Archive for January, 2015
The big Q is over and we are on our way back to Arkansas. Quartzsite was a big success for many who sell their wares for a living.
Many of the items sold in the big tent are the same things you see at most of the RV shows. LED light bulbs, towing products, sewer hoses, telescoping flagpoles.
But there were a few booths that caught my eye and thought their products were something to write home about.
I know, not very unique in its own right. But the ice cream “booth” was packed from the moment it was open until it closed. These guys are here every year and a sought after treat by the patrons.
The owner was ornery and a bit unfriendly. But what he lacked in personal sweetness was made up for in his generous proportions of scooped creamy deliciousness. Everything was $4 no matter 1 scoop or 2, cup or cone. And the helpings…ginormous!
You pay the man first and collect your ticket and stand in one of 8 lines that form in front of ice cream freezers. There are 12 flavors to choose from and you can mix your scoops. My favorite? A scoop of black cherry and a scoop of chocolate. Ooooohhhh myyyyy!
THE ULTIMATE TRIP
One of the bucket list trips for most RV’ers is a journey to Alaska. It’s a trip that requires a bit more planning for those of us who tend to wing it. http://www.NorthtoAlaska.com makes the planning easy by providing free information on 3 major routes.
Canada and Alaska got together to promote tourism to their country and state. Canada realized that many people were driving through their country (naturally) to get to Alaska without making it a destination as well. So the two got their heads together to outline various routes, attractions and overnight accomodations for RV’ers. The information can be used for the solo traveler or if you prefer to go with an organized group, they will hook you up with others looking to caravan.
The volunteers were very knowledgeable and have driven these routes themselves. They were ready to share their enthusiasm for their country/state and their love of RV travel.
It is a great service and all free. www.northtoalaska.com. Check it out!
COOK TOP GRILL
Ok. So this product may not be new or revolutionary. But our booth was right behind Tony and he himself was unique. He makes a nice living demoing different cooking products 12 hours a week at festivals and RV shows, Quartzsite being his biggest and longest show. (So bummed that I didn’t get a picture of Tony)
Tony was demonstrating a Stove Top Grill right behind our booth. And with the prevailing north to south winds our little curtain could not contain the smell of garlic and bacon. ALL. WEEK. LONG!
The Stove Top Grill works on gas or electric ranges, gas grills or campfires. It had a drip pan to prevent flare-ups, was easy to clean and small enough to store in your camper.
His humor and strategic use of fatty pork and garlic draws his customers to his booth all the while charming them with his easy personality and quick whit. This guy was goooood!
Of course being booth neighbors netted us an endless supply of tasty samples that would mysteriously appear on a toothpick through the curtain like magic!
SNOW REGION GIFT SHOP
This booth was selling beautiful cashmere scarves for $15 (two for $25) and yak wool throws for $35. I was drawn to this booth for the quality of the products at very reasonable prices. I picked up a beautiful yak wool throw that was super soft and extra warm. Watch out for the shedding. My hiking pants picked up the fibers and coated them before I knew what was happening. I was ensured that this would stop after my first washing.
They are machine washable but must be line dried.
The owner, Loden Tsering (Sorry, no website) was a sweet gal and I found out that her parents were from Tibet. They fled the country for India during the Chinese invasion (1951). Loden was born on their way to India. She has lived in California now for about 6 years and travels to festivals, trade shows and farmers markets to sell her beautiful Tibetan products.
Well, those where my vendor highlights for Quartzsite as we finish up at the big show. This is one of those places you need to experience for yourself at least once, if you can bring yourself to terms with the crowds, plentiful scooters and dogs in strollers.
It has a carnival atmosphere with flee market vibe full of interesting people who are traveling this amazing country in their home on wheels.
Quartzsite 2016…we will be back!
We are in a bit of shock right now. After 3 ½ weeks in the quiet, picturesque desert of Borrego Springs we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the largest RV gathering in the country known as Quartzsite.
We are at Quartzsite helping out as an exhibitor. The booth is all set up and ready to receive over 100,000 visitors for the big show geared towards RV’ers and rock collectors. The striking contrast from where we have been to where we are now is been a shock to our system. Oh where is my precious Borrego desert!
