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The Quartzsite Report: The weird will happen in QZ

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
It’s said the ancient Chinese curse is, “May you live in interesting times.” For RVers, it should be, “May you come to Quartzsite.” Is Quartzsite some sort of flux-point for weird? Perhaps we should have been warned when we made our first trip here back in 1998. The weird, for us, definitely happened.

“It happens” moments

Lorie Shaull on flickr.com

We’d been successful truck campers for some time. We’d traveled much of the Pacific Northwest, and had happily camped in developed campgrounds and boondocked. Sure, we had our usual assortment of those “it happens” moments. When we settled in at La Posa North, we did our usual thing when staying somewhere for a few days. We simply jacked the camper up, pulled the truck out from underneath, and settled. That would allow us to have a “home base,” and a vehicle for side trips.

It was a pretty place – bushes, wildlife, fresh air, and blue sky in winter. Wow! What a switch from the constant gloom and rainfall of the Northwest. But then the weird happened. We felt like somehow, things had gone cockeyed. We weren’t at level. In fact, one corner appeared to be seriously out of cant with the rest of the world. A quick inspection revealed the right front corner of the camper was “down” relative to its mates.

Had our corner jack suffered some sort of leak? No; everything seemed sound. A closer look revealed the jack was sound, but the ground wasn’t. The jack foot had somehow started to burrow into the terra-not-so-firma. Aging brains can’t recall how we got out of the weird situation. Maybe it had something to do with chains and shovels. But, in any event, we did eventually get out of the fix. We laughed it off. Interesting times!

Then there’s that frying pan

Fast forward 24 years. For some perverse reason, we call Quartzsite “home” now. We’ve grown accustomed to long trips for doctors, shopping, etc. Perhaps the former stands out more, as the older we get, the more the docs like to see us. But that didn’t account for the incident of the frying pan full of bacon grease.

The gentler side of our team was doing the old guy a favor. She whipped up a whole pound of bacon, and had successfully cooked it to perfection. All that remained in the pan was that hot fat, which she had intended to set aside for further, cardiovascular endangering purposes. Here’s where the weird comes in. Tiña is scrupulously concerned about safety. She’s nearly as obsessive about it as I am. Somehow, though, that hot pan of grease flew off the stove and dumped itself down her leg. What resulted was a few minutes of what could be described as an image of tragedy and comedy.

Sitting in my recliner, absorbed in reading, I first noticed the problem when the screaming started. I looked up to see my dear one shooting across the floor, ripping off her clothes. Having been a first-responder in other emergent cases, it’s funny how much easier it is to deal with “somebody else’s” issues than it is when the victim is a loved one. I had to literally slow down my thinking to get a handle on how to respond.

The short version is 15 minutes in the shower stall, running cool water on a large burn area. Then a very long-seeming 40 minutes roaring to the hospital in Parker (about 35 miles away). And, finally, days of misery for my bride, as we work at regular dressing changes, and putting up with my cooking. Husbands, it’s a real eye-opener to see just how much we depend on our wives for things we take for granted.

Weirdness is a gift that keeps on giving

Yesterday was just a continuation. Our family doc is in Lake Havasu City (about 74 miles away), and the patient needed a check-back. That meant pulling out of bed early after an all-too-short night of sleep, and loading up wife, walker, and supplies. She’d tried crutches, but after face planting on the living room floor, she gave that up. A friend met us in Parker to lend us a wheelchair, as the burned foot just wasn’t capable of making the trip into the medical office. Our practitioner found medications were needed, and at 11:30 a.m. sent orders to the pharmacy in Parker, electronically. Should be easy, right? Stop in Parker on the way home and grab the prescriptions.

But the weirdness of Quartzsite isn’t just centered in town. At 1:15, I was in a very long line at Walmart, waiting for that necessary set of meds. By 1:45 the line was told, “Sorry, we’re closing for lunch for a half hour – you won’t make it.” Lunch would be over at 2:30, so at 2:15 I was back in line. Somewhere around 3:00 I was told the meds weren’t ready. Come back in 25 minutes. But keeping m’lady stuck in the car with her foot on the dashboard wouldn’t do. I drove her back to Quartzsite, settled her in, and drove back to Parker.

This time an even longer line awaited me. Still, the pharmacy was supposed to be open for nearly an hour and a half. Finally at the window, I was told there was a “glitch” with the order. I’d have to wait some more. I finally got the stuff, and headed out of the store at 5:55. And there was a long line of folks just waiting to be told they were “too late.”

Blame it on exhaustion?

