Thursday, December 15, 2016

Quartzsite, AZ

First, this is NOT a political statement, though found it interesting that a hat like this was made for a little town in the middle of no place.  From what I understand it's fallen on lean times in a way as number of RV'ers coming here have dropped substantially.  This is seemingly due to some things a mayor did.  Think it had something to do with sales tax, other tax, or some other thing like that, but not overly sure.

There are a few reasons decided to spend some time in Quartzsite.  First is that I know someone who winters down here from the Seattle area, and he invited me to visit him at the park.  Second is that had to waste some time to meet up with a friend in the Palm Springs area as he had left a water regulator in Vegas.  I had no intention of going to Palm Springs this season, but that's another story.

Chicken Fried Steak
There are a couple distinct Quartzsite specific "attractions", namely among them is a rock gem show of sorts.  This happens in January and it draws people from all over the world.  Wasn't happening during this visit.

Another big event that happens is the "Big Tent" in February.  Again, this wasn't happening at this time.  I did go there a few years ago, and while interesting, not much I was interested in, plus there were too many people.  It's generally full of all sorts of RV products, supplies, etc.  Amazon had a good sized booth there looking for Workampers.

Surprisingly there were also quite a few good restaurants, and the overwhelming majority of people I met were awesome!  I went to one restaurant, Mountain Quail Cafe, away from center of town a little and attached to an RV park.  The first time I went there, for lunch, the service was awesome, and food was good too, so went back couple more times.  Most places that have had chicken fried steak at it's truly icky, but had a good feeling about this place in that had it the following two times, and it was delicious.  Tender and fork cuttable (yes, incorrect word), it was simply amazing.  Still not as good as Dishner's (in Coos Bay, OR), but it's the second best, and large gap in between.

One surprising thing I found here was they have a very good sized little airfield for RC planes, or other RC aircraft.  I had come out this way to see Celia's Garden Ampitheatre, which was, umm, lackluster to say the least, but this was kinda neat.  It was so neat that I got myself an RC plane, which haven't flown yet but will when get to Yuma.  It's a public park too!

Hi Jolly Monument
One of the big draws of Quartzsite is all the BLM land where people can boondock for free, or very little cost.  Boondocking is camping overnight without any hookups, such as electricity or water.  Most people who do it long term have solar panels, and they go into town periodically to fill up with water and dump their tanks in town.  Am sure others rely on generators to charge their batteries, instead of solar panels.

Of course, there's a plethora of RV parks, in which I stayed in one of those.  It was a little pricey, $175 + tax for a week.  Paid $23.11 in additional taxes, which I find very high.  There was a "Trans Lodging Tax" as well as a hotel tax..  To me it seems as if those are kind of the same....  Needless to say it's unlikely that will stay at this park again, though might check out other parks.  In contrast, people who have a full time trailer there spent $1,840.00 a year

Someone else told me of "Hi Jolly"...  They wouldn't say what or who this was, just that there is a monument dedicated to Hi Jolly, and that I had to discover and check it out..  Naturally it intrigued me..  As it turns out it was a camel driver.  The sign below give the full story.  The ashes of "Hi Jolly" are supposedly in the time capsule at bottom of the monument.

Hi Jolly explanation sign
I do find it somewhat troubling what the US Government did to the camels after it was deemed the experiment was a failure.  It seems, according to this sign, that they let the camels free and roam the desert.  This sounds pretty nice for the camels, unless they were overly domesticated by that time.  It could've been a hardship on them to forage and find food after some time being cared for by the US Military at the time, or the camel's could've welcomed it.  It just seems a little inhumane to me, but the camels are supposedly buried here too.

Now, at the RV park I stayed at, they had a Saturday morning breakfast that served Biscuits and Gravy, which was actually quite tasty.  At this breakfast was talking with this older married couple about places to check out, such as Hi Jolly, airfield, etc.  They then reveled me with stories of an abandoned gold mine..   Curiosity sunk in and off on the scooter I went!

Most of the road was pavement though the last mile or few was hard packed gravel / sand / other stuff, with a few dips and twists and other funnish type of terrain.  Granted, it's all still desert so not much in the way of trees and shrubs and anything like that.  But at the end was a literal gold mine.

Remnants of Gold Mine
Well, a discarded gold mine.

I did not see a no trespassing sign until was leaving, and the fence was in disarray.  Did see some signs of recent activity there from who knows who, but while I was there didn't see a single soul.

Explored the grounds a little bit.  There was an RV there, under a shelter, that looked somewhat lived in, but again, no sign of life at all.  It was an older RV, probably from the 80's or so.

Illustrious mine shaft
Exploring the abandoned machinery was pretty awesome, though it took me a while of searching to find out where they supposedly extracted the gold ore from.the ground.  After a good 30 minutes of wandering, exploring, poking around, finally found it.

It was hidden behind some of the dirt piles.  The conveyor belt didn't even go down this road, nor was it "close" by.  Everything on this site was fairly packed together, but the mineshaft was just in an odd place.  At end of this "road" is entrance to the tmien.  I did take a look into the tunnel and saw it kept on going down and down and down, at a good grade but not overly steep.  It seems to be about as steep as this road leading down there.

At least on this upper part looked like they sprayed hydro cement to shore up the walls and ceiling, as far as the eye could see.  There was a chain link gate with a padlock there that didn't want to cross, in no small part due to the chained gate.  Plus it was awfully dark down there.

To close this off, here's a picture of Bob surveying the landscape!  He's leash "trained", in that trained to take me for a walk on the leash...  Paisley is in the background.


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