2015 RV Shows: One-Stop RV Shopping

RV shows are like the mega-malls of the RV world.

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV and camping shows are where multiple dealers gather to bring their latest models and offer deals. This provides a great opportunity for prospective buyers to wander between different models, check out various floor plans, ask questions, meet other RVers, and find the RV that best meets their needs.

RV retail shows give you an opportunity to see many makes and models of RVs—at one time and at one place. What better way to comparison-shop for the vehicle that best fits your travel plans and budget? At RV shows, you’ll also find dealers and other RV industry experts, who can assist you in finding the right RV.

There’s an RV show every year in every region of the country.

New and experienced RVers head around the country during the year to check out what the latest in recreational vehicles and new products and accessories.

January through early April is prime RV Show Season. There is no better way to shop for a new RV or upgrade your current one than by attending an RV show, where numerous dealers and suppliers come together to show off their wares. You’ll have an opportunity to check out a wide-range of recreational vehicles in one location, often at special “show prices”.

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The two granddaddies of the RV Show circuit are the Florida RV SuperShow at Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, from January 14-18; and the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show, in Quartzsite, Arizona, January 17-25.

RV shows are also scheduled with snowbirds in mind at a variety of other venues including:

South Texas RV Supersale (San Antonio, Texas), January 2-4

Southern Louisiana Boat, Sport & RV Show (Houma, Louisiana), January 9-11

All Valley RV Show (Mercedes, Texas), January 15-18

Central Gulf Coast Boat, Sport & RV Show (Lake Charles, Louisiana), January 20-22

Ft. Myers RV Show (Florida), January 22–25

Houston RV Show (Texas), February 4-8

Ocala RV Show (Florida), February 12–15

West Palm Beach RV Show (Florida), February 12–15

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Rally/Good Sam Phoenix Rally (Phoenix, Arizona), February 26-March 1

Jacksonville RV Show (Florida), February 26–March 1

Biloxi Boat & RV Show (Biloxi, Mississippi), February 6-8

Central Florida RV Show (DeLand), February 26–March 1

Greater Atlanta RV Show (Georgia), March 6-8

Panhandle Spring RV Show (Fort Walton Beach, Florida), March 19-22

FMCA Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase (Pomona, California), March 26-29

When attending an RV show be sure to wear comfortable footwear. You’ll be walking and standing for the majority of the day. If you check out everything the show has to offer, by the end of the day, your feet will be crying out for mercy. Wearing sensible footwear will help to keep your feet from aching after a long day.

When entering an RV show, you’ll receive a map and brochure that details the location of each vendor. Plan your route through the show to maximize your time, energy, and priorities. You may wish to jot down important information or remind yourself of vendors you wish to revisit later in the day.

You may want to make notes, swap phone numbers, or have a way to write down information. Bringing a small notepad and pen/pencil if you don’t have a smart phone that can input notes for future reference. Just pop the notepad in your pocket and you’re good to go for the day.

Enter the giveaways. Most RV show vendors offer giveaways, discounts, and more. All you have to do is enter the contest. Besides, who doesn’t like free stuff or discounts on products? Several years ago we received a free week of camping following the Mid-Valley RV Show in the Rio Grande Valley. On another occasion we received a month of camping for $99.

Worth Pondering…

I don’t think you can call yourself a true American until you’ve been behind the wheel of an RV … I love seeing parts of the country I wouldn’t otherwise.

—Jeff Daniels, actor

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2015 Quartzsite Show Dates Announced

Quartzsite is located in western Arizona, 17 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10.

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February
Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1856, settler Charles Tyson built a fort at the present site of Quartzsite for protection against Indian raids and to protect his water supply. Fort Tyson soon became a stopover on the Ehrenburg-to-Prescott stagecoach route. It had become known as Tyson’s Wells by the time the stage stopped running and the town was abandoned.

Quartzsite was established in 1867 and incorporated in 1989. A rock hunter’s paradise surrounds Quartzsite with agates, limonite cubes, gold, and quartz being just a few. Named Quartzite because quartz was occasionally found in the area, the name evolved to Quartzsite through an error in spelling.

Quartzsite has been a rockhounders’ paradise since the 1960s.

