Boondocking Mecca – Quartzsite, AZ
For the past several days we’ve been boondocking in one of my favorite spots, next to one of my favorite stories. “The beast” is most happily parked in our own little wilderness next to one of the biggest and oddest crowd convergences in the country. We’re in Quartzsite, AZ and being here in winter is to become part of a living phenomenon.
Quartzsite is your typical lonely ad-hoc desert town. A wild, dry plot of desert with a mere 3,000 or so inhabitants it distinguishes itself mostly by being a “hot-spot” of gem-hunters and backs that up with a slew of odd-ball desert lovers and no less than 9 major mineral shows each year.
But once a year in winter something extraordinary happens. Drawn by a unique crowd psychology that would puzzle even Sigmund Freud, hundreds of thousands of RVers converge onto Quartzsite BLM land and create a living, breathing, pulsating community of snowbirds. It’s a boondocking Mecca and likely the biggest collection of dry-camping rigs in the world.
Quartzsite has adapted to the influx and offers several huge LTVA (long-term) boondocking areas for a mere $180 for the season (7 months). It’s one of the best winter deals around!
But that’s not the end of it. With the coming of the wheelers’ begins a madness of enterprise. Out of the blank canvas of the desert there arises a mish-mash of colorful activities with craft shows, line-dancing groups, pot-luck dinners, rallies, group meetings and music jams. You’ll have RVers selling knick-knacks from their rigs and endless rows of “rummage” shops offering every part, bit and parcel you could imagine. Even the major RV dealerships get in on the deal hosting a massive show in early Jan each year. It’s a crazy rush of spontaneous free-livin’ society at its’ best!
But it’s still early days yet. Here in mid-November the collection of RVers is only just starting and we’ve still got plenty of space to ourselves. We’re parked outside the “main drag” in one of 5 designated free 14-day limit parking areas (Dome Rock) with our next neighbour well out of sight. Here we recreate our very first boondocking experience , including our most wonderful loo escapades, albeit with 2 years more on the road and a far better toolbox. And to top it all off we’re part of the phenomenon, baby!