Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quartzsite, Arizona






Okay, first a caveat: these opinions are entirely my own, based most likely on my own kind of anti-crowd personality. I know that many, many people love get-togethers with lots of people; in fact, they probably flourish. Me, I'm not one of them.

I've been camped at a county park in Blythe, California, about 20 miles across the Colorado River from the famous (infamous?) winter RV mecca,
Quartzsite, Arizona. As one website states, "a winter haven for Rockhounds, Snowbirds, Vendors and RV'ers!" The population of the town is normally about 1,900, but during the period January through March each year, over one million visitors grace the place. Yesterday I was one of them.

To be very truthful, I just don't understand the popularity. I'm sure I missed something. Probably one of the best things about the huge gathering of RV'ers is the chance to see old friends and make new ones. I was invited to a couple of gatherings, but since my only transportation on this trip is the motorhome, and because I absolutely hate traffic and crowds, I chose not to go. I love getting together with small groups of people once in a while, although I really prefer one-on-one most of the time. So, to drive 20 miles into a massive traffic jam and try to find a place to park sounded like more of a nightmare than I was prepared to deal with, especially on a holiday weekend - Martin Luther King's Birthday. I hung around the campground, read my Tony Hillerman book, did a little crocheting, a little cooking, and got together with two friends here instead. It was a very nice, low-key weekend.


However, yesterday I decided that since I'll only be here for one more day, and since I guess I'm one of those RV'ers, and since I really was kind of curious, I unhooked the rig and drove over to Quartzsite early in the morning, hoping to get there before the crowds got too huge. And I did, at least sort of. Even at 8:30 a.m. the parking lots were full, but I was finally able to find a spot out in the middle of nowhere, making sure I had space to get out later on.

I walked to the main area which, to me, looked just like the vendor area of a county fair: row after row of booths with people hawking all kinds of cheap stuff, expensive fast food, and lots and lots of dust. Well, after all, Quartzsite IS in the middle of the desert.
I thought the Main Tent might be different, but it was more of the same, including so many people it was very difficult to walk down an aisle. I had to get out of there, so wandered through the RV Show nearby. Because I'm looking forward to moving into my little house in Oklahoma next month, I'm not in the market for a new RV. However, it was fun seeing what's available, even if most of them would be difficult to park in a regular campground. If I wanted to buy a new RV, maybe the fifth-wheel toy hauler with a pop-up second story might be the one to buy. I could convert the back area into a sewing and music studio. Hmm--worth a thought.

 


By noon, the place was getting jam-packed with people and dogs. It was getting hotter and dustier every minute, and my anti-crowd mind said, "get the he77 out of here - now!" So, I did.

My parking area was full of cars and motorhomes, but my way out was still clear. I waited in line at the local Pilot station for $1.79/gallon gas, much cheaper than in California, and drove back to Blythe. The nice quiet campground on the banks of the river never looked so good.

And so now I've experienced Quartzsite. Perhaps I should have gone to the get-togethers; perhaps not. Perhaps I would have gotten more out of the trip if I'd camped out in the desert with the crowds of other RV'ers; perhaps not. All I'm sure of is this: I've now done it once. I never have to do it again.

As I stated earlier, these are only my opinions; your mileage may vary.

7 comments:

Bob said...

Thanks for the input. I'm curious about the burning man ceremony, but the whole thing didn't sound like why I like to RV and travel and see strange new places.

So a truck comes around and pumps out your sewage...yuck!

My sister-in-law liked the place, but she's way more of a social animal.

Happy trails.

Phred Firecloud

spiritualastronomer said...

There's a burning man ceremony at Quartzsite? Hadn't heard about that.

Bob said...

My mistake..Burning Man happens in September in Northern Nevada.

http://www.burningman.com/

diana said...

Hey Chris, would you mind sharing the name of the county park in Blythe? I travel through that area regularly.

spiritualastronomer said...

Diana, it's Mayflower County Park. Costs $22 a night for hookups, $90/week, and $250/month. Really nice area.

HENHOUSE POTTERY said...

I love Tony Hillerman, too, and also find that he's always better company than millions of strangers!

5thWheelWoman said...

I'm with you Chris - I don't want to go to Quartzsite, unless I go to meet friends. Not my cup of tea !