Today, it is also attracts over a million and a half visitors each winter who converge on this sleepy desert town of 1900 people in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February when over 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and everything else imaginable create one of the world’s largest open air flea markets.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year.

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.
Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In town, the Hi Jolly Monument honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. To the south rise the Kofa Mountains. Historic and scenic areas include the Spanish Wall, Crystal Hill, Tyson Tanks, and Tyson Wells Museum. South in the Kofa Mountains is Palm Canyon, a tight gorge and home of Arizona’s only native palms, reached by a steep but rewarding climb. Farther south is Castle Dome Peak.

Tyson Wells Show History

Tyson Wells began with an open lot where an RV Park was developed; the Sell-A-Rama Show started in 1978.

Soon Tyson Wells became known as a leading Rock & Gem Show in the United States. Later, additional land was acquired for more parking, and two more shows—Rock & Gem Show and Art & Craft Fair—were added.

the Hi Jolly Monument honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.
the Hi Jolly Monument honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tyson Wells has something for everyone with the three shows in January and February, seasonal vendors, self-storage units, and an RV Park.

The Quartzsite Shows

Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show

The Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show attracts rock, gem, and mineral vendors from around the world and runs for 10 days in early January.

Dates for the Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show are January 2-11, 2015.

Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama

The Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama show occurs in late January and also runs for 10 days. The Sell-A-Rama has over 850 vendor spaces which equals roughly 2.2 miles of aisle frontage. You can find just about anything at this 25-acre show.

Dates for the 37th Annual Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama are January 18 – 25, 2015.

Tyson Wells Art & Craft Fair

The indoor Tyson Wells Art & Craft Fair takes place early February each year. One can find arts, crafts, hobbies supplies, jewelry, and lapidary supplies.

Dates for the Tyson Wells Arts & Crafts Fair are January 30-February 8, 2015

2015 Quartzsite Show Dates

You won’t want to miss the 2015 Quartzsite Shows!

January 1-February 28, 2015: The Desert Gardens Gem, Rocks & Mineral Show

This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year!
This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

January 2-January 11, 2015: Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show

January 2-January 14, 2015: Prospectors Panorama

January 5-January 25, 2015: The Main Event

January 16-January 18, 2015: Blythe Bluegrass Festival

January 18-January 25, 2015: Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama

January 17-January 25, 2015: Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show

January 21-January 25, 2015: QIA Pow Wow Gem & Mineral Show

January 30-February 8, 2015: Tyson Wells Arts & Craft Fair

February 6-February 7, 2015: Quartzsite Quilt Show

February 13- February 15, 2015: Desert Bloom ATV Rally

February 13-February15, 2015: QIA Gold, Treasure & Craft Show

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

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2015 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show Dates Announced

Every January something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it!

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More than a million and half million visitors, mostly in recreational vehicles, converge on the sleepy little desert town of Quartzsite, located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10, for the rock, gem, and mineral shows, plus numerous flea markets and the annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show.

Wherever you look, you see RVs of every type, size, and vintage. It’s the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

“If you’re looking for anything related to RVs, you’ll find it at the RV show in Quartzsite,” says Kenny King, show promoter.

There will be several hundred new and used RVs on display in 2015 and over a dozen service bays will be offering immediate installation, repairs, and service on many of the items that will be exhibited at the show.

This phenomenon started over 30 years ago and is now billed as “The Largest Gathering Of RVers in the World”.

The inaugural Quartzsite RV Show opened January 28, 1984 at the corner of Highway 95 (now Central) and Business 10 (now Main Street) in Quartzsite. With just 60 exhibitors and a small tent, the “new show in town” was still very popular since the majority of the people in Quartzsite were RVers.

Check out the new and used RVs of every type and size at the Quartzsite RV Show.
Check out the new and used RVs of every type and size at the Quartzsite RV Show. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1987 the show, now re-named the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, moved up the street to the Quartzsite Trailer Park which was situated directly across from the major attraction in town, the Quartzsite Pow Wow (the first Pow Wow was held in 1967).

This new home for the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show lasted 10 years until the show grew to a point that the current 3.5-acre show site could barely hold the number of exhibitors that were now vying for exhibit space at this popular annual event.

