Last Monday we drove to Quartzsite, AZ, to explore what an article in Highways magazine called "The Greatest Show on Dirt." Thousands of RVers spend part of January and/or February in the Arizona desert around Quartzsite and attend the Sports, Vacation and RV Show and a number of rock and gem shows. We wanted to get an idea of why they go there.
This blog post is a basic orientation to the Quartzsite experience. For anyone who has already been there, you might want to wait for a second post about shopping and interesting sights in town.
As we drove west on I-10, we saw lots of RVs headed east.We guess they were leaving "Q", as it is called.
But as we drove down the hill into town, we could see that not everyone had left. Almost all of the white rectangles you see in this photo are roofs of RVs. There are a LOT of them there.
We drove around town, looking for the Big Tent, where most of the vendors are selling their wares. The traffic on the roads made us glad we weren't pulling our trailer. This shows you the southbound lanes of US 95 where it crosses I-10. That is what traffic looked like almost everywhere in town.
There are a number of RV parks in town, but most RVers "boondock" on BLM land, meaning they camp with no hook-ups. They fill their water tank and depend on their generators for electrical power. Some people choose to pull off right next to the highway. Why?
Others are a little further from the traffic.
Many people come to spend time with friends, family, or other people who own the same brand of RVs. This is a group of Alpine Coach owners.
They were parked near the circle of Montana 5th-wheel owners. Since we, too, own a Montana, we had to check out this group.
Central to each group at Q is the evening campfire.
With so many people camped in the desert, there are some necessary services that are provided by local merchants. The Pit Stop is one place RVs can fill up with water and propane and dump their holding tanks.
Here are some RVs lined up to use the dump station.
And here is one of the places RVs can come to for a water fill-up.
For those who don't want to drive into town to dump, this truck will come and pump out the sewage.
We stayed in a motel in nearby Blythe, CA, rather than camping with the Montana owners or other friends. But that didn't mean we couldn't get together with friends. We met Ron and Barbara at Sweet Darlene's for lunch on Tuesday. We didn't miss out totally on socializing. They had been at Q for 10 days, parked with a group of friends and Barbara's sister. Since they have been full-timing for years, we always learn a lot from them and enjoy sharing experiences.