Saturday, January 26, 2013

RV Show ~ Quartzsite ~ Arizona

We love RVing and have traveled I-10 across California and Arizona, passing through here many times but until this day, we had not had a Quartzsite experience like the one we would have today. The expression “if you build it they will come” springs to mind and most RV’ers in this part of the country are very likely to have seen or heard about Quartzsite, Arizona.   

Desert with mountains in distance
Desert scene along I-10 in Arizona
Some RV’ers come to stay here for awhile, parking in one of the local RV parks, but there are many more who ‘boondock’ (being self- contained) out in the desert.  The desert may look like this as we drive by but there may be rv’s parked out there and the closer we get to Quartzsite, the more of them we can see. 
RV park under an interesting cloudy sky
RV park in Quartzsite, Arizona
According to Arizona Highway Patrol figures, there are between 750,000 to 1 million visitors, most of whom are RV’ers in the months of January and February, who come to Quartzsite every year.  This town, with a population of about 3500 for the rest of the year, is located on I-10 about 30 km (18 miles) from the California-Arizona border and where Highway 95 crosses over I-10. 
Photos of different RV's in the show
RV show has many on display
The purpose of our day trip was to visit the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show to see all that which might be needed for this style of living, and then some!  There are many kinds of RV’s open for viewing at this show, considered to be “the largest gathering of RV’ers in the world”.
A large tent hosts the vendors with outdoor parking area nearby
Hundreds of vendors sell their wares in the large tent area
Many vendors have gathered here for this special show as well as other shows that happen yearly, including Quartzsite Hobby, Craft & Gem Show, which is another big draw to the area and the Quartzsite Rock & Roll Classic Car Show, click here to learn more about these shows. 
Beautiful rock on display
The beauty inside the rock at Quartzsite, AZ
Quartzsite is called the “Rock Capital of the World” and if you were to visit one of the nine major gem and mineral shows held at the nearby grounds, or many other shows held there, you will see rocks of all kinds and understand why they are so named.  Rocks also play a big role in the history of this mining town.
many masks, totem pole and carvings on display
Painted carvings and totem poles
Quartzsite, Arizona, originally called Tyson’s Well, so named after Fort Tyson, was built in 1856 and served as a safe stop for travelers.  The access to water and the location made a place for the stage line to stop, and for miners as well as freighters passing through with mining equipment and military supplies.  
many bins and other containers full of rock
Crates and more crates of rock to be seen
In 1897 a small mining boom took place and the town of Quartzsite was built about 9 miles east of Tyson’s Well.  Quartz is a mineral not found here but quartzite is, thus the name with an ‘s’, apparently misspelled by the Post Office employee, so the story goes, when applying for the town site’s new name.  This remained a mining town until the mine closed down in 1957. 
Name sign with camels to signify the history of this town
This sign welcomes into the town of  Quartzsite, Arizona
The camels are significant to this area as a result of an experimental program called the US Camel Corps.  Hi Jolly was hired by the US Army in 1857 as a camel herder for the Camel Corps that was to chart a wagon road across New Mexico and Arizona to the Colorado River.  The Camel Corps ended when the Civil War began but Hi Jolly kept his camels to continue working then eventually moved back to Quartzsite. Hi Jolly is remembered with an annual parade and a landmark in the Hi Jolly cemetery.  Learn more. 
White rocks make a 'Q' in the mountainside
A large 'Q' marks the nearby town of Quartzsite, AZ
So went one day in our life of winter RV’ing, a life enjoyed by so many of us.  A life that allows us to make impromptu plans, to join some friends at the 'adult daycare', which had great food, beverages and music and spend our day in Quartzsite with thousands of other RV’ers.   Oh, what a life!
  

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