Quartzsite Tales – A Too Close Encounter

Quarzsite AZ.1

Every year Lynda and I look forward to our early spring trip to the South west US desert. Once we have had our fill of ice fishing, snowmobiling, tobogganing and the grand children have had their winter visit, it is time to head to the warm weather.

If you have never traveled to the vast desert area that includes southern California, Arizona and New Mexico, you are truly missing a great winter break. The sun shines every day although in the dead of winter it may be cool some mornings . Maybe even frost on the pumpkin.

One of the must visit towns of the desert is Quartzite, Arizona, on hwy I-10, 20 miles east of the California border on the way to Phoenix. This colorful little desert town boasts the home of the largest flea market in the world. Makes me itch just thinking about all those fleas.

From what I have heard and read the population swells from 2500 people to several hundred thousand late January and February at the peak of the event. I’m thinking this may be somewhat of an exaggeration, although we have been there and it is crowded. Most of the patrons are RVers who surround the town dry camping in the desert.

Quartzsite is a great place to spend a week or three during this time of year, there is lots to see and do. I think it was our second trip south after we retired that we made the trek to check out Quartzsite.

Quartzsite camping

Camping near the town is pleasant with plenty of room for thousands of RVs. Several areas are designated Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA), on Bureau of Land Management Government land.

BLM  is public land and anyone can camp free and the only rule is that you must move 25 miles after 14 days, and take your trash of course. Where as LTVA you can stay for the season if you wish. The price is $40 for 2 weeks or about $200 for the season.

The ticket is good at seven different LTVA areas in the southwest. Maps.com publishes a great map book showing the BLM lands.

Of course these areas have only random dry camping with a central sewer dump, water and trash. If my memory serves, the south east section of La Posa LTVA has the dump, water and trash.

A Shocker

On one of our first stops at Quartzsite, Lynda and I found a likely camping spot not too far from the water, trash and dump area but far enough to not to be annoyed by the odor that does seem to drift on occasion.

The desert in this area is hard packed course gravel with random larger rocks, in many areas campers have used these rocks to create fire pits and various rows to separate their plot of land from others.

Many RVers use Quartzsite as a central home base for traveling to attractions such as Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Phoenix and Yuma. The fee is cheap and usually a nearby RVer will keep an eye on your rig. Others spend the entire winter here meeting the same group every year.

One fine sunny morning Lynda and I decided to take a bicycle ride, of course being from Viking heritage I am always on a mission to find rare and strange lands. This time I may have discovered more than I wanted to. We packed water, and a snack. I rode with leash in hand as Buddy trotted along beside.

When riding in this area it is pertinent to ride cautiously to avoid the larger rocks or any other obstacles that may cause an inopportune meeting with the hard ground. Lynda is not as accomplished rider as I so I take special care to pick a smooth path.

I guess we were both concentrating on the path that we missed the sign alerting us of what was ahead. We pedaled along oblivious to where we were heading…..Until.

The trail meandered through a group of randomly parked RV’s. No one seemed around on this warm Feb. morning, I thought at the time everyone must be in town checking out the flea market as was the usual routine in the morning before the sun is too high in the sky and the temperature becomes less than comfortable.

As we past a large motor home an elderly gentleman poked his head out from behind. I waved as he gradually came into view……………oh no the man was stark naked…………. Stunned, I awkwardly dismounted my bicycle and tried to hurriedly retreat in the direction we had come.

Nudist sign

I glanced back at Lynda who had almost ridden directly into the back of my bicycle. Her eyes were filled with shock as she glanced  at me, trying not to look at the obvious.

Buddy had different ideas, the dang-lings of the old gentleman seemed to peak his attention. He strained at his leash trying to bite at the strange drooping members. I tightened my grip on the leash inadvertently letting my bike fall over.

The commotion of Buddy’s barking brought out the hidden hordes of sagers and dang-lings, for an instant the situation resembled a scene from the walking dead. I turned away to check on Lynda, she was already making a hasty retreat leaving me and Buddy to battle the dang-lings and saggers.

I grabbed my bike and yanked  Buddy’s leash dragging him back down the trail in the direction Lynda was fleeing. Not looking back we rode as quickly as we could, Buddy seemed to sense our urgency and trotted along obediently beside me. We didn’t dare stop or look back in fear of what might be behind us until we had put a good mile or so between us and the hordes of saggers and dang-lings.

When we finally stopped, out of breath, I looked at Lynda her shocked face gradually melted into a strange laugh. We caught our breath in silence, while nervously glancing back. After a drink of water we continued our ride back to camp. It seemed to be a quick return trip, I guess we had retraced a good portion of our path during our hasty retreat.

Back at the safety of our camp we debriefed the incident and laughed about our shocking adventure. I seem to recall someone writing about the human body being a thing of beauty. That person needs to visit the nudist area in Quartzsite. I think that person would agree that things have literally gone south since that writing.

On subsequent rides we did notice a sign that stated this was a nude camping area, enter at your own risk. We now pay more attention riding in the desert, as a matter of fact we have come across several other signs in the area. There is a single RV travelers area and I think a gay area as well. The morale of the story I guess is STAY ALERT AND READ THE SIGNS or the dang-lings and saggers may get you.

I hope you have enjoyed this story it is funny now but not at the time.

I have created a comprehensive list of equipment and items you may need for your RV/camping travels complete with product  links, click here to check out my list & links.


If you would like to support my website check out the ads on this page or if you shop on Amazon, please click here Amazon.com or Amazon.ca to shop and I will receive a small commission to help with my costs, it will not cost you any more.

Thanks for visiting.

Gord B.

Quarzsite AZ.
Boondocking in Quartzsite Az.




12 thoughts on “Quartzsite Tales – A Too Close Encounter”

    1. I have more information on my site about Quartzsite as we have been there several time. It is a great place to spend time. You may have to do a search on my site for Quartzsite.
      Thanks for the comment.

      1. Funny you would ask that I had fully planned to write about him also but I thought my article was getting rather long. I will write about him soon, it was another strange experience.
        Thanks for your comment.

  1. I can’t wait to walk in the sun at Quartzsite naked of course.
    I’ve been a nudist for over 30 years, starting Mykonos, Greece.
    Changed my life for the better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.