I can’t say I “love” Quartzsite enough to make the Big Show an annual sojourn. I’m sure some RVers plan their visit a year in advance but from the dwindling crowds and vendors, I suspect they might be the minority. Not even the weather cooperated this year. It was cold, breezy and often overcast, banishing all thoughts of hot and dry, terms usually associated with Arizona.
The Swap Meet, Rock and Gem Show and Arts and Craft Show draws a lot of people during January and February, which means RV dealers arrive as well, promising spectacular bargains on a variety of units. Cue in “captive market”. Most businesses in Quartzsite depend on this annual revenue to keep them afloat the remainder of the year, and offer creative, often humorous marketing to snag your dollars.
Our visit coincided with my scheduled book signing at the Readers Oasis Bookstore, owned by naturalist Paul Winer and his wife. The Author’s Fair included several other writers, and although my plans took a nose dive resulting in one appearance out of three, I enjoyed meeting and talking with readers.
Hubs and I set up our rig in one of the gravel “dry” camping lots close to the RV Show and Swap Meet tents. The downside was noise, a large group of RVers from Sun Lakes with attitude i.e. rude and inconsiderate of fellow campers, and traffic. The upside was walking distance to the show tents, a great Canadian couple camped nearby who were absolutely lovely, and walking distance to Silly Al’s Pizza . . . a must see and do in Q.
The rest of the experience was meh. We stayed a week last year – before the major events started – and left unimpressed. This year, we came, we saw, we shopped – and still left unimpressed. In my opinion, the cost of everything including RVs is inflated. The food was typical carnival fare . . . priced high and low on flavor. We threw away our Alligator on a Stick after two bites. Five half dollar sized nuggets were $10, undercooked and rubbery.
I think Q would be more palpable if one arrived with a group and planned day trips to other areas. The landscape is actually pretty with jagged mountains circling the town. If you have an ATV, this is definitely a great part of the state to explore. Unfortunately, we don’t own such a vehicle, although one may end up on our wish list.
So there you have it. A few days of craziness which produced nothing more than a need for some quiet boondocking in the desert to unplug from the crowds. We left with our pocketbooks a little thinner and our waists a little thicker but at least now we know what all the hub-bub is about. No repeats necessary.