In 1997 the “BIG TENT”, as the show had become known, moved across the freeway to its present home, a new 20-acre facility, ½-mile south of I-10 on Highway 95 (now 700 South Central).

With the new Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show grounds, the popular event was able to provide over 15 acres of public FREE parking.

During our last visit to the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, we reminisced about how Quartzsite has changed over the last 16 years since our first visit and what future years might bring.

When we first went to the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in ’99, the RV Pavilion was packed with big-ticket items like RV satellites, tow hitches, and companies offering to install a solar array on your vehicle.

Since then, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show has boomed and last year alone it drew more than 150,000 attendees. It draws the snowbirds from around the US and Canada.

While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.
While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Looking ahead to future years, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show will continue to grow and attract a more general crowd. Thanks to items like cheaper flat screen TVs, smart phones, and affordable solar arrays with charge controllers to power all your gizmos, it is easy to have all the comforts of home while you’re camping.

As RVing gets easier and more comfortable—and more boomers retire—even more people will dip their toes into the RV world, and what better place to do it than at Quartzsite?

As Quartzsite continues to grow and evolve, it will still be a wonderful place for RVers of all types to gather and relax with near perfect temperatures during the day and clear starlit skies at night.

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

We’re going back to the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show again this year!

Quartzsite is an experience not to be missed—and we think you’ll like it too!

Worth Pondering… 

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February. As the saying goes, “If you can’t find it in Quartzsite, you won’t find it anywhere.”

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RV Boondocking Capital of the World

Quartzsite, Arizona, a Sonora Desert community 18 miles east of the Colorado River, on I-10, is the RV Boondocking Capital of the World.

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.
Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The term boondocking, also known to RV enthusiasts as dispersed campingdry camping, or coyote camping, is used to describe camping in the midst of nature without the use of commercial campgrounds and hookups.

As you approach Quartzsite from any point on the compass, you begin seeing them approximately 20 miles away from town: clumps, groups, and temporary communities of RVs circled around common campfire rings like wagon trains of old. Many solo units also are scattered among the sagebrush. In early morning and late afternoon you will see tall, straight fingers of campfire smoke pointing upward from these campsites.

Hundreds of thousands of RV owners, enthusiasts, and dreamers descend on the flat, rocky desert fields surrounding the town. Folks come from all over the US and Canada to behold the wonder that happens in Quartzsite every January and February. They come for the warm sunny weather, and great deals—what more can you ask for?

As you enjoy your time at Q, you can also prepare for your next boondocking trip by getting tips on techniques and hotspots from all the new friends you’ll make. Plus with so many RV experts around if something does go wrong, help is just a short walk away.

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February
Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You can find everything from geodes to GPS devices, and frying pans to dream catchers.  If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, it probably doesn’t exist!

The desert landscape is transformed into make-shift RV parks, little cities within a city. The streets have no name, but the purpose is the same—to boondock in the desert, rendezvous with old and new friends, visit the rock and gem shows and flea market vendors, participate in the Sell-A-Rama, wander the RV show under the Big Tent, and soak in the wonder of it all.

Quartzsite has become a mecca to visitors and exhibitors for rocks, gems, mineral specimens, and fossils during the town’s famous two-month-long gem and mineral show and flea market meet every January and February. From its humble beginnings the now-massive Quartzsite show has grown to epic proportions with vendors offering everything under the Quartzsite sun.

While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.
While in Quartzsite, check out the Hi Jolly Monument which honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be warned, though. Don’t come in the summer when nothing much happens. The gypsy-like encampment will have long disappeared. Vendors start packing up in mid-February and are long gone before the snowbirds migrate north and the intense desert heat becomes unbearable.

But come winter, everything changes as the small desert community bustles with activity. RVs by the tens of thousands camp helter-skelter on the BLM land.

Originally built by Charles Tyson, Quartzsite began in 1856 as Fort Tyson, then became a stagecoach stopover called Tyson Wells and this name still echoes in the annual Tyson Wells Rock and Gem show. A mini mining boom led to its renaming as Quartzsite.

What started as a small-town mineral show in the late 1960s in western Arizona has developed into a phenomenon that peaks in January by bringing more than 1 million people to the town of Quartzsite, where a huge RV show greets them.

The 2015 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show will run January 17-25. In 32 years, the event has evolved into the largest consumer RV show in the US.

