We’ve been in Quartzsite for over a month and will soon be on our way to Mesa, Arizona. Staying in the desert has been a first for us. It took a while to get used to the terrain–coarse sand, various stones and rocks, a blanket of dirt and dust over everything, sparsely dispersed cacti and thorny bushes, large and small prickly weeds dancing in the wind, flat earth for miles with mountainous protrusions surrounding–all describing this unforgiving and sprawling desert land. It’s extremely different from Florida beaches and the farmlands of the midwest. To me, it’s beautiful, lonely, and haunting.
We initially stayed in a commercial RV park in town. As Quartzsite started to fill up with RVers, the park became more of a sardine can and we began to feel claustrophobic as it limited our outdoor activities and noise from our neighbors disturbed our peace. This past week, we moved to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property on Plomosa Road. This includes hundreds of acres of lands owned by the United States government. Citizens are allowed to camp free on these lands for two weeks or obtain a six-month pass for $180. There are also miles and miles of ATV trails to explore. It’s a natural environment with no modern conveniences, business, or homes. There are no electrical hookups, no running water, and no showers or bathrooms. The stay is self-contained and requires planning ahead and conservation. In other words, we can only operate as much as our batteries and generator can power us, are limited to fresh water we have on board in our tanks and what we’ve purchased from the store, can eliminate only 50 gallons of gray water (which is water generated from showers and dishes and whatever goes down the drains), and have use of our black water (sewer) tank until it reaches 50 gallons. It’s a test in how well we use our limited resources and how willing we are to give up creature comforts to live in the desert and all its beauty. For me, it has been a practice run in preparation for the zombie apocalypse. If the walkers don’t get us, we’ll be able to survive on our own until we can catch up to Rick, Michone, and Daryl.
There are challenges with staying in this area. We are limited to one grocery store whose prices skyrocket during the ‘season,’ (we’re from Florida and used to the hurricane gougers, so it’s not new to us) or drive 30 minutes to Blythe, California or 40 minutes to Parker, Arizona, to stock up on groceries, water, fire wood, and other supplies. There’s no running to the store for that forgotten can of tomato paste. The lesson in planning ahead has been good for me. I’ve actually used my grocery list for the items I need instead of relying on my faulty memory (I still forgot the tomato paste, but the taco soup turned out okay and was delicious enough to share with our neighbors. At least I think it was–they were all polite and neglected to mention the omission).
I much prefer boondocking on BLM land. I do love full hook-ups and doing a load of laundry every day and taking longer showers in the commercial campgrounds, but the scenery out on BLM is absolutely gorgeous. Neighbors are far away and we have our own quiet space. In the evenings, we gather for meals with our friends, grab some beer or wine, and sit around the campfire sharing stories and experiences. In the mornings, we enjoy the spectacular sunrises in vibrant colors and receive a beautiful encore as the golden light of sunset silhouettes the mountains in the distance. We sometimes hear the coyotes cry at night and saw a large bobcat defiantly scourging for food alongside the road.
Quartzsite is isolated from most of civilization and it can become I’m-in-The-Twilight-Zone disorienting, but the nature around is renewing and peaceful. Sometimes, the quiet is all that’s needed for peace and tranquility. It can also help in finding a balance while taking a break in the roller coaster of life.
I didn’t want to visit the desert at first and I was particularly against boondocking, but this experience has widened my view of this majestic country of ours. It’s also taught me we can live with even less of the so-called necessities and enrich our journey beyond belief.
I’m still learning this lifestyle and still evolving. The point of living like this is so much more than choosing to live in an RV to travel. It means even more than having the freedom to come and go as we please. It’s all about what it does to us as human beings and growing and learning beyond our wildest imagination. There’s an elevation in the spirit and quieting calm in tuning out extraneous noise.
It’s finding perspective.
Today’s Amazon item relating to this blog post: CLICK HERE