As much as I love being in Quartzsite, but I can’t spend my whole winter there. Within a week of setting up camp a BLM Ranger came and reminded us that we needed to get permits. In itself that’s no big deal because the permits are free and just a formality. But while he was here he went around and wrote down all our license plate numbers. That meant that the clock had started on our 14 day stay. The bottom line is that there is Ranger enforcement in Quartzsite so you have to be careful not to stay too long.
But I expected that, so I had only planned to stay for two weeks. We ended up staying for three weeks because I was waiting for packages to arrive. When the Ranger came into camp again last week that left no doubt it was time to go. I was in town when he was there, so I didn’t speak to him, but apparently it was a pleasant encounter. However, I don’t want to take advantage of his generosity, so I wanted to leave as soon as we could. So we moved last Saturday, 12-8-2013.
The rule on most BLM land is you can stay for 14 days and then you have to leave for 14 days; but the rules are different in different Ranger districts. In Quartzsite you have to move at least 25 miles and be gone for 28 days before you can return. But what you have to understand is that there is very little BLM land that has enforcement; there is way too much land and too few Rangers. Only areas that get a lot of use will have regular patrols from Rangers and the area around Quartzsite is very, very heavily used, thus the heavy enforcement. So all you have to do is go to an area where there is little use and you won’t have to worry about visits from Rangers. But where was that?
Last year we found a great place near Ehrenberg, AZ. It is 17 miles west of Quartzsite on Exit 1 of Interstate 10. There is a map to camp at the bottom of the post.It has most of the things I look for in a camp:
- It’s close to a town with good shopping. Here we are only 7 miles from Blythe, CA (just across the border in California). It has an Albertsons, K Mart and a Smart and Final (which has great prices).
- There’s a park in Blythe that has free water and plenty of trash cans so that easily solves two of our main problems.
- It has a very good 4g Verizon signal.
- The tiny town of Ehrenberg has a Laundromat, which is nice, but it also has $6 showers, which is wonderful!
- We have good privacy with few other people around.
- It doesn’t matter to me, but there are quite a few over-the-air Broadcast TV signals.
- Most importantly, there is zero Ranger enforcement! Along the road to camp are numerous camps with people who have obviously been living here for a long time. They were here last year and I seriously doubt if they have ever left by the looks of their very trashy campsites. Beyond that there is a Canadian couple down the road from us in a 5th Wheel trailer who told us they had been coming here for 6 years and they have never seen a Ranger, even though they spent 6 months in the same spot. They are back again this year.
There are two things I don’t like about this camp:
- It’s not very pretty. It’s the stereotypical flat, ugly desert with very little vegetation. Al’s first comment when he got here was that it looked like we were on the moon! To offset it’s plainness it does have a great view of the lights of Blythe at night. I really enjoy sitting in the trailer and seeing the lights twinkle at night.
- The wind is worse here than in Quartzsite, probably because we are so near the Colorado River. Twice we’ve gone to Quartzsite when the wind was blowing hard here (making it cold and unpleasant) and it was barely blowing at Quartzsite at all.
But, overall I think the pluses more than offset the minuses so we will stay here until the first week of January when we will go back over to Quartzsite for the RTR.
Right now there aren’t enough of us in camp to have a big Christmas dinner, so I’m not sure if it will happen or not. I’m more than willing to do it and prepare a ham for it. If you are interested in having a tribal family celebration let me know and plan on coming over. The more the merrier!!
Here are directions to camp:
- Take Interstate 10 to the California-Arizona border.
- Get off on Exit 1 in Arizona and turn south toward the Flying J.
- You’ll come to a T; if you turn right you will go to the Flying J, so you are going to turn left, down the frontage road. Before you do check your odometer and I’ll give you mileage to camp.
- Drive 1.5 miles and you will come to a Y in the road. To the left is a gravel pit so take the fork to the right and take the wide gravel road up the top of the hill.
- Drive another 1.2 miles (a total of 2.7 from the T) and you will see a road with a BLM marker on it heading off toward the mountains on the left. Turn down it. I’ve put a reflector with blue and yellow ribbons on it.
- From the turn-off you can see my trailer just a little bit up the road.