Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Ghost of Gram

On the thirty-first floor your gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain

One of the things I liked most about Mike when we first started dating was that he listened to music I had never heard before. Music no one our age was into. Country music, when country music wasn't cool - (particularly among high school kids) Top of the list being Gram Parsons. A scratched CD that played over and over while he painted his cars or cleaned out his father's garage. A voice I secretly resented because in those years I was a die hard teenage Dylan fan unamused by anyone but Dylan doing Dylan's songs. 

Gram is good, but Dylan is better I'd say. (As if a fair comparison could even be made)

Booking a room at the Joshua Tree Inn Hotel was a long time coming. Mike had always wanted to visit the place, to see for himself what he'd memorized in magazines so many years ago. This past weekend we had our chance, in room eight, where Gram died in 1973. I was prepared to be a bit creeped out by the idea of it, but was happy to find that it was not the case at all. A warm and endearing hotel with the sweetest dreadlocked live-in lobby guy you could possibly imagine put me right at ease. The musical tributes consisting of a beautiful gold plated door, a beloved cowboy hat and scattered shrines along the courtyard as well as piles of random music left by visiting musicians and a red leather notebook filled with sentimental scribbles and cowboy angel sketches. I drew a cactus, with a big blooming bud. Mike played guitar and napped. In the evening, for dinner we ventured into Pioneertown to Pappy & Harriets  (A Joshua Tree must see) for the best burger I've ever tasted, and live music to boot. The place packed wall to wall with the standard JT mash up: weekend hipsters and weathered local desert folk. 

After dinner we drove back down the mountain to celebrate a friend's birthday where I had my first experience with vegan carrot cake (delicious!) and listened to a stack of records before finally heading back to our room to face the Ghost of Gram. A greeting that never happened. But waking to the magic of that blazing desert sun, it's all the same. A good night's sleep is a good night's sleep. And obviously, ghost or not, the legend lives on...


  1. Well, I don't know that little getaways get much cooler than this. The ghost of Gram would have been exciting but there's definitely something to be said for a good night's sleep too :)

    Enjoyed seeing the pics, you always manage to capture the mood so well!

  2. What a great little getaway! Beautiful photos.

    New to your blog and really enjoying it!

  3. so awesome! great pictures and good times, i'm sure :D

  4. Ah, what a fantastic get away idea! As soon as this babe is weaned, I am taking the next bus with hubby to someplace out west. Love your pictures. Seems romantic.

  5. you did it! i looovvve gram and i've long wanted to visit the joshua tree inn. thanks for sharing it with me :)

  6. oooh that's our kind of desert getaway alright. when we were down there darin told me about that place. everything out there haunts me in a dusty old beautiful way. even more perfect wound up with gram's sweet voice.

  7. Wow! The shots are gorgeous! My brother was just out there and stayed at that hotel and Erick and I have been wanting to plan a trip of climbing the rocks of Joshua tree and then staying the night! That shot of Mike playing guitar is awesome and cute mirror shots of you too! What a fun get away!

  8. Hi! I just found your blog from the friends blog (Flaming Hag) I love this post. I look forward to going to the Joshua Tree in. We are planning a weekend camping trip down in Joshua Tree in April, and definitely making a point to stopping in. Maybe we will stay one night in Grams room. Great photos!! And now I'm off to venture on thru out the rest of your entries!