Quartzsite, something for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE!

SOOOO Ken has gone to visit a friend this morning and I have the whole motorhome to myself. All 250 square feet of it (well except for Tucker, just me and tucker and the motorhome). Time to make bread, bake Tofu, write blog.

We have been here for almost 2 weeks, which is kind of long for us, but we challenged ourselves to stick around until the official rock show, the POWWOW. Starting January 18-22

Now the most obvious reason to come to Quartzsite is for the rocks, and that is what initially drew us here. Everything that can be done to a rock…..has been done to a rock …..and is here on sale in Quartzsite. There are many less official rock events that actually start building in mid December. Sellers travel from all over the world to sell rocks in one form or another here in Quartzsite. The Desert garden show started officially January 6th, but unofficially mid December.

So to start with the largest…. rocks. They are shipped in these huge… oil Barrels. Large boulders of rock that SOMEONE might find appealing, often that cannot be found elsewhere. We saw stuff from Australia, Morocco, china, Madagascar ….and many parts of US,. We bought the rocks we used in our bedroom floor by this means, last year. Of course you would have to have some sort of saw in order to be able to utilize these huge boulders. They sell by the pound and usually anywhere from 3-10 dollars a pound trending upwards to much higher for much more valuable rocks.

There are rocks with interesting calcite or other forms of designs with in them. These ones are usually bought as display pieces.

These ones are large boulders of a rock called Fordite

This is forte after it has been worked with and made in to pieces that can be used to make jewelry.

Does it look familiar at all??? Well the “boulders” come from using a pick ax on the walls of a car manufacturers paint rooms….just many layers of car paint over many years. 😀

These are some boulders we bought for 30 dollars a lb. You can see that there is a window to give you an idea of what is inside the rocks, and we decided that the colours would match what we have planned for our LR floor. As you can see the less processed you get something the cheaper it is, but the more unknowns come with it.

Many types of stone are carved into shapes, some more useful than others. The people at this booth were quite surprised by how many people asked what THESE were for 🤔 Stocking STUFFERS.

Personally, I was not sure what someone could use heart shaped rocks for?🤔. Or round ones

and then..these things which I believe are a form of Chrystal that forms in metals ???

AND then we buy beautiful things that match our kitchen…

These are slabs, essentially 1/4 inch slices of rocks that are sold to people who do jewelry who might buy a slab or 2 of a certain type of rock and then create a series of earrings, pendants rings etc out of these pieces. And of course there are many of these jewellers who are selling these sets in other areas of quartzsite. So each slab has a price on it…7 dollars or 10….. etc

Every year here, there are OTHER things that people have created that contain rocks. I found these guys kind of gaudy.

These pictures below are large piles of very small tumbled stone, each pile seems to have created a different look. They come from China and the lady at the booth said that this was a whole new way she was experimenting with selling rocks. Our interest in them is our future plans with epoxy.

They are sold much like the stuff in the bulk section of the grocery stores….. each item price/grams..

These are the ones we bought, Turquoise, Peridot, and coral, and a few other mixtures. We are thinking of filling the cracks in our floor with these rocks with epoxy to glue them in.

So this is just the desert garden rock show, and the official Pow Wow does not start until the 18th, and the reason we are waiting for that to open is that we think it might be more likely to find an engagement type of ring there. STORY behind it. 📕📕 Several years ago we were out rock hounding in the middle of nowhere and when I got back to the jeep I realized that the diamond from my engagement ring was GONE and the ring fairly damaged… Dammit Janet, can’t you just look after stuff 🥹🥹 …… well actually…. no,,,, I tend to be hard on stuff!! Ken is sort of like HO HUM…. he is used to me.🤔 Years ago we used to use the Jeff Foxworthy line “if it ain’t broke it ain’t ours” and while we mused about it being about our kids… it was also about me. 🙄

So Fair enough, I never really liked diamonds anyways, however recently I have seen some beautiful sapphire “engagement” rings and think…well maybe I would like one of them. So we decided that maybe down here might be the very best place to buy a new ring. Even bigger than the Pow WOW in Quartzsite is the international Gem show in Tucson, only a week after this one. So if we do not find one we like here, we will follow along to Tucson for that show. Aren’t sapphires beautiful

So that is all about the rock shows here,…….. the truth of the matter is that most people here are NOT here for the rock shows and could not care less about rocks. 🙀🙀

THIS IS what most people are here for. Because the weather is here…. and not bad for the winter, and there are essentially many square miles of this (natural) desert parking lot, people come from all over to spend the winter here.

