|PART OF THE FLEA MARKET, A WELL-MANAGED PART, WHERE VISITORS MAY PURCHASE, WELL JUST ABOUT ANYTHING INCLUDING RV WIND SOCKS.|
Quartzsite, Arizona is…….? Well, I find it hard to describe the small desert community located near Exit 17 on I-10 in the far western part of the state. Perhaps the best term is one used in a Phoenix newspaper—“chaotic fun”. Somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand hardy people stick out the summer months in town (the locals say it is hard to determine) where temperatures of 115 are common. However, come January and February a million visitors descend to the area, mostly in RV’s of every type, shape, age, color and condition. It sometimes looks like half the population of Minnesota is in town. The local RV parks are full, but the most amazing site is to examine the thousands of vehicles “dry camped” in the desert---no water, sewer, or electricity. Just a weekly trip to town to “dump” and fill up the water tanks.
Most vehicles sprout satellite dishes that provide a boob tube when the generator is cranked up. The BLM manages the “La Posa Long Term Visitor Area” (camping) near town but many/most RV’s, tents, station wagons, vans, panel trucks, you name it, just head out in the desert. It is a sight to behold.
Besides the warm January and February weather, visitors (“The largest gathering of Rv’ers in the world” according to a local web site) head to Quartzsite for the outdoor (tents and tables) rock, gem and mineral shows and perhaps the “world’s largest flea market”. New venues added in recent years include hobby and craft shows, a classic car, and a sports and vacation show.
Any rock hound will immediately recognize the name “Quartzsite” although he/she has never even seen the locality. Visit almost any club meeting in the late fall and you will hear comments such as “going to Quartzsite this year”? I’m heading down right after the first of the year”. People with our interests drive and/or camp at Quartzsite to look at, and usually buy, rocks and minerals and lapidary supplies. There are literally hundreds of vendors willing to supply a rock hound’s every need, especially during the “really big show’ in January. As February begins many vendors, and some visitors, are on the way to Tucson. However, the Desert Gardens rock show continues until the end of February. By early March most vendors and visitors are pulling out for other parts.
I have visited Quartzsite a couple of times, but never in January. My experience in February has been fairly high prices and big rocks. It seems that many vendors in February are selling slabs and cutting material rather than mineral specimens. Perhaps the specimen dealers moved on. I also found prices to be, in my opinion, rather high. Many of the rocks and gems could be purchased at a lower price in the numerous rock shops that I have visited. And, most of the tools were comparable in price to the local hardware. But then again, I am not a price negotiator, and have never adapted to that culture.
One place that did disturb me was a booth selling remnants of a cave. It appears that workers had destroyed a cave and hauled out tons of drip stone, stalagmites, and stalactites. A sad site.
But, the Quartzsite shows are am amazing place to visit and certainly “chaotic fun”.
|ROCKS ANYONE? BARRELS AND BARRELS FOR SALE.|
|A 20 POUND PIECE OF ALABASTER FOR $80!|
|MAYBE AN 18 POUND SLAB OF PLAIN OLE BASALT FOR $36.|
|ARIZONA PERIDOT WAS A BARGAIN WITH A SMALL 15 POUNDER GOING FOR $45!|