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Quartzsite, AZ Swap Meet – RV Show

For any true hardcore RVer, a visit to Quartzsite, AZ for the giant swap meet and RV show in January every year is necessary to attend at least once. Plan at least a week if not all winter to have plenty of time to see everything the vendors have to offer and checkout the local color. Aside from the main interest (shopping for anything and everything RV related), there is Hi Jolly’s grave and the story of the U.S. Camel Corps experiment, Sweet Darlene’s restaurant with home-baked goods and Friday fish-fry, the Oasis book store run by a nudist and exotic male dancer, panning for gold, a museum, geocaching, free dry camping on BLM land surrounding Quartzsite, hanging around at social hour with groups such as Escapees, trail biking and quad running, and more. There is plenty for everyone’s taste there and a good time is sure to be had.

For those not into dry camping, there are plenty of RV parks with utilities everywhere around Quartzsite and in nearby towns. The I10 through town is very loud so don’t pay for a full week or month without checking out the noise level at the park first. Look for parks farther away from the freeway if noise bothers you. Parks close to the freeway though allow you to walk to the main shopping venues. It’s a tradeoff. Personally, I prefer being able to sleep so I’m staying 20 miles away in Blythe. Also be careful to check prices. Some parks are pricier than others and many jack the price way way up in January. Be sure to ask.

Be prepared for some lousy weather. Open desert can get extremely windy and last year they got hit pretty hard with wind, hail, and the kitchen sink. There were some RVs damaged. Most of the time is pretty pleasant however. It can get pretty cold at night so be ready with a jacket as soon as the sun starts dipping.

Many snowbirds have arrived already and are taking time to run down to Algadones, Mexico on the border for dental work, eyeglasses, and pharmaceuticals. I’m told it is relatively safe there, the food is good, and the services are excellent. There is a bus running from Quartzsite down to the border once or twice a week. I hope to get there myself this winter.

I’m in the area for the winter and am going over to Quartzsite once a week to shop early and watch it grow. Last week started to get pretty exciting as many more vendors moved in and more RVs can be seen here and there on the open desert. The show doesn’t actually start until January 22, 2011 but there’s plenty to look at now. Tyson Wells on Kuehn Rd. has enough there to wear your feet out already and Rice Ranch further down the road is definitely getting interesting. I already bought and have used a chair cane to walk about and sit down as needed. LOL You can also find shopping carts that become chairs and I found a handy backpack that also becomes a chair. I sense a theme here…

More to come…

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