Rock Capital of the World

Quartzsites’ motto…. The Rock Capital of the World.  This sleepy little desert town with a population slightly over 3,000 turns into a thriving metropolis each year during the months of January and February.RVing

The big tent and plenty of other vendors

Well over a million tourist’s cycle through Quartzsite for the numerous Gem and Mineral Shows, Rummage Sales, and the Big RV Tent Sale.  This year’s Big Tent Sale started on Jan 19th and ended Jan 27th. The Big Sale attracts thousands of RVer’s from around the country.  The landscape turns into a sea of RV’s in all directions.

Yep, we need this!
Do we have room in the RV for this stuff?  I didn’t think so!

This was our first time to Quartzsite.  Al and I don’t have much interest in flea markets, garage sales, or such and thus did not expect Quartzsite to be our cup of tea.  We do have an interest in supplies and equipment for the RV and I always enjoy looking at new Rigs.  So we knew there would be some small part we’d enjoy.

In the Big Tent – not just RV stuff

There are lots of RV Parks in the area that provide full-hooks, but for us, to be a part of the true Quartzsite experience, that would entail boondocking in the desert……..being self-sufficient, living off the grid, living off the land like a true Pioneer (or with a Wal-Mart 40 miles up the road).  Quartzsite is surrounded by BLM Land (Bureau of Land Management – Federal Land).  As such, it’s available for our enjoyment at no to little cost.

There are areas designated;  Day Use Only, 14 Day camping, and LTV (Long Term Visitor).  14 day camping is free with absolutely no services of any kind.  LTV areas require a fee but provide dump and trash service.  The roads and trails are open to ATV’s and 4×4’s.

The Escapees RV Club – The Boomers, set up Boomerville in a 14 day camping parcel of land.  We have our own community complete with organized activities.  During the two-week period, 129 RV’s passed through Boomerville.  We arrived to this gathering knowing a total of two couples.  By the end of our stay, we were no longer newbies and were acquainted with dozens of couples.


We explore the town and vendors several days before the start of the tent sale.  Al and I think, “Hey, this isn’t so crowded”.  We wonder if we’re missing anything.  AND then, they started showing up.  A line of RV’s exiting Interstate 10 continued for days.  Each day more and more RV’s pulled into Quartzsite, some of which headed to Boomerville.  Al and I used to live on the outskirts of Boomerville and now we were surrounded by neighbors.  As the two weeks progressed, neighbors came and neighbors went.  Most folks stay for a much shorter time frame than the full 2 week period.

Traffic in town went from small town traffic to city stop and go.  Parking at times was a challenge.  The first 3 days of the tent sale brought elbow to elbow crowds.  We went out to dinner at a local bar for a Friday night fish fry with friends and waited to be seated for an hour.  The fish was good, I’m just not sure it was worth the wait.

Yep, need a couple of little parts.

Al and I returned to the Big Tent on Sunday the 27th, the last day of the event.  No crowds.  Some but few deals.  Burned out merchants.  Some vendors were already starting to pack up.  We ate some of the best pulled pork and chicken for lunch.  No waiting, no crowds!  It was awesome.  We bought a couple of things we needed but manly browsed.  The day before had brought rain which kept us rig bound.  So it was nice to get out and about and enjoy a gorgeous day of sunshine and a little shopping.

More stuff I don’t need!
Still more stuff I don’t need

Al and I had a great Quartzsite experience.  Is it for everyone?  Nope.  Would we do it again?  Yes.  What was the best part of our experience?  Friendship.  How long did we stay?  Sixteen days……shhhh, don’t tell anyone we stayed two days longer than alloted.  That inital five-day stay we thought would be plenty, turned into sixteen and with the exception of a few cold days and one day of rain, the weather was very agreeable.

We took the rig into town twice to dump the tanks, take on fresh water, fill up propane, and purchase gasoline for the generator.  All and all our boondocking capabilities are improving and we had an immensely good time.  More tales to follow!

Every RV needs an aquarium with turtles!!!


The Quartzsite Experience

The “Quartzsite experience” had never been on our must do list, but after several recommendations and urgings from friends we decide it’s a go.  Besides we didn’t have any other immediate plans in mind.  Initially we thought, “Okay, after 5 days we’ll leave.  That’ll probably be plenty of time to witness this unique place.”  RV

The first couple of days were fine.  The weather was sunny and in the 60’s.  There were about fifteen RV’s already set up with our group – Escapees RV Club, the Boomers.  Al and I pick a spot somewhat removed.  We like a little space, but am told we won’t be alone for long as more and more RVs arrive.  Travel

We decide what Boomer activities we care to participate in, if any.  We drive around town locating stores, restaurants, and laundromats.  In less than thirty minutes we get acclimated to this small desert town.  We locate the Big Tent for the big sale.  We peruse the numerous vendors already set up prior to the official start of the

TravelMid-week the cold rolls in.  Daytime temps barely hit 50 and night time lows are freezing…..burrrrrr!  Add in a little wind for drama and fun is not in the equation.  Al and I get on the internet in search of better weather.  Gosh even Mexico is freezing and by the time we could get to Florida the cold will have moved on.  So we hunker down and wait for several days before fair weather is once again upon us……ahhhh.

