Bill and I have been talking about going to Quartzsite for so long, and we are FINALLY here! We left out of Kartchner Caverns on a Tuesday and had a 290 mile ride in front of us. Tracy & Lee and Cori & Greg had both left ahead of us, we were last to leave at about 10:15am.
Along the way, we saw lots of desert scenery, along with Tuscon and then Phoenix. There were lots of Saguaro Cactus.
We finally arrived about 3:30pm, but before parking, we needed to fill up on water. Quartzsite has no hook-ups at all, no electric, no water or sewer on-site. Absolute boondocking! We’ve done partial boonbocking, with electric and water, but no sewer for extended periods, and full boondocking a few times, only a night or two (except the Rally last Feb), but here, we’ve got nothing on-site. We have to hook-up go to get water in our fresh tank and dump the black and grey tanks. Some people use blue-boys to dump their tanks and use large 55 gallon plastic drums to get fresh water, but since this is our first time, we will try it just hooking up once per week and seeing how that goes.
Most everyone that has been here, has been here since the beginning of January, or shortly thereafter. Tracy & Lee had been here, but left for a bit of time in Lake Havasu and then Vegas before meeting us at Kartchner. Cori & Greg had also been here for a little bit before leaving for Picachu State Park for a bit before meeting us in Kartchner. It was great they came back so we could all hang out a bit longer before going our separate ways. Pam & Red, Rick, Jim & Barb, Dino & Lisa, and a few others have also been here a while.
When we arrived, we paid our fee ($40 for 2 weeks! – YES YOU HEARD ME RIGHT!) we pulled up to the fresh water station, where Lee & Tracy were just finishing up. There is a lot of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land that people can, and do, boondock on for free, but we felt it was well worth the $40 to have the services nearby. Greg pulled up in his truck and waited for us so he could show us where we would be parking, as is customary. It would be nearly impossible to just show up and find your group, unless someone just did exact mileage or something. There are few markers, just dirt roads that lead here and there. Everyone in our group is pretty close to one another so visiting is easy. I was surprised how it does feel somewhat organized, not just haphazard, as I was expecting. I guess some of it is, but where we are, you can easily tell who is together and who is on their own. It is DRY – just ask my nose and skin! It is dusty! Our rig isn’t too bad yet, but you can tell who’s been here awhile. The truck and rig are going to need a good scrubbing, inside and out, when we leave here!
We’ve been having a great time with everyone! They all got together and put out a chili dog dinner for us when we got here! How cool was that!? Red & Pam organized it so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking on our travel day! RV Dreamers are awesome that way! Thanks again to everyone!
Check out this beautiful bracelet my friend, Ellen, gave me! She is so sweet!
My very first morning, I was up early – the sun was rising and one of our shades wasn’t all the way down. A beam of sunlight was coming in and hitting me right in the face. I got up and took this pic!
I was invited to join Pam, Barb, Lisa and Diane for a line dancing lesson. The local community center offers the lessons, and some other activities as well, such as Zumba. I would love to take advantage of that, but I am afraid my knees are not quite up to it yet. They’ve been going weekly since they’ve gotten here, so they all did way better than me. I am not a huge country music fan, but the dancing itself was fun! Thanks again for inviting me guys!
A bunch of us decided to go out for pizza at Silly Al’s. Normally I wouldn’t go out for pizza outside of the northeast, but Cori (also from PA) said it was pretty good, so we went along. We were not disappointed! We ordered 2 goliath 20″ pizzas and some appetizers. The food was all very good, as were the drinks, which flowed freely. It also just so happened to be Karaoke Night, and Tracy sang a song for Red & Pam! She did a great job! I went up to get the usual “book” but the guy didn’t have one. I didn’t have a specific song in mind, I was hoping one would just jump out at me, but since he only had his list in the computer, I just decided not to do it. Maybe next time!
One night we had a “Happy Birthday Sheldon” party. It was Big Bang Theory’s 200th episode and we had appetizers for dinner. Rick made the most amazing pulled pork AND a delish homemade rum cake. Tracy brought bread with olive oil dipping sauces, Cori made pinwheels. There was also bbq meatballs and mini hot dogs, cheese and meat trays, brownies, Bill and I brought Buffalo Chicken Dip and green salad. It was all good and I love that kind of dinner! What fun!
