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The Quartzsite Report: Reader says, “Please go away”

Russ and Tiña De Maris
While many snowbirds have been reveling in the warm desert winter, not everyone is so pleased. We got an email from someone who calls themselves “Please Goaway”. Evidently, if “P.G.” had their way, snowbirds in Quartzsite would be about as scarce as cold tap water in the summer. We’re happy to report their “welcoming attitude” isn’t the norm.

Lives made difficult?

A few points made in P.G.’s email might be construed to be true. “You make our lives so much more difficult in the winter months. It’s so much harder to get a doctor appointment.” From personal experience, we can say our family doc, in Lake Havasu, is harder to get into at the peak of the season. As far as specialists, we haven’t seen any real difference, on- or off-season. Of course, we have to drive to Phoenix to find the specialists we trust.

Goaway continues, “The pharmacy runs out of the meds that us locals really need.” Again, speaking as a “local,” we’ve learned to deal with that issue. Our regular prescriptions come to us from a mail-order pharmacy. When we get new prescriptions that can’t wait, yes, we may fall back on Quartzsite’s “Happy Valley” Pharmacy. That’s not always happy, and it seems to have little to do with winter visitor traffic. We often learn that the local pharmacy just doesn’t stock a lot of stuff, and we’ll end up waiting an extra day to get what we need. To their credit, the lines at Walmart, up the road at Parker, have been literally HOURS long. At the local pharmacy, we’ve never waited in line for more than 15 minutes.

Empty store shelves

If snowbirds were to go away, would it help with the fact that “The store shelves are empty”? A better question might be this: If the snowbirds didn’t come, would there be store shelves to get anything from? One summer, Quartzsite’s largest grocery, Roadrunner Market, closed for several months. Some suggested it was due to a lack of summertime traffic. We suspect P. Goaway could easily find far fewer choices, as the number of souls that would make up Quartzsite’s then-year-round complement so small, at least one—if not both—of the local grocers would simply shutter permanently.

Calzawars S.p.a. on wikimedia.org

Another complaint hits close to home. “Our internet is so slow the locals are not able to watch Netflix or even download anything because they [snowbirds] drain our internet.” If you’ve watched our published statistics over the last few weeks, you’ll know that internet speed here is a joke. But we’re not faulting the snowbirds. In years past, some cellular carriers brought in portable, Cellular-On-Wheels (COWs).

These temporary cell towers did a major service to keep cell calls and internet service at reasonable levels. But we haven’t seen a COW in years, and it shows. We contacted Verizon this week and were told the company is working on its network. The representative claimed service could actually improve—and more “home internet connections” may be provided in a matter of weeks. Next year will tell.

What if they did just “go away”?

Finally, Goaway writes, “The snowbirds think we should Bow down to them (Wrong). They bring no enjoyment to the locals.” Not sure where that one comes from. Can’t say I’ve ever run into a snowbird with a superior attitude. Well, at least no more than I’d find among non-snowbirds. Some people do have inflated egos, but that’s not particularly endemic to Quartzsite.

What would happen of the snowbirds did just “go away”? Aside from the point already made on slowing down commerce, and possibly closing stores, plenty of bad things could happen. Quartzsite’s municipal economy and tax base is built around tourism. Take away the tourists, watch the revenue from that bloated sales tax shrink like mad. Street maintenance, public transportation, and emergency services would likely take a major hit. I’d hate to be the local who picks up the phone to dial 9-1-1 when a health crisis hits—only to be told they’ll need to wait until somebody drives down from Parker.

If you’re here, beware

Roadwork on Arizona Highway 95 is hot and heavy, and will be for the next few weeks. Road crews are doing seal work. Long stretches of the highway north of town are reduced to one lane only with pilot cars. Expect delays, sometimes of a half-hour or more. The work stops short of the junction, 20 miles north of town. Expect delays. It won’t go away soon.

Propane gas pains?

R&T De Maris

Chloe D. wrote to comment on our LP price report. There was some confusion about the prices we post. She thought that the posted price of fuel at RV Pit Stop included sales tax. Got us to head-scratching. We had been told it did NOT include sales tax. The sign posted out front of Pit Stop does indicate “PLUS TAX”. However, north-bound traffic will not be able to see that little addendum, as some decorative art blocks that important line of information.

We’ll add that for weeks Pattie’s RV Park was in the lead for the lowest LP price in town. Uh, uh. This week the Pattie’s price jumped 26 cents a gallon. Still less than Pit Stop, but 2 cents higher per gallon than both the Mobil and 76 stations.

This morning when we woke up, the inside of our rig was 35 degrees colder than we like it. Teach us not to keep a close eye on propane levels in our cylinders in winter!