The show is heaven on earth for RVers. It’s a ton of fun with hundreds of exhibits, live shows, bargain products, and fellow RV enthusiasts. The fact that the desert is gorgeous and the temperature is in the low-to-mid 70s in mid-January doesn’t hurt either!

Quartzsite is a popular destination for snowbirds on its own but many come for a week or two during the RV Show. When the gates open on the first day, people are lined up for a quarter-mile at each of the two main entrances to get in. It fills the tent and creates gridlock.

This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year!
This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Add to that the Pow Wow rock and mineral show and the Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama and Quartzsite becomes the third-largest city in Arizona for a brief time.

If you’re an RVer, Quartzsite in January is on your bucket list.

Quartzsite is a phenomenon, a gathering place.

Let the shows begin!

I’ll see you at the Q!

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

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Quartzsite: Woodstock of the Snowbird Set

During our last visit to the annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in January, we reminisced about how Quartzsite has changed over the last 16 years since our first visit and what future years might bring.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year.
Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you pass through Quartzsite in the summer, not much happens. You will see flat desert, some roadside businesses, tumbleweeds, and that’s about it.

But come winter, it’s quite different. The flat desert bustles with activity. Something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it! RVs by the tens of thousands camp in somewhat primitive desert conditions.

Many times I’ve tried to describe Quartzsite to people who haven’t been there, but it’s impossible for them to imagine.

As you descend the last pass into the valley, at first glance, it appears you’ve come across an unmapped city in the desert—there are thousands of small buildings spread out everywhere.

But then you realize that these are not buildings—they’re recreational vehicles of every type, size, and vintage. And wherever you look, you see them. It’s the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February
Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Just where is this gem of a town? Quartzsite is beyond Hope. Heading west toward Quartzsite, you’ll go beyond Hope, Arizona.

Quartzite swells in population to over a million visitors, most of whom converge on the small town in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February.
So what is the attraction?

Well, it’s relatively warm in Quartzite during winter. And it also offers pretty inexpensive camping. But there’s another more important reason people descend on Quartzsite in droves. And it has more to do with geology than anything else.

Quartzsite has been a rock-hound’s paradise since the 1960s.

Today, over 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and everything else imaginable create one of the world’s largest open air flea markets.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. You can find everything from geodes to GPS devices, and frying pans to dream catchers.

If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, it probably doesn’t exist!

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When we first went to the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in ’99, the RV Pavilion was packed with big-ticket items like RV satellites, tow hitches, and companies offering to install a solar array on your vehicle.

Since then, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show has boomed and last year alone it drew more than 150,000 attendees. It draws snowbirds from around the US and Canada; it’s now the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Looking ahead to future years, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show will continue to grow and attract a more general crowd. Thanks to items like cheaper flat screen TVs, smart phones, and affordable solar arrays with charge controllers to power all your gizmos, it is easy to have all the comforts of home while you’re camping.

As RVing gets easier and more comfortable—and more boomers retire—even more people will dip their toes into the RV world, and what better place to do it than at Quartzsite?

Surprises await as you wander from vender to vendor
Surprises await as you wander from vender to vendor. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As Quartzsite continues to grow and evolve, it will still be a wonderful place for RVers of all types to gather and relax with near perfect temperatures during the day and clear starlit skies at night.

Quartzsite is just 17 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10. From Phoenix, the trip to Quartzite is about two hours. It is also easily accessible from Los Angeles.

Dates for the 32nd annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 17-25, 2015.

This may sound crazy, but I am going back to Crazy Quartzsite again this year!

The Woodstock of the Snowbird set is an experience not to be missed—and we think you’ll like it too!

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

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Boondocking & Quartzsite

The open road and the big sky inspire a lot of people to make their first RV trip.

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

They ease into RVing by visiting a nearby (and beautiful) campground where they can hook up to water, waste, and electrical systems. Having this umbilical cord certainly makes RVing easier, but you may feel tied down.

As you become more comfortable with your RV adventures, the desire to go further off the beaten path and fully off-grid may inspire you to think about boondocking, according to Melanie Cullen, vice president of Operations and Marketing at Blue Sky Energy, Inc.

