By Russ and Tiña De Maris
There’s a kind of “life circle” in Quartzsite, Arizona. There’s a core of folks who return to QZ year after year. They have their favorite haunts, be it boondocking on the desert, or reserving that “same spot” in an RV park every year. But to get into that core, you have to make that “first time” trip to town. When we asked readers last week if they had any Quartzsite questions, plenty of folks who’ve never been there fired off their questions. Here are a few.
Do you have reservations?
“Never been to Quartzsite,” wrote Cheryl V. “Are reservations needed? What website?”
Some folks, on getting their first sight of Quartzsite have plenty of reservations. But, we suspect, this isn’t what Cheryl asks about. Reservations for a place to park your RV? Yes, you’ll likely need them IF you’re attempting to get into an RV park during the height of the season. From mid-December through early February, getting a spot in a commercial RV park can be like looking for hen’s teeth.
On the other hand, for those who can boondock on public land, reservations are not required, nor taken. Some folks apparently feel that they have standing reservations on the LTVA s (Long Term Visitor Areas). We once pulled into a very much non-occupied spot that had been circled with rocks. To indicate the place was “claimed,” we set up a couple of chairs and an ice chest in the middle of it. When we returned a short while later (after doing necessary errands), we found our “claim markers” neatly stacked up outside of the circle, and an RVer setting up shop. We decided there were other places to go, gathered our stuff, and went.
Shuttle service, anyone?
Not everyone wants to stay “in Quartzsite.” Plenty of RVers take advantage of RV parks in outlying communities like Salome, a run of close to 20 miles away. Susan S., a first-timer, has her heart set on staying in Salome and seeing the big RV shows in Quartzsite. Her Quartzsite question is in the ballpark. “Are there shuttles to the RV Show or parking?”
If your RV park organizes a shuttle into QZ, that would be one possibility. Carpooling is not unheard of – just bring the subject up around the RV park campfire. As far as a formal “shuttle service” goes, the Town of Quartzsite has one. Dubbed the “Camel Express,” it’s a curb-to-curb “Dial-a-Ride” service that serves Quartzsite, and nearby housing areas like Rainbow Acres. They’ll also travel to “seasonal camping areas.” But reaching out to Salome? Sorry, the “Camel” won’t make the hump that far. You can get more information from their website.
Nothing in life is free – or is it?
Cherie L. has her own Quartzsite question. “Is boondocking allowed at Quartzite or is there a fee for parking my motorhome?”
There are free areas near QZ where you can boondock. There are two areas north of town on Highway 95: Hi Jolly and Plomosa. At the south edge of town, bordering the freeway, there are two: on the east end, Scadden Wash, and on the west, a very large area, Dome Rock. You can stay in these areas up to 14 days in a 28-day period. HOWEVER, you can’t just rotate from one to the other. The rule is you’ll need to move at least 25 miles away, as the bird flies. No services, just a place to park your rig.
The Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) are all south of Quartzsite. They do require permits to stay. $40 buys you two weeks, or $180 will buy a permit good from September 15 to April 15. Included in the permit fee is the use of services. All four of the LTVAs have garbage drop offs, and one (South) has water and sewer dumps. You can camp in any of the areas and use the dump/sewer stations.
And about our “census” methodology
Not all our questions come from “never been there” readers. Robert P. asks about our weekly statistics. “Wouldn’t it be a more accurate gauge if you used La Posa South LTVA for your census? It’s the largest of all the sites available.”
Yes, it probably would be a better indicator, IF your Quartzsite census takers had plenty of time. We’ve spent a number of winters at South, and we can tell you, there are loads of little nooks and crannies where RVers stake out their claims. Since we’re limited on research time, that’s why we use a short-term area. We did check out La Posa South LTVA. This week we drove through the “major” camping area at South and found there’s still plenty of space – but the place is filling up. Happily, the lines at the dump station are still quite short. Give it a little more time – we have a gut feeling South and the other LTVAs will plump out like a stuffed cat.
Where can I stock up the pantry?
Grocery buying was another Quartzsite question. If you’ll be visiting for a short time, you’ll likely have most of what you need on-board already. There are grocery stores in Quartzsite. Among them are The Road Runner and it’s suitably named competition, Coyote Fresh Market. Both of these are on the east end of town on the B-10, or Main Street. These two “big” stores offer fresh food, produce, bakery items – about anything you’d expect from a neighborhood-style market. Expect to pay more than you would prowling a Walmart.
Quartzsite also hosts more – shall we say – limited grocery options. There are vendors who specialize in “scratch and dent” merchandise – small lots, typically focused on canned and boxed items. Prices aren’t always as attractive as they might seem, but they’ll probably be cheaper than you could buy the same item at a local grocery store.
If you don’t mind making a jaunt, head west 20 miles to Blythe, California, and you’ll find an Albertsons, and a Smart & Final. The latter has less variety and tends to focus on “giant economy size” product offerings, but plenty of locals call it their regular grocery spot. If you’re a produce fan, Smart & Final is probably TOPS for Blythe. Or head north 40 miles to Parker, where Safeway and Walmart butt heads as cross-street rivals. Wamart’s “Superstore” is a bit of a misnomer. It could easily be the smallest superstore in the fleet.
Some wonder about parking when visiting the bigger shows coming up soon. Here’s our take on that Quartzsite question. Parking at the big tent RV show is a crapshoot. There is “on grounds” free parking at the show but, at peak, the spots fill up and traffic spills out onto the highway.
Some years back, the local police spent hours walking back and forth, writing out parking tickets to folks who parked illegally on Highway 95. There’s plenty of signage that indicates where parking is prohibited, but no matter, $85 tickets must not have ruffled their feathers. More recently, our understanding is the police have lightened up a bit on tickets – probably under pressure of vendors. In any event, it’s dicey. The weekend of the show is the worst, midweek traffic is a bit lighter.
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|
Fuel Costs (Average)
|Last Week||This Week||Change|
|Propane||2.768||2.770||.07% increase (Best price, Pattie’s RV Park at $2.73|
|Last Week||This week|
5.07D/1.5U 8:20 PM
|5.0D/4.9U 2:25 PM
7.79D/1.16U 6:50 PM
8.9D/7.3U 8:20 PM
|16.6D/11.3U 2:25 PM
10.04D/11.30U 6:50 PM
|FastNet||System down, no results||System erratic|
We’ve updated our “face mask count” 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 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|
|25/3 (8.3%)||87/11 (12.6%)|
COVID Patient Count
Quartzsite average daily cases in last week: 4
Quartzsite average cases per 1,000 people: 4
Change in number of cases over two weeks: 17% decrease
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