One week every January, the sleep little town of Quartzsite, Arizona lures RVers from all over the United States and Canada. But what draws RVers to make this pilgrimage?
Quartzsite is, literally, a one-horse town. And if you sneeze short, you may just miss it completely. If you need groceries, a pack of underwear or socks, and other necessities, you’ll have to drive to Blythe (22 miles west) or Parker (35 miles north).
There is no Walmart, a decent-sized grocery or even any big box stores. There’s no movie theater or even a gym. Heck, there’s not even a Camping World, though hundreds of thousands of RV nomads flock there.
There’s just a few sardine-packed RV parks, one RV dealership and a giant flea market full of people selling rocks and tons of junk.
However, Quartzsite does have some cool historical and cultural diversity. And, something to do with camels, the U.S. Army and some camel-whisperer dude named Hi Jolly. There are some pretty cool attractions that you won’t want to miss.
When we went to Quartzsite
RVs of every size start to migrate after even before New Years to begin their search for the ultimate boondocking spot on BLM land in the desert.
BLM rules dictate RVers can stay in one location for no more than 14 days at a time. After which, they must relocate to another area.
But there’s nothing saying they can’t stay in Quartzsite or the area for longer. Like us!
It’s a pilgrimage and gathering place…
Quartzsite is a well-known meeting place for RV nomads from all over the country. There’s tons of BLM land where RVers congregate and camp in the rocky desert. From New Years until even after the RV Tent Show and Rock and Gem Show, the desert is littered with every imaginable recreational vehicle out there. From vans and truck campers to big fifth wheels and motorhomes, it’s become the RV Mecca of the world.
Of course, you have to want to boondock to really enjoy it’s true ambiance. Boondocking on the BLM is where the real fun is. Because it certainly isn’t in the town itself; well except maybe Silly Al’s and the infamous bookstore where an elderly gentleman wears nothing.
LATE EDIT: Sadly, Mr. Paul Winer, known as the Naked Bookseller, passed away in May of 2019. He will be missed as he was a famous fixture of Quartzsite.
If you go to Quartzsite, you better have good walking shoes with sturdy soles. Let’s just say that your feet will hurt a little from walking on the rocky desert.
But for the OHVs and Jeep peeps, it’s game on because it’s the perfect playground for off-roading cliques.
How we ended up in Quartzsite
Seriously, we really hadn’t planned on going to Quartzsite. Heck, we didn’t even know what Quartzsite was all about. However, the outside thermometer forced us to this southern Arizona town because of their claims of awesome winter weather.
Shortly after paying an obnoxious amount of money at a posh RV park in Yuma, we found it wasn’t the place for us. We felt out of place with our adventure motorcycles on our Idaho Tote behind our fifth wheel. We were a good 20 years younger than the snowbirds and residents there. We were looking for an out.
After perusing some social media pages, we heard about a big New Years Eve party with this new tribe called Xscapers. So, we packed up our fifth wheel, filled our water, emptied our gray and black tanks and got the heck out of that poshy RV park. We headed to Dome Rock where this tribe was converging.
Welcome to Quartzsite!
Arriving the day before New Years’ Eve in 2018, it was a balmy 50 degrees during the day but that’s perfectly okay with us.
After being blessed with a beautiful sunset, night fell and a gazillion stars lit up the dark sky. But dang, no one warned us about how cold it gets in the desert at night. The mercury plummeted well into the low 30s!
On the bright side though, our beverages didn’t need a cooler. The huge celebratory campfire was super inviting. But the best part was our fellow Xscapers made us forget the cold with lots of love and laughter.
There’s also awesome potlucks and a rich array of colorful and interesting beverage concoctions. But, it’s the people that were the icing on the cake.
The few days following New Years, the party never ended. There were more potlucks, campfires, imbibing and friendships forged. We also were making plans for the Xscapers Annual Bash that was being held two weeks later in Lake Havasu.
More partying, playing and learning a few things
About half of us who attended the New Years Eve Bash hung out in Quartzsite for another week while waiting to caravan over to Lake Havasu City for the big Annual Bash.
We hung out with our new Xscapers friends, Matt and Diana of Adventurous Way. I took advantage of some video and blog training from Diana while waiting for the RV Big Tent Show.
Party’s over! Or is it?
The Quartzsite RV Big Tent Show started. So we went to see what the latest and greatest RV gadgets. And, since we are Battle Born Batteries Ambassadors, we helped market their products at their booth.
When our workdays were done, we continued the party for a few more days with Matt and Diana of Adventurous Way, Lance and Flo of Wheelin’ with the Wendes, and a few other RV couples we met during the New Years Eve Xscapers Bash.
After the big tent from the show came down, our 14-day dispersed camping limit was over. So, we met up again with Matt and Diana at Palm Canyon National Wildlife Refuge for more boondocking and to assist them with their solar panels installation.
It actually felt good to get some quiet downtime also and to give our livers a much needed break.
A few days later, Matt and Diana left us for their new adventure down the road. We stayed to enjoy the mountains and canyon in the distance wondering, “where are we going next?”
Interested in more about Quartzsite?