Day 17-20 – Quartzsite AZ, Rocks, gems, Hi Jolly

Hi Jolly monument in in Quartzsite AZHi Jolly monument in in Quartzsite AZ

Today is Monday January 21. I haven’t posted the past 4 days while I was in Quartzsite AZ, There was so many people in the area the cell phone towers were overwhelmed. I fought reception on phone and WI-FI. I tried a dozen places and had the same results every where I went. I had the best cell phone reception at the flea market I set up on Fri-Sun. But it wasn’t strong enough for me to tether my phone to my laptop. I discovered as soon after I arrived I was in Quartzsite AZ the busiest weekend of the year.

My first stop was at a show that most the vendors were setup. There I learn that 3 major shows were opening or opened there in Quartzsite AZ. Most of them highlighted Rocks and Gems. Quartzsite AZ is known for being a central location for rock and gem collecting. There are even groups that will take you out on excisions for as little as $2 a day. Had I stayed longer I would have gone out on one. The 3 major shows ran from 5 days to 14. at rates of $50-100 a day. I wasn’t prepared for that. One of the vendors I spoke with that was here from Washington State west of Seattle told me about a drop in market that may have a few spaces available at a reasonable rate.

I went to that market and was told the manager wouldn’t be back until the next morning at 7am. I left and visited the biggest tourist attraction in town when the shows weren’t there. Quartzsite AZ is the resting place of Hi Jolly. The photo attached to this post is the monument erected to honor him.  Read the information on Wikipedia.

My next stop was one of several Long Term Recreational Areas(LTRA) I visited. These are run by the U.S.Parks service. With the government shutdown there was no charge to enter. I found they were in need of cleaning up. The dumpsters were over flowing and the lines to dump and fill potable water were long. Those who come here this time of the year are use to the lines. Most are self contained campers and quite a distance from the restrooms, dumpsters and dump and water.

After taking a long drive through a couple of the LTRA’s in the area I found a spot I liked and parked for the night. I woke early in the morning, packed up camp and headed to town to check out the market where there may be space available. I was there at 7am sharp Friday morning and the manager didn’t show up until almost 8. He had a spot for me in a corner of an entrance across from the local post office. The temperatures for the weekend were a pleasant hi 60’s and low 70’s for highs. This market also allowed overnight. Total cost without electric was just $10 a day. Much better than I expected but it wasn’t near the 3 major shows in town. I did well enough to pay for a new canopy to give my product and I shade. I can also use for a nice tent once I get side walls for it. I left town last night with $22 more then I arrived and had a an experience I’ll never forget. If I return to Quartzsite AZ in the future I now know I what to expect.

Until next time, be safe