The RV show has tents filled with vendors of every
November 27-December 8, 2007 and January 10-24,
2008 - We took our time traveling from Death Valley
through Pahrump, Nevada and Lake Havasu, Arizona
and finally settled down for a while in Quartzsite,
Arizona. This is a small dusty desert town of 2,000
year-round residents that swells to 1,000,000 people in
January during the annual RV show and RV snowbird
migration from the northern states and Canada.
We arrived before the madness really took hold, but we still
found the desert boondocking areas surrounding the town
absolutely teeming with RV's. The Escapees Boondockers had a
rendez-vous a few miles outside of town and we parked near
The Escapees are folks that like to have fun, and everyday there was a
schedule posted on the communal white board. Many of these folks have
been full-time RVing for ten years or more, and for the first time we found
ourselves surrounded by people who had a lot of experience with this
We had felt pretty smug about our 130 watt solar panel, because it
had given us all the power we needed over the summer. But as we
sat through a week of overcast, cold days with nights that started
around 5:00 pm, we realized we needed to know more about our
We were using oil lamps to supplement our power needs
while our neighbors watched their 32" TVs in comfort.
There were Escapees who traveled with wind generators
-- when the sun doesn't shine in the desert you can count
on howling winds -- and one fellow had 1,000 watts of
solar power. We quizzed everyone around us about their
setup and we learned more in those few weeks than we had since we had started in May.
One morning we woke up to find a 27' sailboat parked in the desert near us.
The couple onboard was traveling from Flathead Lake in Montana to San
Carlos, Mexico to launch their boat in the Sea of Cortez for the winter. They
were living in the boat on its trailer. Now that was an interesting camping setup!
One of the great joys in
Arizona is the
As our quiet desert days
passed, we were treated to
one amazing evening
display after another.
A popular activity for
desert dwellers is
flying ultralights. We
were parked next to a group
that took off in their flying
machines every morning. It
was a colorful sight, and we
enjoyed sipping our morning
coffee watching these guys
take off into the sky.
There are many places to
boondock both north and
south of town. It is very
congested along the major
roads and there are little
handmade signs everywhere
pointing to gatherings of like-
minded people. The Solos were clever
and parked their rigs next to the Loners on
Wheels. We saw signs for the "Roamin'
Rods" (fisherman), Mineral Lovers and
Elks. Many brands of RVs had rallies.
Monaco, Nuwa, Alfa, Allegro and others
If you take your time, you can find a
quiet spot away from the crowds. You
set yourself up to get the best view and
the best sun angle for your solar
We found a nice spot that even had a fire ring from some earlier visitor.
After we got settled
we discovered we
had parked right
behind the Alpine
Coach rally. As
the days passed
grew to over 100
realized we'd settled into the high rent district!!
Their rally was lots of fun and included
several catered meals and a double-
feature drive-in movie one night -- all in
the open desert.
Alpine sent some salespeople into the desert with demo coaches for sale, so we had an
impromptu RV dealership set up right next to us. We had a blast touring these amazing rolling
The fun thing about boondocking in the
desert in the winter is that you never know
who your neighbors will be. People living on
a microscopic budget out of the back of their
pickup truck end up next to multi-
millionaires. Social barriers and manned
gates that alienate these people in other
communities disappear out here. The guy in the 1970's van and the
guy in the brand new gazillion dollar mobile mansion can be good
buddies for a few days while they are camped side by side in the
Quartzite is a classic funky Arizona desert town. Ages
ago an arab came to the area with camels, thinking these
hearty desert beasts of burden would thrive in Arizona.
He was wrong about the camels, but his legend outlived
Quartzsite keeps up its tradition of quirkiness with its
modern-day characters. Paul, the bookseller at the far
east end of town, is a staple in the community,
responsible for a lot of community spirit, including hand-
drawing the town map that is sold to visitors. He finds the
climate in Quartzsite to be just right for minimal attire, and he prefers to dress as lightly as possible.
All through our January stay in Quartzsite we had been watching the weather map on the back page of USA Today. Everyday it
seemed that the people in Florida were without doubt warmer than the people in Arizona. Mark's son was stationed in Jacksonville,
Florida, and we had lots of northern relatives who would be heading that way to thaw out during the winter. It only made sense for
us to scamper over to the east coast too. So we packed everything up, laid out our shorts in hopes of warmer weather, and drove
across country to northern Florida.
Other blog posts from our RV travels to Quartzsite:
- What’s It Like to RV in Quartzsite AZ? Anything Goes! 02/02/16
- Quartzsite RV Show – RV Stuff and So Much More! 01/30/16
- Quartzsite, Arizona – The RV Gathering Place 01/26/16
- The RV Show in Quartzsite AZ – More Than Just RVs! 02/07/15
- Sunset over RVs in Quartzsite AZ 01/24/15
- Quartzsite Arizona – RV Madness in the Desert! 01/21/15
- Arizona Deserts – Fiery Sunsets and Interesting Folks 01/15/09
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