Tag Archives: Quartzsite

Adamsville

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Unfortunately, the information about Adamsville on the sign is not easily readable in this photo.

While I was exploring in Celia’s Rainbow Gardens in Quartzsite, AZ;  I ran across an area dedicated to Adamsville.

According to http://www.celiasrainbowgardens.com/, the Quartzsite Historical Society donated the buildings of Adamsville to the project. The

wooden buildings…had been given to them by the man who had built them, Babe Adams, from Parker.

Four of the fifteen little buildings that make up Adamsville.

There [are] 15 little buildings, including a schoolhouse, church, sawmill, barn and stables, marshall’s office, stage depot, log cabin, house, motel, saloon and house of ill repute, as well as a boot hill and more.

According to the Roadside America website (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/12493),

Celia’s Rainbow Garden includes “Adamsville,” a miniature village started in 1974 by Babe and Babs Adams at the RV park they lived at in Castle Rock. They donated the village to the Quartzsite Historical Society, who restored it and placed it here in 2001.

I found no indication of who exactly Babe and Babs Adams were or why they liked creating tiny buildings to make up a little Old West town. I’m also not sure if the little town is named for Babe and Babs Adams or if it is supposed to be a replica of Adamsville, which, according to http://www.ghosttownaz.info/adamsville-ghost-town.phpone, was one of the first settlements in the Arizona Territory.

The aforementioned Celia’s Rainbow Gardens website says the buildings have been restored at least twice. I guess the desert weather is pretty hard on them.

The same website says,

The center bed of the pioneer village had an original wagon from early Quartzsite history added…

This photo shows the “original wagon from early Quartzsite history.”

I was not able to find any information about who the wagon belonged to or what it was used for or in what time period it was used.

I wasn’t too thrilled by Adamsville, but I did spend a few minutes looking at the little buildings making up the town. I have no idea how historically accurate any of the buildings are, but maybe the Quartzsite Historical Society could offer more information to anyone who’s interested.

I took all the photos in this post.

RV Women Memorial

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One of the reasons I really wanted to visit Celia’s Rainbow Gardens was because one of my readers at the RTR told me there was a memorial space out there for van dwelling women. That sounded really cool, so I went looking for the memorial one morning.

I didn’t know where within the gardens the memorial was, so I took my time looking around. Finally, I found what I’m pretty sure my reader was talking about.

Maybe I misunderstood what my reader told me, because the memorial isn’t exactly for van dwelling women. It’s broadly for women who travel in RVs and specifically for women in the RVing Women community.

This photo shows the small plaque on the rock at the back of the circle pictured above. The smaller plaques feature the names of RVing Women who have taken their final journey.

According to http://www.rvingwomen.org/,

RVing Women is a National network whose members come from across the US and Canada. Established by and for women who are interested in RVing, we have Chapters across the country that offer camping, educational, and social events. We are a diverse group of women who enjoy many indoor and outdoor activities and hobbies.

RVing Women offers support and friendship for women who plan to travel by RV, already own one, have hung up their keys, or are just dreaming about RV possibilities.

A sign in the RVing Women space says this memorial was built in 2011 by the women of Camp Runamucka.

From what I’ve read, members of different RVing Women chapters meet in Quartzsite each winter. They  camp together and attend workshops and socialize. Sometimes they have work days at the RVing Women memorial within Celia’s Rainbow Gardens. It is the RVing Women who maintain this memorial area to honor and remember their RVing sisters who have passed away.

I especially enjoyed looking at the rocks upon which folks have painted different types of RVs.

Throughout the memorial area, there are small plaques with names on them affixed to larger rocks. Each small plaque features the name of an RVing Woman who has passed away. I bet it is comforting to visit the memorial and find the name of an RV-loving friend or sister or daughter or mother or partner who has left this earth. It must be a good place to remember and reflect.

I wish there were a memorial space for van dwelling women. If there is one, I wish someone would tell me about it. If there isn’t, I wish someone would start it.

