Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Scouting out Quartzsite

Monday, Max and I finished getting caught up on laundry and then went into town to buy some groceries. Max wanted to go to a store called “Sprouts” to look to see if they had some supplements we use. Sprouts is a unique store that sells a lot of things in bulk and has a large variety of health and organic foods. We browsed around and found a few things we needed and a few things we did not. We will probably go back and stock up on some things before we leave in January. We then finished up our shopping at Wal-mart and then headed home for the evening.

Tuesday Max had her MRI on her leg that was scheduled for 7:30 am. Afterwards we were going to ride the motorcycle out to Quartzsite to check out the BLM lands for boon docking and the town for the flea markets. We actually had to set the alarm to get up at 6:00 am. (Not a favorite thing to do). It was pretty chilly when we got up and put on our coats for the ride. Getting the MRI did not take too long and we were on the road at 8:30. Max will get the results of the MRI on Monday when she has her next orthopedic appointment. We are keeping our fingers crossed that surgery will not be needed but I am still concerned about her leg locking. That is usually an indicator that something is in the knee getting trapped.

We headed out west on highway 10 and it was about 48 degrees. Not to bad with our coats on and the heated seats and grips on the bike. We stopped at a McDonalds to get a little breakfast and to let the temps rise a little. We got back on the road at about 10:00 am and it was already about 65 degrees. We road along the interstate about 125 miles to Quartzsite.

In 1856, settler Charles Tyson built a fort at the present site of Quartzsite to protect his water supply from attacks by Indians. Fort Tyson soon became a stopover on the Ehrenburg-to-Prescott stagecoach route. It had become known as Tyson's Wells by the time the stage stopped running and the town was abandoned.

A small mining boom revitalized the town as Quartzsite in 1897 and it remained like this until 1965, when the Pow Wow Rock, Gem & Mineral Show began the rockhound winter migration to Quartzsite each year. These days, the population can swell to almost a million during January and February as rockhounders, jewelers and vendors, mostly in thousands of RVs, attend the eight major gem and mineral shows. Many RVer’s will use the BLM lands surrounding Quartzsite to camp for free or very little costs. Most will stay a month or so but there are many that spend the whole winter here. There is also a large RV show in January that will draw thousands.

I found an overhead picture that shows how the RV’s just park in the desert. Different groups will join together and “circle the wagons” to spend their time together.



It was about 125 mile ride from the Phoenix area and by the time we arrived the temperatures had risen to the mid 70’s. When we got there we stopped at the Hi Jolly 14 day camping area and looked around. There are 4 14 day free camping areas around Quartzsite. We took the goldwing down one of the desert roads and looked at all the various rigs and how they were set up. Lots of solar panels were used for recharging the batteries. Now there are no hook ups here so you have to have a self sufficient rig. We carry our two generators that we can use for recharging the coach batteries and to watch a little tv at night. We stopped and talked to some Rver’s from Alberta Canada and asked some general questions about boon docking here. They were very friendly and laid back like most Rver’s are. We bid them farewell and continued on our scouting mission.

Here is a picture of the reason why boon docking here is popular. More space between RVer’s and a great view… and its free!



We then headed to the Long Term Visitor area and checked in with the camp host. They informed us about the area and how the long term area works. You can buy a 2 week pass for $40.00 or a season pass for $180. A season pass will give you access to all of the BLM area’s in Arizona and California for 7 months. The long term area’s also have a dump station and access to water for your holding tanks. In the 14 day area you have to go to town to dump and take on water.

We stopped at an area where there were several vendors set up. Now most of the town will become filled with vendors during January and February and they were just starting to come to town and set up. Max needed to walk a little to exercise her leg so we strolled thru several vendor tents. There is lots of things here and I can imagine there will be a whole lot more in a few more weeks.

Boon docking like this is not for everybody. We have not done it since we have started out but plan to do it when we can, just to be a little farther away and to enjoy the solitude. Of course you will not get much solitude at Quartzite but there are lots of area’s in the country to boon dock. We will probably give Quartzite a try next winter for a few weeks.

We took the scenic route back to Phoenix via US 60 and through Wickenburg Az. The mountains reflecting a late afternoon sun was just beautiful and we did not have the interstate traffic to deal with. It was a little weird listening to Christmas music as we rode along in 75 degree weather and kind of hard to get in the spirit but after awhile I found myself humming along. With views like this I can get into the spirit of anything.



We rode just a little over 275 miles for the day and Maxine held up pretty good, but I think she was at her limit by the time we got home.

Now that we had a day trip I am going to have to buckle down and get the rig washed. I do not look forward to doing it but at least I am not shoveling snow.

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