When you make a pilgrimage to a pop culture destination, the possibility is fraught with disappointment. I can just imagine those that finally make their long imagined journey to Hollywood to stand on the corner of Hollywood and Vine only to be met by tourists in cargo shorts and crocs and celebrity impersonators that demand money if you dare snap their picture.
Fortunately, my trip to Joshua Tree did not disappoint. The story of Gram Parson’s life and death can be found throughout the world-wide web and is worth investigating. I am just very thankful that it was Gram’s music that finally brought me to this remote and beautiful area of California.
Life is slow at Joshua Tree and the sky is wide open and the city practically invites you to create. I did not create but I read and hiked and observed and loved the deceptively sparse desert that is full of life and activity. Climbing up the 5500 feet to the top of Ryan Mountain inside the National Park you can only think about the task ahead and putting one foot in front of the other. It’s not a particularly hard hike but it demands your attention and there was nothing more freeing then just thinking about reaching the top.
Of course, I did have to visit Cap Rock, site of the infamous incident with Phil Kaufman, a stolen body and 5 gallons of gasoline. It was actually immortalized in the 2003 movie “Grand Theft Parsons”
“Wheels” by the Flying Burrito Brothers may be a clue to help explain why Gram and so many others like to travel the two hours outside LA for this land of Joshua trees and Mojave yucca.
we’ve all got wheels to take ourselves away
we’ve got telephones to say what we can’t say
we’ve all got higher and higher every day
come on wheels take this boy away
we’re not afraid to ride
we’re not afraid to die
so come on wheels take me home today