By Russ and Tiña De Maris
The big Quartzsite RV Show is slated to open in just a few days. Scheduled dates are set for January 16th through the 24th. Look – the big tent is up, guards are already posted to keep away the questionable. Show promoters, the King family, have posted on their site, “IT’S A GO!” The question is: Will you go?
Predictions are fuzzy
If we believed in crystal ball readings, ours could at best appear fuzzy. Based on vacant businesses, and folks that “should have been here by now,” Quartzsite is a little frayed around the edges. Highway 95 in downtown Quartzsite normally is plenty busy. This year, you’ll find one laundromat empty, one propane parlor not passing gas, and a once-popular take-out BBQ joint completely smokeless.
On the corner of 95 and Main Street, a big RV dealer whose come-on to get folks to come in and kick tires was a free pancake breakfast? Zero flapjacks. No RVs. Absent dealer. Just a vacant lot. Across the street where folks curb-stoned their used rigs, or flocked in to get their cracked windshields replaced – nada. Another empty lot.
The RV parks in town, too, are looking a bit befuddled – with the possible exception of the polar ends of the economic scale. There are few open spaces at the higher-priced Quail Run RV Park on the north end of 95. And over by Rice Ranch on the frontage road, many, shall we say, “unique” RVs are shoehorned in, all within easy earshot of Interstate 10. But the middle-of-the-road price range RV parks seem to have spaces open. Who knows, maybe these, too, will fill up at the last minute. But like a herd of zebras by the water hole, there’s what we perceive as a prevailing sense of nervousness. If the big Quartzsite RV Show is the watering hole, is there a lion in the bush?
Elephant in the room
Lion in the bush, maybe, but certainly the elephant in the room is spelled COVID-19. We called in to Quartzsite’s town hall to inquire about local officials’ view of visitor numbers. Assistant town manager Cliff O’Neill put on a cheery face. “Events are all ongoing!” he told us. Yeah, but how about the number of visitors? O’Neill pointed out there appeared to be plenty of folks out on the desert.
And in town? Usually we get a feel for how many folks are in town by the “flush-o-meter” scale. Never heard of it? It’s just how much sewage is processed by the local wastewater plant. We’d been calling O’Neill’s boss, town manager Jim Ferguson, leaving repeated voice mails requesting the information. O’Neill apologized, but couldn’t give us any information about “sewage flow rates.” In the end, he did say, “There’s a sense the numbers are down.”
Some numbers are up – the wrong ones
Could this be because other numbers are decidedly UP? Those numbers are the staggering statistics on COVID-19. Earlier today (Jan. 8), the local health department, La Paz County, reported 69 new cases of the virus, and one additional death. It may not sound like much, but put it into perspective. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people stands at 173. Measure that against those figures for the entire state of Arizona: 127. As of today, La Paz County has the HIGHEST RATE of infection, per capita, in the ENTIRE STATE. Now note that Arizona, the Grand Canyon State, has the dubious ranking of Number 1 on the list of all states in the country with the highest COVID numbers.
A couple of months ago we reported that while the Quartzsite RV Show was “tentatively” a go, Show promoters noted that the town would have a final say as the time got closer. So we pressed Quartzsite’s O’Neill on the matter. In light of these huge infection numbers, the town was officially behind the Show? All he would tell us was that town officials had looked over the Show’s “health protocols,” and that the event “is ongoing.”
Taxes trump health concerns?
Interestingly enough, one “event” that is definitely off is the town’s library. Visitors looking for books or a place to get close to an internet Wi-Fi hookup will need to look elsewhere. A person who answered the phone at the library today told us the place is closed down, indefinitely, due to worries about COVID-19. One person this writer spoke with made the suggestion that perhaps the tax-generating aspects of the RV Show outweighed those same health concerns shown library employees and patrons.
Health officials keep telling us that mask wearing is one of the principal ways to avoid spreading COVID. But the laissez-faire attitude toward such protection – unfortunately shown by many, locals and visitors alike – isn’t helping too much. And while many are putting stock and hopes in the administration of COVID vaccines, don’t look for much advancement in the Quartzsite sphere. A few days ago, the county health department indicated older folks with underlying health conditions may have to wait as long as late spring to get the jab.