Over the next couple of weeks, Al and I attend numerous Boomer events; morning walk, wine tasting, pancake breakfast, happy hours.  We gather with others for a game night here and there.  We caravan with a group to a unique bar located out in the boonies of the desert.  AND we search out some alone time.  Yes, there is such a thing as social burnout, but it’s been a fabulous experience.  One we hope to repeat.

travel We had the pleasure of meeting folks from around the country.  New friend, Edie and I both enjoy photography.  We meet up one morning and traipse through the desert in search of photo ops.  We spend over two hours wandering around the desert talking and taking pictures.  So engrossed in snapping and chatting, I was thankful the vista was vast and the white RV’s remained in site or no doubt we would have easily gotten lost.  This was a fun way to spend a

adventureIt was these encounters, the forging of old and new friendships that MADE our Quartzsite experience.  The RVing community is just that…..a community.  We share a common bond, the bond of adventure.  You have to have a sense of adventure to really embrace and enjoy this lifestyle.  There are those that need full hook-ups making living as close to a sticks n brick home as possible and there are those that choose to dry-camp/boondock almost exclusively making for a remote camp like experience.

Al and I like both and usually split our time between the two experiences.  When we leave the Quartzsite desert Friday, we’ll head back to a Regional Park just north of Phoenix.  We’ll enjoy the conveniences of hook-ups and a bathhouse with lots and lots of hot water.  Even Bear will relish a long hot shower with lots of doggy shampoo.  Till then, we’ll relish friendships and amazing and vast scenery.

Next I’ll post about the eclectic mix of the town of Quartzsite itself.

Boomerville……our desert RV community!

Where’d She Go?

QuartzsiteWhere’s Waldo Ingrid.  So where have I been?  Why haven’t I posted in 3 weeks?  First, I’ve been running around the back country of the desert southwest where internet service can be a challenge.  Second, because of internet problems, I’ve been on a blogging time-out.

Hubby was concerned for the safety of our internet “jet pack” as my frustrations with its performance grew.  “Put the mouse down, step away from the computer, and no one will get hurt”.  I think you get the picture!

The break was needed and although our internet is still somewhat intermittent, I’m learning to work with it and accept its short comings.Quartzsite

When my day starts with a sky like this, what’s there to get upset about anyway?  So back to where am I?  I’ve been boondocking in the desert outside of Quartzsite, Arizona since January 14th.  Quartzsite

We came here with friends we met last year at Lost Dutchman State Park.   We’ve managed to stay in touch via internet, and with their encouragement we decide to experience Quartzsite first hand.  And yes, it is an experience.

QZ1 016Imagine a sleepy little town in the middle of the desert with a population of about 3,000 invaded by hundreds of thousands of RVer’s from around the world.  Seriously, this is not an exaggeration.  The last two weeks of January is the annual RV Tent Sale followed by the yearly Gem Show.

Vendors from around the country come to Quartzsite, AZ to set up their tents and sell whatever, and I mean “whatever”.

RVingAl and I do a little shopping, but more looking.  It’s an eclectic mix of County Fair meets Rummage/Garage Sale.  My neighbor for the past ten days, Cheryl of Life in a Canned Ham did an interesting post with some unique photos.  RV Blogging buddy Mona Liza of The Lowe’s RV Adventure did an informative post with plenty of photos showing the festive activities that bring folks back to Quartzsite year after year.  Great job ladies and it was a pleasure hanging out!RVing

RVingWe are members of the Escapees RV Club and members of the “Boomers”, a club within a club.  As members of the Boomers, we join fellow Boomers in a remote parcel of desert land to the southeast of Quartzsite, which quickly becomes Boomerville.  Al and I are one of the first to show up to the party and most likely one of the last to leave.

Over the ‘official’ two week Boomerang are various organized get togethers, discussions, activities, and general hanging out and visiting with like-minded folk.  There’s an easy-up tent canopy with postings of all the days activities and a book to sign in to track the number of visitors.  This year 129 RVer’s passed through Boomerville.  Some, like moi, stay the entire two weeks (then some) while others stay only a night or two.Escapees

RVingRVingIt’s been a fun and active filled two weeks.  We reconnected with old friends and made lots of new friends, and although we all follow different paths our common thread is love of this adventurous lifestyle.  We like to think of ourselves as modern-day Pioneers, but with all the comforts of modern-day.  Most of us can forgo a daily shower but NOT our internet.

