It was a very busy week here in Quartzsite. Doug had over scheduled (again) the leisure time, so you had to be prepared to sit and talk at any moment. But if you wanted, there were games, courtesy of Michael and Renee (GOFNUTS), available to pass the time. Michael (MICHAELNCINDY) and Dennis (DENNIS KORCHAK) tried the imitation Golf game with Mark (MTHEO) providing advice and instruction.
One of the major attractions of Quartzsite is the RV show (what – you thought it was the dirt and the wind?). They have the largest tent I have ever seen (look at the Quartzsite web site for an aerial photo of this puppy) which houses most of the vendor booths. Then there is the surrounding area outside where even more vendors have display booths. The show draws people from Phoenix, Yuma, San Diego, and Los Angeles besides all of the RV’ers camped in the desert. Needless to say, it can get crowded on the weekend when it opens. The experienced folks (that would be us) know to avoid the place until Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest unless you really enjoy “close” company. This picture was taken on Tuesday, and while still crowded, doesn’t even begin to compare to the weekend.
While waiting for the out-of-towners to depart, the group found other things to do. The ladies decided the provided lanyards for the badges were not up to their standards and they needed to do something about it. So after a trip into town to acquire supplies, they gathered to make beaded lanyards. The competition was hot heavy as everyone employed their own style and design in creating the “perfect” lanyard.
The end results were spectacular. Doug (DHENRY) has a “manly man” lanyard to go with his extensive Montana clothing collection.
Here is a large sample (some folks had left before we got a picture) of the final results demonstrating the varied styles and designs.
We did find things to do in between the numerous “leisure times” blocks. The “20 year old fireplace” (a long story, ask Doug about it) was in desperate need of repair. It was basically indistinguishable from the surrounding rocky soil. So the “Fireplace Fairies” collected rocks and rebuilt it to our standards.
Mechanical failures are a fact of life with RVs and we were not exempt. Michael (MICHAELNCINDY) awoke one morning with a slight list in the trailer due to a flat tire. So, with 20+ testosterone charged guys around, what did we do? We, called AAA of course! It only took three calls to get someone to understand it was Fifth Wheel, not a motor home, and yes, it was parked in the desert where there isn’t a street address (actually the GPS programs had us at 30007 Plomosa Road, but that doesn’t fly with AAA). So the AAA shows up and changes the tire.
While AAA did a fine job, there were some concerns (20+ guys can always find fault with anything). First, the spare tire was on one of those white spoke steel wheels and clashed with the spiffy aluminum rim on the other axle. Second, the spare seemed to be low on air too. Thirdly, the now spare tire was flat and wasn’t really viable as a spare. So Mark (MTHEO) came up with a “tire plug” repair kit and helped Michael repair the tire.
The repair was pretty easy once we figured out to add air to the tire while reaming the hole. Trying to get past the steel belts doesn’t work when the tread is collapsing around the reamer. The repair was successful and the tire proved to hold air. So you know the crowd wasn’t going to let Michael stay with the mismatched rims. Besides, he had never changed a tire on the trailer, so it was a perfect time to gain some new knowledge. There is no end to what we will do to make our Montana’s look good. And Michael made it back home on the repaired tire without incident.
This was the first ever boon docking experience for a number of the campers (SREIGLE, PARROTHEAD, JH Sechelt, JJPARKER, David and Jo-Anna, BirdingRVer and maybe others). All of them seemed to enjoy the experience. But Grant and Cathy (BirdingRver) *REALLY* got into it. Grant had two brand new Honda 2000i’s and a Parallel Kit that had to be assembled (something about the Apollo ½ time oven being integral to their survival necessitated the two Hondas).
Once Grant had power, he discovered he just had to have another survival necessity, Direct TV. Sure enough, in Quartzsite, the vendor is very knowledgeable about installing in a RV (try getting the same results using the 800 number) and they come to you.
Apparently, Raider (the Golden Retriever) shakes the trailer when scratching and was disturbing their Honda powered Direct TV experience. So the next step was to add a set of JT Stabilizers. Actually, a number of Montana owners besides Grant acquired stabilizers during the week. And like Direct TV, the JT installers would come to where you are in the desert.
This is BirdingRVers first time boon docking and they figured they would stay for a day or two (at most according to Kathy). Well, it has been a week now, they are still here, and they may stay a while longer once they find the Laundromat in Q. I think they are having a good time. They even like the coyote waking them up at 3:30 AM.
For those who were tired of “leisure time” or had OD’d on improvement projects, Doug (DHENRY) offered a Geo Caching trip. He had downloaded the location of five caches in the Quartzsite area and led a group to find them. We got to see sites and scenery that most don’t know exist around Quartzsite. One find was an old stock yard, with a hand built rock cistern, on the edge of town. In the picture below, we are walking (the drivers were reluctant to attempt the steep gully ahead) towards a cache hidden in the outcropping, in the distance, on the left of the road. We had a successful hunt finding all five caches we attempted.
As you knew, or have figured out by now, this boon docking stuff is basic survival mode. Always a topic of conversation and interest is food. What have I eaten, what will I eat next and what great meals have I had in other locations are popular topics. The restaurants in Q are mediocre to awful at best. But we keep trying them hoping to find one we can recommend. One night, a group tried a Mexican restaurant in Parker (35 miles away) in hope it would be up to out standards (which aren’t very high). Most thought it was pretty good but Michael (GOFNUTS) appeared to be overheated (he says Mexican and Chinese food does that to him).
At another fine dining establishment in Q, Dave and Kelly (DAVE ANDERSON) were celebrating their recent 50th wedding anniversary. Sparing no expense, Dave is asking the waitress if the wine he ordered has a plastic or metal screw off lid.
We are a sympathetic group who look out for each other. This includes ensuring everyone gets enough to eat. What better way to ensure everyone adds a few unneeded pounds than to have a potluck! So on Thursday, despite the threatening weather (which turned out to be sunny and warm), everyone pitched in to ensure the survival on the species.
The final organized adventure was the “Open House” for any Montana owners in the Quartzite area. There are a surprising number of us out here in the desert and it was great to meet some of them. Did I mention there was food involved? But you knew that.
One attraction to camping is the evening campfire. And we had one every night. Normally, the first one to finish dinner would come out and start the fire. As the others finished, they too would grab a chair and sit around the fire. As the week progressed, it seemed the fire started earlier and earlier each night. Perhaps it became an extension of cocktail hour or folks were eating earlier. In any event, you can tell it isn’t dark yet (nor is it cold) in the picture. But there is the hard core crew tending the fire so the rest of us will have it to enjoy.
Unfortunately the time flew and it was Sunday – departure day for many. It is always sad to have to say goodbye, and the weather contributed to the mood. It had started raining just after midnight and it proceeded to spit and dribble all morning. Wet, grey, and ugly with a touch of brown mud made loading up no fun. Most got out without incident, but not Dennis (DENNIS AND CAROL). He had the unfortunate luck to find a prairie dog estate that looked solid until you placed seven tons of equipment on it.
Fortunately, there was a Ford (RPHOWARD) available to assist Dennis’ Dodge to safety.
Once again, the “Circling of the Montanas” in Quartzsite was a great success. I believe we had a total of 31 rigs (including SOBs) join in and everyone had a terrific time. Those of you who were here, we look forward to seeing you next year. Those of you who weren’t here – why not? Don’t let boondocking scare you, it is easier than it looks. Just ask those who did it for the first time this year.
Edited to correct the spelling of Kathy's name.