Friday, we were up and out early – it was going to be a BIG day! We were picking up Ellen & Mario and we were heading to Mexico for the day! Tracy & Lee were in need of getting their teeth cleaned and I was considering getting new glasses. Prices for these items are significantly less in Mexico than they are here in the U.S. That kind of makes me sad in a way, that we have to leave our own country to get health services b/c they are (all but) cost prohibitive here. I haven’t had new glasses in almost 2 years, so I was due. We crossed over into Los Algodones about 10:30am. The drive was easy and we parked in the walk-across parking lot without any trouble. It was a bit of a culture shock after we crossed through the Customs area. First, there was no checking of anything going into Mexico. No one stopped us and asked any questions or to see our passports, which I had safely in my purse. The only other thing I carried as a small backpack type bag with a few bottles of water.
The first thing we did was find Tracy & Lee a dentist. Ellen & Mario speak fluent Spanish and have been to this town a few times before, so they were aware of a dentist that they felt would be good. As we walked there, we were inundated with people, mostly dressed in scrubs, handing out business cards, asking if we needed dental, optical or pharmacy services. Like, a lot of people. Reminded me a bit of Jamaica with the people trying to sell their goods, although not as pushy. Directly across the street from the dentist, was an optical place, so we walked over so I could find out how much glasses would be.
They took my current glasses and checked them out to see what my RX was and what “extras” I have. I have a fairly complicated RX, I wear progressive lenses with transitions (the ones that change to sunglasses in the sun), I have hi-index lenses (polycarbonate thinner lenses (my current sunglasses aren’t hi-index and they are THICK), b/c they also come with anti-glare and scratch resistance built in). They quoted me (in writing) $220 US. Mario had coached me to not get excited and let them know I would be getting other quotes. They wrote it down on a card for me and we went on our way. Tracy & Lee were able to be seen almost immediately, so we went to walk around and come back for them. While wandering around looking at all the shops, we stopped into a few other places to get quotes for my glasses, and as it would turn out, the initial place was the best price. Plus, to be honest, I just felt the most comfortable there. I go by that feeling a lot and it rarely steers me wrong.
It was just about time for Tracy & Lee to be done with the dentist, so we found our way back. I went in and got my eye exam. I was hyper aware of how the optician did the exam, how he checked my vision. I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised at how thorough he was in determining my RX. I was somewhat disappointed he did not really look at my eyes much, nor did he do a glaucoma test. I will have to get a full exam at some point b/c my Dad has glaucoma and it is a hereditary thing, so I should get checked for that at least every couple years. I must also say it was somewhat “old-school” how he tested my vision, but not bad. He put the new frames on my face and measured where my pupil is. Had I mentioned that the price included new frames? Well, it sure does! They did not have a huge selections, but it wasn’t bad either. Sometimes too many choices just make it harder. The only downside to the whole thing is, I have to go back and get them next week, which is not really a big deal. Other places (except the one that was almost double in price – they could have had them done in 4 hours) said the same thing.
After all that was done, we were all hungry. Ellen had heard of a place that was good, so we walked in that direction. We all enjoyed our authentic Mexican food, even Lee liked his and he usually doesn’t like Mexican food. I had some very good chicken fajitas (my usual fav) and they were delish! Bill had a combo and he liked it a lot! Sadly, we were so busy eating, I didn’t take a pic!
After lunch, we continued our walk about the town. There are vendors all over the place, selling all kinds of stuff. Another big thing there is Pharmacies. They are all over the place, usually attached to a liquor store. I actually went into a few to see if I could get my RX cheap, but none I went into had it. Oh well! Bill and Mario sampled and bought some tequila, Jo & Ben were coming and we were having a Margarita party the following day. Prices were really good – a 750ml bottle of a good tequila for $7.00 a bottle! We also got a 750ml bottle of Kahula for $7.50! Sadly, we were only able to bring back one bottle each, otherwise I’m sure we would have gotten more! We will be back to get my glasses and bring back some more!
OH! I almost forgot! Tracy, Ellen and I decided to get haircuts! It was very last minute and they both had gotten cuts at this place before, so I decided to go for it. I asked her not to take off any length, just add some layers, as it was feeling “heavy” lately. She was no Jamie Lauren (my go-to stylist for 9 years!) but she did ok. Better than the FL chick, and get this – $8 including the tip!
