If you’ve ever been to Quartzsite, Arizona, in any January, you would never recognize it today. The huge RV lots with hundreds of monster-sized high-dollar all-the-bells-and-whistles motor homes, trailers and fifth-wheels, are gone, empty asphalt slabs now in their place.
The ginormous Big Tent, with its bazillions of vendors hawking everything from camp-hosting jobs in the national forests, to slice ‘n dice vegetable shredders, to ill-health-repairing emu oil, to bright shiny rocks of all shapes and sizes and colors, to temporary holiday “picker” jobs at Amazon, to freshly made kettle corn, and everything imaginable in between, is now an empty blacktop the size of Kansas.
The street-side vendors of everything from kitchenware (get your latest greatest do-it-all spatula here!) to used car/truck/RV parts are also pretty much gone, although there are one or two die-hard hold-outs hanging in there, hoping for that last dollar or two before they head out to cooler climes.
Quartzsite’s weather is beginning to warm up. Ninety degree temperature days are about to become normal and ice cream will melt before you can get it into your car after buying it at the market. Oh yes. The markets. Groceries are marked up substantially during the “season” and once all the visitors have left, the locals will be able to buy food and other items at greatly reduced prices (one local guy even told me that prices drop in half once the tourists are gone).
But for those of us still hanging around, Quartzsite offers a few diversions, including a camaraderie with the other late-leavers like us:
- live music, including a dance floor for those with enough energy to move and who are not beat down by the high temperatures;
- petroglyphs, those long-ago markings left by the native dwellers who were here way before any white guy showed up;
- cactus flowers beginning to bloom, the most wonderful, gorgeous flowers imaginable from a prickly, spiny plant;
- campfires where telling stories both long and short are the name of the game;
- walks in a desert made green by the recent rains, where tiny flowers poke their heads up in the most unlikely of places;
- pizza and beer at one of the few restaurants still open;
- geocaching, where one couldn’t run into a muggle if one tried;
- gorgeous sunsets, brilliant sundogs, amazing clouds, a sky so blue it hurts your eyes;
- tiny, little baby desert-dwellers, some of which might even have you running away to Google it to find out exactly what it is and if it will hurt you or not;
- and of course, that all-time favorite of some people, the nap!
But whatever it is that you end up doing here in Quartzsite in March, whether you’re here for a day, a week, or the whole month, it’s sure to be peaceful, quiet, and relaxing, leaving you feeling like you have been rejuvenated – and if one just has to return to the other world out there of work and responsibility, at least one will know there’s a place to go to find peace when one wants it.
Peace out, everybody! See you on the road to somewhere!