Quartsite was our new camping location. Many of the full-time families were continuing onto another meet-up at the Bash in Lake Havasu. However, not only did we not have tickets for this event, we also were ready to move onto a quieter setting for a bit. Meeting up with lots of other families is nice but also overwhelming and tiring.
One of the sweet families who we met at our first full-time family meet up was camping on BLM land in Quartsite so we joined them for a bit. Their family has a boy our oldests’ age, a girl our youngests’ age and a sweet little one. The kids had a blast playing dress up, climbing trees, creating and playing with fairy gardens, flying kites, playing with legos, making forts… The list goes on and on!
Justin and I loved to chat with the parents as well. We even had a couple late evenings by the fire which was really lovely! Having friend grown up time is important for sanity. One evening by the fire we were joined by a little golden fox! It was no bigger than a cat with large ears and a beautiful soft looking coat. It was so bold to walk right up to us, especially with our fire going! I remembered hearing about fox’s needle-like teeth from the worker at the Arizona’s Desert Museum so when it boldly starting trotting just a couple feet from me I shooed it away. It came close a couple more times and each time I shooed it away. It finally got the hint and left. It’s funny though, seeing it from a distance I was in awe but as it entered my bubble I started feeling panicked inside! All I could picture was that little thing with supposed needle-like teeth pouncing on me to attack! Ha! Obviously not very likely but I just thought it was interesting how it felt as if a switch had been flipped from peace to panic.
Shortly after we arrived in Quartsite it rained. If you have never been in a desert when it has rained then take a peak at these pictures. It didn’t just sprinkle. It rained hard through one night, the entire next day and into that night at well. The ground doesn’t soak the water in like it would back in Portland. It isn’t used to all that rain so it was almost as if it was repelling it! Floods left and right!
Rainy or super cold days aren’t the best for living in a small camper. Going outside is brief and very messy (although the kids did enjoy the mud).
So, we decided to brave the weather and go into town to explore, do errands and to catch a free pancake breakfast that was put on by a local RV dealer. The dirt road that we were camping on was crazy to get out of! We were slipping all over the place and splashing through super deep puddles. I felt like we were in one of those monster truck shows. It was a crazy ride that we all had fun on. Though, we did wonder if we would be able to make it back to our camper on that road if it kept raining. Luckily, we were driving Dimes, our camper van and could stay in it for a night if necessary.
Once in town we found that everything there was flooded as well! Most of the town is built out of tents. It’s as if it is a temporary town in the winter. I don’t think most of the tent places stick around in the brutally hot summer months. It kind of felt like an older person’s Burning Man with all the tents and taped together fake grass rugs. The tent stores ranged from hardware store (specializing in RV gear of course), clothing and trinket shops and even grocery stores.
We had been told prior to entering Quartsite that the groceries were crazy expensive and very limited therefore we should get all food shopping done in nearby towns on our way in. This was only half true. It was true that in Quartsite the fresh produce was almost non existent and what they did have was outrageously expensive. For example, I was so desperate for fresh veggies that I paid $3 for 3 ragged pieces of kale! However, they had discount grocery stores selling dry goods for next to nothing!
They sold food that was expired (mostly it didn’t matter), dented or wonky in some way. We bought huge boxes of items that added up to a mere $20 each time. We were buying organic food for $1 where in the store some items would have cost $9. Everyone who worked there were all so very sweet too! They always let the girls pick something out for free and were so friendly to us. I wish we had a place like that in Portland!
That being said, it was a grocery store in a tent so, when it rained, it flooded. All the stores flooded. The fake grass carpets were floating on 4″ puddles in the store. Luckily all their products were up off the floor quite a bit so nothing seemed to be damaged. It didn’t seem to phase anyone a bit though they said this never happens.
We ended up filling up some water in town at a pay water station just in case we needed it. On the drive back it was nutty. In the desert, washes cross the road often which means when it rains, cars have to cross through an actual river of water to get to the other side. It was unreal to see! These washes that just a day before had been bone dry were now brimming with fast moving water. Flash floods are a real thing here! It happens so quickly I can see how people can get stranded fast. I was glad we were driving our big van instead of our little car that we have back home. We wouldn’t have been able to cross in a tiny low to the ground car like that.
