Quartzsite, AZ – Snowbird Roost

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The RV show has tents filled with vendors of every


Hi Jolly in Quartzsite, AZ

Quartzsite, Arizona

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

crazy lifestyle.

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

electrical system.

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

spectacular sunsets.

As our quiet desert days

passed, we were treated to

one amazing evening

display after another.

A popular activity for

these wintertime

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

clustered together.

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

their numbers

grew to over 100

coaches, many

worth $400,000+.

We hadn't

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.











































































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