2012 Travels travel blog

Carpe Diem boondocking on BLM land north of Quartzsite

We stopped at Parker's Wal Mart for last minute victualing
Wal Mart was...

Welcome to Quartzsite

A spectacular desert sunrise

The Quartzsite "Big Tent"
Hundreds of vendors and thousands of people make Quartsite...

Interior view of The Big Tent

Another interior view of The Big Tent

Sandi with her desert "rattler" stick
Carpe is center coach in background

Our wonderful new MCD shades
Window with no shade (bottom), day shade (center),...

Quartzsite, AZ Post Office
Queue is to pick up General Delivery mail...

Seminar at Quartzsite HAM radio group

Welcome to the WIT Group

The Winnebago-Itasca (WIT) Group

WIT Happy Hour


Thurs, 19 Jan: The good folks at 3T's RV Service did a bang up job installing our brand new MCD shades. They rousted us from our bed at 0730 and jumped right in. By 1130 they had all nine blinds installed and we were on the road by noon.

Since we'd had a huge breakfast back at the Black Bear Diner we elected to delay lunch. We enjoy their food and can't stay away.

Following breakfast we found a suitable place to park and watch the hot air balloons ascend and float over Lake Havasu City's London Bridge. One of the balloons was shaped like a panda bear head, so needless to say it was our favorite. After the balloons floated away we returned to 3T's to "swap lies" with the other RVers getting their rigs serviced. RVers are universally the friendliest of folks.

From Lake Havasu City we retraced our route to Parker, where we stopped at the Wal Mart to top off our fridge for our Quartzsite stay. The Wal Mart parking lot was so full we drove another ½ mile and walked back. Crowded parking lots are an invitation to visiting a body shop, so why take the risk?

From Parker we continued south on AZ 95 to our campsite off Plumosa Road. The land on both sides of Plumosa is managed by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Camping is allowed for a maximum of fourteen days with no charge. It is level and hardpack dersert with no facilities. We're with a Winnebago-Itasca group and expect to hang around for a week or so. We're parked next to Ben & Bonnie Ackerman, good friends we first met at the Winnebago-Itasca 365 Club in 2008. We've crossed paths with them several times since including them hosting us at Camp Navajo near Flagstaff last September.

While in Quartzsite we hope to also spend time with the big HAM radio gathering south of town. Quartzfest is an annual "event" and this year they expect more than 1,000 RVs. Since we're so new at this we hope to glean a treasure trove of knowledge from the experienced operators.

Sat, 21 Jan: Today dawned spectacularly (see image). Even though we've spent several winters in the southwestern desert we're still blown away by the beauty of the sunrises and sunsets. Their beauty is amazing.

Yesterday (Friday) afternoon the Davilas arrived from Casa Grande. Their coach is parked right next to ours. What a treat to have good friends on both sides of us: Ben & Bonnie off our port beam and Domingo & Carmen off our starboard. The six of us enjoyed happy hour last evening (with a very impressive sunset). One thing about the desert, as quickly as the sun drops in the west their is an equally rapid drop in temperature.

This morning was the opening of the annual Quartzsite RV Show. The Big Tent (aptly named due to its size [see pix]) opened at 0900 and we were among the first arrivals. Despite the early hour, overcast skies and a brisk southerly wind, the place was mobbed. We managed to walk most of the indoor vendor aisles as well as the outside stalls. We'll go back during the week to check out some of the vendor's wares, but for now we're sated.

Later today we'll drive down to the Quartzsite (HAM radio) camping area (about seven miles south of town) for the opening ceremonies. We'll be splitting our time between our little camping area four miles north of town and Quartzsite during the week. It is much easier to drive Carpe Dinkum rather than relocate the coach.

Fri, 27 Jan: Wow, a whole week has come and gone since we've updated this Journal. Just goes to show how tome flies when you're having fun...

We've been busy running back and forth between the HAM group south of town, the Escapee Boondockers group about a mile from us here north of town, and town itself with the RV Show's "Big White Tent". Seems as though the time is just whizzing by.

A "highlight" (unforgettable experience) was our two trips to the Quartzsite Post Office to pick up our mail. We had our mail sent here to General Delivery, never thinking that it was hardly an original idea. Thousands of other RVers did the same thing, which resulted in the local Post Office being swamped. As expected, the Postal "Service" didn't beef up the staff to handle the additional load. Rather, the lines were unbelievable. Sandi waited in line for 1¾ hours, only to be told the mail had not yet arrived (the tracking service showed it had). The next day Bob waited "only" ¾ hour and did get the mail. We are so looking forward to government-run health care...

We've attended several seminars down at the Quartzfest HAM gathering. Many were quite informative and we've learned a lot. We're about ready to order some HAM equipment for the coach but are still undecided as to which HF antenna we'll use.

We've also enjoyed our "down town" here with the Winnebago-Itasca Travelers (WIT) area with our friends Ben & Bonnie Ackerman and Carmen & Domingo Davila. We had a nice visit from Ken & Joan Tarkin who were with the Escapees Boondocking group, and we reciprocated with a visit to that group. The WIT group has had a few Happy Hours when the weather wasn't too blustery.

Today marks our tenth day without electricity or water/sewer services. We're doing quite well with the exception of our propane, which is running low due solely to our lack of foresight in filling the tank prior to departing Casa Grande. We're conserving the gas for the fridge and cooking by not running the furnaces at nite. Snuggling under more blankets seems to do the trick.

Our current plans are to head back to Casa Grande tomorrow (Saturday) or Sunday. We hope we can get a space in Rover's Roost, but if they're full we'll do something else...



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