By Chuck Woodbury
Friday afternoon: March 6, 2020
Gail and I are still in the Southwest. We’re headed to Kingman, Arizona, on Monday, where we will stay at least two weeks. We will have spent six weeks in Quartzsite, Arizona (the RV Snowbird Capital of the West). That’s four weeks longer than I have ever stayed before.
Quartzsite is fun, but for a short stay — that’s my opinion. Countless others including thousands of RVers believe otherwise. They love the small town, unhurried pace, and the huge expanse of public lands all around where they can boondock for free (or for about a dollar a day in Long Term Visitor Areas, LTVAs.). Some stay for half the year. In many cases they can just walk into town for supplies or browse around the ongoing flea markets. Bicycles, scooters, ATVs do the job, too. And there’s always a car or truck to get supplies or tote away holding tank waste from the RV and then stock up on fresh water.
I’ve boondocked in the area many times in the past, but these days I prefer to hook up to utilities. The monthly rate I paid here, including electricity, worked out to about $13 a day.
LAST ISSUE I WROTE ABOUT OUR ROOF LEAK, and I overreacted about having to rush home for repairs. Dozens of readers wrote with advice and referred us to companies in Arizona that could help us. One very generous reader even offered to fix it for us! In the end we decided to just hang out in Arizona, where there is almost no rain this time of year (as opposed to back home in Seattle, which is having a very rainy season). We’ll attend to the repairs later, maybe even doing some of the work ourselves. One reader recommended a great place in Arizona, but pointed out the labor rate was $169 an hour! I had no idea RV repair work costs quite that much. Have you encountered prices like that?
Frankly, I was starting to get the feeling many of us get when we decide it’s time to return home. The urge to get there gets stronger and stronger. But there was one problem with us. Ground Zero of the coronavirus epidemic, where all of Washington’s virus-related deaths have occurred, is only a few miles from our home. Both King County and Snohomish County (where we live) have advised persons 60 years and older to remain home (out of caution) or if they mingle with others to do so in crowds no larger than 10. All the high schools in our area are closed, and the entire neighboring school district (23,000+ students) is closed for up to two weeks.
I’m not frightened by what’s going on, but the fact is, we are very content and comfortable in our motorhome and have no pressing need to return home to the Land of the Big Rain. So why not just remain out and about for awhile, enjoy the excellent Mexican food, and watch how things are going back home? Of course, the warm, sunny weather isn’t too bad either; I haven’t worn a pair of long pants for six weeks, just shorts, and most days a tee-shirt.
Oh, a little reminder (below) of why so many RVers spend their winters in the Southwest. This is what the weather report looked like for Yuma (75 miles south of Quartzsite), in mid-February.