Here we are in Quartzsite, AZ, with approximately one bazillion other RVers. This town is a snowbird haven during the winter months, and the population particularly explodes during the annual RV and Vacation Show held in mid-January. The town of Quartzsite is normally a pretty small place, with about 3000 people. Right now, that number is a heck of a lot bigger! I’ve heard claims of 125,000 to 1 million temporary residents, and I’d say that something in the middle of those two guesstimates is pretty likely.
Quartzsite is kind of like a Burning Man for RVers, an event that defies description because it’s so many things all at once. The headlining event is “the big tent”, an expo style layout of vendors selling mostly RV related stuff. There is also a mineral and gem show going on, new and used RV sales, street vendors selling fair food, swap meets, pop-up stores offering barbering services or bike repairs, and guys on the corner trying to get rid of a little table of junk. (Also saw a sign for “Boner Pills”–did not check it out, but good to know it’s there!)
So many people have told us that we have to try it once, and in the spirit of adventure, we’ve done a lot of it. We stayed for a week with a group of Lazy Dazers (our brand of RV) who get together every year on BLM land just south of town. It was a good sized gathering, with about 20 rigs. We had nightly happy hours and fires, and had the chance to meet people who were fountains of knowledge about the care and feeding of a Lazy Daze.
We were in the perfect spot to explore the town and everything going on; traffic is a nightmare, and it’s so much easier to walk since everything is in a small radius. We went to the vendor areas early in the week, before all the crowds. Out of all the spectacle, we bought two things: 2 feet of Reflectix, a reflective insulation for our window, and 3 used books.
We also discovered a little secret about Quartzsite as we were out for a hike up “Q” mountain. First, an explanation: lots of towns out here have “mountain monograms”, a big letter emblazoned on a hill just outside the town. (This is a concept that just could not exist in the pancake flat area of Ohio that spawned us!) We were hiking up the mountain that prominently features a huge “Q”. From the highway, it looks like this:
We thought that once we got close, it might look like a big version of this:
In reality, up close, it looked instead like this:
Just painted on, all willy-nilly, and bushes in the way be damned! Not very impressive up close! 🙂
It was astounding to stand at the top of the hill and look down on ALLLLL those RVs!
After a few days of hubbub, we were ready for some quiet. We drove north about 70 miles to Lake Havasu City, to hike in Sara Park. The hike starts out following a wash, the middle is a cool slot canyon, and the end is an overlook of Lake Havasu, which is the Colorado river dammed up behind Parker Dam. It rated as one of my all time favorite hikes.
The best part was a 7 foot drop that required a rope to ascend.
Today we moved to the east side of town to be with our friends, Dave and Max. We are in a large encampment on BLM land, hosted by the Escapees RV Club that we belong to. (Er, “to which we belong.”) It’s a vibrant little city in the desert, with all kinds of activities going on. Between that and all the jeeping and hiking that we will do with Dave and Max, we’re going to continue to have lots to do in Quartzsite.
Until next time,