If any of my readers are interested in joining RVing Women, the group’s  website says the following about their mission, vision, and values:

Mission :

Provide women RVers, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or financial status, a supportive network and the opportunity to enjoy the RVing lifestyle in a safe and knowledgeable manner.

Vision:

A premier organization for women interested in the RVing lifestyle.

We Value:

  • Diversity of our members.
  • Integrity and respect.
  • The abilities, skills and resources of each member.
  • The time and efforts of those who provide leadership and support.
  • Our chapter structure which provides a supportive network.
  • Educational opportunities to promote safe RVing.

 

I took all of the photos in this post.

Roadside America (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/12493) gives these directions to get to Celia’s Rainbow Gardens: [from] I-10 exit 19. Drive north on Riggles Ave., take the second left, then make the first right onto Main St./Plymouth Ave. [F]rom E. Main Street drive North on S. Plymouth Ave. The closest intersection to the park is E. Senter St & N. Plymouth Ave, and the driveway is just north of that. This garden is accessed from a dirt drive into the Town Park, and has a sign. The RC Flying Field is just past the access.

Once inside Celia’s Rainbow Gardens, have a look at all the memorials while looking for the RVing Women space; I don’t know how to explain how to get there.

Celia’s Rainbow Gardens

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I heard of Celia’s Rainbow Gardens after my first trip to Quartzsite, AZ for the 2015 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR). Someone else who’d been at the RTR wrote about the gardens on her blog, and I was sorry I’d missed them. But I missed the gardens again both times I went through Quartzsite on my way to California, and I somehow managed to not make it out there when I was in town for the 2016 RTR. I vowed I would go to the gardens in 2017, and I did.

According to http://www.celiasrainbowgardens.com/,

Celia’s Rainbow Gardens, [are] located in the Quartzsite Town Park [and] encompass 8 acres of the 40 acre park. The gardens were inspired by the dreams of Celia Winer, an 8-year old girl whose goal in life was to make the world a better place.

The Roadside America website (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/12493) says,

One of the “memorials to dead people” found in Celia’s Rainbow Gardens.

Celia was not yet nine years old when she died in 1995. The town, assisted by local RV’ers, built a garden of rocks in her memory that continues to grow with memorials to dead people.

As someone who likes cemeteries (read posts  I wrote about cemeteries here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/05/16/ajo-cemetery/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/10/30/888/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/06/20/hi-jollys-tomb/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/05/29/old-kernville-cemetery/), I enjoyed walking around and looking at the memorials in the gardens. Many snowbirds come to Quartzsite year after year. Many of these folks never know each other in their hometowns or even their home states. When a member of a Quartzsite snowbird community dies, it must be nice for the survivors to have a place in the town where the friendship thrived to pay their respects and remember their friends.

There are more than just “memorials to dead people” in the gardens, and it’s not just a “garden of rocks either.” It’s a botanical garden of sorts, with lots of different species of cacti, palm trees, and other plants. The aforementioned Celia’s Rainbow Gardens website says “[a]ll plants, trees, cacti etc. will eventually have identification markers…”

There’s an archway with bells at the entrance to the gardens. This area is called The Hero’s Bell Garden. An article called “Vets Remembered Inside the Garden” (http://www.celiasrainbowgardens.com/News/2006/5-17-06.asp) explains, the

archway [is] made of telephone poles with a cross beam on which two huge iron bells [are] suspended. These bells can be rung during special services.

On the Celia’s Rainbow Gardens website, there is a map with information describing many of the areas of the gardens. Near the front of the gardens is

Celia’s Oasis—A special area in memory of Celia and other children
who are remembered…It [is] surrounded by a low wall with the handprint bricks made by the children Celia went to school with.

There’s a palm tree plaza where

[t]he large palm [sic] in this semi-circle were donated by Main Event owners Howard and Marilyn Armstrong, and were planted by his crew.

There are benches in this area and throughout the park so visitors have places to sit and reflect, pray, or meditate.