Another night we were staying on the BLM land it was crazy windy! I woke up in the night to Wobbles shaking back and forth and what sounded like our awning being ripped off. I woke Justin to ask him to take down the awning since it was so windy. Having long arms is very helpful to put down our awning, especially with the force of the wind against you! While Justin was out in the fierce wind he realized our friend was out doing the very thing on their Airstream. The wind must have picked up all of a sudden to wake us both at the same time.
Adult alone time
One of the days we were BLM camping Justin went into town by himself and did some exploring and errands. He got us water at one of the water pay stations, did some grocery shopping and checked out the tent shops in town. We bought two five gallon jugs to fill with water for when we are camping off grid. The up side is we have extra water which makes our stays extend longer and get to take more showers! The down side is, even when the containers are empty they still take up space. Not a bad compromise. It seemed like he enjoyed his time away. 🙂
Justin was also able to take a couple bike rides out into the desert. It always makes him happy to get some exercise and explore.
On his ride back to our camp he even saw a tarantula!! The girls and I were sad we didn’t see it but Justin took a video and pictures for us to see.
A couple days later myself and my friend Jetty took an opportunity to go to town with just the two of us. The first thing we did was laundry which was a popular place to be! We were warned that if people left their laundry in the washer for too long it would be taken out for you and placed aside due to the heavy amount of traffic through there. We knew this therefore we set a timer for when our laundry was to be switched to the drier. We were just grabbing bags from Jetty’s car when our timer went off yet in the 1.5 minutes it took us to get in there, my friend’s laundry had already been removed! It was shocking and a bit frustrating. Nobody wants a total stranger touching their clean clothes. As far as the driers went, they basically only dried on full-on hot mode which in the past has ruined and melted some of our things. I did not use the high heat setting, therefore when we went back to take our “dry” clothes from the drier mine were still soaking wet! I put them in for a little while longer on a high heat but in the end I took everything out wet to hang up back at camp. All in all, the laundromat was a pretty yucky place. We even found old cigarette butts in the drier seal!! Totally disgusting! The sad part was there were so many people in town for the RV events that there was a line of people waiting to “clean” their clothes. Oy!
While our laundry was in the machines we looked at the town’s two thrift shops. The first one we stopped at had some random scraps of fabric that I bought for super cheap. On our way out the door the elderly woman who ran the place asked us to stop. It sounded kind of urgent and we wondered what she needed. She said, “I forgot to give you your hug!” I was a little confused at first but she just wanted a hug. It was really sweet. We noticed outside her shop she has a sign that said Free Hugs, and she meant it!
In the second consignment shop we found some cute old stuff. I came home with two things. One was crazy but fun and the other was a bad choice. See what happens when a lady hasn’t had her freedom for a while?! Anyway, the bad choice was a furry sweater and the fun one was…wait for it…A WEDDING DRESS! Haha. I’m only half crazy. It was an old fashion prairie style lace dress. It’s a bit long but I can easily take the lace and silk liner up a bit once I have my surger and sewing machine at home.
We also were excited to go to the Quartsite Farmer’s Market! Finding fresh produce was definitely challenging there. We saw flags for the market and followed them to find two venders. One vender was selling honey and the other was selling oranges, a container of dates, one tangelo and a handful of lemons. Oy! Not quite what we were expecting for a farmer’s market. It did give us a good giggle though!
Two big hypes about Quartsite this particular time of year are the flee markets, a gem and mineral show and the RV show. The flee market tents were a range from new treasures, to what looked like somebody’s great grandpa’s basement spilled out in piles. What is one person’s trash is another’s treasure! I enjoyed looking through some of the old kitchen tools and cookware. I resisted the urge to pick up some good silver soup spoons! Good soup spoons are hard to come by and make it so much more enjoyable to eat soup. Blah! I should have gotten them. 🙂
We didn’t check out much of the gem and rock show. It consisted of tent after tent of rocks, rocks and yes, minerals too. This would be an amazing gem (hehe) for a jeweler but for us, not so much.