And finally, we had reservations about this question

Susan M. rang in with questions about getting “reservations” to stay in Quartzsite, come this March. We responded, “If you want to camp on public lands—the most popular option in Quartzsite—there is no reservations system. Just turn up and pick yourself out an available ‘site.’ I use quotes because on the desert, there are no designated sites, as such. Just plop down and spread out. If you want to stay in a commercial RV park, well, it’s a matter of checking them out on the internet to see how their reservation systems work.”

And, Susan asked how can you become a vendor? Getting a vending permit is easy enough. A visit to Town Hall will allow you to fill out the paperwork and plunk down your money. If you vend food, there are additional hoops and permits. In terms of vending locations, there are many established outfits in town that will rent you space to put up a tent. It’s a bit late in the year for starting out as a vendor, but never too early to plan for the 2022-2023 season.

The weekly statistics

How many folks in Quartzsite? It’s impossible to accurately gauge. We’re using the census count from the Hi Jolly Short Term Visitor Area as a gauge.

Last Week This Week Change
255 127 50.2% decrease

 

Fuel Costs (Average)

Last Week This Week Change
Gasoline (Regular) 3.617 3.659 1.16% increase

Best price, $3.59 Chevron, Riggles Rd.

Diesel 4.097 4.132 0.85% increase

Best price, $3.929 Chevron on Main Street

Propane 2.868 3.236 12.83% increase—see note

Best price, 76 and Mobil—$2.95. Worst, Love’s— $4.299

 

Note: Fuel costs are based on credit card purchase price. The horrific-seeming price jump is, in part, due to reporting change. We had failed to note, until this week, that Love’s Truck Stop sells propane in bulk. We’re now including them in our report. However, there were price increases at other retailers, including Pattie’s, which usually held the average down. Next week’s report should show a more accurate reflection of LP prices.

Internet Speeds

Last Week This week
Verizon Mobile 2.06D/1.26U 12:37 PM

FAILED three attempts. 9:06PM

1.84D/1.69U 4:10 PM

 

ATT Mobile 1.98D/3.45U 12:37 PM

0.33D/0.87U 9:06 PM

7.94D/8.36U 4:10 PM

 

Note, tested speeds are on 4G networks. We noted last week we thought those would have been the “worst” speeds for the season. And so it seems, for AT&T; however, Verizon is still showing serious issues in terms of support.

Health issues

Our “face mask count” is based on numbers of folks at three locations: a popular grocery store, the post office, and a “dollar store.” The count is the total number of folks present and those who are masked up. The percentage given is the percentage of mask-wearers. We are changing our COVID patient count methodology. We’re including new cases within the last week, and comparing the percentage of change from two weeks back. The data is provided by the Arizona Department of Health.

Face Mask Count [Total people counted/masked (% masked)]

Last Week This Week
110/29 (26.4) 84/26 (31.0)

 

COVID Patient Count

Our statistics are from the Arizona Department of Health, as presented by Arizona Central. They are:

Quartzsite average daily cases in last week: 2
Quartzsite average cases per 10,000 people: 4 (week prior: 7)
Change in number of cases from two weeks ago: 58% lower

Want to know more about Quartzsite? Have something to share? Here’s what to do. Fill out the form below and include “Quartzsite” in the subject line.

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BERNIE TURNER
7 months ago

Not sure about going there next winter. Friends currently there recommended a campground for next winter. I messaged the campground on Facebook two weeks ago look for information for a reservation next winter for ourselves and our friends. I still have no response. Thought I was being proactive looking for a site for next winter.

Maurizio Taglianini
7 months ago

I agree with Rich, thank you Russ & Tina for the quality and quantity of your content, well done! Your hard work is really appreciated 🙂

Bob p
7 months ago

Interesting reading about wishing snowbirds would go away. I’ll bet all it would take is for one season quartzite couldn’t open to change her mind. Just like FL the local economy would suffer drastically without the millions snowbirds spend.

Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
7 months ago

South Central Florida is very dependent on snow birds, and the lifestyle shows it. Many businesses schedule vacations for July, or even shut down entirely. Residents are able to obtain skilled trade services without a 2 or 3 week wait. Traffic goes back to 5 cars stopped at a red light instead of 20.

In Winter, there is more entertainment. Snowbirds buy tickets and booking agents are aware of this. Tribute bands, plays, movies, live local entertainment at bar and casual dining venues. Even grocery stores are carrying a wider selection of goods, and servers, stylists, et al are putting money away for the slower summer months.
No, I do not wish for the snowbirds to go away.

Rich
7 months ago

Russ,
Don’t think we will ever make it to Quartzite, but I sure enjoy reading your report. The amount of information you present is amazing, reporting on things most people would never think of.
Wonder if there are other camping hot spots that would benefit from this type of reporting?

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