There’s also an area with a

mining equipment display donated by BLM, showing some of the early equipment used in the mines in this area.

Of course, nothing in Quartzsite which might draw visitors from out of the area is complete without at least one reference to a camel, so there is a camel silhouette in this area too.

Celia’s Rainbow Gardens offer folks the opportunity of some quiet space away from the hustle and bustle of Quartzsite commerce. However, even in January, the sun was strong and I got warm pretty quickly. The gardens are nice to visit, but as when you do anything in Quartzsite, even in the winter, bring a hat and some sunscreen and a bottle of water.

I took all of the photos in this post.

The Roadside America website gives the following directions to get to Celia’s Rainbow Gardens: [from] I-10 exit 19. Drive north on Riggles Ave., take the second left, then make the first right onto Main St./Plymouth Ave. [F]rom E. Main Street drive North on S. Plymouth Ave. The closest intersection to the park is E. Senter St & N. Plymouth Ave, and the driveway is just north of that. This garden is accessed from a dirt drive into the Town Park, and has a sign. The RC Flying Field is just past the access. 

 

Fruit Squish ‘Ems!

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Sure, I accept food from food banks. I live my life below the poverty level, so I supplement my diet by frequenting food pantries when I can.

One of the services offered by the Isaiah 58 Project in Quartzsite, AZ is a free bag of food once a week. I partook of their offerings twice while I was in the town last January.

While getting free food is always awesome, what I like best is getting delicious free food I normally wouldn’t buy. I was pretty excited to find Fruit Squish ‘Ems! in my food bag. I have to admit, I’d never even heard of Fruit Squish ‘Ems! but what could be bad about a squeezable fruit pouch?

I’m not a stickler for expiration dates. Usually I don’t even check. Those dates are typically “best by” dates anyway. Most processed and packaged food is so full of preservatives, it would take a LONG time to go bad. Heck, I even buy “expired” food, as long as it’s deeply discounted.

I’m not sure why I even looked for an expiration date. Maybe I did it because I’d been shopping at one of Quartzsite’s temporary scratch-and-dent grocery stores and had gotten in the habit of making sure items I wanted to buy weren’t too old. Maybe my guardian angel told me to do it. In any case, I did look for a date and found it: June 2014. I received the Squish ‘Ems! in January 2017, meaning their “best buy” date had come and gone over two and a half years before.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that date made me a little nervous.

Sure, there was a time when the date wouldn’t have even made me blink, but I’m older now, and a little wiser, I hope.

My sibling has a Mormon friend. The Mormon friend is into food storage. (Learn more about Mormons and food storage here: https://jozhaus.wordpress.com/food-storage/.)  The friend told my sibling that when it comes to wet and dry food, it’s much easier to tell if dry food has gone bad. The wetness of the Fruit Squish ‘Ems! had me a little worried.

(While writing this post, I did a Google search on wet vs. dry food going bad. I found nothing to indicate the Mormon friend is correct. I did, however, find an informative article about food spoilage on the Business Insider website [http://www.businessinsider.com/expiration-dates-are-bogus-heres-how-to-tell-if-food-has-gone-bad-2016-7]. The article by is called “Expiration dates are bogus — here’s the best way to tell if a food’s gone bad” and covers bread, eggs, fruit, vegetables, meat, milk, and more.)

I wondered if maybe I was just being a wimp. Was squished fruit that had “expired” over two years ago likely to be spoiled? Would it really be “bad,” or just not “best”? Might it make me sick?

I decided to ask for the opinion of my soon-to-be-traveling companion, the man I’d been spending a lot of time with. He’s been a traveler and dumpster diver for the better part of his 46 years. I knew he’d eaten food in a variety of expired and less-than-best states. If he said he thought it would be alright, I’d quit worrying and eat the stuff.

I showed him the “best by” date on the package. I asked him what he thought. He immediately gave me a resounding NO! We did not need to eat that stuff, he told me. I was relieved. He’d validated my fears. If he thought eating the fruit was a bad idea, it was easy for me to go along with him.

