Thursday, January 20, 2022

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The Quartzsite Report: What to do in QZ?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
When snowbirds tell folks back home that they’re heading to Quartzsite, they’re often asked: What do you do there? Visions of cacti, dried skulls, and endless days and nights of nothing may flash through their heads. One could try to explain the Big Tent Show – but that’s in January. Sitting around the campfire. Exploration via off-road-vehicles. But there’s plenty of other “what to dos” even now.

Plenty of eatin’ to be done

The usual complement of eateries and bars are already up and running. Friday night fish lovers cram into the Grub Stake. Pizza and beer flow at Silly Al’s. And drink and song are alive and well at the Quartzsite Yacht Club. These three outfits are staples of Quartzsite, and have been for ages.

R&T De Maris

But there are new outfits elbowing into the QZ scene. A breakfast-and-lunch joint called Karen’s Café has opened on the south side of the B-10. It’s just east of the Pilot Truck Stop. If you’ve been to QZ before, you’ll recognize the building as the previous home to other now-you-see-’em, now-you-don’t eateries.

Perhaps Karen’s recognizes the reality of winter life on the desert, and is keeping its hours – and offerings – on a somewhat limited basis. Breakfast chow ranges from eggs, omelets, and other griddle goods. You can eat on the cheap, with half-orders of biscuits and gravy for $4.50, and “come on y’all” coffee for 75 cents a cup. Lunch is a selection of burgers and sandwiches, with the highest price marked at $12.50. Too early to tell the quality based on reviews.

And from the looks of food carts (pardon, we resist the term “roach coach”), this may be the year of mobile food sources. From shaved ice and ice cream, to one outfit that offered full-course turkey dinners last week, there appear to be plenty of “rolling restaurants” popping up around town.

Where to park that knife and fork?

But with fixed food joints and mobile eateries, how are you going to figure out where to park your knife and fork? Well, if the Q in Quartzsite is for Quirky, it’s “here we go again.” Years back, we had two local chambers of commerce. Thank heavens that settled down. But now, if you log onto Facebook, you’ll find the battle of the eateries promoters. Look up “Quartzsite Area Eats,” and you’ll find a group that promotes local fill-up-yer-gut places. Or, twist it just a little and look up the other group, “The Official Quartzsite Area Eats.” Maybe there’s some sort of rivalry thing going on here. Both list eateries, both have reviews. Pick your poison (heh heh).

Surfing the internet

Vv0zz5219 on wikimedia.org

After you’ve handled the stomach and need to kick your feet up, what to do? Like it or not, it seems we’re all hung up with an internet need. Beware, as the desert fills up, so does the demand for internet service. Unless Verizon and ATT get smart (as was done years back) and come in with COWs (Cell on Wheels, i.e., temporary cell towers), your internet connectivity could get pretty dicey.

As the number of folks goes up, typical download speeds go down. It’s worse at night, and at the peak of the season, if you open your RV door, you’ll hear a collective groaning as email itself grinds to the pace of the famous desert tortoise. We’ll try to include a weekly update of internet speeds. Check out our statistics block at the end of the post.

Last year a new-fangled startup came to town. It was like the new sheriff, come in with guns-a-blazin’. Called FastNet, the company sold folks equipment they promised could be used for darn-near lightning fast internet connectivity with no data caps or throttling. We bought on. For no caps, no throttling, we figured $60 a month might be worth it. We plunked down $100 for the gear, a few more bucks for the poles and guy-wires, threw the switch – and got nothing. That sheriff’s badge was tarnished.

Not-so-fast FastNet

FastNet was plagued by supply issues. That is, they had transmitters around town, but that supply chain, their internet connection, just didn’t hack it. We watched with alarm as the local office hours dwindled. Then stopped. When the billboard sign blew off in a wind, we figured it was all over but the shoutin’.

But FastNet’s management came back. A new sign went up. A theoretically reliable internet connection to the company came online. People were reporting connections that worked. The company promised they would pace themselves carefully – allowing only a certain number of connections until they could “build up” their ability to provide more connectivity without sacrificing users. And FastNet has been delivering internet connectivity. But don’t hold your breath just yet. It’s an off-again/on-again affair as local technicians tweak the system. We were going to include FastNet speeds in our statistics but, sad to say, when we checked, the system was down. Users reported that before we checked, the system had been delivering – not the vaunted high speeds – but downloads of around 10 mbps. Hopefully, next week we’ll have better news. What to do? If you want to learn more, follow this link to their site.

We’ll close out this week’s review with 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
59 95 61% increase

 

Fuel Costs (Average)

Last Week This Week Change
Gasoline 3.708 3.743 .94% increase
Diesel 4.148 4.250 2.4% increase
Propane n/a 2.768 (Best price, Pattie’s RV Park at $2.73)

 

Internet Speeds

Last Week This week
Verizon n/a 8.41D/2.4U Noon

5.07D/1.5U 8:20 PM

ATT n/a 17.0D/11.7U Noon

8.9D/7.3U 8:20 PM

FastNet n/a No results, system down

 

Health Issues

Our “face mask count” is based on numbers of folks at a popular grocery 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’ll include new cases within the last week, and compare 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
17/2 (11.8%) 25/3 (8.3%)

 

COVID Patient Count

Quartzsite average daily cases in last week: 1
Quartzsite average cases per 1,000 people: 1
Change in number of cases over two weeks: 100% increase

What would you like to know about Quartzsite? Here’s what to do. Fill out the form below and include “Quartzsite questions” in the subject line.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

##RVT1028b

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Jim
1 month ago

The first paragraph says there are plenty of “what to dos” yet the only thing mentioned in the article are eating and surfing a slow internet. Guess my idea of actually doing something consists of a bit more than that. Maybe since surfing a slow internet takes up so much time then there isn’t time enough to do anything else?

Bob
1 month ago

Were in the Q for the first time back after 22 months. Things are slower but just as crazy as ever. You must experience it at least once in your lifetime.

chris
1 month ago

Very few masks being worn in Quartzsite, or in AZ just about anywhere. Quite a change from Las Vegas casinos. And the grocery store clerk here is totally shocked when you bring your own bags. Verizon is great out on Plomosa. I’ve moved out here from La Posa South to get away from the ATVs and having to breathe all their dirt. I don’t know if that’s a direct cause of my getting bronchitis here, and only here, but it can’t be good.

Last edited 1 month ago by chris
Drew
1 month ago

Thanks for this article. Humorous but informative. I have to get there sometime in my life.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

Holy cow! 100% increase in COVID cases. What to do, what to do . . .