Jan 28, 2015

Trek Rally and Quartzsite Show

Friday, Jan 16, 2015 Quartzsite AZ

Joy and happiness! It felt good to be back on the road again. We left North Ranch this morning and made the 90 minute drive to Quartzsite in about an hour and a half. Two objectives here… first, to spend a little time with friends Doug and Kay, and second, to attend the big Quartzsite RV show.

Winding through the Plomosa Mountains and down into the LaPosa Plain we saw a desert landscape covered with RVs, like mold growing on a slab of old cheese. We’ve been to Q before but not at show time. I don’t know… maybe twice as many (Dar thinks 10 times more) RVs as we’ve seen during previous visits. Hard to tell. But it was a lot.

We knew D & K were in the Dome Rock area so we zipped right through Q on I-10 and exited at Dome Rock Road several miles west of town. It’s possible to take the paved road back toward town but that’d be too easy, wouldn’t it. Instead, we took one of the many two-track trails that ran more or less through the middle of thousands of boondocked RVs while we searched for a group, a rally, of Safari Trek motorhomes. D & K have a Trek and they’re here for the rally. We did eventually find them but it took a phone call to get it done.

Once we found out we weren’t intruding (things in Q are pretty laid-back, few rules and even fewer expectations), we set up camp behind Doug and Kay’s motorhome. The Trek folks are a pretty cool bunch. Treks, like many Safari Coaches from the 90’s and early 00’s, had wildlife and landscape murals hand painted on the upper rear exterior wall panel. No two are alike. Most are painted by a father/son team with the last name Dame. Most include small hidden figures or animals… pictures within the picture. A lot of folks get a kick out of finding and identifying them.

Saturday Jan 17:
Did the Quartzsite RV show today. This was the first day of the show and we were able to keep our excitement in check until almost mid-afternoon, when we trudged on over. Traffic was horrid. Besides the official big tent venue, there are vendors of almost anything imaginable set up for business all around town, giving it the appearance and feel of a huge flea market. It’s also a zoo. We’re certainly NOT attracted to crowds and congestion but wanted to be here once for the experience.

We traveled through the big tent at my usual “trade show pace”.. which means pretty fast. Only stopped at a few booths to talk and most of what I saw didn’t interest me in the least. The four of us came late so we could quickly do the tent and stay for a BBQ dinner provided by Redlands Truck and RV of Redlands CA. Seem like a nice bunch and they served up a darn good meal, considering the number of people (maybe 400 or more??) and the very cool temps. It helped that a couple drinks were included with the meal. And all at no charge.

Oh, alright… there are some positive aspects to the whole experience. And to do it with friends made it even better.

Sunday Jan 18:
After our very enjoyable almost two days with Doug and Kay, we bid adieu, and left to see if it’s possible to find solitude in the desert during the big RV show. Drove through Q., stopped at McDonalds for a quick lunch and trash drop-off, and inched our way through town to Hwy 95 north. At Plomosa Road we hung a right and ogled all the RV’s along the road… far more than we’d ever seen in our previous visits during more quiet and sedate times. Our boondock “home” in Q is usually along Plomosa Road. But during show time, it too is packed both with individual campers as well as many groups, whose makeshift signs, balloons, banners all give it a carnival atmosphere. To be fair, when I say it’s “packed”, I mean it’s packed for Quartzsite. It would still be easy to find a place to set up camp with a reasonable space between you and your nearest neighbor. But instead of 800 yards during quieter times, it might be 80 yards. Everything’s relative.

There were spots to be had that were semi-private but we didn’t jump at anything and kept driving toward Bouse. Over the Plomosa Mountains and down the other side, we took a chance on an area of BLM land near Bouse and, after a little effort, found what might be the best Camp Solitude of them all. Set up camp and soaked up the sun the rest of the day.

Our ability to get into this spot is one of the reasons’ we’re in a smaller rig. The trail off the main road is about a half mile long and traverses several washes… some of which were very deep and steep on both sides. There’s no way we could have gotten the bushouse back here… even if I’d been foolish enough to try. And that goes for almost any trailer too. The inflection in the trail… the short steep down followed by a short steep uphill portion… would have had any but the shortest and highest trailers scraping dirt and hanging wheels. As it was, we plowed a bit of a furrow with our rear receiver hitch step. Not a place for big rigs and I”m sure that’s why there were none back there. It was positively peaceful and reeking of solitude. Loved it.

Beyond Branson; Pondering Future Travel

This past Tuesday, we moved from Branson to a very nice Corps of Engineer’s Park on Wappapello Lake.  We’re in the Redman Creek CG. This fac...