I am sure you will find million dollar rigs here as well as people who have converted their cars into a home and are living in them. If you have read Nomadland or seen the movie, (very different stories, but both involving Quartzsite) you will understand the very different dreams and purposes that lure people here. Some years there are as many as a million people here. What you can see in the picture is what is called LTVA. You can camp anywhere here for ~ 180 dollars for the whole winter and 40 dollars for 2 weeks. What you get for that is a place to dump your Sani, fill up with water and expose of your garbage, beyond that you can camp anywhere. People seem to take ownership of their spots and “landscape” with rocks to out line the borders of their spot. Some of the landscaping is quite extensive, after all they have the whole winter. There is one area in the La PosA South LTVA that is called the “magic circle” it is the only “clothing optional” spot that is legal in Arizona. There are people who come to Quartzsite just for this reason. Warm (sort of) weather and clothing optional….

Although the whole thing began with the rock show, because so many people came here, many other things spawned from that. For instance…. there IS a gun show here this weekend (more like a reason to leave for us, but for many ……??).

There is also a massive RV show here starting on the 20th of January. There are likely many people who think that it is all about the RV show. Anything RV, you have ever thought you might need or want will be there, included a few thousand RVs.

The other big interest here is ATV/ 4×4 ing. They are here everywhere, and I guess we would be included with them, but our adventures in the jeep are far more purpose driven.🚗🚙🏎. We are not just driving around, we are driving around looking for rocks 🧐

If you have read nomadland … you can see that there is a whole culture of people who are here for the winter because it is a place that they can afford to live within the financial constraints of whatever “income” they have. They live in vans, cars, tents and RVs. They leave in March and April when it gets too hot to “be” here, but by then it is warm enough to “be” in other places. In fact a guy just showed up at our RV saying that his wife had died a few years ago and he was selling her jewelry to make ends meet.😔

One other thing that I have not heard anyone mention about Quartzsite, but I absolutely love…….. the mountain Range at KOFA just south of here. I can see the mountains in the distance from my Motorhome window.

This picture I took down closer to the mountains. It is very hard to capture the 3 dimensional aspect of these mountains.

They are very striking, perhaps because they stand out alone….. and also, did I mention there are rocks …..

Bye for now, many have asked how the weather is where we are, it has been a bit windy, but we are not getting the scary weather going on on California coast and central California.

much Love Janet, Ken and Tucker who does not really take up much space.🐕‍🦺

Castles in the sky…and on wheels

When “white” Americans first reached the Castle Dome mountains in the early 1860s there were already signs of previous mining activity.  It is felt that Native Americans had mined in the area and backpacked the ore to a processing site ono the Gila River. Remnants of adobe furnaces can be found there.

Mineral deposits discovered on the Colorado river in the early 1860s led prospectors to discover silver in the Castle Dome mountains.  I am thinking it is  like finding a little bit in the river…… then more in a certain area and essentially following the money.  I am sure it is WAY more complicated.

So Castle Dome Landing was developed on the banks of the Colorado river as a shipping point for the ore getting to California for smelting. 

Castle Dome (the DOME) is maybe 40 miles from the Colorado river, so a town developed closer to the mine, and was originally named Pitoti (which was the name of a weed in the area) The name was eventually changed to Castle Dome City.

not hard to see how the town/mine and landing got their names

We went to the museum a few days ago, which was about an hours drive from Quartzsite. Although much that is IN the town has been brought from elsewhere, it IS an interesting site. There were 300 mines in the Castle dome mining area and the area is the longest worked mining area in the state. The artifacts found in the buildings in the town were found when the mines were explored back in the 90s. The mines closed in 79. The buildings there were brought together from an area of about 300 acres around. There were 5 pubs….OUR KIND OF TOWN!!

This was an interesting spot with all the purple glass. Apparently the natural colour of glass is green, but since people wanted it clear, in 1918 they started adding magnesium to glass to make it clear. BUT in time glass made with magnesium would turn purple. They later on used Selenium, to turn the green glass purple, but in time THIS glass would turn yellow.

a couple of pale ale please….
who would have thought there would be so many vintages of barbed wire

The townsite was quite scenic and it is said that a few more noteworthy gun fights and this town would be up there with Tombstone in “sights to see in Arizona”

As always we are on the look out for ideas for decorating our house.

One of the very cool things about this “museum town” is that we got to take tucker with us, one of the LESS cool things is that OTHER people got to bring their dogs as well, ….and well Tucker never does well greeting other dogs at the end of a leash. But he did not have to sit in the car. It DOES say on several tourist info sites that dogs are not allowed, BUT that was not accurate, because he was welcomed in to museum.

