The annual gathering of the RV America Trailer Trash Gang in Quartzsite, Arizona, occurred on schedule. There was a slight change in location from our usual spot in the La Posa North BLM land, but it was within 100 yards of our usual spot.
Both Mike and Virg were a few days late in arriving at Quartzsite, but a last year's newbie couple, Claire, and Stan, arrived a day or two early, and did a great job in setting up camp and guiding others to our spot.
Much to our surprise, the weather at Quartzsite was quite pleasant. It was a real surprise to still be outside our coaches at 7:30 PM and find the temperature still at about 62 degrees. Yes, we had a windy day or two, but mostly the weather was lovely. For the old Quartzsite regulars, it was quite a surprise to wake up in the morning and find the inside of the coach still at a rather comfortable 55 degrees. (Certainly a lot better than the record cold of one year when the inside of our bedroom was 34 degrees in the morning—and snow on all the surrounding hills.)
There was one day of rain toward the end of the week, but most of the RVA TT gang had left the area by then. Mike stayed behind so that his younger son could come out and join him (and get a first-hand exposure to the Quartzsite experience).
This year, the assembled Trailer Trash gang had about 22 people—six or eight folks from Canada, four folks from Washington, four folks from Texas, two folks from Louisiana, one person from Alaska, and five folks from California. (As in past years, some of the Trailer Trash regulars started their Quartzsite camping experience with the large group of Tiffin owners at another spot, but they all came over and joined us after two or three days.
The Trailer Trash gang decided to skip our usual ritual of having evening campfires, since one person in the group had lung cancer and another person had severe smoke allergies. Despite this change of plans, we all had a good time sitting around snacking on munchies and sipping various libations. As usual, the ladies did an outstanding job of ensuring that there were lots of finger- lickin' goodies that chased away the hunger pains of the assembled group.
Even though the assembled group did not have a warming fire, we still managed to get into a joke-telling mode, told some good and bad jokes, laughed a lot, and all had a good time. We especially appreciated the Cajun humor of the "Budrow" jokes told by Mark.
As has become custom, each of the newbies—who had satisfied initiation requirements by spending at least one overnight with the group—was inducted as a member of the RV America Quartzsite Trailer Trash Gang. Each of the newbie fellas received a Quartzsite Trailer Trash ball cap and the newbie ladies received a Quartzsite Diva sun visor.
As has been the case for the past few years, the number of vendors and RVers camping in the area was noticeably down from the peak years six or seven years ago. It was rather strange, for an old timer, to see the Main Event almost empty. For the old- time Quartzsite regulars, seeing the Main Event almost a ghost town (only three tents behind the front-row stores) was quite a shock.
The vendors inside and outside the big RV tent seemed to be reduced in numbers as well, but the area still seemed to be teeming with hordes of people. The one bright spot was Tyson Wells, where the area was packed with vendors selling all sorts of goodies, stuff, and even some RV-related things. This area was also a bit of a surprise when we noticed that, even here, there were empty available vendor spots.
As usual, RV vendors from all over the southwest brought acres of RVs for potential sale—everything from travel trailers, big and little fifth wheels, all sorts of Class A motorhomes (both gas and diesel), and of course Class B and Class C motorhomes. Many of the rigs (including motorhomes) were actually toy haulers that were outfitted for very comfortable camping. It was a good feeling to see that the RV industry is not yet dead—and many new and different RV designs were present for the perusal of the hordes of people walking around the area.
All RVers, should strive to attend a Quartzsite gathering during the third week of January—just for the experience. We admit that Quartzsite is not every RVers idea of a good time. We have found that RVers are at one extreme or the other—either you love it or you dislike it (with not many people in the middle). However, you will never know until you come out and see for yourself. As many others have learned, you can only experience the "real Quartzsite" during the third week of January each year. At other times, Quartzsite is a sleepy little town of only 3,200 people—not the hundreds of thousands that visit Quartzsite each year and make the desert look like it snowed (from all the white RV roofs scattered over hundreds of acres).
Good news for those of you who say "I don't dry camp," or "My wife won't even think of being without electricity and water." Over the past two years or so, there are two very nice RV parks that have materialized in Quartzsite. One is right in Rice Ranch, where you have your choice of electric and water or a dry camping spot on a wide patch of gravel. The other is a new RV park, just last year, located a short distance North of the I-10 and highway 95 intersection. It has fully paved spaces, and all hookups. (You no longer have to drive 13 miles East to Brenda to find nicely set up RV sites for those of you who have to have the very best.)
Another noticeable surprise this year was the apparent availability of RV spaces in just about all of the RV parks in Quartzsite!
We hope to see some new RVA faces at the 2014 gathering of the RVA Quartzsite Trailer Trash Gang. Y'all come on down!