With the exception of a group of mom’s with little one’s, this is the only group of people I know of that talk openly about bathroom and shower habits.  It’s almost like a competition of sorts.  Al comments, “We can go 8 days without going to the dump station”.   Joe says, “Hey we can go 2 weeks”.  Then Steve proudly pipes in, “I got ya all beat.  We’ve gone as long as 17 days”.  “Wow, 17 days and ya didn’t run out of water or fill up your holding tanks?  Quite impressive!”

I ponder……impressive???  Something smells fishy or rather stinky to me.  Being self-reliant / self-contained can be interesting.  On that note, it’s time to let the “jet pack” rest.RVing


Man’s Bestfriend or Worst?

Its 5:30 a.m., I’m in a deep slumber tucked in a nice warm bed when I’m abruptly awakened by Bear’s pacing and whimpering.  I mutter a few choice words #@!? before crawling out of bed and slipping on my slippers.

RVing“Come on boy, let’s go out”.  Bear normally sleeps in until 6:30 a.m.  I wonder what’s going on and then it dawns on me…..must have been those yummy treats the neighbor next door gave you.  Our new friends Nance and Don have two Labrador Retrievers.  Not only did Nance and Don take US out to lunch, they gave Bear a large bag of dog treats, YUM!

So as I mutter damn dog, I’m thinking dumb mom for giving the little guy too many treats.  Sometimes he’s just so darn cute I can’t say no.  As I quietly open the RV door, I’m greeted with a blast of cold air.  Did I mention I was too lazy to throw on some pants?  I step down out of the rig, grab Bear and lift him down.  Wow, it’s cold.  Sure hope no one else is up and about.

As I stand outside the RV at 5:30 in the morning in an oversized nightshirt that covers ‘the goods’ when upright, my legs are bare and when I bent over to place Bear on the ground, I felt the full effects of the cold morning air causing me to bend upright rather swiftly and look around.Full moon

I immediately became less concerned about my moon and more engaged in the full moon in the sky, I’m thankful Bear got me out of bed.  The moon was full and bright.  Stars filled the sky.  There was a quiet stillness with the faint sound of coyotes in the distance.  I all but forgot it was 38 degrees outside and I’m standing there in a nightshirt and slippers.  FYI…the desert does get cold when the sun goes down, especially in winter.

Business done, Bear and I retreat back to the warmth of the RV.  He goes back to his bed and snuggles up for another hour of sleep while I start the coffee.  I open the blinds and while sipping coffee I watch the sunrise.  As the moon dips in the distance, it goes from white to an orange yellow – yellowly orange like a big egg yolk in the sky.  Did I already mention, I love my dog?sunset

While sitting at the RV window, I watch as a flurry of morning activity begins among the vegetation.  Cotton tail bunnies, chipmunks, and birds of all kind forage for food.  I still haven’t had a good view of any Javelina’s yet.  Just a glimpse one night.  And I did cross paths with a coyote the other day.  Darn thing wouldn’t hold still while I readied my camera.  I even spoke soothingly to him, “Please come back!  Would you like one of Bear’s treats?”  He was a healthy looking guy and big.  A day later while hiking, I got super excited (and nervous) when I thought I saw another coyote on the trail.  I was faked out by Jake, the German Shepard.  Fun times!

Ah…..these mornings are glorious.  The sunsets are stunning and the views are pretty….I feel more alive than I have in a long time.  The tumultuous times of 2012 are but a memory.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is an adventure.  Happy trails, my friends!hiking

Life Around Camp

So what’s life like spending five weeks at the same campground?  What dooo we do?RVing

Well there’s plenty of time to rest, relax, or read that new book we just haven’t had the time to get around to.

Then there’s the great outdoors right out our front steps.  Nature awaits!

If hiking isn’t your thing, how about biking?  Horseback riding?  We share the trail you know!

Had enough physical activity?  How about a little socializing?