The big RV show was crazy and fun. There was a main tent which was packed full of venders of all kinds. The thing they all had it common was that they were catering to the retiree snow bird crowd.
We were one of 4 young families I saw during our exploring. One of these 4 were our friends, ha! They had venders for back-up cameras, massage devices, trinkets for your “yard,” motorized scooters, snazzy sparkly cat shirts… The list goes on and on.
They even had sugar gliders for you to take home as pets. We were almost sold! They are so cute, love snuggling, not only fit in your pocket but love to be in your pocket, are hypoallergenic and tell you when they need to use the bathroom at which time we were told you hold it over a trash can for it to do its business. We were sold UNTIL we heard they have to be kept in a giant cage (where in the world would we put that?!), they are nocturnal therefore would much rather be sleeping during the day and barking all night, and they cost $500+!!! Oh, and they live in groups therefore it would be cruel to only buy one! Make that $1,000. We passed.
However, we did go home with a cheese grater that was simply spectacular until we got it home and realized it was junk. Do you ever cut yourself using your grater? Do your children want to help you grate things but you insist it is too dangerous? Do you tell yourself, ‘there’s got to be a better way!’. Well, the answer is: There’s NOT a better way. Just keep the bandaid’s close at hand and you’ll be fine (the new grater has since found a new home at Goodwill).
We also went home with a tiny bottle of some magic all in one cleaner (Touch of Purple), a Berkey water filter for drinking water, improved water filter and softener for Wobbles and a Bloody Mary mix concentrate. I have to tell you, I do not care for bloody Mary’s but this one is very tasty. Some wins and some losses.
Looking around the many campers was fun as well! We just really don’t care for the big 5th wheels! So many of them are so dark and have a sort of hotel feeling about them. Every single one had some kind of broken part; a door jam, a cabinet door, steps, holes in the wall or counter tops. It was clear the walls were made of cardboard. The frames were well built with aluminum but it was clear these campers were built as disposable campers. It seems so sad. If they had only used good materials and given them more windows they could be awesome!
We liked looking at some of the smaller rigs such as toy haulers and conversion vans. Some of the vans were a similar style to those that Justin and I had seen in the European market when in the market for our van. They would be perfect for a couple or a single person.
Liking the toy haulers actually surprised me. They were just more compact and versatile. Most had a bed that was kept most of the time on the ceiling but then could be lowered down, which I loved! They also seemed like they were built a bit better since they figure you’re hauling your 4-wheelers or what not in and out of them. We’re not in the market but had fun looking at all the different layouts and the girls had fun testing out all the bed and kiddo nooks. There were plenty!
Family & Friends
For some reason, our little one has forgotten how to sleep well this last week. She has been getting up multiple times in the night because she is cold, she’s hot, she wants me to snuggle her back into her blankets, she has to use the bathroom or her little brain simply wants to be awake for the day at 1:30am! It has meant no time for Justin and I to hang out (I’m so sleepy I want to go to bed when the girls do) and a cranky little 3 year old. We’re hoping this passes soon!
On the brighter side of things, one night our oldest read a book to our little one (so stinking cute!) and we had our friend’s over to our camper for a movie night. We fit 3 adults and 5 kids in Wobbles and as long as we were all sitting down, it felt like we had plenty of room. 🙂
Our last night we shared with our friends gazing at a super blood wolf moon. It was “super” because the moon was orbiting closest to the earth, a “blood” moon because it was a lunar eclipse and a “wolf” moon because it was a full moon in the month of January. Some Native American’s used to call full moons landing in January “wolf” moons because this was the month in which wolves were hungry and howling their hunger cry at the moon. It was beautiful! At first we thought we weren’t going to be able to see it because of cloud cover but as it turned out, we could, it was just later than we expected. The moon truly did become an eerie pinkish red color and during the eclipse looked as if it were blotted out of the sky! It went from a fairly bright glow of a full moon lighting up the desert to pitch black. Pretty neat to experience. I wish the girls had seen it but they’ll appreciate it more when they’re older and can stay up later. So many amazing things our world shows us.