Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Heist

Picture a movie where there is a split screen. On the left there are a couple of cops at the LA airport scratching their heads as to the whereabouts of the coffin that was just reported missing. On the right you see a couple of guys with long hair tearing up the I10 towards Joshua Tree in a rented hearse. In that coffin 30 years ago was the musician Gram Parsons who overdosed at the Joshua Tree Inn. His father wanted his body back in New Orleans for burial. But his friends new he wanted his ashes spread around the hills of Joshua Tree National Park. They made it to the chosen hill, doused the coffin with gas and lit it on fire before having to run from authorities, who eventually caught them. They were fined $750 for stealing the coffin. Body theft was not against the law then. Parsons charred body made it back to Louisiana.Last night we stayed a few miles down the road from where Parsons enjoyed his last days in this small oasis town in the middle of the Desert.Parsons life and death is not what put this area on the map. And neither did the   mormon settlers when they named the plant formally known as Yucca, the Joshua Tree, because it's branches reminded them of the biblical Joshua raising his hands to the sky.  Bono, brought a subtle world wide attention to this area when, knowing why the tree was named so, thought it would be the perfect name for an album exploring the boundaries of American Culture.The Mojave desert is just about in our helmet mirrors, as we shack up for the night in Parker, Arizona on the east bank of the Colorado river. The Mojave desert is harsh beauty.  The road disappears into the end of the earth, the mountains with their ragged edges stand their ground against the nothingness, of earth, and pre-tumbleweed. And the stillness is owned by the sun, which keeps the air at 100 degrees but kicks the road and rocks to about 120 degrees...the latter becomes the ambient temperature for a cyclist.  But nothing an efficient pace line and frequent water and goodie stops catered by our very efficient guides, can't handle.

1 comment:

  1. Gram & Keef http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ir6h9Q90O7g/TS2QABfnp9I/AAAAAAAACRA/RkvaEmHTFRg/s1600/Keith+Richards+%2526+Gram+Parsons.jpg

    Gram's 'Wild Horses.' A beauty