RVing Quartzsite
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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Inferme in Quartzsite? Where You Gonna Go?

Quartzsite sits on the crossroads. Interstate 10 and Highway 95 more or less bisect the town, and force the age old decision: If I get really sick do I go west on I-10 to Blythe or north on 95 to Parker? Is it an eenee-meenee-minee-mo issue? Clutch no longer at your chest in indecision, one of these two is now in the top 100 list for the nation's best "small" hospitals.

If you've spent much time around Quartzsite you probably already know the vox populi: Avoid Blythe at all costs. So should it surprise you that Thomson Healthcare, a sort of "Guinness Book" of health care organizations says Parker's La Paz Regional Hospital ranks highly on the national scale of good places to be sick.

The criteria used for selecting hospitals for the list was four-fold: Clinical process and outcomes; patient safety; operational efficiency; and financial stability. Apparently the quality of food isn't measured.

Photo: Ma1974 on flickr.com

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

More Eagles on the Sonora?

In an off-again, on-again move, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has once again relisted the Bald Eagle as an endangered species on Arizona's Sonora Desert.

Back in 1978, the bird species was listed as endangered throughout 43 states, including Arizona. With protection and management, in 2007 agency determined the protection order could be lifted. But a group filed a petition with the Fish and Wildlife folks that indicated their concern that the population on Arizona's Sonora Desert was a distinct and isolated population of birds, hence in need of special protection.

After reviewing the petition, the government agency said it couldn't agree with the findings, and overruled the request. What followed was a court battle, and to make the bird's story short, earlier this month the U.S. District Court for Arizona ordered that wildlife agency review the matter, and for now, central Arizona bald eagles are back on the list.

Does that mean you'll soon see these majestic raptors hanging out around Quartzsite? Since Arizona has only about 50 nesting pairs of these birds, don't imagine one will pop up in a Saguaro next to your fifth wheel--but then, you can always hope.

Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Walmart Serving Quartzsite Down the Tubes (Editorial)

Back in 2004 when Walmart stores announced its intention of building a super center in Blythe, California, it met with mixed reviews. Many regular and snowbird Quartzsite folks rejoiced--no long drives to Yuma or Lake Havasu City to buy groceries and other necessities. No longer would some suffer would they described as the "highway robbery" of some notable Blythe merchants.

At the same time, not everyone rejoiced. This scribe was in line at the local Albertson's store when the man ahead of me in line told the clerk he was looking forward to the time when old Joe's store would have some competition from Sam's folks. The immediate red-faced reaction of the clerk was plainly obvious--he would have tossed the customer out on his ear, had he the chance.

Blythe town fathers soon found themselves the target of two lawsuits from organizations whose members were kept anonymous. Both groups were determined to keep "Wally" from coming to town. Walmart agreed to handle the cost of litigation, and kept moving forward on its plans to build. One local government employee kept us posted on progress, and assurances were given that despite the opposition, Walmart was determined to be a part of the Blythe community. That is, until last month.

In February word was out that Walmart management had decided to pull the plug on the Blythe project. We were able do interview Walmart spokesman John Mendez to ask about the corporation's decision to wipe the Blythe project off the slate. How did management feel about the work of local government officials in helping Walmart get a foothold? What about the "opposition" that manifested itself so vigorously?

Regarding Blythe town officials, Mendez had nothing but praise. "Blythe has been a very good city to work with," he told us. "The staff has been very professional and helpful though the process." Lest any think that somehow the town was 'down on Walmart,' he added, "No way is our decision based on what the city has done."

So what was the problem? "The fact is, the economy is changing--the whole landscape is changing. It just doesn't make sense for us--at this time--to go forward with a new store there." Mendez said the company had not ruled out Blythe for a store in the future.

And as to opposition--both known and 'cloaked in the anonymity of a lawsuit--Mendez had this to say, "[Walmart's] focus is on finding where it makes sense that we can better serve our customers. What happens out of our sphere of influence we don't spend much time worrying about."

Net result? Walmart continues to work on a new project--this one in nearby Parker, Arizona. While it may be an additional 15 mile drive for Quartzsiters to get to Parker than to Blythe, you can be sure the money will flow there. If the "big city merchants" of Blythe figure they've 'cut a fat hog' by saying "Adios" to Walmart, then their calculators need new batteries. When the Parker Walmart opens its doors, its a sure bet that hundreds of folks from Quartzsite will make the trip to Parker. While Walmart may have "stolen" business from some merchants in Blythe, others who fill a niche that Walmart doesn't serve will likely see their business head north, too. Walmart's pullout is a loss for Blythe all the way around.

Photo: In part, Brave New Films on flickr.com

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A High Center at Hi Jolly

Here's one of those things that'll ruin your whole RV day. This motorhomer decided he needed to make a U-turn just north of Quartzsite on Highway 95. We can almost hear the conversation:

Him: "No problem, we'll just pull off on the shoulder here . . . "

Her: "Are you sure there's enough room to turn around though?"

Him: "Room? Room? I can turn this thing on a dime!"

Motorhome: "Crunch!"

Him: "Now, where was that tow insurance card?

Photo courtesy Shirley Shook

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Off Season" at Quartzsite May Be A Good Bet

The vendor tents are coming down. The long lines at the post office are non existent. Yep, it must be the end of February in Quartzsite--the longest lines are the RVs rolling north. Is it time to go elsewhere?

Late "winter" in Quartzsite is actually an ideal time to RV. The weather is typically in the 70s (and occasionally the lower 80s) by day, and the nights don't even get close to the freeze point. And with the rain that fell earlier this season, you can anticipate a profusion of desert flowers. Already the verbena is carpeting portions of the desert floor with a riot of purple fit to make a king envious.

Need elbow room? Now's the time to find it. The huge "show crowds" have passed along, and the die-hard desert lovers are here, but there's lots of space on the desert. The sunsets are just as "purty" as any time of the year. Yeah, to us, this is the Quartzsite time of year.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mexico Travel? Passport Card Cheaper Than Passport

The US government announces they've finally made less expensive "Passport Cards" available to the American public. Check out the full story on our sister blog, RVing Mexico.

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Snow? At Quartzsite?

Ah, well, viewable from Quartzsite anyway.

Those who awoke Monday morning and gazed out toward the Kofa Mountains may have had a bit of a start. Yes, Sir, that is snow in them thar hills.

While temperatures on the desert camping areas like LaPosa South LTVA (where this photo was taken) were in the 40's, in the nearby "mountains" the overnight temps had evidently been a wee bit cooler. That rain you heard pattering on the overhead at the Quartzsite level must have been quieter in the higher ups.

Hope you looked quick, for while this is not an unheard of phenomena, it's one that never lasts too long. Just another Quirk of Quartzsite.

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