be at Salvation Mountain.

I didn’t do a lot of research about this place because since I knew I would be going with my sisters my only concern was to have a great time and to capture lots of fantastic photos as much as possible. Had I known that I would be writing about this though I would’ve researched more and probably appreciate Salvation Mountain more in a different wayDifferent way you might ask? Because right now as I am writing this I learned that Salvation Mountain has so much meaning and history.

Starting from the fact that the first Salvation Mountain was made with just cement and junks that Leonard Knight collected. Years later his first mountain grew up to 50 feet high. Sadly, the first mountain didn’t last but instead of being discouraged, Leonard just thank the Lord and saw this as a way that God was telling him that the mountain wasn’t safe. He then vowed to create another one but this time he vowed to do it in a smarter way. Over the several years after Leonard have been experimenting with the adobe clay, he started to rebuild the second mountain using adobe clay and straws to hold it together. He then would paint the adobe clay with more paint and thicker paint to make it even stronger. Years later, the mountain evolve into what it is today now. Meeting Leonard would’ve been such an honor. Sadly, he passed away just months before we headed out to Salvation Mountain.

Our drive to Salvation Mountain took about 2.5 hours from Los Angeles although it felt like we were driving for 4. The drive there was great until we reached Salton Sea. Of all my sisters though I believe that I’m the scaredy one. I mean how can I not be scared, right? The road was completely empty and we were driving around the desert with nothing to see. My mind could only wander around on some scary thing that could have possibly happened just like from the scary movies I’ve seen before. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, if I may. A little over 30 minutes we reached the little town of Niland. The little town of Niland also gave me the creeps for some reason. The abandoned buildings and closed down restaurants in the town just reminded me of that one scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You know that part when they were lost and they went inside of some meat shop then all of the sudden this guy with a chainsaw just came out started chasing them? Yea that’s how it seemed like.

Anyway as mentioned earlier, we the Castorillo sisters loves to eat so we stopped by at this eerie Cafe in Niland to grab some lunch before we headed out to Salvation Mountain. We were pretty close anyways so we decided to eat first. The Cafe was pretty creepy in my opinion. Imagine eating in a cafe back in the 70’s in the middle of the desert where no civilization around and around you are just a few local customers looking at your way? Yea it was quite creepy. But in contrary to the creepy vibe of the cafe, the food was not great but it was OK and it was reasonably priced. We decided to leave as soon as we got done eating

We finally made it to Salvation Mountain and Salvation Mountain was better than what I had expected. The painted mountain with different colors and coral arts were very appealing for my hipster eyes. It was hard not to have a photo shoot. Mind you too, we got to Salvation on a golden hour which was perfect for our photo session.


There were few vintage cars that was covered in paints that was actually home to some hippies that lives there.

The white vintage chair with an oak tree behind it was my favorite little corner in Salvation Mountain.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to check out the rest of the Salvation Mountain as we were busy just having a photo shoot. I missed the “Museum” the highly ambitious project that Leonard worked on. I remember seeing it when we were there but it started to get dark so I didn’t really see what it was all about. But I am definitely considering of going back to this place again to check out the rest of the place.

It started to get dark and my sisters and I still couldn’t resist one more quirky group shot.

And as for us sisters, we all have been pretty busy with our lives, school, new life and new beginnings, but the trip to Salvation Mountain was definitely one hell of a memory that I’m keeping and holding onto before we all get together again for another road trip.

Thanks for reading! Hope you liked this post 😊 Dont forget to follow my second Instagram account for daily travel photos @babythexplorer


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