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Tales of the Southwest: Dennis Hopper's Grave

Breakfast at the Taos Diner II, then on the road to Santa Fe. The diner, a locals' spot, had been alive with the colorful work of local artists for sale on the wall.

Sad to be leaving Taos, we headed down a road that felt familiar to me. I’d forgotten about going to find Dennis hopper’s graveside! I'd researched the site on youtube, knowing it was hard to find, and here we were on the same road I’d seen in the video. I yelled to J to take a sudden left turn down a gravely tan, dirt road. We saw the grave sites to our right; each one mounded dirt, with varying rings of stones and flowers and mementos. J stopped the car but wouldn’t get out, shaking his head and saying “this is so morbid.” I wandered around a bit, hoping I’d be able to find it, and then….there it was.

Hopper’s grave is a tribute of the love of fans. The thick wooden cross is tall and hand carved, and loaded with bandannas of every color tied around it, faded from the sharp sun and time. There are rosaries, mementos, ticket stubs. I left a stone I’d gotten at the Pueblo Indian community a few days before. I'd visited the church where Hopper was buried (though it was locked) and now here I was walking in the footsteps of fellow actors and friends of Hopper’s, mainly Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda. I could see them walking solemnly, maybe with a side chuckle, to this final resting site. RIP DH.

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