Boondocking or dry camping in a remote location without connections to water, power, or a sewer, can be a little intimidating when you are first venturing out.  It is just you and your RV alone in the world. It is so peaceful, beautiful, and refreshing to be out there away from it all. There is almost nothing better when things go smoothly and there is almost nothing worse when things go wrong.

The best first step to ease into boondocking is to head for Quartzsite for the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show which takes place January 18 to 26, 2014. Quartzsite (or Q) is the biggest show in the country for boondockers, dry campers, and RVers, and attracts over 150,000 attendees.

The show is heaven on earth for RVers. It’s a ton of fun with hundreds of exhibits, live shows, bargain products, and fellow RV enthusiasts. The fact that the desert is gorgeous and the temperature is in the low-to-mid 70s in mid-January doesn’t hurt either!

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boondocking at Quartzsite is as easy as boondocking gets because you’ll be surrounded by thousands of boondocking experts, vendors, and RV tinkerers. There is even an installation and service area on the show grounds.

As you enjoy your time at Q, you can also prepare for your next boondocking trip by getting tips on techniques and hotspots from all the new friends you’ll make. Plus with so many RV experts around if something does go wrong, help is just a short walk away.

When you boondock, all you have is what you bring, and you have to bring all of that back with you. In preparing for your first boondocking adventure, focus on three things: water, waste, and power. These three elements comprise the main difference between boondocking and using traditional campgrounds.

When planning what to bring, keep in mind any trade-offs you might make between these three pillars of boondocking. While boondocking is a little more rigorous than staying at a campground, if you plan ahead you will be fine!

Having enough water is essential to everything.  FEMA recommends storing at least a gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation, and more if the temperature is hot. But you should bring a lot more than that since you aren’t preparing for a disaster—you are there for a fun experience!

The key to keeping your waste under control on your trip is to plan ahead. When you’re shopping, consider the packing materials that contain what you are buying. Food and bathroom supplies are big sources of packing material waste so either shop wisely or unwrap whatever you can at home and then repackage everything in bulk containers.

Installing a solar array to charge your RV house battery gets you power wherever you are and it’s easier than ever due to technology improvements and a huge drop in solar panel prices.

The tricky thing about a solar and battery storage system is that batteries can’t capture all the electricity an array produces because the battery and array operate at different voltages. This voltage difference can cause up to 30 percent of the electricity to be lost in translation. Savvy RV technicians like those at Quartzsite who are experienced in putting solar arrays on RVs know the key to fixing this: an MPPT charge controller.

An MPPT charge controller helps you get up to 30 percent more power from your solar system by regulating that voltage between the batteries and the solar panels. That way your batteries will receive all the power being harvested from the solar panels. And like any purchase you make for your RV, make sure you pick an MPPT charge controller that is as rugged as the places you go boondocking.

Bring plenty of water, keep an eye on your trash, and solarize your RV with an MPPT charge controller, and you will have a blast when boondocking at Quartzsite and other BLM sites.

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you leave Quartzsite, you will of course take everything you brought with you. But you’ll also leave with new friends and boondocking expertise so you can finally go as far off-grid as you’ve been dreaming.

Details

Blue Sky Energy, Inc.

Blue Sky Energy is an off-grid solar solutions provider. It offers the largest collection of small, military standard-certified MPPT charge controllers, pairing dynamic solutions with unsurpassed quality and reliability.

Fifteen years after introducing the first MPPT product to the clean energy community, Blue Sky Energy maintains its commitment to excellence in personalized customer service, philanthropy, and international relations with distribution to over 33 countries worldwide.

Address: 2598 Fortune Way, Suite K, Vista, CA 92081

Phone: (760) 597-1642 or (800) 493-7877 (toll free)

Website: blueskyenergyinc.com

Worth Pondering…

Forecast for snow…. sometime in the future, but not today!!! What a beautiful day!

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Quartzsite Introduces New Trolley Service

The Town of Quartzsite is now offering a trolley service that connects the Quartzsite Town Park with various destinations within Quartzsite, including Main Street, Main Event, and special event sites along Kuehn Road and the La Posa Campground.

