Quartzsite Impressionsby Jim Dick
Just what is this place?? It can't be described in words. It doesn't have any great attractions like a large city. I doubt it's even known outside the RV and Rock & Gem worlds. Yet, it attracts millions of people each year.
This was our first experience with QZ. We didn't know for sure what to expect. We had heard many stories about QZ, especially from Fred & Daisy. They told us we wouldn't believe what we would see and they were right!
First, the desert is like nothing we have back east. Dry, dusty, lack of vegetation we're accustomed to seeing, but strangely compelling. There is a certain fascination with the desert that is hard to put into words. The wide open valleys, surrounded by mountains; the many dry washes that fill with water only during the rainy season; the endless days filled with sun; the constant wind, sometimes gentle, sometimes very strong. There is nothing like watching the sun rise over one mountain range in the morning and watching it set over another range in the evening. The colors are gorgeous. I only wish the rest of the country could have such a colorful display each night.
Then we have the people. They come from all walks of life. Some arrive in homemade rigs that defy description while others come in brand new Prevosts. They park all over the desert floor. Sometimes in little groups, sometimes alone, and other times in large gatherings. They are here for many reasons. Some just want to live quietly among nature for the winter, others may come for the large shows that go on at this time of year while others come for the RV Forum rally.
The shows which are scheduled each year at this time attract most of the people. QZ is the site of the largest rock & gem shows on earth. The Pow Wow draws artisans from all over the world to display their wonderful creations in gold, silver and gems. Along with the Pow Wow you have an RV show, Flea Market and Rock, Gem, and Jewelry vendors all gathered on the desert floor in a place called Quartzsite. I think you can buy just about anything your imagination can conjur up in QZ.
Along with the shows comes the traffic. This little town has two blinking lights on the main road from North to South. During the peak, it is one solid traffic jam for about two miles both North & South and East & West. Ironically, it flows smoother than any place else I have been. It takes a long time to travel in QZ but everyone seems to understand this and they don't get irritated and try to beat everyone else. They take turns and this allows the traffic to continue, albeit slow, in a steady flow. One day it took us 1 3/4 hours to go two miles but it was a pleasant trip as we had time to look around and enjoy what we saw as well as converse with friends without feeling rushed to get somewhere.
Then we have the RV Forum rally. As Margi said one day "Who would believe" we would have someone from California, Connecticut, and Maine walking in the desert in Arizona, together, as friends who had never seen each other before in their lives. And the day of the potluck, we had over 40 people gathered, again from all over the country and from all walks of life, sharing a meal and friendship. This is truly a wonder and one which I hope is repeated year after year. For those of you who haven't been able to make this gathering, it is worth it!! We are already planning a return next year and we haven't left yet. We hope the rest of you can join us someday to spend a little time with some of the greatest people we have been priviledged to know and count as friends. There is something about this desert that takes hold and actually changes your life....for the better!! As Daisy has so often said, it clears the cobwebs.
To those of you who were here, we were extremely grateful to be able to meet all of you and, to those who weren't, we look forward to meeting you at future rallies. This extended family is a wonderful experience and one we hope to continue for a long time to come.