The big show’s promoters feel they’re doing their part to keep you safe. Face masks will be mandatory for everyone, vendors and guests alike. Aisles will be wider, hopefully promoting physical distancing. And managers are asking folks to NOT come on opening day, if they can avoid it.
Still, we wonder – will the Quartzsite RV Show be memorable this year? One way or another, it certainly will be. Let’s hope that it isn’t remembered as a major Super Spreader event.
Quartzsite RV Show: Maybe there’s some hope for the safety-minded
I just read all the comments and sadly I’m not surprised that folks like Matt Johnson, Patti Moriarty, dwest, L RAAF, Brinkly Sellers, Eileen Brown, etc. had some harsh things to say. To be so crass and flip about somebody’s life – death is heartbreaking. Difficult for me to grasp the lack of care for a fellow human and overall selfishness. I believe I have a responsibility toward you; I pray you learn we are all responsible for each other.
My comment will not change anyone’s perspective, but I feel better for saying it out loud.
Been in Quartzsite a week, staying in our Class A in the desert North of town with many other rigs all around as far as you can see. Found far more people here than expected, though crowds are definitely down from prior year visits.
Rode my bike into town to the big tent yesterday and found the crowds attending the show to be very light. Masking is required and aisles marked 1 way – though just like in grocery stores that have tried this people totally ignore it. Sorry, but that is just not how people shop. But it was not dangerous as the aisles did seem wider. Overall the show was pretty much the same inside & outside the tent. Redlands Truck & RV set up a large service area – as always – though there were some empty bays open and waiting to help customers.
Overall it feels like the Quartzsite of old – Just less crowded. So I am calling this year Quartzite lite.
We live in the Phoenix area and generally drive out to Quartzsite during the show but will most definitely skip this year, pure craziness that they are having this event.
Having the RV show in Quartzsite with the pandemic continuing to cause the loss of thousands of lives is ridiculous. Like Forest Gump said “Stupid is as stupid does”.
If I was going to be in that area I would totally go
Nope. See ya next year
We are in Q but we’re not going to visit the tent. Now I think we both have COVID. Can’t get tested until tomorrow. I think we got it while in Lake Havasu and brought it with us. Fortunately we have not been anywhere in Q and are self isolating. We have talked to a couple of people before having symptoms. Trying our best not to spread it.
For all the Covid denyers
Wear a mask
Wash your hands often
And remember “there is a pill for you because you are crazy, but there is not one for your stupidity!”
I would definitely go if I was on that side of the country. But regarding the elderly and the compromised in the area not getting the vaccine they think will help. Ofcourse they have to wait for many many months. All the healthy politicians in DC and at state level believe they are more important then you, so their first in line.
So 1.7 people out of 1000 is the “death” rate?? Ooo, scary. If I were there I’d go. I like looking at RV’s. If masks & vaccines are so scientifically trustworthy, and the academic intellectual elite are so zealous about “following the science”, then simply go, enjoy, bring some purell, wear a face diaper If that’s how you need to cope, and try to be normal. Less than 2 in 1000 is pretty good odds. In all logical risk management, those are really great odds, I’ll take it.
The odds may be in your favor of not dying, but you could still deal with a horrible experience and have lasting effects like fatigue, heart issues, lung issues, and more. I know family struggling to make it through a work day now and someone that needed a lung transplant. So remember that death is not the only outcome of this virus.
And please wear your “face diaper” to protect others from the consequences. If you pass it on asymptomatically (or if you choose to ignore your symptoms), that person could be the person who dies. Don’t be cruel.
1.7 out of a 1000 not bad odds, unless it’s you. I would never gamble on Russian Roulette, don’t see a difference. See you next year….I hope
We are in Quartzsite in our RV. Have no intentions of going to the RV Show. Super Spreader!
You should not describe positive covid reports as “cases”. Cases implies treatment, and the vast majority of covid positive individuals do not require any treatment. Such language sensationalizes the numbers. I am sure you are just following what you read in the media, and of course they are in business to make money.
According to health care workers and reporting agencies, a Covid-19 positive test is considered a case. Not all who test positive require treatment.
Now tell those that can not be treated and cured that died should not be counted in the number reported of cases.
Plain and simple, social distance, six feet, wear a mask correctly, wash hands! Take steps to prevent the spread and if you don’t feel good, STAY HOME!
Four legs good, two legs baa-ad..
The animal farm called, they want their sheep back.