Quartzsite Town Council and employees cutting the ribbon December 18 welcoming new trolley service. (Credit: Joanne Winer/paloverdevalleytimes.com)
Quartzsite Town Council and employees cutting the ribbon December 18 welcoming new trolley service. (Credit: Joanne Winer/paloverdevalleytimes.com)

The route allows for stops along the way with the option of three park and ride areas for riders’ convenience.

This new demonstration service is provided seven days a week.

The Western Arizona town hopes this service will provide a viable alternative for RVing snowbirds and other visitors to driving their own vehicle.

In addition to avoiding the bumper-to-bumper traffic during the peak of the season, the Quartzsite Trolley also provides a much-needed service to those who cannot drive or who want to avoid the stress of searching for an available parking space at the swap meets, rock and gem shows, and businesses around town.

The trolley service is made possible through an agreement between the town and Parking Concepts, a Yuma-based company that provides similar services in Yuma and Blythe, California.

Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The daily route starts at Town Park (North Plymouth Road) and travels down U.S. Highway 95 South to Main Street, then to Quartzsite Boulevard (Main Event), across the bridge to Kuehn Boulevard (frontage road), along Kuehn to U.S. Highway 95 South, to BLM LTVA La Posa North camping areas, then again along Kuehn to Riggles and Main Street, and back to the Town Park. The ride for the entire route takes about 45 minutes.

The trolley operates daily from 8:20 a.m.-5:20 p.m. with no service from 12:50-1:35 p.m.

There are trolley stop signs along the route, and people are urged to park and ride when possible. The trolley has 20 seats with room for two wheelchairs, plus standing for up to 30 people. It also has two bicycle racks.

Fares are paid for each one-way trip. The general fare for riding the trolley is $2 per person one-way, or $5 for a hop-off, hop-on day pass. A seasonal pass is available for $75.
Trolley operators only accept cash. No round trip fares are allowed. Fares are subject to change and exact fare is required. No change is given.

Children under 5 ride free—up to four children. Fifth and more children pay discount fare.

Trolley Season Passes are on sale at Quartzsite Town Hall or Quartzsite Chamber of Commerce or can be purchased through the mail, by sending a check or money order (payable to Town of Quartzsite) and the number of passes requested to Town of Quartzsite—Trolley, 465 N. Plymouth Avenue, Quartzsite, AZ 85346; phone (928) 927-4333.

Trolley operates seven days a week until Sunday, February 2, 2014.

logoThe service expects to pay for the cost with ridership fees and advertising fees that will help make up the cost to the town until February 2, when there will be an assessment of the service to see if it is feasible to extend it longer.

For more information about the trolley or the route, please call Jan Collier at Town Hall, 928-927-4333.

Please Note: Previous postings on Quartzsite 2014 include:

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

Read More

The World’s Largest Parking Lot

Every winter, hundreds of thousands of snowbirds with RVs descend on the tiny desert town of Quartzsite, Arizona.

Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For a few months, this dusty little place on I-10 morphs into what National Geographic calls The World’s Largest Parking Lot.

Quartzsite is famous for its seasonal swap meets, huge flea market, rock and gem shows, the Big Tent RV show, and numerous other gatherings.

When you come over the hills into the valley, it’s like a sea of white out there from the RVs parked all over the desert.

Many times I’ve tried to describe Quartzsite to people who haven’t been there, but it’s impossible for them to imagine.

As you descend the last pass into the valley, at first glance, it appears you’ve come across an unmapped city in the desert—there are thousands of small buildings spread out everywhere.

But then you realize that these are not buildings—they’re recreational vehicles of every type, size, and vintage. And wherever you look, you see them. It’s the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tens of thousands from all over the United States and Canada winter here in one of the RV parks or on the vast areas of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) desert areas.

The BLM offers two ways to boondock in the Quartzsite area:

  • 14 day free pass on that designated land
  • Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) just south of town

But, just where is this gem of a town?

Quartzsite is beyond Hope. Heading west toward Quartzsite, you’ll go beyond Hope, Arizona.

This sleepy little desert town of Quartzsite is located just 20 miles east of the California border (Colorado River) on Interstate 10.

The Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA) recently announced the launch of a new website designed to keep RVers wintering in the Sonora Desert up-to-date about the various activities taking place in the Quartzsite area.

