Quartzsite, Arizona

Comments 2 Standard

The town of Quartzsite, Arizona, is “famous” among RVers as the site of the biggest RV show in the country, held every January. It’s not a large town, but it is really funky in that the town is pretty much just “RV Parks” (we use the term loosely because many of them are just huge gravel lots with electric hookups sticking out of the ground every 10 feet or so) interspersed with “rock shops.” Yes, they sell rocks in Quartzsite. The town is surrounded by miles and miles of nothing but mountains and dessert, and it’s popular with rock hounds. If you care to spend the time, you can find all kinds of geodes, agates and semi-precious stones out in the mountains. There are also plenty of “claims” around here, and gold can be found, too. Quartzsite is also the location of the largest gem, mineral and rock show in the country running through January and February. In case you haven’t guessed, Quartzsite is very beige.

Google Earth view of Quartzsite

Even though there are dozens of RV Parks in town, there is still not enough room for all of the RV’s that converge on Quartzsite in the winter, so the Bureau of Land Management oversees 11,400 acres of open land on the outskirts of town on which people are free to boondock. For  $180, one can secure a permit allowing them to camp on this BLM property for 7 full months from October through April. The climate here is excellent in the winter (today it’s currently 82 degrees and bone dry … and we will admit that this dry 82 degrees is so much more comfortable than a humid 82 that we might see in Connecticut).

The year-round population of Quartzsite is somewhere around 3,500 people, but in the winter the population can swell to over 250,000 people! 😵  This is NOT a big town! We cannot imagine what that must be like!

While we may come back sometime for the RV show, Quartzsite isn’t for us. There are no services, a couple of small markets that stock a small number of groceries at huge prices, a few casual restaurants and that’s it. If we owned an ATV, we’d probably enjoy it more. Everyone here has an ATV, and they leave early in the morning to explore the mountains. We took a drive down to Kofa Wildlife Refuge and ended up on a very rough dirt road for about 7 miles. The road was not listed as being for 4-wheel drive only, but it was a rough go in the car. Obviously, if you want to see the sites you need an off-road vehicle.

Our dirt road drive took us through a portion of Yuma Proving Ground. It was pretty cool, because we heard explosions in the distance. At more than 1,300 square miles, it’s one of the largest military installations in the world where they conduct tests on nearly every weapon in the ground combat arsenal. It’s also where many military units come for realistic desert training, particularly before being deployed overseas. That’s pretty impressive!

Today we left Quartzsite and are heading into California. TA-DA! We made it to our westernmost state! It was really funny that pretty much the minute we entered California, it was as if a leprechaun had whipped out a paintbrush and turned the landscape from beige to green! We drove through a lush farming community before heading once again into the desert. 

2 thoughts on “Quartzsite, Arizona

  1. Wow, that green grass is definitely a sight to see! Everything here is dead and brown. I can’t wait to see grass like that again! Happy first day of spring! Enjoy California!

  2. It was nice to see the green, because we’ve pretty much been looking at beige since we entered New Mexico. Arizona had some greenery in the form of cacti, but the farmers fields were REALLY green!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s