Getting Closer

Getting Closer
Getting Closer

Monday, January 25, 2016

01-23-2016 Quartzsite and Blogger Fest

Current Location: Catalina State Park north of Tucson Arizona and it froze this morning!

When planning this trip, I knew that there was a Saturday event in late January that I didn’t want to miss.  Mo and I have been to Quartzsite a few times, usually just for an overnight, and sometimes simply a drive through.  The big crowds don’t excite us and shopping isn’t high on our priority list. 

However, meeting some of my favorite fellow bloggers was on the bucket list, and the Blogger Fest was a great way to at least get a start on that list. I have no problem being social, but large group happy hours aren’t big on my list, and my idea of a perfect group is 4 or at the most 6 people including us!  Big groups are a bit intimidating, simply because I don’t like to intrude on conversations that are already happening. 

George of Our Aweome Travels

Still, time to get outside my comfort zone and get out there, so we planned our trip accordingly.  I had no idea who would show up, except of course for Our Awesome Travels George and Suzie, who organized and promoted the whole thing.  Thanks so much, George! 

Al and Kelly of the Bayfield Bunch

Had been reading Bayfield Al’s blog and figured he wouldn’t be there, and couldn’t imagine that Box Canyon Mark and Bobbie would stop hiking obscure canyons long enough to show up, and Suzanne?  Well, geez, she is usually off hiking somewhere too, and I didn’t expect to see her either.  What a treat!!!  Some of my very most favorite bloggers were there, big as life, and for me it was such a treat.

Ivan standing behind Mark, Bobbie, and Suzanne

We also had a chance to meet some bloggers previously unknown, and uhoh…some other bloggers that I read in the past that somehow slipped away from my following list, I have no idea how.  In spite of the fact, that like many others I spoke with, I am taking less time reading blogs, I now have added some new blogs to the list, catching up on the lives and happenings and travels of some new friends as well as old ones. 

Mo and Mattie took care of our chairs

Like others said, though, a big group like this isn’t exactly the place to have long in depth conversations with friends, especially brand new ones.  Too many people to talk to, and the conversations are the kind that touch the surface, the hugs and handshakes are solid and real, but the real conversations start later, at a campfire, or even more so, on a hike or a walk somewhere.  I really hope that I get to share some of those campfires, hikes, and conversations sometime in the future with several of the people I met in person at Blogger Fest.  It is a great starting point.

Sadly, I didn’t take the camera with me while walking around, so only got a few good photos toward the beginning of the gathering.  If you click on some of the links you can see a lot more photos of the gathering from the perspective of the photographers who did a lot better job at catching the whole thing than I did.

Our original travel plans included a boondocking night at Joshua Tree, but we decided that we should instead bite the bullet and spend two whole nights right there in Quartzite.  Worked out perfectly.  We camped at the Roadrunner free BLM area about 6 miles south of town.  There were lots of rigs scattered about, including a large group for something called QuartzFest.  These folks had HAM radio stickers and a LOT of ATV’s.  It was a big crowd. 

We parked the motorhome and drove farther into the desert with the car, and just about a mile in we found a perfect spot.  Nice fire ring, interesting gully east of us and no rigs in sight in that direction.  The mountains to the west made a perfect sunset sillhouette.  Only a bit of generator noise as darkness fell, (including our own) and then all was quiet for the rest of the night.  Saturday night was exactly the same, dark and silent except for the gorgeous full moon that brightened the landscape.

Arriving on Friday afternoon, losing an hour to the Arizona time zone, we were still able to check out downtown Quartzsite and explore Gem World.  I love this big store, with rows and rows of crazy stuff for beaders, jewelers, wholesale buyers of stones and fossils, and all in one place, with a roof.  Surprisingly, the prices were similar to those we saw the next day at the Gem and Mineral Show.  I had a request from daughter Melody for some “rocks from Quartzsite” so I found some goodies for her at extremely reasonable prices.  It was fun.

There is something about the desert, this desert in particular, that smells and feels wonderful.  Even with all the people and the generators and the dust and noise, it is still the desert.  In winter there is not a better place to be for the price.  I guess that is why so many people are here.

In spite of all the people around Quartzsite, the roads in town were quiet on Sunday morning.

Before the Blogger Fest we decided to check out the big tent.  As Merikay said in her post, it is much like visiting a state fair, with an RV theme.  Lots of vendors with lots of stuff, much of it quite expensive.  I got sucked in by some cool little microfiber cleaning pads that really do work, and a flat rubber broom that actually gets dog hair up from the carpet in addition to sweeping the tile perfectly.  Mo found a well priced 30 amp cord to add to the one we have for those places that are just a bit too far out of reach, and we opted to buy a 9x12 woven mat for outside.  Both our smaller mats that we have used are wearing thin.  The new one is great!  It even has grommets where Mo can tie it down so it won’t blow around.  I know almost everyone already has one of these, so maybe we were the last holdouts.

We solved the expensive food problem by sharing a single five dollar hot dog, and yes, it was definitely a mediocre hot dog, not your $1.50 Costco wonder.  We then found a booth for Adventure Caravans, the company we signed up with just recently for our Rose Parade adventure next year.  In addition, Countryside was at the event, all the way from Junction City, Oregon, the place where we had our dinette installed.  It was fun to walk into the booth as the vendor was talking to a customer and rave about their fabulous service.  They probably thought I was a paid shill.

Best of all, the maker of our StowMaster tow bar, RoadMaster, had a booth and the vendor there told us to go find their service bay at the back of the lot to get our tow bar cleaned and lubed for free.  Nice service.  The guy who helped us was quite happy with our bar, saying the serial number showed it to be at least 20 years old, and after a good inspection, he told us it was probably ready to go another 20 years.  He said it was the best tow bar that RoadMaster makes, although some people don’t like it because it attaches to the car rather than the RV.  Works fine for us since our Tracker is used mostly for traveling anyway.  Probably wouldn’t want it on the Lexus at home.  Ha! But we wouldn’t ever tow that car anyway!

After our shopping excursion, and Blogger Fest, we ambled home to relax and enjoy the beautiful sunset and quiet evening.  I don’t have any kind of WiFi booster, so my Verizon signal was good, with 3 bars or so on the MiFi, but the internet wasn’t happy and I had a hard time loading anything.  We also don’t have solar, so running the computers requires running the generator.  My computer plug isn’t happy with whatever voltage is coming through our outlets when the inverter is working, so I tend to avoid it.  Hence a post today and not earlier.  Today we are in Arizona and have plenty of power to process photos, upload them, and write a blog. 

It was great to see everyone, to meet new friends and old friends, both real and virtual.  I hope this gathering keeps growing and bringing in new folks.