The new website, QIA Arizona, is the headquarters for the Pow Wow Rock & Gem Show and other community events throughout the winter snowbird season.

2014 QIA sponsored events include:

  • January 22-January 26, 2014: QIA Pow Wow
  • February 14-February 16, 2014: QIA Gold, Treasure & Craft Show
  • March 6-9, 2014:  Grand Gathering

grandgatheringOther activities at the QIA include bingo (Friday nights), dances (Saturday nights and a few others), shows and concerts, craft fairs (first Saturday of each month), pancake suppers (Wednesdays), and just good old fashion fun.

One of the events being promoted this winter is the 2014 Grand Gathering March 6 to 9 which organizers hope will become the world’s largest gathering of grandparents in one area.

“With more than 60 RV parks and 11,000 acres of BLM dispersed camping in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, Quartzsite is ATV friendly and a rock hounder’s paradise,” said Bernie Martin, a member of the all-volunteer Quartzsite Improvement Association.

Please Note: Previous postings on Quartzsite 2014 Show Dates include:

Details

Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA)

Address: 235 E. Ironwood Street, PO Box 881, Quartzsite, AZ 85346

Phone: (928) 927-6325

Website: qiaarizona.org

Worth Pondering… 

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February. As the saying goes, “If you can’t find it in Quartzsite, you won’t find it anywhere.”

Read More

2014 Quartzsite Show Dates Announced

What is Quartzsite?

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year. Numerous food choices ensure you’ll never go hungry! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Quartzsite is located in western Arizona, 20 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10. In 1856, settler Charles Tyson built a fort at the present site of Quartzsite to protect his water supply. Fort Tyson soon became a stopover on the Ehrenburg-to-Prescott stagecoach route. It had become known as Tyson’s Wells by the time the stage stopped running and the town was abandoned.

Quartzsite has been a rockhounders’ paradise since the 1960s.

Today, it is also attracts over a million visitors each winter who converge on this small town of 1900 people in a wave of RVs during the months of January and February when over 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and everything else imaginable create one of the world’s largest open air flea markets.

Major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts, making Quartzsite the place to be the first two months of each year.

Tyson Wells Show History

Tyson Wells began with an open lot where an RV Park was developed; the Sell-A-Rama Show started in 1978.

Soon Tyson Wells became known as a leading Rock & Gem Show in the United States. Later, additional land was acquired for more parking, and two more shows—Rock & Gem Show and Art & Craft Fair—were added.

Tyson Wells has something for everyone with the three shows in January and February, seasonal vendors, self-storage units, and an RV Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tyson Wells has something for everyone with the three shows in January and February, seasonal vendors, self-storage units, and an RV Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tyson Wells has something for everyone with the three shows in January and February, seasonal vendors, self-storage units, and an RV Park.

The Quartzsite Shows

Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show

The Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show attracts rock, gem, and mineral vendors from around the world and runs for 10 days in early January.

Dates for the Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show are January 3-12, 2014.

Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama

The Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama show occurs in late January and also runs for 10 days. The Sell-A-Rama has over 850 vendor spaces which equals roughly 2.2 miles of aisle frontage. You can find just about anything at this 25-acre show.

Dates for the 36th Annual Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama are January 17-26, 2014

Tyson Wells Art & Craft Fair

The indoor Tyson Wells Art & Craft Fair takes place early February each year. One can find arts, crafts, hobbies supplies, jewelry, and lapidary supplies.

Dates for the Tyson Wells Arts & Crafts Fair are January 31-February 9, 2014.

2014 Quartzsite Show Dates

You won’t want to miss the 2014 Quartzsite Shows!

January 1-February 28, 2014: The Desert Gardens Gem, Rocks & Mineral Show

January 3-January 12, 2014: Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show

January 6-January 26, 2014: The Main Event

January 10-January 11, 2014: Quartzsite Art Guild Art Show

January 17-January 19, 2014: Blythe Bluegrass Festival

January 17-January 26, 2014: Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama

January 18-January 26, 2014: Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show

January 22-January 26, 2014: QIA Pow Wow

January 31-February 9, 2014: Tyson Wells Arts & Craft Fair

February 6, 2014: Quartzsite Flyers RC Fly-in

February 14-February 15, 2014: Quartzsite Quilt Show

February 14- February 16, 2014: Desert Bloom ATV Rally

February 14-February16, 2014: QIA Gold, Treasure & Craft Show

TBA: Balloon Festival, Chili Cook-Off & Camel Rides

Canceled: Quartzsite Hobby Craft & Gem Show

Canceled: Rock & Roll Classic Car Show

Quartzsite swap meet map
Quartzsite swap meet map

Please Note: This is the second of a two-part series on Quartzsite 2014 Show Dates

Part 1: 2014 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show Dates Announced

Worth Pondering… 

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February. As the saying goes, “If you can’t find it in Quartzsite, you won’t find it anywhere.”

