Sunday, December 27, 2015

Beginners Guide to Quartzsite


Plamosa Road, La Posa North, La Posa West, La Posa South, Tyson Wash, Dome Rock…..Known as the boondocking capital of the world, there are so many areas for good boondocking. So how does a first timer choose which one to stay at? This was the first decision we faced when planning our first winter stayover in the Quartzsite area. Our decision was first influenced by how long we planned on staying. As we planned on staying for at least 30 days, maybe as long as 90, Dome Rock and several others that have a 14 day limit were out. This left the La Posa and Tyson Wash Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA’s) but which one? One must consider how much privacy they want, proximity to fresh water and a dump station, proximity to town or friends……. For us the deciding factor was where some of our friends were going to be staying so we decided on La Posa South.

As this was our first time in the area we did not know the rules, regulations and etiquette. We pulled in and our first site was the check-in station. Although some of the boondocking areas on BLM land in this area are free, the LVTA’s do charge a nominal fee to cover the cost of garbage pickup, sewer dump stations and water. You have two choices when it comes to the fees; $40 for 14 days or $180 for 7 months starting September15th. We chose the latter as we plan on staying for a month or more and it is valid at the other LVTA’s in both Arizona and California.

Fee paid, registration stickers received, we set out to find the perfect site. With hundreds of acres of area to choose from and hundreds of RV’s scattered around we had no idea where to begin. Luckily, friends Steve and Dianne, were already in the area and Steve met us on his 4 wheeler and guided us to several spots he thought we might like. Thanks goodness….. we had no idea where to even start and the etiquette on how far away we should park from other rigs. Although some of the sites were obvious, others were not, but after a bit we were able to distinguish where some likely spots were. In the end we picked a spot about 75 yards from Steve and Dianne’s rig.

We dropped the trailer, parked the jeep and 4 wheeler and set out to mark our territory. No, I don’t mean running from bush to bush marking our spot! Here in Quartzsite people mark their areas with a row of rocks encircling their personal space. Weird I know, but when in Rome……


Stay Away!

This actually accomplished a couple of things; it deters (but does not prevent) people from setting up and driving through your area. For the most part people respect these boundaries but when it starts to get really packed all bets are off.
Sunsets from our rig are awesome!


Territory marked, we needed to learn the lay of the land; where to get gas, where to do laundry, groceries and other specifics one needs to learn when staying in an area for an extended period of time. Luckily, once again Steve and Dianne to the rescue! They took us on a tour of the town and pointed out some specifics. Although prices change regularly, here is where we found the best prices right now. Propane varies anywhere from $1.99 to $2.45/gallon. The best place we found was Fill-R-Up right from Main St. as you are driving south into town on 95 from Parker. I filled a 30#’er for just over $15.00. Even through it is a smaller town, fuel will vary by .30/gallon within a few miles. This week the best price we found was at the Arco on the east side of town ($2.09 unleaded, $2.07 Diesel) Your best bet on groceries is to get them before you get into town or drive to Parker to hit the Safeway or Walmart but if you have to get something in town, Roadrunner is probably your best bet but watch the expiration dates.



If you have a LTVA permit you can dump and fill with water at La Pasa South, if not, you will need to dump and get water at RV Pit Stop just north of Main on 95. Last but not least, if you are going to be down here for a month or more, you may want to get your mail. We have been told horror stories about the Quartzsite Post Office. In fact there is even T-shirts in town that state “I survived the Quartzsite Post Office”. Steve and Dianne have used and recommended a place called Quiet Times which for a nominal fee (usually $1-$2) will let you use their mailing address to receive packages.
 

Let’s not forget some of the food establishments in town…..Silly Al’s which has a great pizza and Beer Belly’s Adult Day Care is a great place to stop for a burger and a beer. Not only is Quartzsite known for it’s boondocking, but is also known for the 2 month Rock, Gem and Mineral Show starting January 1st and of course the RV Show January 16th-24th. During those times this place gets REALLY interesting....more to come next time on that but here is a little teaser......

"Dry-docking"?

These necessities aside, it was time for some fun! So what do you do in the middle of the desert for fun? Well, there is happy hour for one! We got together with Steve and Dianne a few times along with their friends Deb and Ray and fellow RV Dreamers Dale and Ruth.

Happy Hour with Ruth, Dianne Steve and Dale
There are hundreds of miles of jeep and 4 wheeler trails so we took the opportunity to do both. We hit the trails with Steve and Dianne one day where they showed us several abandoned mines, stone cabins and geocaches. I can see us spending a lot of time exploring areas looking for the thousands of geocaches in the area. The history of places like this are very interesting but I think the coolest thing we have seen so far were the mortar/grinding holes formed by the Indians when they ground grain.

Stopping to look for a geocache
 


Welcome to our home!

A fixer up'er

Dianne and Steve

Remnants of an old mine



Indian mortar holes

All in all it looks like it is going to be a good albeit interesting place to spend the winter!

19 comments:

  1. Great blog Jim! Looks like you've got the hang of things round these parts. See ya at Happy Hour!

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  2. I'll bet you will have some great happy hours! What a great way to start off 2016. That will really keep those 'per night camping costs' low. Have fun!

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    1. I have not compiled our per night average for the year yet but I think it will be around the $5.00 range

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  3. Great tips on Q; was wondering about packages! We'll see you in a few weeks!!

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    1. We have not used it yet but were told you just need to stop by, get a card for the specific mailing directions and watch the tracking numbers so you can pick them up right away.

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  4. Looks like you are all settled and ready for a long winters stay:) We've never met Steve and Dianne but one day hope to. Enjoy your stay and we look forward to following your adventures:)

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    1. We are talking to them about you the other day and how we admire your drive to go on those long hikes all the time!

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  5. Great meeting you guys! Hopefully our paths will cross again when we return to Q after the RV Rally. Just started our exploration of Borrego Springs CA, another location for those of you who love to explore on your 4 wheelers to keep in mind for a future destination!

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    1. Have fun out there and let us know what you see, that is an area we would like to explore sometime.

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    2. Borrego Springs has TONS of trails, some of the boondocking in the OHV area has a great view of the Salton Sea as well. Lots to explore and the town has a bit more to offer than Q.

      BTW, regarding your grocery store comment, we actually like the General Store better than the Road Runner market, just our preference, but especially if we were buying meat or produce.

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  6. Hello Jim and Barb,

    Les and Sue here....Steve and Dianne mentioned to us about your blog and we finally got a chance to check it out...real nice job.

    We will be in Q around 1/9 and look forward to meeting you. Steve mentioned y'all will be heading to Alaska next summer. We will be as well and are hoping we can share our plans to see what and how you are planning.

    See ya soon, Happy New Year!

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  7. Can't wait to spend next winter in the 'Q'. Less than 20 weeks till full-time.

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    1. That's exciting, I bet you can't wait to hit the road!

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  8. I am glad you called it the Beginners guide to Quartzite and not the idiot's guide to quartzite. It does look interesting.

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  9. If you have to go to Parker for a grocery run, you might want to coordinate a visit to the Desert Bar. Fun place. Doesn't AZ have the best sunsets?

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    1. Thanks for the tip! We had heard of the Desert Bar and want to hit it before the show and big crowds!

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