Thursday, 25 January 2018

Quartzite: RVer Mecca for some, Hell for others.

Our five hour drive to Quartzite was a pleasant one with light traffic and great sites of misty mountains, fresh foliage, beauty buttes, daunting dinosaurs, solemn Saguaros and the splendid Sonoran Desert.

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Ostrich farm with herds of 60 or more.

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Not sure if we were seeing dust or haze.

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Illegal to harm Saguaros, construction must go around them.

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Like snowflakes, there are no two Saguaros the same!

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The desert without irrigation.

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Irrigation

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The desert with irrigation.

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Roadside greenery prompts thoughts of Spring in Ontario.

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Two buttes are better than one?

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It’s lonely at the top!

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Stopping in Gila Bend, we filled up our tummies, propane and diesel tanks.  The old town had some interesting antiquated buildings and signage.  At the gas station, Dixie greeted her dinosaur friends that she’d met a few years back.  She asked if we could bring the little one along to be her play mate however the adults gave me the roar of disapproval!

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Chris is at the pumps in the background.

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Missed out on a great sale, NOT!

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A couple of teenagers were having it out across the road.

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We roared past the busiest area in Quartzite to find a campsite further from town but closer to the Ham fest.  We were lucky to find a spot away from the masses and set up in time for dinner and a sunset.

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We enjoyed our first two days of semi-solitude, biking towards the mountains on a deserted road, reading outside in the 70 degree afternoon temps and watching the sun fall slowly behind the mountains.

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Dune buggies roar down the mountain trails before sunset.

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On two previous visits to the Big Q.we found quiet, private areas to camp where we hiked along the rocky paths, relaxed and saluted the sunsets over our campfire.  We knew that Quartzite was known for its crowds, hucksters and dust but we managed to sample only a few hours of that on both our stays.  Even so, we vowed not to return to Quartzite again.

But that was then.

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With Chris’s new enthusiasm for Ham Radio, the prospect of traveling to Quartzite this year for a Ham-fest seemed appealing.  We were determined to cope with a bit of crowding in exchange for a lot of information at workshops and lectures.    Not far away from our relatively private campsite, more social Ham-types huddled cheek to jowl, displaying an array of antennae to communicate with the world.

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We ventured into the nerve centre of Quartzite one day to “see the sites”.  The annual humongous RV Show was setting up to sell motorhomes, fifth wheels and any type of trailer on the market.  All other products related to RVing could be found for sale around the area: floor mats, awnings, towing equipment, furniture, blankets, tools, housewares and anything else you may need.  The vendors were practicing all methods of merchandising to entice, persuade, tempt and convince the crowds to BUY, BUY, BUY!  Many food booths supplied food and drink of all description to fuel the customer's spending appetites.

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I actually love these balloons that mark the RV-Fest.

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The following folks are likely not in the market for a new RV!

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Note the street name.

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Step Right Up…We have the deal for you!

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From ghastly fleece

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..to glow in the dark eggs.

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Warm up with a wooly toque.

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Cool down with an ice-cream cone.

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antique oil jars

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wooden angel wings?

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Remember, RVers are trying to travel light!?

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But have you got any beads?

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And the greatest reason to avoid Quartzite, the CROWDS

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Or, you could hide in the back of a transport truck and play piano.

Quartzite lies on the western portion of the La Posa Plain along Tyson Wash.  Dome Rock , Granite, Oldman and Polomosa Mountain Ranges surround the plain.  Winter temperatures are mild to warm but its temps of 122 F. or 50 C. in summer make Quartzite one of the hottest places in the US.  The area is stone-rich and attracts hundreds of rock hounds to its nine major gem and mineral shows.

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Our first two nights were great but on the third, just before sun  down, a fifth wheel barreled in and parked almost beside us just a few trees and twelve feet beyond us.  There was a lot of available parking space in front and behind yet there they were, snug up against us.  We thought we could handle “the rude and selfish” but we went immediately into our aggravated and pissed-off mode.  The following day, we took a long bike ride to try and shake off our frustration but upon our return we concluded that the following day, we would head for a remote, peaceful area.  Chris found Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, just over an hour’s drive away and with joy in our hearts, we readied ourselves for our morning departure.

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One last Quartzite sunset with a neighbour’s campfire.

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On our fourth morning, we grit our teeth on our final Quartzite trip to empty our tanks and fill up with water necessary for our boon-docking adventure.  Soon we were heading west towards Kofa Wildlife Reserve.  Farewell to the Ham-festers, SKP-festers, RV-festers, Blogger-festers, Geologist-festers, Boomer-festers, Blue-Grass festers, OOberfesters and ATV-festers.

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Goodbye, not Au Revoir Quartzite.

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Power tower wearing Mickey Mouse ears.

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We found a great spot where we will stay for two weeks.

 Come little Dixie, come with me, happy we will be!

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