CC #4

Welcome (?) to Quartzsite!


“What’s the name of the place I’m going? Cortez? Courtside?” I asked my friends as I climbed into my new home – an old RV.

“Quartzsite! RVers’ Mecca. Bye, have fun!” My friends bade me a happy 40th birthday and a fond farewell and I set sail as a brand new full-time RVer.

One flat tire and two sleepless roadside nights later I crossed into Arizona over the Colorado River east of Blythe. The landscape changed instantly from cultivated green farms to naked craggy brown desert peaks. Fifteen miles later I crested a range and the landscape changed again, just as instantly.

The desert ahead was a sea of white. White tarps on hundreds of vendor booths, white aluminum on thousands of RVs, white Kool Kover shelters and as I pulled off Interstate 10 I saw herds of white-haired people walking around browsing.

So this is Quartzsite!

I pulled into an RV park on Main Street and walked into the office. It was crowded with more white-headed people, all with a similar hairstyle; curly and short, like poodles. Perhaps it was a club.

A lady behind the counter helped all the poodle-heads and a few more who came in after me. Finally I stepped up to the counter. The lady gave me a dirty look and turned away.

I cleared my throat and said, “Excuse me, ma’am?”

The lady turned toward me and scowled.

“Um, how much is it to stay here?”

“You can’t stay here,” she non-answered and turned away again. What the heck?

“Excuse me?”

“WHAT!” She whipped around and snapped, “You’ll have to leave.”

“What?” My jaw dropped.

“This is a fifty-five plus park,” she said.

Fifty-five…? The speed limit? On these dinky streets?

“Out!” she barked.

Out I went. Gee whiz, welcome to Quartzsite. I headed out into the desert to dry camp. I learned later that “55+” means “for grown ups only.” What a concept – that you have to be a certain age to stay somewhere!

Turns out Miss Poodle-head did me a huge favor: I never again bothered to try staying in an RV park and by not paying any rent for six years I saved enough money to buy a house. Thanks, lady!

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Cate Mueller is a web designer, editor, reporter and photographer in Bouse, Arizona. To visit her website, click here.

One comment

  1. I met my wife on the internet… drove here from Texas. Came through Quartzsite and once I made it out of town, I wondered “what in the world am I doing?” 12 years later I must say it’s well worth the trip.

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