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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

A Stay at the Joshua Tree Inn

I climbed out of my car shaking my head at my decision to book my hotel room in advance. The Joshua Tree Inn looked like one of those dumpy roadside motels that no one ever stays in other than meth cookers and people looking to pay by the hour. But, since my first night was not refundable any longer, I figured I’d at least take a moment to check it out. After all, how bad could it really be?
“So, are you, like, a psychadelic?” the young dreadlock-haired man asked me as he walked me through the hotel’s lobby after I checked in, black dreads bouncing off his back as he bounded ahead.
“Um, what?” I confusedly responded.
“You know, are you a fan of Gram’s or why are you here?”
“Sorry, Gram who?”
Gram Parsons. You know, the singer for The Byrds. He died here in a room, apparently from a drug and tequila overdose.”
“Oh. I had no idea. I just booked a room here because of the name. I figured I was going to see the national park, so I may as well stay in the hotel that bears its name. Do a lot of people come to stay here because of his death?”
“Yeah, we get a lot of people here because of that. The Rolling Stones and Robert Plant have also stayed here.”
We passed through the dining room briefly as we walked out the back door to the pool area. It smelled of the low-hanging flowers that were growing down in batches from the covered sidewalk that lead to all of the rooms. As we walked into my room, passing by some small fountains and several sets of patio tables and chairs, I left the door open to allow the smell to trail in behind me.
“What about U2?” I asked. “Did they also stay here when they wrote their album?”
“No they stayed at another place down the road.”
The manager continued on to show me the finer points of my room as though it were a complicated electrical system that I would later need help operating. I appreciated his helpfulness, though, and found it incredibly welcoming. This continued throughout my brief stay, as he always met me with a smile and inquired how I was doing and if there was anything I needed.
I could have only asked for a cleaner bed, since I found a few remaining hairs from the last person to have used the sheets. I simply picked them off and threw them to the side, noticing the sheets appeared to have neatly been changed. The room was otherwise generally clean and well-kept, even the tiled floor that would have seemed to have attracted an impossible amount of dust and dirt blowing in from either the main door or one leading to a private back patio.
“If you want to see the memorial to Gram, though, it’s just down there,” he said pointing several doors down into the courtyard. “People who come here leave all kinds of things to him.”

I paused there, briefly considering how much Gram’s ghost would miss a couple of shots of the Jack, and then thought better of it. There was no need for me to tempt his ghost. The manager admitted strange things are known to happen on occasion and I had no desire to have those things in my room. So, instead, I locked up headed off to find a steak and a beer, happy with my decision to stay at the Joshua Tree Inn.

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