We have been boondocking in the desert for quite a while now, and I’m feeling a bit antsy to be moving along on our eastern adventure. However we’ve been coming to Quartzsite in January for the past several years and wouldn’t miss it. It is THE place to be to socialize with other RVers.
Quartzsite, Arizona has been a winter gathering spot in the Sonoran Desert for years. It’s roomy. It’s affordable. The weather is sunny and warm in January. Not always, as we can attest from being here last year, but this year has been awesomely warm, and it’s nice to be wearing shorts again.
There are also the giant swap meets and shows that attract people to the area. This month is the Gem and Mineral Show (which is what first brought us here several years ago) and the RV show, which brings in dealers and RVs from all over. The “big tent” show this month will have vendors selling all types of RV accessories and conveniences – as well as many anti-aging cremes and joint pain cures. This is a popular spot for retirees. There is also a giant outdoor vendor fair this month called the Sell-O-Rama, in which you can find just about anything for sale.
This is also the Gathering Place because of all the RV groups that get together here this time of year. For every make and style of RV there is a group you can meet up with. And there are groups for every interest – from off-roaders to Ham radio operators to gold prospectors.
But the RV industry is changing. We are seeing a transition from Recreational Vehicles used for summer or winter or weekend travel to permanent homes for nomads – which is how we use our RV. We’ve found that nomads come in every age and economic category. And we are seeing more and more young people opt for the nomadic lifestyle. Which we think is wonderful.
We are Escapee members and they have a lot of sub-groups: Solos (singles) or Xscapers (still working) or the group we’re staying with – the (Baby) Boomers just to name a few. We are camped at “Boomerville”, which has been at this same spot in the desert near Quartzsite for many years. The Boomers are attracting younger people (Gen X) as well which is great.
A few years ago, another group starting gathering in this area: the Rubber Trampers. Bob Wells – of Cheap RV Living .com – started the RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) which was originally for people living in vans. It has grown exponentially into a nomadic movement of sorts and now there is everything camping here; from class A’s to cars/tents and many unique conversions in between. This year they estimate well over 3,000 people at RTR. And the “border” between the Boomerville and the RTR camps has blurred.
Tom and I don’t mind this at all. We prefer mixing it up. We have watched many a YouTube made by people that are here at the RTR, and enjoy the creativity we see at that camp. But other Boomers are feeling uncomfortable at being so close to what a few seem to believe is an inferior group. This is just my perception mind you, but one person did say they were locking the doors on their RV for the first time out here. And that bothers me.
Yes, we are parked with mostly nice and large RVs and possibly a lot of people that have retired from affluent positions. But what I love most about the RV community is the mix of socio-economic groups. The commonality is that we all want a different lifestyle than the more normal 30 year mortgage and two cars in the garage. That makes us the same whether we’re in a 45 foot diesel pusher, or a camper on a pickup truck. To me, that makes us (boomers) the same as the RTR van dwellers.
But I guess that RV class snobbery I’ve heard of does exist. It’s true I don’t understand how people without self-contained units (i.e. no bathrooms on board) can manage in a desert in the middle of nowhere (there are YouTube videos that explain how). But I do understand their desire for freedom. And more power to them for figuring out how to do without, if you ask me.
Just because they don’t have as many possessions as I do doesn’t mean they are coveting mine and would steal it if given the chance. More likely they have the minimalism lifestyle down pat and wouldn’t want more. Plus, it’s been my experience that those with the least are indeed the most giving of what they have.
Of course there are bad apples in every bunch. And the more people you gather together, the more likely you’ll run into a few bad apples. That’s true in life anywhere.
I guess I just felt a need to say “Why can’t we all just get along?”
I feel we should all be looking for what we have in common rather than focusing on the differences – be it politics, religion, or camping lifestyles. Thanks for listening.
Peace & Love, Joy