The lady at the welcome desk was extremely nice and her daughter was learning finances and took our funds. The lady is with her husband and 3 kids whom they are home schooling, and living in RV year round. They are in this area doing this job until April. She said that her husband’s work, was taking him away from home and he was putting in long hours and not seeing his kids. So they just packed it in and because full time RVers. When you look at the situation that way, it seems like a great alternative.

There are a LOT of people we come across each day here who have done sometime similar and are living in their RV. One guy said that after living in an apartment for 15 years the owners had sold suddenly and he could not find anything he could afford. Many different stories, much like the stories in the movie “Nomadland”. Many people here are “full timers” and spend the winters here in Quartzsite and then in April or so when it is too hot here, they move out to other areas of the country for work or just for better climate. Earlier in January the big RV show, which is a huge tent filled with hundreds of booths selling anything an RVer might be interested in……..flagpoles, batteries, solar, and a multitude of gadgets. Anyways…. there were booths there to recruit these full timers to other places and jobs… such as Amazon, or other states parks dept.

It costs 180 dollars to camp here for entire winter. For that you get to camp anywhere in the massive area designated. OR 40 bucks for 2 weeks. For that you can use the Sani dump and water fill station and bins for garbage. I took this video on our way to the Sani this morning, just to give an idea of what the long term visitors area looks like. It stretches out for miles in each direction. I would guess that each camper gets a half acre to full acre of space. There are plates from every state…. VERY few Canadian plates, which apparently is quite different.

And this is where we are.

home sweet home

Notice anything new????? new booties

So that’s us for now…. thanks for reading, much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker in (these boots are made for walkin)

A Shock….ing story

Back when we were in Kingman, Ken came around the back of the rig, while filling up with gas, and there was a guy under our motorhome. EEEK.. Well it turns out that he had been following us and noticed how dreadful our shocks were. He just HAPPENED to have a mobile “replacing shocks” service.
Now although we were very leery, we also had been wanting to change the shocks and it is always extremely complicated to get anything done on our rig (as you will see in this story)…. so we went with it. I got the cash and insisted Ken stay with them the whole time. (after the disastrous brake situation where the guy put one of the callipers on wrong).
So we pulled into the parking lot of a mall, and they got the correct size measurements and one of them went off to purchase them. He came back and within an hour we had brand new shocks on the back of the rig, and it all went well.  Kind of funny, as we were driving away, we could see them following another older motorhome…

This blog does not have any associated pictures so I thought I would intersperse a few from the gem show. This is tigers eye from Australia.

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SOOOOOO then we decided we wanted to get the shocks replaced for the front. Ken figured he would do it himself.
We were in Parker AZ. Ken found an online ad for a store in Parker, and gave the guy the measurements, and he said that they would be in the next day by 4 and the shop closed at 5.
We went up to Lake Havasu for the day to visit friends and rushed back to Parker in time to get the shocks. We could not find the store, and so Ken phoned again and turns out that the store WAS in Lake Havasu city, where we had been all day. SHEEsh. So then he figured what the heck, and decided to drive up the next day to pick up the shocks anyways (about 35 miles..) He got there and they had ordered the wrong size.
So we hung around another day, deciding to really solve this problem and once more they got the wrong size in. So we decided to give up on this place… and  move on down to Quartzite. He went into a shop there and ordered the part and was quite specific….. but once again the wrong park came in.

This is a massive ?? Jasper piece from Australia, the rocks that come from these far away places, they ship them over.

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Finally finally … he resorted to the OLD FARTS forum, and one of the guys “BILL” coming to the Safari rally ordered the shocks, picked them up in Havasu and brought them to the rally. They were the correct ones. Ken had a hard time getting one of the old ones off and so “BILL” had the compressor tool to take it off, Ken got them off, put on the new ones and now we have 4 new shocks. So the morale of this long story, is that sometimes…. things that seem pretty weird, work out.

This some of the jewelry  that our friends from Hawthorn AZ their shop is called ROCK CHUCK, have made. They do the mining, cut the cabochons AND make the jewelry.  These pieces are a mixture of the various gems they mine. Turquoise, and varicite are the two I recognize.IMG_2763

HUGE ammonites from morocco

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We have officially said goodbye to Quartzite and are heading up to Havasu to drop off the rental car.  It will be great, because it is not much fun driving in 2 vehicles, Tucker gets lonely, he IS a 2 person dog, AND it has not been very useful. We WILL work out something different next year.

BYE for now

ALL MY LOVE

janet

Safari

Of all things, we are currently at a Safari International rally. We are just north of Quartzite and there are many many OTHER rallies going on around us.  I guess it is just an easy place for people to meet up….. and spend time.

