(Click here for more photographs.)
Quartzsite is a unique place. It is located in the Arizona desert at the intersection of US 95 and Interstate 10. There is a history of mining in the area around Quartzsite which led to an annual rock and gem show here during the winter. This grew in popularity to the point where more and more people came for the show, particularly in RVs.
Eventually, they added a show/expo specifically related to RVs as well as products and services specific to RV owners. There are a number of different “show grounds” where vendors can make their products available to those who come to shop. These show grounds have hookups for RVs so that many of the exhibitors park their RV and put up a tent for presenting their items. You name it, it’s available for sale here. The bottom line is that during the winter, the “population” of Quartzsite grows exponentially. In addition to the many RV parks in Quartzsite, there is BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land nearby that allows for free dry camping for RVers. During the RV show, this area is a sea of hundreds of RVs.
There aren’t many permanent housing units here and I don’t know what the summer population is. It just seems like everybody here lives in an RV or mobile home.
An interesting side story for Quartzsite is the “Hi Jolly Cemetery”. In the mid-1800’s, camels were imported to the US desert southwest due to their particular ability to deal with this environment. Hadji Ali, a Greek born in Syria, was hired in 1857 as a camel herder to assist the US Army with their Camel Corps. The soldiers took to calling him “Hi Jolly” which was easier for them to pronounce. When the Civil War began, the Camel Corps was disbanded. Hi Jolly settled in Quartzsite where he worked at mining, packing, scouting and selling water to travelers.
Next stop: Anaheim, CA