Also take into account, this is right off the CDC guidelines for reporting a covid death, The cause of covid death only has to be thought or believe covid might have been a factor. No positive test required. That is why we have seen car crash deaths be considered covid deaths as well as many other none related covid deaths. Remember when we were told there is a plane to remove the president? I believe this is it. Take a Sars virus,not very deadly to begin with, slightly modify it, and blame a huge number of deaths on it. Yes it is deadly, but nothing like what the blame on it. This is all leading up to what they call the great reset that has been in the works for over a decade.
L RAAF: Actually, we use the term “cases,” per the United States Centers for Disease Control. Oxford defines case, in this context, as “an instance of a disease or problem.” From where we sit, COVID-19 certainly appears to be a disease, and most certainly a problem.
How come non mask wearers who wind up with the disease ,often come out of the hospital with a different attitude. They don’t seem to be laughing because they didn’t wear a mask in crowds,but telling the people”hey this is serious folks”. When they look at what they don’t remember during the recovery,they seem to want to wear masks and stay away from crowds. I guess it changes a lot of peoples mind .Another symptom of the disease?
Not all of them. My son-in-laws mother and her boyfriend had covid in the summer, wound up in the hospital, one on a ventilator and left in a wheelchair, both in rehab. They are still out shopping all the time, going to restaurants, concerts etc. They are far from the only ones that do this. Our county judge says he does not work for the governor or the Federal govt. and has steadfastly refused to shut anything or lower occupancy limits. He also had covid.
Not my experience. Just like the flu is what the two people I personally know say. I also know about a dozen people that got tested positive, retested about 4 days later that showed negative. I know 4 people, two different households, that went to take the test, filled out the paperwork, got tired of waiting so they left before being tested. And the next week they were notified they were positive. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, just it has been highly blown out of proportion. This is just me, I believe for political reasons.
I’m in Q and will not attend.
Nope: Not gonna.
Too many careless Covidiots.
I’m wondering how they are getting their population count since most residents of La Paz County are not full time? If they are using the cases per 100,000 full time residents then it is wrong. But, I still would not attend the big tent event.
Linda: You’re quite correct, there aren’t 100,000 residents in La Paz County. It’s simply a mathematics equation that allows you to compare statistics. If there WERE 100,000 residents in La Paz County, THEN, the numbers would be such and such. Thanks!
I have to beg to differ. I know November and December were fairly quiet, but people were really streaming in when I left in early January. Laundromats full, gas pumps full, Koehn St busy. No, not like last year on January 25, but, serious crowds nonetheless. By the time the big show opens, it’s gonna be quite a population. I get the feeling people may have condensed their trips–decided to come for late January instead of the whole season.
Just don’t want people to be lulled into thinking it’s a quiet time and they can slip in for a pleasant no-crowds visit. That’s not how it’s gonna be.
The tent will be open, that’s a given. It’s a personal preference if you want to go or not, no one is making you go or telling you not to go. You have options and have the FREEDOM to do what you want. However, if you do go it is respectful of others to wear a mask. Do I like wearing them? Absolutely not! Do I think there’s any real science that says they work? That’s debatable. But I do wear them when I’m indoors in public out of respect for others.
This is the Sturgis of the RV crowd… another super-spreader event of social Darwinism…
Reminds me of a meme I heard:
“You can’t fix stupid, but Covid can”.
Sturgis was not a super spreader!
I was there and a vendor so i came in contact with many bikers and tourist. I did not get sick.
From Web M.D. website South Dakota officials strongly disagree. In a statement Tuesday, Gov. Kristi Noem called the report “fiction” and “grossly misleading.” State Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton, PhD, said at a news briefing that the report numbers are ”a far cry” from reality. He said that 124 South Dakota residents who had attended the rally have been diagnosed with COVID.Thomas Lee, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, reviewed the study but was not involved in the research. “I do agree the event led to more cases,” he says. “What’s debatable is the actual number, and everyone is never going to agree.”
Totally weird that a state that depends on money from such events finds a way to defend them.
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
It is highly irresponsible to host a show like this during a Pandemic. Even if they take every measure possible, some people will be contagious without symptoms. And you can’t get 6′ away from anyone in most RVs, in public bathrooms, or at trade show booths. I don’t know why it isn’t some type of criminal negligence.