John Grasson ( aka Dezert John ) was born in the heart of gold country in Northern California, back when a hamburger was only 15¢. But he grew up on what is called the North Coast of the Midwest, just outside of Cleveland Ohio. His early years were spent wherever his Air Force father was stationed, Alaska, Oklahoma, and Northern California. In Fairbanks Alaska, at the tender age of two, he slipped and fell on the ice resulting in two stitches under his chin, this maybe why he sports a goatee. From the age of five, and until he finished high school, he grew up in several suburbs in and around Cleveland Ohio, but considers North Ridgeville his boyhood home. He enlisted into the US Army in 1974, and served for nearly nine years in South Carolina, Colorado,Virginia, Germany and Holland. While stationed in Holland, he was offered the opportunity to work at his first radio job, as a disc jockey for a Canadian radio station ( CFNB ).
After his service, he returned home to Ohio, but left to work in radio at Aiken South Carolina and Augusta Georgia, before moving to Florida. But he heard a calling, and decided to drop everything and head for Los Angeles, to try his hand at stand up comedy, something he still practices today, just not in front of a crowd. After about fifteen years of living all over Los Angeles, he finally settled down in the town of Banning. It was in 2005 that he had his first taste of the desert, specifically the Anza Borrego State Park. At the insistence of a friend, he headed out to the desert for some relaxation, and has never looked back. Since then, he has been an avid desert passionist for over a decade, and has never been happier. He became so enamored with the desert that his friends and coworkers began to call him Dezert John.
While doing research for one of his explorations, he came across an old publication called Desert magazine, and was immediately mesmerized by their articles and stories. So much so, that in 2010 he decided it was time to bring it back, and share the appreciation he learned for the American Southwest. He became the editor and publisher of Dezert magazine, but it was not to last, and in 2014 the last issue was published and sadly, it was time to move on. His current interests are in making desert related video’s, writing the first of two books, and supplying his followers with amazing stories.
John is a traveler, explorer, research technician, desert photographer, and part-time treasure hunter. Although to him, the treasure has always been in the story and not in necessarily in gold or silver. He is considered one of the leading authorities on the Lost Ship of the Desert, and the Black Gold of Pegleg Smith. He is a PROUD member of the Billy Holcomb chapter of E Clampus Vitus, and has been featured on an episode from the American Heroes Channel, entitled Lost Ship of the Mojave. You can also hear him each and every Saturday morning, on KPTR1450AM out of Palm Springs California, as the co-host of the Death Valley Jim Radio program.
As for where he goes from here, as long as it is in the desert, it really doesn’t matter.