Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Quartzsite Mania

At any given time while here, you've either had enough of Quartzsite, or you need another week.

Every January since 1984, Quartzsite, AZ has hosted this huge RV show. Over a million people attend, over a quarter million RVs stay in parks or in the desert surrounding the little town.

While the show producers have most things organized well for this size crowd with adequate portable toilets, seating for the food vendors, wide aisles in the big tent, and decent signage - the restaurants seem somewhat surprised that we're all here.

Regardless the time of day, only one place we eat - Stagecoach Restaurant - isn't packed to the gills with 1/3 of the servers needed to handle the crowd. The food at Sweet Darlene's, The Yacht Club and The Grub Stake is good, but we wait so long to eat at all of them that I recommend packing a snack if you go. Fortunately at SD's and GS we are with great company, making the waits less of an ordeal. 

Things started getting ugly at The Grub Stake and the owner finally closed the kitchen when the staff couldn't keep up - we were the last table to order
So what do we do besides hang out at restaurants for hours?

Friday we get a late start and are unable to find anywhere to park within two miles of the Big Tent.

Roads are jammed around the show
The "overflow" parking is full as well
Instead we drive to the smaller venues on Main Street where the crowd is light and the parking close by. Check the first thing off our list when we pick up a good quality water filter for the coach, then we split a piece of fry bread, peruse the whirly-gigs and flags, and are done.

Friday afternoon is the Boondocking discussion at the Xscapers site. A new group within the Escapees club, they are mostly working-age fulltime RVers. The discussion is informal, and the participants have both good questions, and good information. What we learn about boondocking with a residential frig is worth our time.

Xscapers Convergence Boondocking Seminar. Photo credit Christie Scott
Melanie and Travis, our hosts. Mike (white hat) sharing good info on batteries and solar - that I actually understood!
Most of the people are camped at the site and hang around to talk afterwards. I thank our hosts, Travis and Melanie, and spot Cherie from Technomadia on our way out. Another couple wants to talk with her, so our meeting is a quick hug and a brief conversation. It's lovely to meet her, and we agree our paths will cross again. 

We had made plans to go to the Desert Bar with Paul and Kim on Sunday afternoon, then I remember the Steelers playoff game is at the same time! They can't make it on Saturday, and after dilly dallying around that morning we admit we don't really feel like making the drive back to Parker. So we move the bar to the list for next time - it will still be there I'm sure.

Saturday afternoon and evening we watch football and do laundry. If there is anything else, I don't remember it. Which is why I shouldn't wait a week to write the blog.......

Sunday morning we join Steve and Linda back at Scoopy to watch the Seahawks/Carolina game. We were all rooting for the 'hawks and pretty bummed that they didn't show up for the first half. Despite the outcome, we have a great time!

Fortunately for everyone, we come home to watch the Steelers get beat by the Broncos. Linda and I agree that at least without a team going to the Super Bowl now, we can relax and just enjoy it :-))))

There is still a list of things to look for at the Big Tent so Monday morning I head out for a solo shopping excursion. Nothing Bill wants to see, and it's easier to get through the crowds with just one of us. 

One of sixteen similar rows at the Big Tent. Throughout Quartzsite, there are hundreds more - rows!
Crowds are five deep in each aisle, but everybody is having a good time
I think the tall tent and multiple entrance/exits help it feel less claustrophobic 

The only indoor food vendor is doing a lot of business, even at these prices
Outdoors the food options are extensive and well....interesting
I opt for an unsatisfactory Indian Taco, tossing 2/3 of it. Still, another item off the list.
The ultimate tailgating accessory. Sweet, but not quite as practical as the Jeep.
Winner of the Best Sales Job at the Show - selling bedding.  He told the lady who asked, "No, I am not a short queen."
In the back of the photo above is the booth with the largest crowd gathered 'round. Unbreakable hummingbird feeders, and they are selling like mad. Nope, don't get one.

I did break down and get the Wash-Wax kit for the exterior of the motorhome. The show price is better than I've seen it anywhere else, I think we will actually use it, and I'll let you know if we do :-) A t-shirt for me, a piece of fudge for Bill, and some campfire color packets for both of us rounds out my haul. 

Comparing show prices with Amazon on the rest of the items we need, I place the order on Amazon when I get home.

The beautiful desert sky wraps up our day.

Arizona skies 
Tuesday morning we pick up some baked goods and head out to meet the RV-Dreams folks. Unfortunately I not only go to the wrong place, but we're on the opposite side of town from where they're camped. Traffic isn't too bad and we eventually find them. 

