The Quartzsite Experience

The past three days were spent at the small town of Quartzsite, Arizona.

Quartzsite is a wide spot on I-10 about 20 miles from the California border.  To get there from any direction you have to drive through 100 miles of desert.  This time of year the location is relatively dry and warm and a perfect place for RVs to hide out.  This population of this sleepy roadside town mushrooms from 800 to about 30,000 during January and February.  For miles around, rigs are dry-camping on whatever patch of desert they can find.

As the famous economist Adam Smith predicted, demand brings forth the supply.  With so many consumers at hand, vendors set up in groups large and small and the area turns into a loosely organized monster swap-meet that stretches for miles and miles.  You can buy just about whatever you want.  So, what originally started years ago as a gathering of rockhounds has turned into an exercise of laissez faire capitalism.

The hunting and fishing club we belong to organizes an annual trip to Quartzsite and about 50 rigs usually show up.  For $5 per day you can dry-camp with the club and shop till you drop.  We had never been to Quartzsite, so this was an opportunity to see what the event was all about and visit with our CHFC friends.  Starting in Indio, which is below sea level, the drive was uphill almost the entire way and the long pull sucked down almost 30 gallons of diesel.  Shortly after noon we pulled in and set up.  During the next three days we alternated between visiting with friends, eating at potlucks and shopping for treasure.  We very much enjoyed being with our CHFC friends.

We didn’t leave too much money there.  The big purchases were a blanket to cover the couch and earrings for Jeanne.  We also picked up some smaller stuff; mostly things for the coach.  We must have walked about 20 miles each day, which had to substitute for the workouts.

Quartzsite was the first time we dry-camped for any length of time and it was no problem.  Everything worked as designed and the coach kept us comfortable.