Quartzsite, AZ located near the borders of Mexico and California, is one of those experiences every RVer should do at least once. Quartzsite is usually a sleepy little town of about 3,500 people surrounded by lots of desert; however it comes alive in January and February with the yearly migration of RVs coming to take advantage of the Gem and RV shows, the warmer climate, and the cheap/free boondocking.
Mike and I decided we had to try Quartzsite this year so our entire route planning has been focused on arriving here for the RV Show in mid-January. Many RV groups meet at Quartzsite and find patches of land to congregate together. Since Mike is so active with the Tiffin RV Network Forum, we joined up with a group of RVers from the forum when we made it to Q. There were about a dozen Tiffin RVs in the group, including Dave and Diane, bloggers we’ve followed since before we started RVing! David and Brenda from Outside our Bubble even came by and did a flyby with their quadcopter (you can see the Tiffin group at 2:10-2:23 mark).
Everyone in the group was a lot of fun and most had been doing this for a long time so they had lots of great advice. Plus many of them had made some modifications to their rigs, e.g. pull-out cabinets, extra shelves, propane line for outdoor bbq, so we got to gawk inside and outside the coaches to see how we could implement some of those changes to Rover.
The RV Show started on Saturday and lasts for one week. We skipped Saturday since we heard the crowds are insane and went on Sunday morning. The majority of the show is located inside and around the big Tent. While there were some helpful booths, there seemed to be a lot more “As Seen on TV” type booths: relieve pain lotion, slicer/dicer, handbags, shirts, jewelry, etc.
We did buy a few things at the show. Our major purchase was a Progressive surge and power protection system to prevent electric surges or other power issues from burning out our equipment in Rover. In this case, the price at the show was definitely cheaper than online, that’s one of the advantages of having the internet at our fingertips. We also bought a new mascot: Franken-Rover! The show seemed large but average in quality, and others in the group agreed that the RV show seems to have gone downhill in the last couple of years.
We camped at La Posa South BLM, an 11,000+ acre patch of desert run by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which charges $40 for two weeks of stay of dry camping, i.e. no hookups. There are eight water stations and two dump stations near the entrance. We didn’t have any problems filling with water when we arrived but the line for the dump station had over 10 RVs when we were leaving so we decided to forgo the dump and just carry it with us back to Tucson.
Quartzsite really is just one big desert area. There’s a few plants in the dry washes but most of the area is just gravel and small rocks. Poor Opie had some tender paws from walking everywhere. Max spent more of his time laying on the dog bed so his paws escaped the beating. During one of our longer walks, I did put booties on Opie which helped a lot but unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of Opie in his sexy shoes.
I have to say the best part of Quartzsite was the socializing in the evening. All of us brought firewood so we had a nice big bonfire each night and just chatted into the evening. One of the folks said that he could tell whether you were from the east or west coast by the way you built the fire (if they ever saw us build a fire, I think they’d just throw up their hands in disgust, we definitely need more practice). Then there were the Canadians, they had a WHOLE different way of building their fire but it worked really well too.
Blueberry moonshine, lemon pie, crumb cake, and marshmallows were shared, making for even more fun. Even though we were one of the newbies, everyone made us feel very welcome. Opie and Max were very popular and Opie took outrageous advantage of that to beg from anyone and everyone. I think we wouldn’t come back to QZ for the show, but we would come back to hang out with the Tiffin gang and other groups we interact with.