Joshua Tree: A Honeymoon for the Poor and Weird (Part 1)

[Hayley and Scott Rockit are poor, weird, and married. They do art stuff in Chicago and are parents to a dingo and have super cool hair.]

Scott and I were determined on one point: we could not go back to our jobs the Monday after our epic wedding. [Ed. note: It was epic.] The thought was too depressing to consider. We wanted to go to Europe–perhaps a few weeks split between England and France. Then we remembered that we’re a couple of those artsy-fartsy types and are therefore irregularly and questionably employed. So travel abroad was out. Then, one night my amazing fiance remembered a place we had always wanted to go. He reasoned that our honeymoon might be the perfect time to go to Hicksville.

Some background information: I have been listening to Devil’s Night Radio (an online radio station) since 2008, when my friend and roommate Leah turned me on to it. It has a near perfect mix of music if you’re, well, Scott or me. The owner of Devil’s Night, Morgan Higby Night, is a filmmaker, lover of music, and seemingly all around cool guy. He also has a deep love of the desert and trailer parks, so accordingly created Hicksville Trailer Palace in Joshua Tree, California. Originally an artist’s retreat, he opened it to the general public a few years ago. Scott and I have been ogling the online photos of the over the over-the-top trailers since. It was a done deal.

We had a wonderful time at Hicksville and the Joshua Tree area and now have some suggestions to offer folks.

1) Vegas is almost always cheaper to fly into than LA.

It is either two and a half hours from LA (through LA traffic, which is not delightful) or three and a half hours from Vegas. Save some money. Fly to Sin City, play a slot, and get out of town. Just land there early enough where you’re not driving through unfamiliar desert at night.

2) Rent an SUV-type vehicle. 

First of all, if you’re going out into the desert, you’re going to need a car. It isn’t quite the middle of nowhere, but it is next door to the middle of nowhere. We saw some bus lines, but they seemed few and far between. Some of the really cool places you want to check out will involve “roads” that are just areas of sand plowed flat for cars to drive on. The desert is a shifty beast, and it is always looking to take back what’s hers, which might lead to some bumpy times. For the first time in our lives, a four-wheel drive utility vehicle was justified. A Rav will probably give you the traction you need without feeling like you’re driving a tank or guzzling up half of Venezuela’s resources.

That is a "road" behind me. Somewhere.

That is a “road” behind me. Somewhere.

3) The interstate is for losers.

Have an adventure, ya jerk. Go through the Mojave National Preserve. As somebody born and raised in Chicago, I’m used to some very flat terrain (Illinois, I love you, but you are the most boring), so the mountains just blew me away. Also, as somebody who enjoys driving, I found the ride VERY fun but never scary. If you break down, you probably won’t have to wait long for help, but it still felt pretty empty out there, car-wise. Watch out for tortoises crossing the road–they’re not very good at getting out of the way. There aren’t very many places to stop, so pee before you hit the road and bring some snacks. We got our directions here. (I realize that getting directions from a five-year-old website might be a little questionable, but we can confirm that these are still accurate.)

4) Stay at Hicksville.

Seriously. This place makes me spring a million (metaphorical) boners. If you are in a band, you can record music here. If you’re a filmmaker, you can edit your film here. If you’re just a cool kid, you can just hang out here for a few days with your friends floating in the pool, sitting around the campfire, and shooting bows and arrows.

Scott is not good at bows and arrows.

Scott is not so good at bows and arrows.

The owner and the property managers are super nice. The accommodations are clean and comfortable and unlike any other room you’ll sleep in. The music on the jukebox that plays on the property (for free) is so very excellent. The hot tub is so warm and amazing and, yes, clean. It was a joy to just soak in it during a dark desert night and stare at the stars. If you end up in one of the trailers that doesn’t have a personal bathroom, do not worry: the public one was immaculate.  

It seems to have some sort of jerk-deterrent device, because everybody we ran into there was really nice and personable. We even met Exene Cervenka from the seminal punk band X (she was recording some music in the studio that’s on property). One of the best parts is, nobody knows where you are. They don’t give you the directions until the day before you get there. It is so quiet out there, and, if you’ve ever gotten married, you’ll know that quiet is appreciated after all that hoopla.

Finally, despite warnings, we never saw any snakes or scorpions. I was happy about this.

[The adventure continues on Thursday with things to see and do and eat!]