The ways of wandering are often guided by the need to stray from the weathered path. We want to unearth the new, to carve out a nook and call it our own. We revel in the discovery of a secret hideaway, back alley gem, concealed cove, untouched destination. To be privy to the obscure is to know the unknown, even if only in notion.
Though not a deserted island or unconquered mountain, we found our own ounce of the unknown hidden in plain sight in the middle of the desert, a few miles from Joshua Tree: Hicksville Trailer Palace — part motel, part trailer park, part outdoor desert rumpus room with stars like salt in a shaker. And for the five years it’s been around, the owners have kept its location a secret from everyone except those coming to stay — indeed, a local I met threw his hands up at the mention of the place, warning me not to let the location slip. Mark the X on the map and you will not be invited back again. Secrets are whispered with reason.
The Palace has ten trailers to choose from, scattered over a fenced-in plot of dirt and astroturf, complete with a tiny kidney-shaped pool, BB gun and archery shooting range, mini library cabin, roof-top hot tub, ping pong table, arcade games, teepee and a vast view of snow-topped mountains in the glaring, cactus-strewn distance. Each trailer is themed, from retro gothic to cutesy circus to 60’s sweetness, the later of which we called home for two nights, our shiny little abode, silver outside and glowing orange inside, round and warm and our own sweet secret.
Hicksville is vastly enjoyable even with secrecy aside. But to feel a part of something unknown, something whispered that you have to lean in to catch, makes a wanderer feel distinctive and the destination exotic. And as I shot BB’s at cans as the earth spun enough to turn the sky purple, the rest of the world oblivious to this alcove, I felt that all of it belonged to me, and was mine to whisper next.