Bucket List – The Joshua Tree Inn

My husband’s steadfast loyalty is admirable.

His affinity to Gram Parsons is a wonderful example. “I want to go to Joshua Tree and pay tribute to Gram Parsons.”

“Who is Gram Parsons?” I asked many years ago.

He shook his head in disbelief, perhaps even contemplating the legitimacy of our marriage. “Just one of the greatest Country Rock performers ever.”

Hmmm. I didn’t know that Country Rock was even a thing. No doubt in his mind, an in-depth tutorial was imperative as he proceeded to enlighten me on The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and soul filled duets with Emmylou Harris. This is definitely one of my favorites:

Kurt then proceeded to tell me that Parsons, a frequent patron of The Joshua Tree Inn, tragically died there at age 26, and that guests can actually reserve the “Gram Parsons Room” where he took his last breath.

Ugh. Seemingly a bit too dark and morbid for my taste, I avoided his yearning for many years, planning road trips to destinations that didn’t touch the subject of death with a ten foot pole. That didn’t stop Kurt from mentioning it on a regular basis whenever travel was the topic of discussion.

Perhaps it was walking the Pandemic Road with him as my constant companion, perhaps it was the fact that I was game for any destination after 1.5 years of being homebound, whatever the case, in 2021, I acquiesced to the 1500 mile journey, taking that extra step of not only spending the night at the Joshua Tree Inn….

…but also reserving the Gram Parson’s Room.

Expecting nothing less than an afternoon and night immersed in everything creepy and haunting, I was pleasantly surprised to experience quite the opposite. Our evening meal was eaten on the quaint bistro set near our front door. The gentle breeze whistled throughout the foliage in the courtyard.

Later, we cranked up some Parson tunes in our private backyard, a tribute of sorts, long overdue in Kurt’s eyes.

Following the sweet serenade, we retired. Blissful slumber enveloped me all night. I woke up refreshed and ready for the day, and yet a little melancholy that we had to depart from this oasis in the desert. I can see why Gram Parsons was drawn to this place.

I will gladly return there someday.


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