The annual gathering of the RV America Trailer Trash Gang in Quartzsite, Arizona, occurred on schedule. This year we were camped in our usual spot in the La Posa North BLM land. Virg arrived early and had secured the spot around our original firepit from years past. The RVA directional signs were put in place for the newbies to follow. Mike and Linda were grateful to Virg for saving the one set of working hookups for them; sometimes being the senior old fart of the group does have its privileges.
This year, our high tech groupies even remembered to put their GPS units right over the center of the fire pit—to update our usual camping location on BLM land (from the GPS location that Dave Peters obtained in 2002). For future reference, the fire pit of the RVA Trailer Trash Gang is located at the following coordinates: N33d 39m 18.8s W114d 12m 50.3s
This year the weather was fantastic! All of the old timers in attendance agreed that the weather this year was the best we have seen in the 13 years that the RVA Trailer Trash gang has been gathering in Quartzsite. On most days the daytime temperatures were in the high 60s or the low 70s, with the nightime temps somewhere in the 40s. And, surprise, surprise, the wind was almost non-existent except for one day when we had winds of maybe 10 mph—nothing like some of the gales that we have endured in past years.
The nightly campfires were a pleasure. The group of 10 couples and two singles enjoyed sitting around the warm fire and chatting up a storm. This year, the socialability of the group was far better than in years past. Even during mid-day you would find folks sitting around the fire pit exchanging gossip, RV tips, and commenting on their experiences (not all good) about crossing the northern or southern United States borders.
Once again, Linda wowed the newbies with her copper pipe and hose gismo that turned the fire flames into various shades of green, blue, white, and especially a brilliant royal blue. It is always fun to watch the varied colors of the flames.
This year the RVA Trailer Trash Gang welcomed back 10 member couples and one single, and initiated one newbie couple and one newbie single into our friendly group of RV enthusiasts. We had member couples from Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Washington, California, and British Columbia, and one single from California. All three of our newbies hailed from California. We aslo had one of our member couples who were camping elsewhere, drop over for the evening libation and munchie get-togethers.
This was also a good year for drop-ins to the RVA Trailer Trash gang. Our various members had seven guests drop in from Montana and California.
Due to the almost perfectly still evenings, all of us were treated to a new Quartzsite experience. While sitting around the campfire, we noticed several Chinese-style floating "balloons" (for lack of a better word). These devices consisted of an upside-down sack (about 18" wide and about 3 feet long) with a heat source (not really a candle) suspended across the bottom of the sack. When the heat source was ignited, the entire plastic sack, in various colors, would light up, and the heat from the flame eventually caused the sack to fill with hot air—and the balloon was released to climb high into the evening sky. To some of us, it looked as though the balloons were climbing to as high as about 500 feet. With almost no wind, you could watch the balloons travel almost straight up into the evening sky. It was fun to watch as other groups of RVers would release a balloon, sometimes two or three to the North of us and one or two to the South of us.
Seeing all the balloons put a strange thought into our failing brains—that some vendor in the area was selling these contraptions. Sure enough, we finally found him in the northwest section of Tyson Wells. Linda had to ask the vendor if he was getting any static from the local fire folks. He replied that he had not had any trouble, and he had already sold over 400 of the devices. At a price of two for $5, the RVA Trailer Trash gang had to have a couple of their own.
It was a fun moment when our own balloon was pulled from the package, assembled, and finally "lit" with a fire stick (aka the stanard BBQ lighters that are so prevalent around Quartzsite at this time of year). Our yellow balloon slowly filled with hot air from the small square of cardboard filled with a Sterno kind of goop), and was released into the night sky. We watched as it slowly ascended into the night sky, almost straight up. Eventually, the flame burned out, and we could no longer see our offering of thanks to the local Wind Gods who were so gentle on us this year.
Lighting The Balloon
Up, Up, and Away ...
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.
The annual gathering of RVers from all over the country seems to be slowly picking up again, after several years of slacking off. Even the Main Event seemed to have more vendors in the tent areas behind the permanent buildings. However, there was no problem finding plenty of camping spaces on the BLM lands.
The RV tent seemed to have less RV-related booths and more household-related booths (something the ladies liked, but the fellas didn't care for so much). There were at least four vendors selling LED replacement bulbs of all types.
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.
One of the RVA TT gang actually succumbed to the siren call of a new-to-him Class A motorhome, and bought a used American Dream—a nice step up from a fifth wheel trailer.
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, water, and sewer— or a dry camping spot on a wide patch of gravel. The other is a new RV park, just two years ago, 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, again 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 2015 gathering of the RVA Quartzsite Trailer Trash Gang. Y'all come on down — and bring a friend!
Yes, there has been talk about once again having a Puerto Penasco week after the 2015 Quartzsite gathering, but there are no firm plans at this time.