We had an easy drive from Phoenix to Quartzsite on a beautiful sunny day. Even the traffic on I-10 was light and breezy as we rolled through town. Our destination was La Paz Valley Campground located a few miles south of Quartzsite.
The busy season in Quartzsite had long passed, but we were going there to attend the 2018 RV-Dreams Boondocking Rally. Though we know a ton of RV-Dreamers, we've never actually attended one of their rallies so we figured this would be a good one for us.
We booked five days at La Paz because we wanted full hookups in order to catch up on laundry and other chores before heading out into the desert. Our friends Bill & Jodee were at another park in town, but they came to visit and together we took a trip to the infamous Desert Bar just outside Parker, AZ. This place is quite a trip and lucky for us we went as passengers in Bill & Jodee's Jeep. It's a long, rough and dusty trip out to the middle of nowhere to arrive at the hoppin' Desert Bar. Run strictly off of solar, there's live music, alcoholic beverages and a ton of great food options. It's a commitment to visit this place, but definitely worth it!
The following day Bill & Kelly arrived at La Paz and for the next few days we all prepared to boondock in the desert for a week.
On the first day of the rally, we had a whopping 16 miles to drive from La Paz Valley RV Park to the site of the RV-Dreams Boondocking Rally. They were expecting 40 rigs, so we wanted to get there early enough to get a good spot, but we also wanted to prepare by finishing up our laundry, emptying our holding tanks and taking on fresh water.
Overall, one week of boondocking isn't too much of a challenge for us, in that we don't really have to employ all the usual conservation tricks. Scoopy has good-sized fresh water and holding tanks, so we're fairly self-sufficient for a while. It's when we know we'll be out for 12-14 days that we really buckle down and conserve.
Around 10:15 a.m. we headed to the rally in a convoy, with new friends Pat & Bridget in the lead, Bill & Kelly in the middle and us bringing up the rear. We found the location easily and just parked up, one, two, three! As more rigs arrived later in the day, there were fewer prime spots to be had, so we were lucky to get here at the perfect time. Scoopy is kind of front and center to all the activities, the most important of which is the food tables. :)
We watched as more rigs arrived and began forming a giant oval. Most of the motorhomes are across from us, but we parked with the 5th wheels. We wanted to be parked next to Bill & Kelly, but we also didn't want the evening sun beating in our front windshield.
As people arrived and got set up, some began working around our little camp in the desert. Rocks were gathered and three huge fire pits were made. We didn't really do anything and later I wondered if this was like Survivor, where Steven and I might be voted off the desert island because we are lazy. But we just laid low and hoped we'd be allowed to stay. So far, so good!
Howard and Linda provided a dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs, as well as cake for desert. As dinner was being prepared by volunteers, folks gathered around the fire pits in anticipation of full stomachs and a roaring fire to close out the first day of the rally. I was exhausted. Even though I was wearing sunscreen, I felt a little charred. I think it might have been the wind, but in any case, I fell into my bed and slept like a baby!
I’m sure this cute cake didn’t last long although we didn’t partake.
On day two, at 10:00 a.m. there was a great turnout for the seminar "Tank Management". It's always a hot topic because we're all looking for that one little tidbit that we haven't heard before that's gonna be a game-changer in our boondocking lives. There was lots of poop talk, we all have stories and ideas and methods to share. For us, the black and grey water holding tanks are not really a limiting factor while boondocking. The first thing that happens is we run out of fresh water. A couple of years ago when we stayed out in the SoCal desert , we managed to stretch our fresh water to 15 days. That was just a challenge we put on ourselves, there were plenty of places we could go to dump and take on fresh water, which we eventually did. It was fun for us to see how far we could push our systems, and ourselves, but in general we don't really need or want to go too long in the wilds. If we're planning to return to the same spot, we usually leave Toadie Hopper in charge of security.
The Boondocking Rally is really for those who want to learn how to do it and what equipment is necessary, or preferable, in order to do it successfully. As it turned out, though, at least half of the attendees were newbies and the other half were experienced boondockers. It was fun to share ideas and methods of things that work for us. Howard and Linda offered personal one-on-one time for those who needed assistance learning their systems, as well as gaining advice on what equipment they might need moving forward if boondocking is in their future.
Aside from that, it was a week of social gatherings. Plans were made for a couple of potlucks and a breakfast during the week, so Kelly, Jodee and I made a run to the Walmart in Parker. Later in the afternoon Linda Payne did a T-Shirt braiding class and I finally got a braided T-Shirt. I used a T-shirt I bought on the east coast specifically for this purpose. It became pretty clear to me that I would only have the one, because I will never remember how to do it on my own, plus I needed help finishing the only one I did. Jodee had to make the last final stitches so it would hold together. I haven't worn it yet, but I will one of these days. If it falls apart at the stiches, she doesn't want to hear about it. I don't blame her.
We have never attended a big rally potluck and it didn't take long for Steven and me to realize we were woefully under prepared. Not with regard to food, we had enough to feed an army. I mean with regard to feeding ourselves. We had to bring our own plates and eating utensils and all we had were flimsy salad-sized paper plates. Rookies! Others, who had obviously been to many potlucks before, came prepared with sturdy trays and chairs with tables attached. Huh. I still have a lot to learn after all these years.
One morning started with Breakfast for 80. There were several stations set up for sausage, eggs and pancakes. There were a lot of happy campers. For the first potluck we offered up a Greek salad, and for the second we made up about four dozen smoked brisket sliders with spicy jalepeno coleslaw. Doesn't that sound fab? They were pretty yummy, but labor-intensive. Again, I've got a lot to learn about potlucks!
Potlucks are taken very seriously at these rallies!
There were a couple of field trips on offer, one to a gold mine and another to the Desert Bar. Since we had already been there, Steven and I, along with Kelly, Bill and Jodee opted for a day trip to Mexico. Arrriba! The first thing we did was find tacos and margaritas. Wow, they were so good! Then we roamed the streets looking for drugs and tequila. I managed to find some Ibuprophen, blood pressure medication and a Z-Pac, and Steven found a bottle of tequila. Since it was getting close to my birthday, he also bought me a fabulous Prada handbag. We call it "Frada", since it's fake, but I love it anyway. All-in-all, we had a fabulous day across the border!
Steven, of course, was busy taking photographs and shooting video during our week in Quartzsite. You can take a look at a little movie he put together of the event here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6gqbhl
We had a wonderful week at the rally. It was fun to see folks we knew and wonderful to meet others. It was a great group, and while we didn't learn much about boondocking, we certainly learned that we need to up our game with regard to rally potlucks! We're working on that!
NEXT UP: More boondocking in SoCal