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This is basically what the land around Quartzite looks like for miles and miles in every direction.  All of these large swaths of basic parking lots are divided by “washes”, where the rivers flow when there is water.  So essentially this month every area within miles and miles of Quartzite fills up with rigs like this.  (At least the swaths of land that rigs can get to, the picture above, we had to walk through a large wash to get to)    I have read that as many as a million people are here visiting at any time in January.

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Our motorhome is a 1995 Safari. Safari used to be a big name in motorhomes, but  then got bought out by someone else, and then someone else.  There is an online group that Ken has been on for a few years now where he gets all the details on how to fix our RV, and this site has been our lifeline for keeping this rig running. (I guess you could call it our 911, But we call it the old farts forum)   So we thought we would attend the rally since we are in the vicinity anyways.  This is the first time we have ever attended anything like this, but it is going well … so far so good. (Of course I have not brought up politics though  🙂  )

Oddly enough, no one else here has even heard much about the rock show, they really just come for the rally.

Tucker has made a few friends.

The thing about Safari’s that makes them unique is the painting on the back of them, they are all African animals. Everyone unique.

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So I went around all the rigs this morning to get pictures (of the pictures). I learned something along the way, and that is that each picture has hidden figures with in it. This one has a mouse, the rocks in front are actually fish.

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not quite sure how this one fits………

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The older ones are more simplistic.

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This one just pulled in, seems like a much newer rig.  Odd looking panther….

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AND THEN there is ours. (our rig is the second oldest one of those that are here now)IMG_2777

 

We woke to the sound of generators this morning. Loud and clear. GROAN.

We were moving our solar panels around this morning to get the batteries charged and one lady said, “I just don’t understand why you do not just use your generator” 🙂

Everyone seems very nice, and many of them seem to know each other already.  But we joined the big circle last night and good old Tucker won everyone over, he makes making friends easy.  Ken is having fun seeing what all other people have done in the way of renovations.

We will be here a few days to learn as much as we can from other RVers experiences.. then back to quiet mornings.

So now you will know, when you see painting on the back of the motorhome, that it is a Safari.

I have to edit this, Tonite I found out from one of the people here that every painting on every Safari is different.  The guy actually painted on each of them to make each one unique..  There IS a signature on each of them. So there I learned a lot doing this blog.

Much Love to all

Janet

Biking and Brenda

We are having a total blast with these bikes.

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We have been experimenting with Tucker, as I realized that it is likely the heat that wears him out. It is not THAT hot here, but there is no real shade. So while we are out on the bikes, he finds whatever places he can for shade. We stop every 1 mile to give him a break, and water, and he seems to be doing better. Yesterday I tried a makeshift “cooling collar”, soaking wet facecloth, but he got it off, today we will try a wet scarf.

Scotch Creek (where we live) is a LOT hotter than this in the summer, but the trails we hike usually have lots of shake trees.

Also sticking to the “roads” which are basically very very rough 4×4 roads, he is not getting any cactus spines in his feet.

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AND ME…. I am becoming a real mountain biker. Ken is amazed of the terrain I just weave my way through. BRAVE BRAVE Janet…..  These fat tires just ride over everything, and I am now actually trying to steer around big rocks.  Usually I see something scary and for some reason just steer straight towards it.  I have not crashed in 3 whole days, amazing. The gravel is often quite thick, and with the pedal assist function, (and the fat tires) you just keep going through the gravel….. and yes fishtailing.   Ken has this BIG smile on his face.

So each day we are heading out on the bikes, going anywhere from 2-3 miles out and stopping frequently to look for rocks, scenery etc… Having picnics….. getting back to the MH at about 3 in the afternoon.  Then we clean all of our rocks, and try to keep only the best.

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Which brings me to the part about rock graveyards.

Whenever we find more rocks, we have to go through what we already have and throw some out. So each place we camp, usually has a pile of “what we thought were treasures, but do not think are treasures anymore”.  Often what you find today, makes yesterdays finds look like JUST ROCKS.

We CAN tell others do this too, in that often we find other rockhounds rock graveyards. Sometimes we pick through them for special rocks we do not have samples of, but usually end up throwing them away at the next stop.  I am sure this entity will be very confusing to geologists in the future.

Well yesterday was laundry day…… and I was wondering what this guy had on his right hip….? Not seen one of those before, likely something to keep his quarters in 🙂

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So once a week we go back into town (quartzite ) do the sani dump thing…. fill up with fresh water, drop off our small bags of garbage at the dump and do laundry.  That took 2 hours and so we spent the afternoon looking at the thousands of rocks at the gem show which is on now in quartzite.

