Quartzsite Tales – The Book Store

Quartzsite sign

As I mentioned in a previous article,Quartzsite Tales, Lynda, my wife, and I have visited Quartzsite several times on our RV travels. There is plenty to do in this desert town from ATVing in the hills, to attending the world’s largest flea market or visiting the small town antique shops.

The cooler days can be spent on an ATV exploring the hills and trails in all directions and maybe even a trip to the hamlet of Brenda for lunch and bread pudding with whisky sauce for desert…yummm.

Late January and early Feb. is the time to visit the flea market . Situated on the south side of I-10 the flea market probably attracts the most visitors, the RV show is also a pleasant way to pass the time, with new and used rigs.

Tons of rock

The rock and gem shows seem to attract thousands, although its weird watching them gaze at literally tons of raw rocks sitting on pallets. I guess people buy these odd shaped chunks to rework into something worth looking at, but it’s all lost on me.

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure

Quartzsite flee market

No truer words ever spoken. The flea market has many goodies to check out, some valuable, some junk, but all interesting.  A good way to spend a couple of winter days in the warm Arizona sun.

We had done the flea market several times, so one morning we decided to check out the town center on the other side of the freeway. The town itself resembles most small desert towns, only offering not much more than bare minimum of supplies for tourist and RVers. Strolling through the center of town was a relaxing interlude from the congested flea market. Lynda, my wife, and I spent several hours poking around an outdoor antique store.

Not your typical antique store, it was filled with 40’s and 50’s memorabilia. Items like the juke box selector brought back memories. I remember it, mounted on the wall next to the diner table, (not dinner),  it was fun to pick your favorite song and anticipate what position in the cue it would play, while waiting for your order to arrive.


The old pistols and holsters brought back memories of old western movies of John Wayne and others. The place was truly a trip back in time for me, although Lynda, my wife, wasn’t thrilled,…… but try to walk past a quilting store without checking inside,….. not a chance, with Lynda, my wife.

As we continued our stroll along the typical small town main street we came upon the also typical used book store. I usually never bother with these old musty unkept caves, but with nothing but time Lynda, my wife, and I wondered in.

Quartzsite bookstore

It was in deed your typical used book store, filled to the brim with tattered paper backs all with brown paper edges, a few hard covers of equal wear stuffed between. Piano music drifted softly from somewhere behind the dusty shelves of unorganized books. I didn’t pay much attention,………. it sounded like a radio or CD.

I was checking out a stack of books on a centralized old flea market type table when I spotted an interesting title on the far side. Of course I had no time to waste??? so rather than walking around the old table, I leaned across,……… bad move.

Crash…… the old table legs gave out and down I went landing on the pile of musty books. Dust billowed up through beams of sunlight cast by the nearby window.

I was shocked and instantly embarrassed, the feeling you get when shopping in a department store and you  absentmindedly wander into the lingerie section and the clerk looks at you like your picture should be on the post office wall, under the pervert section. Not sure if they have a section like that, but you get the picture.

I knew the commotion would bring much unwanted attention. Here I was laying face down like a beached whale trying to save any dignity I might have left but nothing was co-operating, the books kept squirting out from under my flailing arms as I tried to pull myself out of this mess, with Lynda, my wife, staring.

Then…. a bony hand gently took hold of my arm as an elderly male voice said “let me help you”. At the time I thought, great some old codger 20 years my senior has to help me up,……… more embarrassment.

By this time I was sure the whole store was staring at this ridiculous looking sight probably with a slight grin if not a full ear to ear smile on their faces. Where’s the hole so I can crawl out of sight.

The hand although seemingly weak helps me roll over,……. my worst mistake yet in this crazy minute. The hand belonged to, as was my guess, an old thin faced bearded man with long black stringy semi gray hair.

He was bent over me and as I tried to regain my feet my eyes left the thin face and accidentally traveled down the thin frame to……..Oh No.

What am I seeing!!!!! did I hit my head and I’m hallucinating………..Its naked, the full monty, the unpackaged junk, full frontal nudity, except for a dropping black sock, that didn’t resemble a sock.

Horrified, my worst nightmare, a naked man with his hands on me, I glance around for someone, anyone. Lynda, my wife, was heading for the door, I yelled at her, Lynda, my wife, “Lynda save me”, I mean wait for me.

I almost bolted for the door but I was afraid to fall again, no rerun of this horror show. Through the door and into the street, I caught up with Lynda just outside. Lynda, my wife, and I stared at each other in disbelief.. a naked man in a book store? Lucky Buddy, our dog was back in the RV cause Buddy, our dog, likes to jump at dangalings. That could be a problem for the short legged man with the sock.

Quartzsite paul
Believe it????

What is it with Quartzsite and old naked people, read the previous  Quartzsite Tales. Later, during a conversation with another RVing couple we were filled in on naked bookstore owner Paul.

He has spent a couple of decades selling books while wearing nothing but a strategically positioned sock held with fishing line. There are apparently signs outside the store warning of photo ops of the naked owner, you would think after our last impromptu confrontation we would pay special attention to every sign everywhere.

So If you are planning a trip to Quartzsite, Arizona be warned…….. read all the signs and be careful of shaky bookstore tables, you won’t have to read between the lines to get an eye full.

Sunset on Quartzsite
Sun setting on Quartzsite

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Thanks for visiting.

Gord B.

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