Quartzsite started with just 60 exhibitors in 1984 and has grown to a 20 acre facility housing “The Big Tent” with over 200 exhibitors. And Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama adjacent to The Big Tent sells gems and rocks along with every kind of bolt, kitchen utensil, yard art, sunglasses, walking sticks, salsa and cowboy hats. Not to mention cans of beans the size of your head.
You will even find nuts here…screw on, sugar coated and human. We were directed to our RV site by a fifty something gentleman and his dreadlock counterpart sporting a freshly rolled joint…for medicinal purposes of course.
Snugged in our
parking lot RV site just steps away from the Big Tent, we are getting cozy with our neighbors who are here to sell their wares. Such a super friendly bunch that all know each other from years past. As people have gotten to know each other through the years they meet up and park next to each other every year. That doesn’t keep them from inviting us new comers into the fold with happy hours and potlucks. I got my first high-five from this group for my backing skills while parking the RV. (I’m surprised by how few women actually drive their RV’s)
Kenny King and his daughter Kim do an amazing job at running Quartzsite. Probably one of the best run shows that we have seen. We received a dinner invitation at their temporary home right on the property for steak and lobster…yes lobster freshly caught by Kim’s fiancé the day before. We ate outside on the porch and watched an amazing sunset over the “Q” painted mountain.
Kenny’s stories of the past were amazing tails of celebrities like Willie Nelson, made and lost fortunes and his own celebrity status in small town of Quartzsite. We all laughed when he told us it is a jar to his ego when he goes back to his home in California as no one cares who he is there. He started in the RV awning business years ago and has been involved with the RV industry ever since.
This is their 32nd year at Quartzsite and it brings a huge economic boost to this small community of 3600. It is estimated that some 750,000-1,000,000 pass through this area for the winter months for the big event, plentiful sunshine and warmth.
Our environment couldn’t be more opposite of our desert solitude of the last few weeks, but the warmth of new friends made all around us couldn’t be more endearing.
We’ve met tons of new people in the desert at Borrego Springs.
Most RV’ers are drawn to this area to spend winter for the plentiful sunshine, be-still-my-heart 70+ degree January temps and thousands of acres of free camping. Our nearest neighbor is a football field away, yet walk by your neighbor’s camp and you will be greeted with a hearty hello!
We’ve been invited to an outdoor movie/meet-up with a large group of full time, location independent 30-40 something road warriors who have bucked the system and work from their Airstreams, vintage bus or motorhome. Conversations usually revolve around connectivity, data plans, drones, instagram hash tags, is whiskey spelled with an “E” or without, local brews, holding tank management and local farmers market.
This is a group of hipsters for sure and Jeff and I went from being some of the youngest in this desert community to being the oldest. But that hasn’t kept us from being invited to the afternoon happy hours, taco tuesdays, nightly bonfires or karaoke night.
Various jobs amongst the tribe include a composor/musician, web and app developers, writers, investment trader, road schoolers, photographer and professional bloggers. It was an inspiration to meet everyone living their version of “the dream” right from their 80-360 square feet of what they call home.
The blog and instagram roll of our group is:
One evening kicked off with what the group dubbed, “Soup Anarchy”. Everyone brought an ingredient or can of soup and we dumped it all in one pot…like a Hairy Buffalo, but with soup instead of booze. No rules, just wild, throw-caution-to-the-wind, dump what pleases you, into the pot. Ok. There may have been some booze slipped it somewhere because…it is soup anarchy after all!
It was BYOBS (Bring your own bowl and spoon) and set up a chair for a soup anarchy inspired movie. The selection of movie was picked from films that had to do with soup, anarchy or RV’s. We ended up with “The Adventures of Power” which by the way had nothing to do with anarchy or soup. It did have a split second flash of a vintage bus, and that was good enough for us. It was a quirky, hilarious, sweet movie about a guy named Power who tries winning an air drum competition. Yes, it really was as awful as it sounds. But the film was made memorable by a funky group of RV’ers watching a movie on the side of a vintage bus in the desert. How cool is that?
