Saturday, January 19, 2013

01/19/13, Saturday: We are staying at Scaddan Wash which is BLM land set aside for 14-day free camping. After 14 days you have to move 25 miles away, or go to the LTVA (long term visitor’s area). At the LTVA you can stay there for $188 for up to 7 months, or $40 for 14 days. There are other short term areas like we’re in now, but they are not 25 miles away from us. What they suggest is after our 14 days, go to the LTVA for 14 days for $40, then go to another 14 days short term. That’s $40 for 6 weeks. One of the LTVA areas has water, dump station and garbage for free. Where we’re at now we don’t have any of that. So we’re trying to conserve water and see how long it will last, and how long it will take to fill our dump tanks. There are areas in town that sell water and have dump stations for a charge.

Scaddan Wash was the first area we found when we got here. It’s near I-10, the main east/west highway. There is some highway noise, but we figured we’d do the in-town things we want for the first 14 days and then move further away after that. The other areas are only about 5 miles away, so they’re really not far either.

Quartzsite is a small town, about 3500 people, 20 miles east of the California border, 80-some miles south of Lake Havasu and north of Yuma. According to the Arizona Highway Department, as many of 750,000 to 1,000,000 people, mostly in RV’s come to this area, mostly in January and February, for the 9 major gem, mineral, and 15 general swap meets in this town. Also there is a large RV show for 2 weeks in January.  There are large tents that vendors are under, blocks and blocks of them.

We learned yesterday that you go right away in the morning if you want a parking spot and room to walk. We did go yesterday morning and by the time we left about 2:00 there were so many people you could barely move.  There are so many vendors selling the same things, I can’t imagine how they sell. And if you’re selling to full-timing RVers, you only have so much room to store things.  There are multiple tents of cheap items like Harbor Freight sells, tools and gloves, rugs, etc. There are tents of RV items, jewelry, rugs, flags and flagpoles (on RV’s or 4-wheelers). And tents and tents of rocks and gems.

There are people and RVs of every size and shape. Anything goes.  From tenters to large motorhomes, they’re here in the desert. There are also around 60+ RV parks within 20 miles or so of Quartzsite, and BLM land all the way south to Yuma and north to Lake Havasu City and west into California.

As I said before, the desert is not what we expected. I always pictured just sand dunes as a desert. There are a lot of rocks and shrubbery. Very little cactus in this area. So far no animals seen (including no snakes). There are hummingbirds and roadrunners. But dry air and static electricity. 

One of the "streets" in the vendor area

Some of these rocks are taller than we are - what would you do with it?

A vendor "bus"


Camping on BLM land - park wherever you want, by yourself or in a group

I-10 into Quartzsite, a very busy main highway. What you see in the background is the town, which is mostly RVs and mobile homes at this time.

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