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"I tell you, it is not really about what he taught me and what I taught him. It is about what we were both taught by the people that we met." — Bono, on his 2002 trip to Africa with U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill

Joshua Tree Journeys: David Tellers

Lake Forest, California, U.S.A.


[Ed. note: This is the third in our new series, which highlights visits to the U2 Joshua Tree, as shared by our readers.]

I went to the "actual" Joshua tree in Death Valley in May 2015, when the band was coming to L.A. to play five shows at The Forum for the Innocence + Experience tour. On vacation with a few extra days to kill, I asked my girlfriend if she would be interested in "taking a drive.” I did not tell her what I intended to do. She's a big U2 fan, but not as big as me.

As we started out, I played The Joshua Tree. I tried giving her hints about where we were going, but she failed every time at guessing. About an hour into our journey I broke the news that we were seeking the ACTUAL Joshua tree U2 used for the album and other promo shots. When we reached Highway 190, I knew we were getting close. I remembered reading about a small turnout for parking. We missed it the first time, but turned around and found it. 

We parked the car and grabbed a few supplies because we knew we had a little walking to do. The wind was brisk, but not annoying. It was silent and so very peaceful. There was nothing around, and I thought, “No wonder Anton Corbijn, U2’s photographer, picked out this lone Joshua tree.” We felt we were going in the wrong direction until my girlfriend suggested we walk along a wash. It led us perfectly to the tree.

We first came across the rocks fans have laid out, then the stone block asking, “Have You Found What You Are Looking For?” The tree was on its side, covered with U2 relics and memorabilia. I brought The Joshua Tree concert program to add to the U2 collection and pinned a red U2 Joshua Tree patch to the front of the tree.

Joshua Tree Journeys: David Tellers

We stayed for about an hour at the tree taking pictures, making a video and just taking in the scenery. We made our way back to the car, only to be nearly blown over by two U.S. F-14 fighter jets flying so low they kicked up sand. It was an incredible sight and sound.

As we turned back I mentioned to my girlfriend that our little U2 journey wasn’t yet complete: The city of Twentynine Palms is only a few hours away. The band had stayed at a roadside motel called the Harmony Motel, where I booked a room for the night. It would be the perfect end to a perfect day. As we checked in, we saw a wall specifically set up for U2 with pictures of the band staying there and The Joshua Tree cover. The caretaker walked us over to Room 4, also known as the U2 room. Word is that even though they bought out every room of the motel for the night, Room 4 is where they all gathered for their entire stay. We took pictures under a more modern Harmony Motel sign than the band did, but still felt we were standing the footsteps of U2.

Joshua Tree Journeys: David Tellers at Harmony Motel

(c) @U2/Tellers, 2017.