Merry Christmas from Quartzsite

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December 25, 2008 — Merry Christmas!  

I am taking a break from Christmas this year.  

I’ve said for years that I’d appreciate the holiday more if it could happen every other year — or maybe even less frequently than that.  I know that would be FOREVER for a child. But for adults, especially as we get older and older and a year goes by faster and faster, I think it makes sense. Every other year would be soon enough.

I used to wonder about people who left their Seasonal decorations up all year, but that was back when a year lasted reasonably through four long  seasons. It had been coming on gradually over the years, but I think I was 45,  the first time I noticed time really shift. I was putting up my Xmas decorations and kept having this feeling that I had JUST done this. It was not deja vu — it was time warp. And then last year, I forgot to put up the decorations.  I didn’t miss Christmas — it was one of my best Christmas’ ever, since I spent lots of pre-Xmas day time with my family, plus it was the first Christmas after my sister’s accident and we were just all feeling very good about her being alive and home. Now that I think about the season felt unusually long. But, I forgot to put up my decorations. Floppy Santa never made it out of the box, the stockings never got tacked up.  The holiday placements and towels never saw the light of day. Please understand that this wasn’t something I was going to do but ran out of time. I totally forgot. And did not figure it out a couple days AFTER Christmas. Like, oops! I forgot to put up the decorations.

Up until Sunday, I thought I was going to send home presents to all the nieces and nephews.  But nothing seemed like the right gift.  I wanted to do something that reflected the southwest.  Gifts for the girls was not the problem — I could have bought each presents at least three times over.  It’s the boys that stumped me. And I have more boys than girls to buy for. So I procrastinated. My best idea would probably have gone over like a lead brick– or rock.  I was thinking of getting them each an interesting rock — Quartzsite is a gem and rock mecca and there are some real beauties here.  Again, the girls would probably love this gift. But would the boys, especially the teenage ones? But then I thought about the cost of sending rocks through the mail.  And, the reaction of the kids as they opened their presents.  While I was stuck on this idea, time jumped forward and the next thing I realized it was Sunday and if gifts were to arrive by Christmas, I’d had to buy them that day. But still, I wasn’t going out looking for rocks. What was wrong with me?

And then I got it.  For me, giving a gift is watching the person open it and getting the feedback that it is a good gift.  I like to know that that I guessed right. And, if I’m honest with myself, it is a chance to explain the gift if the initial feedback is more wonderment than appreciation.  So maybe, just maybe the gift will be remembered a month or two later. Or even the next Christmas.  Especially, if, say, I skip that Christmas.

So, somewhere Sunday afternoon, I decided that I absolutely would not do Christmas this year.  

No Holiday parties, either. 

No decorations (though I miss the lights).

I feel down right liberated.

I will call home and hopefully talk to everyone.

I will cook a nice dinner for Carl and I.

And I will stop feeling guilty that I didn’t get the kids a single thing this year.

Maybe.

It would be a lot easier if everyone skipped Christmas, wouldn’t it?

 

BTW – The photos on this page were taken while walking around the Holiday Palms RV Park where we are currently living. Fun, huh?

Comments (0) Dec 25 2008

12-14-08 Sunset in Quartzsite, AZ

Posted: under Arizona, Motorhome, Quartzsite.
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Sunset as seen from our RV site -- looking west around 5:30pm

Sunset as seen from our RV site -- looking west around 5:30pm

December 14, 2008 — Thought I’d share some photos that I took Friday evening (December 12th).  While every at home was dealing with the ice storm, we had a cloudy day with a few passing rain clouds.  The nice thing about clouds is that you get a better sunset.  Every night of late has been pretty but Friday night was the most vivid.  

 

 

 

 

Here you can see the front -- and a rain storm.

Here you can see the front -- and a rain storm.

I know I shouldn’t complain, but the weather here is a little cooler than I thought it would be.  The evenings are down to the low 40s and the days are in high 50s, low 60s.  Not bad compared to home, but certainly not summer clothes weather — which we have with us.  Our winter/fall clothes are in storage still.  I think I’ll have to break down and go shopping for a few things for us.  I mean, I do have one fleece jacket and Carl has a sweater, so we aren’t that desperate.  

 

 

Standing at the door, looking right, which is north.

Standing at the door, looking right, which is north.

At night we run our heaters (propane built in and one electric radiator).  I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have these since the RV is not insulated.  We can’t even think about going further north until it warms up! Having chosen to live on our RV means absolutely no more winters!

Standing in front of RV, looking south

Standing in front of RV, looking south

 

 

And about eight minutes later...

And about six minutes later... the sky is all red.

Comments (0) Dec 14 2008

11-06-08 Quartzsite, again

Posted: under Arizona, Quartzsite.
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Hi Jolly Monument

Hi Jolly Monument in Quartzsite, AZ

 

November 6, 2008 — After checking out of the Super 8 (and a horrible sleep for me — mattress was too soft), we went for breakfast at the Quail Cafe.  Lucky for us, they had Eggs Benedict for a special.  These days, most hotels offer a decent breakfast and we tend to eat in the hotels but after 7 weeks, it does get old.  We know what to expect in each chain and we know how to make the most of it, but still.  The Super 8 is the least of the breakfast offerings but even if it was the equal of the Holiday Express, I think we would skip it.  We were really ready for a sit down breakfast with an egg that wasn’t made about three hours earlier.  

