Rolling into Quartzsite 2014
We rolled into Quartzsite (The Grand Gathering) a few days before the start of the Big Tent RV show. This is when Quartzsite reaches its peak in quantity of RVs camped out in the surrounding desert. All around Quartzsite are sections of desert where RVers show up to dry camp. There are a few called Long Term Visitor Areas or LTVA for a small fee you can stay from 2 weeks to 7 months and several more are 14 day free BLM disperse camping land. Coming from a week dry camping in Joshua Tree National Park we needed to dump our waste tanks and get fresh water and propane. Lucky Quartzsite has the perfect place for that, the RV Pit Stop. They are setup with a bunch of dump stations, fresh water fill spigots, propane refill spots and drinking water dispensers. All the things a Quartzsite dry camper needs. They have workers on site to help guide you along as it can get quite busy especially this time of year.
Picking out Our Spot
Once dumped and all filled up we headed to our preferred boondocking location about 5 miles north on HWY 95 and right on Plomosa Road. I like this BLM area because it is a little out of town and quieter than some of the others. Also the ground is hard packed and rocky, almost like cobble stones, which keeps the dust down. We picked out a nice spot about 2 miles along the road and setup. That was great for a few days but as the RV Show opening day grew near the rigs just kept coming and coming. Soon we were jammed between two large rallies. Quartzsite is a magnet for huge RV rallies of all sorts. Many clubs, organized groups, and parties of all sorts plan and hold RVing rallies, especially during the big show time. Lucky the area is huge and we didn’t have to move very far to get a little more elbow room once again.
The Really Big Show
Well, opening day came and we headed to the big show early. What can I say the place was already crawling with people and the big tent was jammed packed! Unfortunately, as I made my way up and down the aisles of vendors and display booths I became fairly disappointed. There was some cool RVing stuff like surge protectors, led lighting, flag poles, towing equipment but there also was a ton of useless crap like you see on late night TV infomercials. One thing I was really interested in scoping out was the latest solar power offerings but all I could find was a couple measly booths outside selling folding portable panels for the same price as Amazon. There were all kinds of stuff to solve aches and pains and new-fangled cooking utensils but very little in the way of real RV stuff. The real RV stuff I could find was at no better than camping world pricing. We packed it in after a few hours.
The next day we returned to browse around the Tyson Wells Sellorama area, a large outdoor flea market type area. We got ourselves a good deal on a flag pole and a couple fun flags to fly during our boondocking adventures. Anne also came across a set of 3 LED candles to use a night in the RV. They are actually pretty cool! They are made of wax with LED lights embedded and come with a remote to use to change the colors they emit. We also looked inside some of the fifth wheels on display just to see if there was anything new and interesting but not much has changed since we picked up our Keystone Cougar in 2011. This is the second year I have been to the Big Tent RV show and I doubt I will be running back next year, just not worth it even though it is free to attend. You have to wade through too much typical home show junk to pick out true RV related items.
Exploring the Hills around Quartzsite
After experiencing the throngs of show goers we decided a hike and some photography out in the peace of the desert was in order. We headed several miles further down Plomosa Road from where everyone is camped to the day use BLM lands, parked the truck and headed out into desert for a late afternoon hike. It was good to stretch the legs and let our beagle Angie get some good sniffing in. The hills around Quartzsite are an interesting brownish red color and the desert is dotted with Saguaro cactus. When the sun gets low they light up and make for some nice photographs. Anne and I and the beagle enjoyed several of these late afternoon hikes. The weather was perfect; right around 75 degrees and very little wind. It didn’t take traveling to far from Quartzsite to feel out in the middle of nowhere and not literally a few miles for thousands and thousands of RVers.
Highlights from Quartzsite 2014
- Almost got the truck stuck in a sandy wash trying to park for the big show. Note to self – Our Big Blue Dually sinks in sand!
- Ate some yummy deep fried frog legs.
- Things in the air. All sorts of stuff floated by the RV. Motor propelled Para-gliders, Hot Air Balloons, and Little Lanterns at Night, etc.
- Had a nice afternoon happy hour chat with Steve and Dianne of the blog – Living the Dream… They are avid ATVers and really enjoy Quartzsite.
- Access to fast cell data connection out in the middle of the Arizona Desert – got lots of work done.
Few quick Video Clips – Quartzsite 2014
Quartzsite is a very interesting place with all sorts of quirky things to see and little shops and swap meets to explore. It is a convenient place to meet up with fellow RVers and socialize. I think next time we will plan to visit during a slower time and not around the big show in January. I would like to check out more of what the town of Quartzsite and surrounding area offers, not just the big RV show stuff. Quartzsite at its peak is something I think an RVer should experience at least once just to witness the huge convergence, but for this cow poke it didn’t take long to want to hit the trail again for a little more scenic or peaceful haunts.