Borrego Springs has been a memorable stay and a place to come back to for sure, especially if there is an opportunity to see our new community of friends.
We plan on being here for another week before heading back to Quartzsite to the largest gathering of RV’ers in the country. So we may have more to report on Borrego Springs before we go.
It’s New Years Day here in Borrego Springs, CA and we woke to spectacular scene in the desert…SNOW! What a beautiful sight to help summarize a beautiful year.
Jeff and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in January. His fun-loving, try anything once attitude takes us on many crazy adventures…usually things that scare the crap out of me. But I have never regretted any of our experiences and my life is so much more full because of the one I love. (I really like this guy!)
March we headed off to Guatemala for 3 weeks on a service trip. We visited some remarkable teens trying to improve their lives by learning English…their ticket out of poverty. Even with so little, even with so much daily effort to live day-to-day, they persevere and overcome obstacles just so they can get an education. Their montra…”It is difficult but not impossible”. One of those students, Miguel, was chosen for a Walton International Scholarship to John Brown University in NW Arkansas…his dream! And one more highlight from our trip. Roasting marshmallows on an active volcano!
Spring and early summer brought lots of triathlon, ½ marathons and trail runs.
May Jeff made a last-minute trip to Red Bluff CA to help his Mom move out of her home after it sold. Finding out she could no longer live alone, the family made the decision to move her to Arkansas in August. This ended up being a great move and his Mom is very happy to be near 3 of her 5 kids.
July we headed off in our camper for RAGRAI for our second year. This is a week-long bike ride across the state of Iowa. This trip kicked off a 2 month road trip that took us from Iowa to Louisville, KY, Salt Lake City, Redmond OR, Henry IL, Hershey PA, Elkhart IN and back to Louisville. The highlight of the trip was camping in the Black Hills of S. Dakota and seeing Mount Rushmore.
Back home in September for two weeks we reloaded and left for an EPIC adventure to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim (Deb) and rim to rim to rim (Jeff) in October. But not before we stopped over at the magical Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. We crossed off two bucket list items on this trip.
We boondocked in Flagstaff before and after the Epic GC hike for some high altitude training before heading into Sedona for spectacular red rock scenery, hiking and a hot air balloon invasion. Those Canadians sure know how to make a grand entrance!
After Sedona we headed down to Tempe AZ where we driveway camped leading up to the Arizona Ironman competition. Jeff did a great job in the competition and finished under 12 hours. I on the other hand (besides being an Ironsherpa )surfed the net, took naps and ate ice cream during that 12 hour period. Spectating is tough stuff people!
After Ironman was a trip back to Arkansas for business and plans to head to our next destination….Yuma AZ. Yuma is a mecca for Snow Birds with over 32,000 RV sites. 80% of those are filled with Canadians who stay for 5-6 months out of the year. We crossed over the border into Mexico for a few hours. Just long enough to check out the vibrant pharmaceutical & dental scene (300+ Dental offices) and have lunch. If you are looking for cheap implants, crowns, cleanings or Viagra this is the place to go!
We headed north from there with a brief stop over in Quartzsite before coming to a stop in Lake Havasu City AZ for the lighted boat Christmas parade. We boondocked in a couple of different locations and hiked our first slot canyons.
December we moseyed over to Desert Hot Springs RV Family Spa and lazed around the mineral spas until we were completed pickled and hiked the Thousand Palm Oasis. We met up with some full time RV bloggers and online mentors.
After a week of spas we headed down to Borrego Springs CA to celebrate Christmas and New Years in the fabulous desert and hooked up with friends Stephen and Denise. We met them last year while camping in Colorado. They taught us how to play pickle ball, invited us to their RV park potluck for Christmas AND had us over to watch the Razorbacks take down Texas in the Texas Bowl. Go hawgs!
It is hard to imagine that we have done so much when the year has flown by so fast. We already have some plans made through March 2015 and we hope that you come along for the ride. Our next destination? The big Quartzsite RV and rock show in January. Stay tuned!