The only downside of the whole day (and it really wasn’t that bad) was the hour long wait to get back into our country of origin. It was pretty hot by then, and we were all getting tired and we were thirsty.
Special thank-you shout out to Ellen & Mario for being our escorts! We enjoyed our time spent with you and also appreciate your assistance on helping me find a place to get my glasses!
On the way back, I was getting very excited b/c Jo & Ben were coming that evening! They were actually making the drive all the way from the Santa Barbara, CA area to see us in Quartzsite! How awesome was that? Just so you know how awesome it really is – it was a 6 hour drive!
We were mostly still full from lunch and just had some salad for dinner, and then went out to sit by the fire Lee started to wait for Jo & Ben. We got the call that they were turning on to Rt 95 south, and I couldn’t just sit and wait anymore! I had told everyone Bill & I wanted to go “lead them in” like Greg did for us. Especially after dark, there is really no way to describe how to get to where we are once you get through the gate. Red hopped into the truck with us and we drove down to wait by the entrance. They came along only a few minutes after we got there and we led them to “our area”. Hugs all around and we sat out chatting my the fire for quite a while before turning in.
The following morning, some of us decided to go into town and get some breakfast. Ben had heard of a place, Bad Boys Cafe, that was supposed to be the best breakfast here in Q. What a great find! Fresh eggs, tators, fresh corned beef hash, and toast – $6.50! HUGE portion – I couldn’t finish it all! Bill got a sausage & cheese omelet with tators and toast – it was HUGE! The coffee was $0.25 per “never empty” cup! WOW! Excellent find, Ben!
After breakfast, we walked around to look at some of the vendors for a little while. There sure is some crazy stuff! Some of it good, some not so much.
We eventually drove back to our place near the 3rd wash and chilled. Someone suggested we show Jo & Ben Beer Bellys Adult Day Care. It’s a Q tradition, and Bill & I hadn’t been there yet either. We piled back in trucks and did the very short 4 minute drive. We found a table and the entertainement had just got started. I am not a country/western music fan, but those who are – they seemed to enjoy the singer/guitar player. We all had a couple drinks and Red & Pam split a burger. Tracy had stopped for ice cream and it wasn’t long before Bill & I and Cori & Greg got some too!
We looked around at the vendors in that side of town before heading back home. There was just enough time for a short rest before we had to get ready for our Margarita 80’s Dance Party.
Bill had his bar set up and was serving Margaritas by just before dark. Tracy started her playlist and the party was started!
Bill kept busy all evening, making sure everyone’s cup was always full. Cori & Greg had made the main ingredients for beef and chicken tacos; everyone else brought the toppings, queso, guac, sour cream, cheese, tomato, salsa and onion.It was a very yummy meal!
Lee had started a big fire, and we all got comfy sitting around it. All together I think there was about 18 of us! Tracy did a great job on the playlist and there was some dancing. My knees didn’t allow me to stay up there as long as I would have liked, but I gave it all I had!
We all chatted and listened to the music well into the night. I did have a bit of a “moment”, when it hit me once again “THIS is our life!” Seriously, we are in the desert, drinking margaritas, eating tacos with other full-time RV’ers, dancing under the AZ star filled sky. Who does that? WE DO! I went around the circle and just thanked everyone for being here with Bill and I at this moment. I think everyone probably thought I was being a big sappy fool, which I was, but no one seemed to mind. It may have been the alcohol talking, but the sentiment hasn’t changed in the light of day.
The light of day had us up and cooking up some bacon, sausage and eggs for the crew. There was pancakes, French toast, hash browns and Mario made the most delicious coffee! We wanted to have a last meal together with Jo & Ben before they had to leave for CA. They both had to work Monday. While I was sad their time with us was short, a weekend is better then no time at all! We were all grateful that they were willing to make the drive. Bill and I will be seeing them again soon!
The balance of that day, as well as the next day were a bit subdued after all the excitement of the past few days. I spent some time visiting with Pam and we went out for a ride on her Rhino.
I also spent time over with Tracy. While we sat outside chatting, a few hummingbirds came by to eat at her feeder. Check out these pics I took!
Time to close this post for now. I will pick up next time, telling you about our time in Yuma and then coming back to the dust bowl dessert. Til then…