Read More

2014 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show Dates Announced

Every January something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it!

quartzsiteAccording to the Arizona Highway Department, as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people, mostly in recreational vehicles, converge on the sleepy little desert town of Quartzsite, located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10, for the rock, gem, and mineral shows, plus numerous flea markets and the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show.

“If you’re looking for anything related to RVs, you’ll find it at the RV show in Quartzsite,” says Kenny King, show promoter.

There will be several hundred new and used RVs on display in 2014 and over a dozen service bays will be offering immediate installation, repairs, and service on many of the items that will be exhibited at the show.

This phenomenon started over 30 years ago and is now billed as “The Largest Gathering Of RVers in the World”.

The inaugural Quartzsite RV Show opened January 28, 1984 at the corner of Highway 95 (now Central) and Business 10 (now Main Street) in Quartzsite, Arizona. With just 60 exhibitors and a small tent, the “new show in town” was still very popular since the majority of the people in Quartzsite were RVers.

Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Walking the displays at The Main Event. If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, then you don’t need it. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1987 the show, now re-named the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, moved up the street to the Quartzsite Trailer Park which was situated directly across from the major attraction in town, the Quartzsite Pow Wow (the first Pow Wow was held in 1967).

This new home for the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show lasted 10 years until the show grew to a point that the current 3.5-acre show site could barely hold the number of exhibitors that were now vying for exhibit space at this popular annual event.

In 1997 the “BIG TENT”, as the show had become known, moved across the freeway to its present home, a new 20-acre facility, ½-mile south of I-10 on Highway 95 (now 700 South Central).

With the new Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show grounds, the popular event was able to provide over 15 acres of public FREE parking.

Dates for the 31st Annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show are January 18-26, 2014, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

FREE parking! FREE admission! It’s a FREE, family friendly event…

Estimated attendance 150,000 plus!

69,000 square feet, fully carpeted indoor exhibit area.

Canceled: Quartzsite Hobby Craft & Gem Show & Rock & Roll Classic Car Show

In 1997, a second show—Quartzsite Hobby, Craft & Gem Show—was added. The new show, while on a much smaller scale than the giant RV show, grew to include a Rock & Roll Classic.

It was recently announced that the 17th Annual Quartzsite Hobby, Craft & Gem Show and the 16th Annual Quartzsite Rock & Roll Classic Car Shows, that ran concurrently, have been canceled.

Promoter Kenny King stated that after the economic slump in 2008, attendance and participation had been in decline and the decision was made to eliminate the shows as of 2014.

King also said that they are looking for new ideas for an additional new show that may spark more interest in people staying over after the big RV Show closes and would even consider co-promoting or leasing their show facility to another promoter.

Quartzsite.visitor.guide.coverOK, but what’s so great about Quartzsite?

Many times I’ve tried to describe Quartzsite to people who haven’t been there, but it’s impossible for them to imagine.

As you descend the last pass into the valley, at first glance, it appears you’ve come across an unmapped city in the desert—there are thousands of small buildings spread out everywhere.

But then you realize that these are not buildings—they’re recreational vehicles of every type, size, and vintage. And wherever you look, you see them. It’s the Woodstock of the Snowbird set!

Just where is this gem of a town? Quartzsite is beyond Hope. Heading west toward Quartzsite, you’ll go beyond Hope, Arizona.

Please Note: This is the first of a two-part series on Quartzsite 2014 Show Dates

Part 2: 2014 Quartzsite Show Dates Announced

Worth Pondering…

Quartzsite = $400,000 diesel pusher motorhomes towing $40,000 SUVs looking for free camping.

Read More