 

 

So, we meandered on the Quail Cafe and were rewarded with some of the best home fries I’ve ever had — made with onions, peppers, and lots of garlic.  Although not the best hollandaise sauce, it was better than the Swiss Knorr package kind that I make. The personality of the cafe probably added to the enjoyment as much as anything.  You just felt good here — it was like we always felt in the Keys.  Even though we didn’t know these people, we could see how easy it would be to become part of this community.

 

 

Hi Jolly Sign

Hi Jolly Sign

As we payed for the breakfast, we studied the For Sale information on the wall next to the register. And that dictated the rest of our day. Actually, we went out to the car, started to leave and then I went back in to the the telephone # and addresses off the flyers.  They were for mobile homes in the park behind the restaurant.  While writing this information, I talked to the woman at the register and said we were on a quest to find our new home, and that we were considering RV living. Of course, she filled me in on her experience and called a man over to ask him if he knew of an RVs for sale in town. In gave me directions for the other side of town for a “diesel pusher” that a friend of his might be selling.  

 

 

Wooden Grave Marker at Hi Jolly -- this has been here since 1863

Wooden Grave Marker at Hi Jolly -- this has been here since 1863 -- things can last forever in the desert!

Loaded with this information, we begin driving around Quartzsite to see if there was an answer to our quest.  We looked at a newish “double-wide” on a lot that only cost about $1500 for the year.  We had been told that he wanted $58,000 for it, which actually didn’t sound to bad to us.  On the same street, there were four others for sale but this was the only “double-wide.”  One of the older ones was only $22,000 and same $1500 lot fee — we turned this one around a bit since it would be such a CHEAP way to live.  

 

 

Quartsite's Hi Jolly Cemetery

Quartsite's Hi Jolly Cemetary

We found the diesel-pusher.  I had to laugh that part of the directions was to “go over the wash and then take a left.”  Living back in NH, I don’t think I’d ever would have heard a direction such as this — but out here in the desert, “washes” are everywhere — these are places that fill with water when it rains — but make good riding for off-road vehicles when its dry.  Anyway, we did find it but decided it was older than we wanted.  But this led us to a new neighborhood and as we explored, we found more and more neighborhoods.  Understand, when I say neighborhood, I am speaking of lots with either RVs (full motor homes, Fifth-wheels, trailers, and home made variations from school buses) as well as mobile homes. Rarely is there an actual house, but where there is, it often made of adobe and really, really cute.  

 

 

Quartzsite living...

Quartzsite living...

Mexican brick fences are very common here.  In fact, there were many lots that were outlined with these bricks fences that were for sale.  I had picked up some real estate sheets at the chamber of commerce and we learned that these often went for $100,000.  A bit more than we would be interested in or we could believe it would be worth.   

 

We finally exhausted ourselves and felt we had covered every single park and neighborhood in Quartzsite and decided to end our day with a trip to the Hi Jolly monument and cemetery to find out why all the references to camels in this town.  After that, it was just too late to drive to Yuma, so we went back to the Super 8 — and paid $10 extra to get a better room.

My main regret for the day is that I didn’t take photos of the places that we looked at — nor did I get a photo of the family of quails that crossed in front of us.  They were so cute! I think it is one of the things we will laugh about for a long time. I do have photos, though, to share with you, but the current Internet connection isn’t strong enough to post them.

Comments (0) Nov 06 2008

11-5-08 From Blythe, CA to Quartzsite, AZ

Posted: under Arizona, Quartzsite.
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Back in Arizona!

Back in Arizona!

November 5, 2008 — It took us all day to go from Blythe, CA to Quartzsite, AZ.  That’s right.  I know if you look at the map, you’ll find that these two places are only 30 minutes apart.  So, why all day?

 

Well, if you read about our adventures yesterday, you’ll remember that the GPS went on the blitz post L.A. So we decided to go to Phoenix to get a new DVD — the one we had was suspect, anyway.  This would then eliminate or highlight the DVD player as the problem. Then we were hoping that the this would be covered under our warranty.  Since our plan was to head for Tucson, this all made sense.  

Instead of just passing by Quartzsite on the highway, we decided to drive through and see how much more it had filled up since our last visit.  We noticed that there were more RVs for sale, solar panels and even information on setting up a Montana LLC (a way to register the RV when you don’t have a permanent address).  So we left and continued on to Phoenix.  While we were driving we started talking about maybe Quartzsite as a place for us to spend some time.  It was the first time that we noticed that there was a Super 8 Motel.

