|How does one describe Quartzsite, AZ.? Quartzsite is hardly a top tourist destination and not particularly visually appealing. About 3,000 folks live here year round when the summer temperatures soar to 110 degrees, but winter is another story! During January and February, when temps are mild, the local population climbs to hundreds of thousands with RVers "boondocking" on public lands and flooding the numerous parks around town. It is the scene of huge RV, gem and mineral shows. Vendors from all major motorhome suppliers, parts and accessories set up camp. Acres of flea markets offer every conceivable need, notion and a fair amount of "junque". It's a circus!
Our arrival here is somewhat post-events so traffic has dwindled to a manageable level with the yearly "snowbirds" still in residence but the major RV show is over and most dealers and vendors have moved on. We usually come every year for a few days to a week to check out all the new "stuff", restock products we use regularly, but mostly to catch up with old friends!
Long-time buddies, John and Babs, whom we last saw in Anacortes last summer, are here for several months. They and we stay at John's sister Jenny's place along with Jenny's son, John, wife Sherry and mom, Bert. In fact, it's the family commune and we consider them all our extended family. We are treated nightly to their fabulous Italian/Sicilian cooking; "peasant food" as they call it!
While at Lake Cahuilla we ordered our new Magnum inverter and had it shipped here. Howard installed it and the new control panel with much needed help and supervision from both Johns. It was a two-day project but a successful one and we are now operating on full power with the six new batteries and inverter!
The temps are now climbing to the mid-80s but we venture out to check around town and see what might spark our interest. Tyson Well's still has a few vendors and the rock hound shops are crammed. We considered getting a catalytic converter heater, which is a lot more energy efficient than our hydronic diesel furnace, but decided we probably wouldn't get much use out of it now until next winter, so will wait.
But we are on a mission to finally visit one of the major Quartzsite attractions; the Readers Oasis Bookstore and owner Paul Winer who is best known for what he does not have! What he does not have is clothes on his body as he goes about his daily work, including waiting on customers. He likes to tell the story about how he was America's original exotic male entertainer, which means he did his act sans clothes. His store is an entertaining desert oasis for book lovers, stuffed with mostly used books, but some new ones as well. And there are magazines and DVDs and other stuff.
We just returned from yet another family dinner which now we have on the outside covered patio due to the warm evenings. John fixed his "signature" dish - menudo! Menudo is definitely a Mexican specialty and is made with tripe and hominy in a spicy red sauce. He also adds pork for those who do not like the tripe. This has become a tradition when we all get together! John's sister Jenny brought out old picture albums filled with family pictures, some dating back to the 1930s. Theirs was a large family of 7 children, 6 girls and John, the youngest! Their father came over on the boat from Italy through Ellis Island and the family settled in the mountains of Colorado laboring in the mines. Their parents eventually bought a herd of goats and started making cheese. Such rich history!