Home Again to Quartzsite, AZ

Our November camp in Quartzsite. As you can see, it's amazingly green and full of trees.

Our November camp in Quartzsite. As you can see, it’s amazingly green and full of trees.

I’ve been spending my winters in the Arizona desert for quite a few  years now and I’m starting to get a pretty good idea of how they work. Early to mid-October are almost always still hot and by that I mean they begin right around 100 degrees during the day and don’t cool off a whole lot at night, maybe into the 80s. But then a series of storms will pass through and each storm will bring a varying amount of rain and wind with it and after it leaves the temperatures will drop by about 10 degrees and then stay down at those temperatures. The result is that by the beginning of November the temperature is very pleasant, somewhere around the mid-70s.

Map-quartzsite-1st camp

Here are directions to our November camp in Quartzsite.

This year exactly followed that pattern, in early October we got a storm through and the temperature dropped into the low 90s. Then, in mid-October another storm went through and dropped the temperature in the 80’s and finally last week another storm came through and dropped the temperatures into the 70s, which is where they are now.

Map-SAT-quartzsite-1st camp

And here’s a map to our camp.

Because most of October is too hot in the desert for me, I stay in northern Arizona near Flagstaff and wait for it to cool down. The same pattern works there except the temperatures there start in the 80s which are very  pleasant in the shade of the National Forest, and every storm drops the temperatures down the same 10 degrees but before long they are in the 60s during the day and 30s at night and it’s too cool for me to stay there.

Sedona said goodbye with a BIG storm!! But out of the biggest storm can come the greatest beauty. Thank you Sedona--I'll be back!

Sedona said goodbye with a BIG storm!! But out of the biggest storm can come the greatest beauty. Thank you Sedona–I’ll be back!

What every snowbird knows is you have to find an intermediate elevation between the 7000 feet of Flagstaff and 700 feet of Quartzsite, in Arizona a very good choice is Sedona. At 4000 feet it’s much cooler than Quartzsite, but much warmer than Flagstaff. Like Goldilocks said, “This one is just right!” So the second week of October we left Flagstaff and went to Sedona.

However, the same pattern happens there as the rest of Arizona and we got a storm through that dropped the temperatures down and it was starting to get pretty cool at night. Then last week the forecast was for a BIG storm to come through and drop the temperatures all  over Arizona by more than 10 degrees and that would put the night time temps into the low 30s  in Sedona, and that ‘s cooler than we wanted so it was time to move. The group of us camping together there made plans to leave  on November 4th and move collective camp to Quartzsite. We got lucky and the rain held off, but about an hour before I was done breaking camp the skies opened up and it started pouring rain! I was almost done, but not quite so I had to finish packing in the rain and I was soaked by the time I hit the road!

Quartzsite welcomed me hope with a great sunset the second night we were back. One of the reasons I love the desert is it's constant great sunrise and sunsets.

Quartzsite welcomed us home with a great sunset the second night we were back. One of the reasons I love the desert is it’s constant great sunrise and sunsets.

Worse, it had gotten pretty cool so almost the whole drive to Quartzsite I had the heat and windshield wipers on drying out my clothes. The rain even turned into sleet at one point it was so cool. One of our group had made an appointment in Flagstaff to get his solar installed at Northern Arizona Wind and Sun (the cheapest and best place that I know of) and while it was cool and raining on us, it was snowing and freezing in Flagstaff!! They got 6 inches of snow overnight and were in the low teens!

We were moving south just in the nick of time!!!

As soon as you make the final drop down in elevation to Phoenix you can feel it getting warmer so I could turn the heat and windshield wipers off.  As oppressive as the heat is there during the summer, it’s wonderful in the fall and winter!!

I'm a big fan of shade clothe in the desert. It hasn't really been hot, but I still like the feeling it gives.

I’m a big fan of shade cloth in the desert. It hasn’t really been hot, but I still like the feeling it gives.

I hadn’t been to a Costco for awhile so I stopped there on the way through and saw gas for under  $2.00 a gallon for the first time in a long time–it was $1.94 at Costco, but around $2.05 everywhere else in town. After stocking up at Costco it was time to jump on Interstate 10 and drive the 130 miles to Quartzsite to my November camp.

Generally there is very little enforcement of the 14 day rule on BLM land in Quartzsite during November. But starting in December they start to take notice of everyone who’s there and by the end of December they go around and evict anyone who is over their 14 day limit. Because you have to be gone for at least 14 days before you can come back, I can’t risk that happening to me before the RTR on January 5. For that reason I won’t camp in Quartzsite in December. I’ll spend the rest of November here and then leave around December 1st for Ehrenberg where I’ll stay until it’s time to come back over for the RTR.  It’s a little inconvenient, but no big deal.

