With the RTR approaching, we thought it best to arrive in Quartzsite a couple of days early and pick out a decent spot, which we did. However, I don’t think anyone expected the number of people attending to be as large as it was, and within a few days, it felt like we were smothering with so many other campers right up against us. We’ve gotten spoiled, boondocking out in the desert so long, and had gotten used to our ‘space.’
But we were meeting some really nice people, so we decided to deal with the closeness and tried to stay put. The first day we met Inga and Rod, a couple from California that had just started boondocking this fall. Inga had a pickup truck with a slide-in camper, and Rod had a pretty little class B van. Both really friendly people, and we enjoyed an evening campfire with them.
Then there was John (sorry John, I’ve forgotten where you’re from.)and Serge, who was from Quebec, both of whom showed up when Mike fired up Buddy. John is a fellow biker with a nice Harley, and Serge ran his own custom bike parts company in Quebec. Turns out, Buddy had a few pieces on him from Serge’s company. Small world.
In fact, between the bike and our little cargo trailer Lonestar, it seemed like we were constantly giving tours and inviting curious people in to see it. I haven’t kept a house so clean in years, just because you never knew when someone was going to knock and ask for a showing. Truth be told, we may have been just a little house-proud, lol.
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
It was during one of these tours that we had a sudden rainstorm with high winds. That was how we met Joe from Pennslyvania. It seemed so strange to have a squall in the desert, and it was the first time we’d seen rain since we’d arrived in Arizona the first week of November. Mike and Joe were talking about solar when I heard a bump outside and decided to investigate. Sure enough, the strong winds had stressed out our screen tent so much that it had bent a pole and collapsed somewhat. It took the three of us to hang on to what was left of the tent and get it down safely. Joe was so sweet to stay and help. The rain was quite cold and we were all soaked thoroughly by the time we got it down, but he didn’t quit. Thanks so much Joe. We couldn’t have done it without you.
In the meantime, Neil and Maureen from Phoenix had arrived and set up in a site across the road from us. It didn’t take Maureen and I long to discover we shared a passion for crochet, and the four of us hit it off really well. They were warm, welcoming and a lot of fun to be with, and Maureen’s New England accent made me just a little homesick for my cousins back east.
But as I mentioned, the crowd was getting closer and closer, and it was getting really hard to move about. And naturally, people started getting cranky and began complaining. One evening, we saw two different campers giving Neil a hard time about his generator, even though it was not that loud and he was running it well within the permitted hours (6am to 10pm). Just nasty, hateful people looking for something to gripe about. We figured we were next on the hit list since our battery took some abuse on our Christmas trip to Missouri and was not holding much of a charge, meaning on hazy or overcast days with no solar, we’d be running our generator too.
So the next morning, we decided to move over to the ‘noisy’ section of camp, away from the main meeting place, and invited Neil and Maureen to come with us, which they did. Their friends, Mike & Marva arrived just before we were all ready to move, and they came over with us as well. We were so glad they did, and the six of us had such a good time for the rest of the week. We parked the campers in sort of a ring, making it difficult for anyone else to park on top of us. We set up our awnings and canopies and enjoyed a shaded courtyard for most of the day, and a wonderful campfire almost every night. It was one of the best moves we’d ever made.
Parked in the area next to our new camp was a lovely lady named Jackie and her 13 year old son, Jacob. Jacob was very adept at flying his drone and was so generous to film our camp and give each of us a copy of the video. You can see his great job here. Thanks again Jacob! You rock!
All That Glitters Is Not Gold
Our new camp was not far from where most of the ‘celebrity’ YouTubers had camped, but I have to say, I was not really impressed with the majority of them. They seemed only interested in interviewing each other in hopes of gaining the others’ subscribers, and most (at least to me) came off as fake and self-important. The ‘lady’ with Kevin the pig was flat-out rude to us when we asked her questions, and then reminded us to ‘support her channel and subscribe’ as we were leaving. Sure honey, I’ll get right on that. When Kevin flies.
I didn’t bother with most of the rest of them, but several other campers I’d talked to told stories of being snubbed or ignored. Some of the ‘celebrities’ even went so far as to rope off their site and place “Do Not Disturb” signs around. Really people? If you don’t want to be bothered by hundreds of your fans wanting to meet you, perhaps you should avoid places like this. Seems they need a reminder that the people who want to meet them are the same subscribers that are supporting them and making that monthly check from YouTube possible.
The exception that I noticed was Jax Austin. He walked past our camp several times during the week, and he was always friendly with a wave and a hello. He even popped in for a quick visit one afternoon, and I gave him a butterfly I’d crocheted for his friend Clare. This actually ended up in one of his videos, lol. (And in his previous video at about 2:34, you can even see Joe, our hero with the screen tent.) I’m happy to say Jax is every bit as personable as he seems to be in his videos. No editing tricks here, what you see is what you get. Really nice guy.
As far as the actual RTR itself, it was kind of a bust. The seminars were nothing more than the same content that has been posted on YouTube over and over again. We had hoped to learn something new, but it was not to be so. So you go to the expense and trouble to make it to this thing, and basically you could have stayed at home on a comfy couch and learned as much.
As well, Quartzsite is simply not equipped to handle that many people. Besides the RTR, there were several other rallies and events going on, as well as the Big Tent flea market (which we haven’t even tried to see yet). No matter what you tried to do or where you went, you were either stuck in traffic or standing in line. Poor Maureen left for the laundromat at 6am one morning, and still had to wait for an available washing machine. Wells went dry all over town from the extra strain of all the campers. It was just nuts.
So, with the RTR winding down, we decided to move to quieter quarters, and to our delight, Neil and Maureen came with us out to BLM land just outside Parker, AZ. It was quiet and peaceful, a bit windy, but just what we needed to recharge our personal batteries and settle into a little downtime. And as an added bonus, we were witness to this beautiful sight.
Do we regret going to the RTR? Definitely not. We met some of the most wonderful people there, and made friendships we hope to keep for years to come. Will we go to the RTR again? Probably not. But then, who knows?
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