I don’t blame the food bank for giving such wildly out-of-date food. I’m sure the pantry gets a lot of donations, and in the haste to get the food to the people, “best by” dates are sometimes overlooked.

I don’t even blame the folks who donated the out-of-date Fruit Squish ‘Ems! They were only trying to help.

I don’t feel the need to blame anyone, but I’m glad I took it upon myself to check the date. Our trip could have been decidedly awful had we sucked down bad Squish ‘Ems!

I took the photos in this post.

The Big Tent, 2016

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I realized I never shared my experiences of the 2016 Big Tent in Quartzsite, AZ. Today I will remedy that situation.

I wrote about the history of the Big Tent last year, so anyone who doesn’t know what it the world I’m talking about, you can read all about it here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/03/02/the-big-tent/. In brief, the Big Tent is shorthand for the The Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show. It’s literally a big tent full of booths for businesses trying to sell their wares to RVers who’ve come to town from around the country. Imagine the hawkers pushing gadgets at a state fair alongside companies catering to the wants and needs of the RV crowd; that’s the Big Tent.

In 2016, I did not show up at the Big Tent on opening day. There was no need for that. I wasn’t looking for a summer job, and I wanted to avoid filling the van with unnecessary items, even if they were freebies. I believe I went on the Wednesday after opening day, on my last day in Quartzsite.

Again, no one was being let in before the official opening time of 9am. I milled about outside the north entrance with the other early birds. While I was waiting, I got a text from my friend Tina who was at the Big Tent to look for a job. She met me at the north entrance, and we walked in together at nine on the dot.

There weren’t very many people browsing through the tent that day, so there was plenty of elbow room.

We hadn’t gotten past very many booths when  a guy working for Direct TV tried to waylay us. Who provides cable in your home? the guy asked. Oh, I said casually, I don’t have a home. Tina snickered and the guy was quietly confused just long enough for us to escape.

The next guy who tried to interrupt our rambling was in a booth with hair-salon chairs. He called out aggressively, Ladies, what appliances do you use to style your hair? I told him, I don’t style my hair. It does whatever it wants. He didn’t know what to say to that, and we walked on.

One good-looking young East Indian man with a British accent drew me right into his booth. It was a large booth, and there were several people in it trying to sell the product, reusable heating pads. The pads were pretty cool There was a metal disc in them and when the disc was clicked, the goo inside the pad got hot. The pads could also be used cold by placing them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. The young man was trying REALLY hard to sell the product to me. I finally had to tell him I wasn’t going to buy anything, but said he was doing a great job. We sort of squeezed each other’s hand in farewell, which made me a little giddy.

I got excited when I saw a sign with my name on it. Well, it was sort of my name. When I asked the man standing IMG_4521behind the table if I could take a photo of the sign, he insisted on putting the product beside it. Well, ok. I tried to explain to him that my name is Blaize, and I like to take photos of signs with my name on it. He only seemed concerned with showing off the product, which I guess makes sense because it’s his job to sell the stuff. I know nothing about the quality of Micro-Blaze, so I cannot recommend it. However, readers, you now know it exists.

Just down from the Micro-Blaze booth, I saw the salesman I’d been thinking about all year, the man selling RV bedding. This is what I wrote about him last year:

…the funniest thing I saw in a booth was a man lying in a bed on a platform a couple of feet off the floor. He was selling some special RV bedding, and he was demonstrating this bedding by lying in a bed. The big come-on with this bedding is that one wouldn’t have to make the bed if one had this bedding. Basically, the bedding was a double sleeping bag placed on top of a mattress. There was no tucking of sheets and blankets because this item was a blanket pouch. Is making an RV bed so difficult that people would rather sleep in a double sleeping bag? In any case, whenever I saw this grown man lying down in bed while trying to convince people to buy his wares, it cracked me up.

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This the sad sounding RV bedding salesman (identifying features removed). Sometimes when I stay in bed for days at a time, I feel depressed. Maybe this guy really needed to get out in the sunshine.