We found a new Toyota dealer in Avondale (outside of Phoenix) and stopped here, rather than driving all the way into Phoenix.  Turns out that we must wait a week to get the DVD. We ordered it anyway. (Staying in this area for a week is not a problem.) Over lunch we decided to head back to Quartzsite, so we drove the 100 or so miles back.  So here we are for tonight.  Though I think we might go to Yuma tomorrow since the Microtel hotel down there is less expensive than this Super 8 and far better.

Comments (0) Nov 06 2008

10-20-2008 Quartzsite, AZ

Posted: under Arizona, Quartzsite.
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Crystals

October 20, 2008 — We took advantage of the great Internet connection yesterday (about the only thing that I can say that was good about our room) to work on our computers — and for me, to catch up on MostlyFiction.com.

 

Fish fossils

Fish fossils

We moved out of the cheap motel room this morning.  Amazing how much stuff we accumulated staying in the same place for one week!  Paper plates, plastic cups, paper towels, kleenix box, toilet paper, snacks, towels, desk lamp.  Practically needed to have a yard sale just to move out!

 

Kyanite

Kyanite

 

So after our breakfast at Starbucks –Cappucino and Oatmeal — we headed west on I-10 to Phoenix and beyond.  Our goal was Quartzsite, Arizona.  This place started as just a bunch of RV owners collecting together in the desert. Carl took the Quartzsite exit by chance about 20 years ago and found that it had no gas station or anything except for one auto repair business. Everything else was RVs.  He was curious as to what it had grown into, since everything has grown, and also if this might be some place we would want to stay if we were to buy an RV.

 

I think this is Agate

I think this is Agate

Anyway, the drive to Phoenix was nothing new — we had just taken this road last week to pick up Carl’s Macbook.  However, I think I forgot to mention that just outside of Tucson, they grow cotton and milo.  Cotton is so pretty. We love all the care that the city takes in uniquely decorating overpasses and all the plant life that appears in the medians and alongside the walls.  This is something that you rarely see in New England.  The older part of the city is not as nicely decorated, but it is also is not plain, either.  

Interesting collection of Geodes, Crystals and Fossils

Interesting collection of Geodes, Crystals and Fossils

We still had another 90 miles to go to get to Quartzsite after we passed Phoenix.  More mountains and Sonoran desert plant life all the way.  I’m getting better a putting names to the plants — though I’m not sure I am pronouncing them correctly.

 

 

I forgot what these beauties are called!

I forgot what these beauties are called!

As expected Quartzsite had grown.  Of course, I could have told you that just from looking at our camping guide.  It’s interesting that they are now a full blown town with courthouse, schools, police department, water department, etc.  There are also some real homes, but not all that many.  This is early in the season and thus there were a lot of open lots, but my understanding is that this place will fill up with RVs over the next couple of months.  

 

 

Fossils and Geodes in the background

Fossils and Geodes in the background

The only grocery store that we saw is a “surplus” store.  Also of interest and unique is an area of Quartzsite that is officially for RV owners who want to set up shop and sell things — like an RV mall.   This is only partially filled at the moment – again its too early in the season for the full effect.

 

Quartzsite does have their own radio station. At least while we listened to it, it was all 50s and early 60s music.

This is probably the only “town” left in America without a Walmart, or any of the other hundreds of retail outlets that you see in every other town.  They are not immune to McDonald’s, Burger King, and Carl’s, Jr.

 

T Rocks in Quartzsite, Arizona

T-Rocks in Quartzsite, Arizona

Outside of an RV haven, Quartzsite is a mecca for rockhounds.  Having been a former rockhound myself… well let’s  just say that today was my day to be a kid again.  Of course, living out of the Prius meant that I could only take photos… which I’m sharing with you here.

 

We took 95 out of Quartzsite down to Yuma.  This road includes a “Yuma proving ground” which the military uses for training, shooting, and probably blowing up things.  I couldn’t help but think of the scene in Mr. & Mrs. Smith when the “Mrs.” is up on a mountain/hill ready to blow up the “Mr.” who’s messing around on a 4-wheeler.  Really that scene could have been shot here.

Closer to Yuma, and thus closer to the Colorado river, it suddenly turns into a large agricultural area.  After looking at the desert all day, this is a big surprise.  I’m sorry that I didn’t get any photos because the farms were so perfectly plowed.  I’m not sure what they were growing since it was freshly planted.

 

The T-Rocks store

The T-Rocks store

We got into Yuma after 4pm so we decided to get a hotel for the night and explore Yuma tomorrow. The hotel prices in Yuma are very high, so we decided to see what we could find on Highway 8. You know how I’ve said in the past that we look for newly built hotels, well we outdid ourselves this afternoon.  Carl said he saw a sign for a Comfort Inn on 8 and since it wasn’t in my book, I thought “this will be new.”  Too true. The hotel was still being built! Knowing that we couldn’t go back to town we decided to try a Microtel. Guess what?  It is new and clean and about half as much as a Comfort Inn.  I think we’ll stay again tomorrow night.

 

Tomorrow we explore Yuma.

Comments (4) Oct 20 2008