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These are mexican fire agates, we are just learning about how to work with fire agates…. how to bring out the fire, which would be the dark spots on these.  I fear my pictures never do the rocks justice.

and a lovely sink we bought for 150.00….  made of limestone from Morocco.   We also looked at plates.IMG_2632

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and some incredible tigers eye from Australia. Tigers eye  is a chatoyant gemstone that the way the minerals align within the rock it gives a wavy type of appearance.  Again I wish my pictures did the rocks justice.

The show that is on now is pretty large, and is called the Desert Gardens Gem and mineral show, and it goes the whole month and then from the 17th to the 21st is the HUGE QIA POWWOW which is all the same sellers that are here now, plus many many more.  Many specialized rock people JUST come to the pow wow.  At least that is how I understand it.

We have met sellers from India, Morocco, South Africa, Argentina,  and TEXAS so far. It truly is fun just looking at all the rocks. We have lots of books for identifying the rocks we find, but just like I cannot do the rocks justice with pictures, it seems that neither can anyone else. Much better to see them LIVE.  AND all the sellers are more than happy to tell you ALL about the rocks. Great place to learn.

Well back to sorting rocks.

Much love to everyone

Janet

Quartzsite

Quartzsite is our short term destination. It is in Arizona, just a few miles from the California border. It is at the crossroads of highway 10 and  HWY 95. The population is 3600 people and it is often the hottest place in the USA in the summer time.

The winter is when all the action takes place there though. The population at any one time in the winter is 250,000 and they get 1.5 million visitors a year.

The weather is one attraction, but there is no way a town that small can host that many people. The key is that there are hundreds of miles of flat BLM land surrounding Quartzite and the “boondocking” or dry camping capital of the US. As one guy at a solar place told us last year “the only place where someone spends 300,000 on a motor home to go camping for free in the desert.”  We have been boon docking for 6 weeks now and are not sure we want to camp alongside that many people, after all part of the reason we do this is for the wide open spaces we get.

Back to the OTHER reason we are attracted to QuartzSite….ROCKS.

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Now is not the greatest time to be in Quartzite, so we just spent part of a day there and then left, there are a few rock shops open now, but the shows begin in January. THIS IS VARIETIES of quartz… I think.  HUGE.

During January, there are 3 major shows, that draw in sellers and buyers from all over the world.  Rocks and things made with rocks … jewellery and apparently many very unusual things. We have not been in Quartzite in January, so  will likely have much more to tell after we have been.  That and likely LOTS of pictures. What we hope to do is to learn more about the rocks we find, how to recognize them and how to work with them. We have some lapidary equipment at home, and each rock is dealt with a little differently.

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OH and I put this one in here for Tucker…. his goals are very different from ours. Imagine if HE was writing this blog. 🙂

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So for now, we left Quartzite and found some great places to camp 30 miles north east, with the plans to rent a car for a month, and camp out of town and travel in with the car.

We are thinking seriously about getting a tow vehicle, but it will be much more complicated and expensive getting one here, so we thought we would just get the rental for this year and decide when we get home, what to do.

I thought I would include a cute little story about our christmas day dinner.  Years ago when we first moved to Bandon Oregon, we had some friends over for supper and made something sort of fancy with Scallops.  The recipe was from a cooking light magazine and it was delicious.  I loved cooking light recipes and so over the years I collected the magazines and then the annual books.  I had them all. Finally they became an online entity, and eventually I was just looking up my recipes online so gave away all the books.

Well it turns out that you can no longer GET recipes from 1997 online. So Ken and I set out to try to remember all that was in that recipe. It is always funny how things come to you in the middle of the night. One night after letting Tucker out during the night he came back and said “Asparagus”…… and then ” I think there was asparagus in that recipe”. So we gradually pieced together that there was also lemon rind… and juice…..etc.

So we made the dinner for boxing day, and took all the pictures like they do on recipe blogs. So here it is.

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First you roll the scallops in corn starch,  then heat  up olive oil in pan,  fry them for about 3 minutes on each side, then remove from pan.

Add 3/4 cup of white wine, then the lemon juice, rind, CHILI PUREE (we used 1/4 cup of our homemade tomato sauce)   and asparagus. x about 5 minutes, then add the scallops to the dish. Heat x 1 minute or so.

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then serve over rice.

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my lousy selfie…… I still feel that there might have been something else in the dish, but it was still great. Now if only I could find a 1997 cooking light magazine.

 

Much love and Happy New YEAR

janet