Five weeks in the same location gave us the pleasure of making new friends.  I met my first RV blogging buddy;  Mona Liza of the Lowe’s RV Adventures.  We ate, drank and laughed around a campfire. We played games.  We visited and exchanged travel tales.  We had new campground friends, Nancy and Larry of Montana join in the fun.

blogging buddies – Ingrid and Mona Liza

Not enough adventure?  Book a Hot Air Balloon ride.  I had so much fun photographing theses guys, I didn’t personally feel the need to go up.  Perhaps next time!Hot Air Balloon Hot Air Balloon

It’s hard for me to pick my favorite thing to do, but I will add watching the wildlife is a top contender.  These guys make me smile 🙂

It’s a New Year…

Initially it was not my intention to do a “New Year’s” type of post, but after perusing various blog postings I do a little reflection myself.  Internet connection or rather lack thereof, has put my postings way behind.  So I’ve decided to start the New Year off with a “get ya up to date” kind of posting.Hot Air Balloons

Hot Air BalloonHubby and I have been on the road almost 2 months now, living close in a mere 250 square feet.  I’ll admit the first two weeks were a bit rough.  Would we both survive?  We embarked on this adventure somewhat tired in early November.  Our departure was detained by two weeks, putting us closer into winter weather territory and thus derailing the itinerary.  Normally our schedule is super flexible, but when winter snow threatens we take heed.  Campgrounds in Colorado were closed for the season, necessitating longer than intended drives.  Tired, irritated, and concerned (severe weather) does not make for marital bliss in tight quarters.Phoenix

Balloonist out for a sunset ride

But sunrises, sunsets, unbelievable views, and solitude DO make for marital bliss.  All is right!  Come on, with views like these, how could it not be?  Our six-week road trip last February/March of 2012 had us on the go.  Let’s go here, let’s go there.  Gotta see this, gotta see that.  Although it was tons of fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat, it did not allow us the time to savor any one place,Hot Air Balloons

Al and I promised each other a slower pace this go around.  This time we stayed a week at the awe-inspiring shores of Lake Powell followed by a week in Cottonwood Arizona near the awe-inspiring red rocks of Sedona.  After a few days at Lake Pleasant, we settled into a lengthy stay at Cave Creek Regional Park just to the north of Phoenix, Arizona.  So to bring you up to date, we’ve been camped here at Cave Creek since early December savoring each day.

Our five-week stay at Cave Creek has been filled with rest, laughter, solitude, fun, and…..yes my favorite verbiage – awe-inspiring scenery.  Sometimes I’m just at a loss for

laughing with new friend Mona Liza

2012 was a mix of highs and lows for Al and me.  We’ve lost loved ones, but gained new friends.  Our children have grown and progressed and now it’s time for us to reassess and find a new direction.  At the moment I feel like a couple of lost puppies.  However, I do see the light!Travel

travelDo any of you remember those silly Beach Party Films of the sixties?  Did you ever notice no one ever had a job or responsibilities to worry about?  Guess they must have lived on love.  So what do Al and Ingrid have planned for 2013?  This Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello are going to live on love in a van on the beach or rather a 5th wheel in the desert – we’ll do the beach next year ;-).  Either way living on love without a care in the world, sounds kind of fun to me.  We’ll worry about reality later.

So Happy New Year to everyone.  Thank you for following my adventure and thanks for sharing yours.  Here’s to fun times with no worries!  May 2013 be a lucky 13 for us all 🙂RainbowBartlett Lake

Coffee with a New Friend

ArizonaI have found one of the most enjoyable aspects of blogging is the connection and interaction with fellow bloggers from around the world.

A few months ago I stumbled across a blog – a blog about a Hobby Farm.  Normally the subject of raising chickens would not be of interest to me, but there was something special about this blog, something special about the blogger that piqued my interest.

Turns out Amy of TBN Ranch grew up in the Chicago suburbs, an area very familiar to me.  As our comments went back and forth, we realized Amy’s little farm was located ten minutes from my son’s home in Phoenix, Arizona and not far from our camp spot just north of the valley.

ArizonaSmall world….”We have to meet for coffee”.  And meet we did.  We spent two hours talking non-stop at a local coffee shop.  Amy and I have little in common, yet we have a lot in common.  We talk about family.  We compare stories on old stomping grounds in Illinois.  Yes, we really do have a lot in common.

Amy is as warm and genuine as I envisioned from her blog.  I had a great time and I hope she did also.

We continue to follow each others blogs and occasionally email.  It was through subsequent emails we discovered other similar interests.  How cool!  Interests that require we get together for another two-hour coffee visit to delve into the subject.Arizona

photographyAlthough our lives are pulled in different directions, I look forward to getting together with Amy again and always look forward to one of her posts – will it be a lovely poem, some interesting photos, or a story about one of her animals?  Poor JoJo lost all her feathers just as winter was approaching.  Will we ever know why?

Meeting a fellow blogger was truly a fun experience.  Hey, Amy I’m ready for coffee whenever you are!

Next week, I meet blogger Mona Liza of The Lowe’s RV Adventures.  Party time at the campground….