Day 19: 01/14/2016 – Quartzsite, AZ

Destination: Quartzsite, AZ Day19Route

Route: I-10W

Mileage: 238

We are on the road again after a hospitality filled stop with Nils and Felicia! We are off to Quartzsite, AZ to meet Dave’s cousins Tom and Marilee at an RV rally for Toyota chassis RVs. We will be parking in the SOB (Some Other Brand) section of the Toyota group, which we can only hope is not next to portable toilets.

Quartzsite’s population, as determined by the 2010 census, was 3,677. The population swells during the winter months as RV, looking to escape the snow and cold, descend like locusts to enjoy average high temperatures in the mid-60s to mid-70s. Folks leave before the summer heat begins.  National Geographic Magazine sets the scene.

By mid-January the mechanical car counter at the Interstate 10 exit is ticking off 26,000 vehicles a day. Within weeks 175,000 RVs cram inches apart into 9 trailer parks, onto front yards, and spill out seven miles on either side of town. Every year more than a million people reset their internal navigation and drive from Everywhere, North America, to this western Arizona dot on the map. Luxury motor homes, fifth wheels, cab-over campers, trailers, and converted school buses plunk down on the same patch of land.

Abby hiding among the Toyotas

We arrive and are welcomed warmly by the group. Abby is a giant among the Toyotas and we tuck ourselves in at the end of the area roped off for the group. There is nary a porta-potty in sight. Marilee is still traveling from Pasadena, CA, so we settle in and decide to go exploring.

Driver side of the converted school bus.
Passenger side of the converted school bus.

The National Geographic description is spot on. RVs keep pouring into campsites in town as well as heading to the surrounding BLM land. And they are coming in various shapes and sizes. Our walk down down the main drag brings us across this converted school bus. Not the most luxurious vehicle out there, but it gets the job done. The artwork is rather impressive. We are thrilled when we discover a food truck with poutine! True poutine with cheese curds, it is not. But the fries are hand cut and the gravy is quite decent. It is topped with mozarella cheese, but we can’t be poutine purists in Arizona. It is a fantastic mid-afternoon snack and Alex approves.

Refreshed, we continue our wanderings. If you need to find something for your RV, there is likely a vendor here selling the part or can get the part for you. Crossing Central Boulevard, the swap meet expands to epic proportions. If you need some sort of mineral, you need to visit Quartzsite. We start browsing the display trailers at the RV show; no intent to replace Abby, just curious to see what is out there and we don’t make it past the fifth wheels. There are some appealing floor plans, like the one with a second bedroom. It might be nice sleeping more than 3 feet away from Alex.

Converted buses in Quartzsite, AZ

With the display trailers being locked up, we abandon exploring and head back to camp to chat with Marilee and get dinner going. The converted bus contingent has grown stronger in our absence.