In 2015, I sadly had no camera to take a photo of the salesman and his wares, but in 2016, I was prepared. I walked up to the man and said hi. He said hi to me and started telling me about his special sheets. He sounded super sad. He sounded like a robotic recording. He sounded like a super sad robotic recording. The way he gave his speech about his special RV bedding did not make me want to buy his product. The way he gave his speech almost made me want to cry. I don’t know if he was having a bad day or if he was just generally tired, but his enthusiasm level was way low. I asked him if I could take his photo, and he said yes.

This guy, even though he seemed really down, was the high point of the Big Tent for me. I walked around after I talked to him, got a bright yellow (and cheaply made) tote bag from KOA and played a sort of slot machine game with the Flo lookalikes at the Progressive, but nothing made me happier than finally getting a photo of this guy.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Pancakes!

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One of my favorite things about Quartzsite in the winter is eating free pancakes at La Mesa RV. IMG_4453

La Mesa RV (at the corner of Main and Central [Highway 95] in Quartzsite) is in the business of selling motorhomes and 5th wheels. A marketing ploy the company uses to get people on their Quartzsite lot is a free pancake breakfast six mornings a week (Monday through Saturday) from 8am to 10am.

Breakfast is held in the Silver Buckle Customer Oasis, IMG_4402a large room filled with tables. The building was once a bar (I was told by an old-timer), which explains why there are multiple pairs of (definitely used) cowboy boots hanging from the ceiling as decoration. Folks line up at the counter along the back wall to pick up their breakfast.

On most days, folks receive two large flapjacks on their plate. Sometimes real creamery butter is served on the side, still wrapped in gold foil. Other days a blob of buttery spread (ingredients unknown) is plopped right on top of the pancakes. Plastic cutlery, napkins, and syrup (regular and sugar free) are on the condiment island at the end of the serving line.

Sometimes on Friday, biscuits and gravy are on the menu instead of pancakes. By biscuits, I mean each person receives one biscuit cut in half and covered in white gravy in which tidbits of sausage float. I think this deviation from pancakes is supposed to be a treat, but one biscuit with some flour and water gravy and a few bits of sausage does not fill me up nearly as much as two almost-plate-sized flapjacks.

Coffee is available. It’s a weak coffee, so weak in fact I can have one cup of it and not feel jittery. Cream and sugar are available in small paper packets, and I always manage to leave white dust on my table. Orange and apple juice are sometimes available, and there’s drinking water in a big orange cooler.

The first time one arrives for breakfast, one must go up to the counter made from the front end of a giant motorhome, and fill out a card. The card has blanks for one’s name, mailing address, phone number, and email address. (I’ve never provided my phone number or email address and was not challenged about my omissions.) At the bottom of the card, one is asked about the rig one currently drives. I was honest and wrote in ’92 Chevy G20. After the blanks are filled in, a woman working the counter writes one’s name on a name tag and hands it over. The  name tag lasts all season, and one is required to wear it whenever one wants to eat breakfast. IMG_4469

That’s the extent of the hoops one must jump through to get to the pancakes. No salesperson ever approached me to talk about any possible RV purchase, which is good, since the lowest price I’ve seen on any RV there was $17,000. Most RVs at La Mesa are upwards of $25,000, and some cost as much as $250,000! If I had to prove my ability to purchase the merchandise, I’d never be allowed near the pancakes.

The only sort of marketing involved with breakfast is being exposed to a video loop of La Mesa propaganda broadcast on the televisions scattered throughout the room. The videos include testimonials from satisfied Las Mesa customers, RVing tips (like leaving solid air fresheners throughout a motorhome when not in use so the RV smells fresh the next time it’s entered), and an educational piece detailing the hand signals one should use when helping an RV driver back up. I can honestly say that not once have any of these videos made me consider buying an RV from La Mesa.

Lots of people show up for the free La Mesa breakfast, and most of them are not from the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. At 44, I was usually one of the youngest people in the room (although as the winter population of Quartzsite expanded, I saw more people who seemed to be the kids and grandkids of the older demographic). One day I caught a quite elderly man looking at me as if I were a teenager!