Last night, both of us were exhausted. Our orders were for dear one to take a pain pill a half hour before changing out her burn dressings. And take a shower. She diligently did both, and by the time she crawled out of the shower, she was plenty dopey. The weird followed her in though, and partway through her ablations, the shower head hanger came loose from the shower wall, so she had to leave the shower head on the floor of the shower. I came by a little later and noticed the shower pan had a bit of standing water in it, but, too tired to think, ignored it and crawled into bed.

This morning when I hit the ground running, the ground wasn’t dry. The area between the shower and the bathroom was awash with water. At first I thought the toilet valve had given up the ghost, but on opening the shower door, I found water streaming out. What happened? Seems that when I dumped the tanks last time, I’d inadvertently failed to dump the gray water tank serving the shower. When dear-heart climbed out last night, she groggily left the hot and cold valves running, with the shower head “paused.” As of Saturday night, we’re still working on drying out the carpet and floor.

Sure, it could have happened anywhere. But if you come to Quartzsite, just ask at the campfire. Does the weird happen more often here? Maybe it’s just a legend.

And the questions keep coming

Ricky H. is looking forward to coming Quartzsite. He asked if there might be a market for “rock posters.” When we first read his e-mail, the immediate thought was, “Posters with pictures of rocks on them? Well, Quartzsite is the ‘gem capitol’ of the world. Why not?” But then we looked at the photo he attached. Turn green, all you ’60s Kids. Ricky’s posters all revolve around those ancient rock bands.

Not everybody who comes to Quartzsite is in to rock shows. No matter if they’re the noisy, guitar kind, or the ones where you gotta dig. Dig? Randy S. asked about the gun show, which has been a mainstay for some in years past. Sorry to disappoint, but no gun show in Quartzsite this year, at least not according to the show promoter. We asked him about it, and he said negotiations broke down with his usual venue, the Senior Center. He wasn’t willing to pay whatever the cost was, and is looking for a new venue. Maybe in 2023.

File photo

Shirley H. reminds us: “The Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA) at 235 E Ironwood provides event space for many activities throughout the season. There are dances every Saturday night, music jams on Thursdays, Bingo on Friday nights, line dance and exercise classes, and several dinner and entertainment events to name a few. You can get the full schedule at QIAArizona.org.”

And 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
93 138 48.4% increase

 

Yes, we’re getting closer to the big shows, and lots of “groups” are showing up on the desert. Clusters of two to a half-dozen rigs aren’t unusual at Hi Jolly.

Fuel Costs (Average)

Last Week This Week Change
Gasoline 3.692 3.691 flat
Diesel 4.071 4.135 1.57% increase
Propane 2.833 2.833 No change (Best price, Pattie’s RV Park at $2.73. Worst, RV Pit Stop $3.00)

 

Internet Speeds

Last Week This week
Verizon Mobile 4.89D/3.36U 11:51 AM

2.27D/3.97U  9:30 PM

5.86D/2.86U 1:04 PM

1.58D/2.71U 7:15 PM

ATT Mobile 6.83D/4.77U 11:49 AM

2.81D/1.47U  9:27 PM

5.73D/5.12U 1:04 PM

1.59D/2.98U  7:15 PM

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
83/11 (13.3%) 80/18 (22.5%)

 

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: Info not available (week prior: 2)
Quartzsite average cases per 10,000 people: 6 (week prior: 5)
Change in number of cases from two weeks ago: 93% 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.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

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Rebecca
8 days ago

Tina, SO SORRY to hear about your injury! Hang in there!

Suru
9 days ago

So sorry to hear about your wife’s accident. Burns are no joke. Hope she heals soon! Thank you for continuing your wonderful report on Quartzsite. We plan to be there in a few weeks (with all the other hordes coming for the RV show LOL!) and can’t wait!

Bob M
9 days ago

My mother one time spilled hot oil on her leg cooking potato pancakes while in her wheelchair. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought about it. Hope Tina recuperates

Gordy B
9 days ago

Russ, sorry to hear about Tina’s injury. I hope it heals fast, burns can be nasty. Be careful of infection. I love reading your and her contributions to RV Travel, both keep up the good work. Tina get well soon.

Fulltime RVer
9 days ago

22% of people wear facemasks when out in public. With Omicron everywhere THAT’S PATHETIC.

Diane Mc
9 days ago
Reply to  Fulltime RVer

FYI….per CDC…face masks do nothing to prevent Omicron. Aerosol particles unlike Delta which was droplets. Only N95’s would help. Not readily available.

Ellen L
8 days ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Interesting. When I checked the CDC page for omicron information (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicron-variant.html), here’s what’s posted:

“Masks offer protection against all variants.

  • CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
  • CDC provides advice about masks for people who want to learn more about what type of mask is right for them depending on their circumstances.”

They also recommend that fabric masks be at least double layered.

Let’s all hope that future variants will continue to be weaker.