Down a long, dirt road in an undisclosed location deep in Joshua Tree, there is an escape from the city and an oasis for artistic types needing inspiration. As you arrive at the tall, maroon-colored wooden fence, you will see personalized parking spots: “The New World”, “The Integratrailer”, “The Pioneer”, “The Sweet”, “The Lux”, “The Pony”, “The Fifi” and “The Sideshow”. These are the names of the eight trailers you can reside in at Hicksville Trailer Park Motel and Artist Retreat.
Los Angeles writer and director Morgan Higby Night opened Hicksville in 2010. A long time admirer of the mysterious and lovely Joshua Tree, he wanted a place to work on his films uninterrupted, and decided to share his hideaway with others. He started collecting vintage trailers, designing each with a unique theme, some inspired by films or bands, some just plain weird. With a full recording studio and film-editing bay, Hicksville became the perfect place to find your muse. Eventually Morgan decided to open Hicksville up as a motel as well, so that people from every occupation could enjoy the magical place he created.
You are met at the gate, and asked for your reservation paperwork and your ID before you are allowed to even peek beyond the big red fence. Privacy is paramount, only guests are allowed in the gates, and the gate remains locked at all times. No GPS locators are permitted, and the actual location isn’t even disclosed to guests until the day before arrival. Once you’ve been thoroughly checked out, the gates open, and you are finally granted access to the coolest trailer park on earth. Stepping onto the shockingly green astro turf, you enter into a bizarro desert wonderland.
The minute the gate closes, the experience begins. The desolate brown landscape of the Mojave Desert disappears, and in its place is a trailer park straight out of a John Waters Film, with some David Lynch thrown in for good measure. The trailers each stand out as their own little worlds, completely different but somehow all belonging together on the cartoon green of the fake grass and the glistening blue of the saltwater pool they encircle. As night and temperatures fall, the tiki torch of “The Lux” flares, the green light of “The Pony” gives an eerie glow to its corral, and the red light atop “The Integratrailer” begins to shine, its beacon beckoning the Venusians its namesake The Integratron was built to please.
Hicksville feels less like a motel and more like a resort. The rules are few and simple – Don’t shoot each other with arrows or BBs from the shooting range, don’t smoke anything in the trailers, don’t leave fires unattended, and please don’t have relations in the hot tub on the roof. Otherwise, you’re free to play and explore and enjoy all of the weirdness and the wonderfulness that exists within the fence. Morgan may even come out and have a drink with you, pulling a beer out of his beer-dispensing machine while a never-ending selection of great music plays on the jukebox. With every inch of the property painstakingly cared for and meticulously detailed, you truly feel like you have stepped out of reality and into quite possibly the best movie ever, starring you.