Quartzite 2014

19-20 January 2014

Off to Quartzite

clip_image002With a big empty space in the right-hand seat, I head off solo to this year’s RV show at Quartzite. Karin’s obligations are going to keep her home for a while; the show organizers refused to re-schedule. So I’m alone on the road.

The drive is uneventful, winding down US101, then going east out of Paso Robles out CA-46. Weather is great, Howie and Ralph are well-behaved, and times are good. The old oil fields in the central valley offer their bleak bobbing steel beasts (most of which are still now) to nod at my passage.

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US99 takes me to Bakersfield and then CA-58 climbs up the grade into Tehachapi for a pleasant stopover at the glider port and RV park.

Monday is a long-ish driving day, made longer by a small error on my part. I had planned to go out CA-58 to Barstow, then CA-247 down to CA-62 to I-10 and on to Quartzite. In a fit of mis-placed curiosity, I decided instead to take US395 down to CA-18 and go through Victorville. Well, Victorville is a nice enough township, and I did get to see the area fairly fully, due to the 20 or so miles of traffic lights that oh-so-responsibly metered my travel.

Ah well, add a half-hour to the day. No biggie.

clip_image006Passed a guy along the way carrying somebody’s spare tires….

 

Siegy and Linda are already at Quartzite, and we meet at our usual sitting spot at the outer edge of the BLM Dome Rock camping area.

clip_image008A fine evening ensues, catching up on odds and ends, talking RV life, fixing up our rigs, where we’re going or thinking about going, etc. etc. The only missing element is Karin.

Sniff.

 

21-22 January

The Big Show

clip_image010(aerial photo from their website) The Quartzite show has been ongoing for more than 40 years. It is actually a composite of shows, an extensive study in variety and contrasts.

Although they like to call it an “RV show”, it’s actually more of a sort of county-fair/flea-market/cult-meeting affair. It only lasts for a couple of weeks, but it’s intense.

clip_image012There’s also a peculiar age component; at 66, I’m the baby in a lot of groups.

So yes, there’s a lot of RV’s and RV stuff, including destinations, upgrades, maintenance, and so on. And there’s a potpourri of the usual country-fair assortments of Cutco knives, Revel cookware, amazing cleaning products, electronic pain killers, cell phone accessories, jewelry.

Outside of the main 700 x 60 tent (that’s a full acre under cloth), there’s also endless rows and tents of bazaar/flea-market goods. In town, every shop is open for “the season”.

The variety is almost indescribable, as are some of the participants and attendees.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

clip_image014The biggest motorhomes (more than 40 feet long) have an extra “tag” axle to support the additional weight, as much as 45,000 pounds.

clip_image016Pieces of the walls slide out to increase inside space.

The back door on this 5th-wheel trailer allows vehicle access (motorcycles and quads). Commonly called a “toy hauler”, this one’s back ramp doubles as a deck. Some have screen enclosures.

Slide-outs are ubiquitous and can be found on all price ranges of all types of RV’s.

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Hand-carved hideous furniture awaits in one aisle….

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While these gals sashay over to pick up their Elvis Sunglasses.

clip_image034How about some African tribal art to accompany your Southwestern motif?

The neighbors will be so jealous….

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Traffic and parking are of course as special as everything else. From quads to motorhomes, everyone gets a chance to get stuck in the sand.

 

Exploring

clip_image040Up in the hills above/west of our camp, an old mine site gave up the ghost a lot of years back. There apparently was a cabin or workshop of some kind, because left behind is a fairly well-preserved concrete slab. The slab has become affectionately known as “Deer Run Resort”, and has collected a bizarre assortment of discards/contributions over the years. Bear in mind, this place is only reachable by four-wheel-drive, and pretty gnarly 4WD from the far side. Siegy, Linda, and I made the foray while trying to catch up with GPS coordinates (from Google Earth). Unfortunately, our poor GPS units were not up to the task of giving us directions on non-existent roads to a lat/long destination. We spent a couple of hours of trial-and-error, over some prodigiously rasty trails, before we finally found the place. Although I try hard to avoid sidewall damage, Ralph picked up some hard scuffs from the aggressive rocks.

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Turns out, we did indeed take the rough road (center left), and some other folks showed up from the camping area after a much lesser trek (which was the way we returned).

I relax for a bit while Ralph shows off his new desert pin-striping. It’s not really scratches, just sap-streaks from all the brush-bucking.

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23-24 January

Slowing down, catching up

Howie needs some minor attention. Cleaning, fixing, and so forth. Something is loose in the shower valve mount, gotta take the wall apart and tighten things up. Road-rattle tends to find things that want to come apart, and help them in their quest for independence.

Ah, the loose valve is a simple matter of tightening the escutcheons. Of course, I only discover this after disassembling the access wall, which also requires removing all the hanging paraphernalia and removing 137 screws. I might have to buy a motorized screwdriver for Howie. My right fore-arm is the size of my leg…..

clip_image053Late in the day, some hot-air balloonists launch into the calm, pretty sky and present a Kodak opportunity.

 

 

clip_image055Howie, Ralph, and I just sit back easy and enjoy the moment(s)…..

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Life is good.

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