When I’m in Quartzsite, I don’t go into town for the free breakfast every day. I figure I’m not saving any money if I use gas to drive the seven or so miles round trip for free pancakes. But when I’m going into town anyway, I arrive early so I can be one of the first people in line for breakfast at La Mesa.

La Mesa has locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Florida. IMG_4451(I don’t know if the other locations give out free food.) When I’m driving along and see the sign at one of the other locations or if I see a La Mesa commercial on TV, I shout, Pancakes! I’m not sure that’s the association for which the owners of La Mesa RV were hoping.

I took all the photos in this post.

Naked Guy

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Last year when doing research on Quartzsite after I’d left, I saw a few references to a nudist who ran a bookstore. After thinking, oh, I missed that, I didn’t give it much thought.

When I met Iggy on Facebook and we compared our 2015 Quartzsite and RTR experiences, he asked if I’d been to the bookstore with the naked guy. When I said I hadn’t, he told me that during his visit, the owner wore nothing but a sock (and he wasn’t talking about on the guy’s foot). Iggy said the guy sometimes wore a jacket if the temperature dropped.

The naked guy in the bookstore became a joke between us (along with the English dish called spotted dick, but that’s a whole other story). Once I got to Quartzsite, I kept saying I was going to go to the bookstore and see the naked guy, but I kept leaving town before I made it out that way. Finally on the last Saturday of the RTR, I paid my visit.

The name of the store is Reader’s Oasis Books,IMG_4459 and it’s located at 690 East Main Street in Quartzsite. The naked guy is owner Paul Winer.

I did see Paul when I walked into the shop. He was wearing big glasses, a jacket, and a black…what to call it? Thong? Pouch? Penis sheath? Banana hammock? What I’m trying to say is that his penis and testicles were covered, but not much else was. When he turned around (yes, I looked), I saw his butt cheeks and a strip of cloth running up his butt crack. (Wedgie city!) It really wasn’t all that shocking. However, I was expecting to see a naked guy there. I’m sure it would have been more shocking had I stumbled across a nearly naked man in a bookstore.

The bookstore is incredible! It is big and stuffed full of books and handwritten signs and pictures and shiny rocks and memorabilia. There is a lot to see in that store. The selection is broad, from 3 for $1 romance novels to military history to old-school children’s books to cookbooks to books on religion to books pertaining specifically to the Southwest. The bookmark I ended up buying (featuring a photo of Paul with his thumb up and sporting a big beard and shades; wearing multiple turquoise necklaces, a straw hat, and a bit of cloth over his privates) boasts over 180,000 titles, and I believe it.

One unusual thing I noticed (in addition to the nearly naked proprietor) was that the majority of the books in the place are tightly wrapped in plastic. Why? One person (unaffiliated with the bookstore) I talked to thought maybe it was to keep dust out of the books. Personally, I’d be hesitant to buy a used book I couldn’t check for mold, water damage, or loose binding.

I also noticed that Paul seems to play up the wackiness of a naked guy in a bookstore. There were photos of him throughout the store, many featuring different penis coverings. I guess if there’s a naked guy in a bookstore anyway, it’s a good way to draw people in. If you’ve got a naked guy around, you might as well flaunt him.

It’s easy to laugh at a naked guy selling books, but in the photos of him scattered through the store, Paul looks like a happy man. If his dream was to be a nudist in the desert and sell books, he’s quite a success. There aren’t too many places where a man can wear a thong in January and not (literally) freeze his balls off. As a nudist in Quartzsite, Paul pretty much has it made.

I didn’t buy any books at Reader’s Oasis. I had plenty of books in the van, and I’m being careful about the money I’m spending. But I did buy two Reader’s Oasis bookmarks. One is for me so I can hang it in the big collage in my van. The other is for Iggy because I knew he wouldn’t buy one for himself.

I took the photo in this post.