I've fantasized about what you're doing, but I was raised to be "practical", f that sometimes! It was cool to hear that you started out on a Rebel - I've had mine since January and have been on one 800 mile trip and am setting off on a destinations unknown trip early July (with about 4 weeks to play). I teach and I don't think they would give me a leave of absence to experience what you're doing for a year and if I quit there is no way I would get another position any time soon given the California economy. Have to be an after retirement plan.
I'm glad you had a good experience at Slab City - they get a bad rap too often. I haven't seen Salvation Mountain yet, its on my list of rides for fall, I'm one of the weird people who like the Salton Sea area - I think its fascinating.
Kudos to you and stay safe!