Debbie was the first person outside our family who subscribed to, and commented on, my new blog three years ago. We've been reading each other ever since. Also from California, she and Steve launched in 2014. They are boondocking east of Q with others from their "Class of 2014 graduates" - all connecting through the RV-Dreams rallies and forum. 

So fun to put faces with names, we meet Tracy (husband Lee is working in Phoenix), Cori and Greg, and Pam and El Rojo! And of course pups Hurley and Hobe are there to welcome Tessa.

Bill, Cori, Greg, Debbie, Tracy and Steve (missed Pam and hubby), in front of Lee and Tracy's home

Hobe showing Tessa around his camp 
Showing us what a tough guy he is, we aren't fooled by sweet and friendly Hurley and his "stick"
The weather is perfect, and we're enjoying the easy conversation that happens in a group of like-minded people enjoying this amazing life style. But we have another meet up back at our place so we have to cut the visit short. We'll see Debbie and Steve again this summer, and hopefully the others when our paths cross again.

Cutting it close, we get home ten minutes before Steve and Linda pull up. We love showing them our rig, then head out for lunch at Sweet Darlene's. Where the long wait, overworked waitress, and small styrofoam cups of water give us additional fodder for lively conversation. Love these two!

And I still don't get a picture :-((((  I plead intimidation at using a camera around the professional creativity of Steven Dempsey!

Rounding out our social extravaganza, Mike and Rita arrive from their home in Blythe. We enjoy a couple beers and then drive across the highway to Grub Stake for dinner. 

Mike, Rita and Bill - 50 years of friendship (even before the year we waited for dinner)
We always have so much fun with them - we get to do it again in April!

Thursday we planned to see the Intaglios near Blythe, but getting the electrical connection fixed is still on the list. We again have no luck with mobile techs and drive the coach and Jeep a couple miles to Phil and Ann's RV Service. 

Easy to find, easy access, ready for us when we arrive, and he fixes the problem. Yay for Phil!

Also a fulltimer, Phil knows his stuff
Phil and Bill figuring it out

While waiting, I see this amazing design. Country Coach Veranda 600 - sweet outdoor living space.
Keeping an eye on daddy out the window
Although fixed, the cable needs to be replaced. Roadmaster has a booth in the Big Tent. I know exactly where it is. With a much smaller crowd I find a great parking spot and have the new cable in hand in under ten minutes. A fun future project for Bill :-)

Too late to see the Intaglios without rushing, it goes on the list with the Desert Bar - like we weren't coming back to Quartzsite anyway!

We continue east tomorrow morning.


  1. I could almost write a blog back responding to your blog. There's so much to say about Quartzsite, the Big Tent, Desert Bar, Sweet Darlene's, Grub Stake and don't forget, Silly Al's. However, we can leave that for next year when we're there maybe again.

    1. Yep, once you've been here for the big show it's all familiar territory!

  2. Whew........that's some time at Q. You two have been very busy. Never been there so I appreciate the look. Those caramel apples are more expensive than any I've ever seen, even Disney World's and that's saying a lot.

    1. And people were buying them! It has definitely been a busy time, whew indeed!

  3. Quartzite seems to be the 'place to be'.. Too bad we are missing it again this year...

    1. Your names came up on Sunday morning so you were here "in spirit" at least! We're missing a lot of people I'd like to meet by leaving today, but family calls. We'll be back.

  4. I am on a quest for the perfect hummingbird feeder...and curious why you wouldn't buy the one that will not break they were selling at the show. The one I have is glass and plastic and so hard to keep clean. I am amazed at the crowds...not something I could handle, but sure enjoy reading about.

    1. I think the one at the show is pretty perfect, I just didn't like the look of it. Of course the birds probably love it! It is also designed with water in the center that keep ants out of the sugar.

  5. I am totally exhausted:) Way too busy and too many people. We drove over to Quartzsite once during the show and couldn't find parking and saw ALL the people so we quickly drove away!! Sounds like you and Bill had a wonderful time though:) It is fun to meet up face to face with people that we've become blog friends with for so long. You've meet a ton of people during your visit...very cool:) Anothe successful stop:)

    1. Me too!! We're so glad our park was quiet and not "in the mix". We did have fun too :-)

  6. Your first sentence is hilarious and says it all! You seemed not only to survive, but to have a great time with friends. Sounds like the deals aren't so great, though, if you ended up ordering what you wanted/needed from Amazon. But the experience is priceless, right? :-))

    1. Absolutely wouldn't have missed it and will do it again. But also relieved to be in the peace and quiet of the regional park near Surprise, AZ for a couple days!!

  7. Quartzsite is a love it, hate it kind of place. Sorry we missed you.