Cidy loves the big wash we are camped beside. It's full of things to chase like mice and even rabbits.

Cody loves the big wash we’re camped beside. It’s full of things to chase like mice and even rabbits.

Already there is a group gathering here. Right now there are 12 of us camping together, 6 women and 6 men.  I also know of at least 5 over in Ehrenberg. Here in Quartzsite our group is in 6 vans, 1 Prius, 2 slide-in campers and a 25 foot Travel Trailer.  As November goes on, more of us will trickle in and gather together.

You’re welcome to join us! The camaraderie of being part of a tribe is wonderful and the weather has been perfect! Every day it’s in the mid-70s and nights are in the high-40s. Amazingly, the forecast is for it to stay just that way for quite a while to come. So if you are already dreading another winter of snow, cold, storms and rain, join us in the gorgeous Arizona desert where you can be a part of a community and enjoy better weather!

See you soon!

I’m making Videos with my good friends James and Kyndal on their YouTube Channel.  See them here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_W_E5SFCxwpSOaqMjOOBTg

We’re hoping to publish videos weekly so you may want to subscribe.

Check out a Video Tour of our Quartzsite Camp:

 

Thanks for supporting this site by using these links to Amazon. I’ll make a small percentage on your purchase and it won’t cost you anything, even if you buy something different.

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Benchmark Atlas to Arizona: Benchmark Atlas From Amazon.com
Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer
I’d never go to Arizona without this photography guide: Photographing the Southwest: Volume 2–Arizona
A great book I recommend: Wild in Arizona: Photographing Arizona’s Wildflowers,

Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

60 comments on “Home Again to Quartzsite, AZ
  1. Avatar Julie P. says:

    Love your website and blog. I am a 52 y/o nurse who may have to leave work on early retirement due to my disability. Very depressing time for me as I was married almost 20 yrs and divorced 3 yrs ago also. It was hard to see a light in my future until I got this “RV living/travel bug” :). I am a true independent gal and looking forward to more traveling and a cheaper way of living. If this new medicine works well for me and I don’t have to go on SSDI, maybe I will do some travel nursing instead. Looking into a Toyota Sunrader type RV. I have read they are very dependable if taken care of. Might work well for a single gal!!
    Thanks for your very helpful site! Maybe we could meet someday and share some story!
    Happy and safe travels…
    Julie Preimesberger in Minneapolis.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Julie, reconnecting to nature is very good for us and whether you continue to work or not, your life will be better off by getting out and traveling whenever you can. The Toyota’s are great rigs, but they are under-powered so you can’t be in a hurry and they get only average MPG because the engines work so hard.
      Bob

  2. Avatar Desert Rat says:

    Bob, great video and you truly are a gem for sharing like you do. Have a great time down there.

  3. Avatar Michael says:

    Bob, I’m going to head up there from Yuma late next week for a couple of days. If you or anyone needs anything e’mail me and I’ll bring it along.

  4. Avatar Calvin R says:

    I appreciate the tour of your camp. If that amount of space between camps holds up, I would have enough privacy to suit me along the outskirts.

    Research continues. I have found a thread by a person who has been tent camping for over three years, among other things.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Privacy is very easy to find in the desert!
      Bob

    • Avatar Ming says:

      Hi Calvin, could you post a link to this blog? It sounds interesting.

      The truck canopy is so minimal, it’s just for sleeping, so a tent for shelter is mandatory when there is any weather at all.

      I’m back to the idea of tipis for a sturdy, windproof shelter.

      • Avatar Calvin R says:

        It’s a forum thread rather than a blog, but it includes plenty of information. She doesn’t seem to have found our kind of community yet and she has yet to solve the cooler problems, but one piece of really good news is that she has done some camp hosting as a tent camper.

        http://www.campingforums.com/forum/showthread.php?4430-full-time-tent-living…anyone-doing-it

        Other than the vehicle, the tent is the most important ingredient. Based on this and other research, durability matters most in a tent. If the person moves much, set up and breaking down easily becomes a big point as well.

        • Avatar Ming says:

          thank you for the link! Yes, I agree with the tent requirements. I have had many, and right now am considering making my own tipi shaped tent out of tarp material for affordability, durability, and ease of set-up. From my few but memorable experiences of desert winds, I will need something like that as I can’t hole up in the truck canopy for days on end.

  5. I’ll be passing through soon. Maybe this weekend.
    Al Christensen recently posted…Night lightsMy Profile

  6. Avatar Bob says:

    Great posting. I live in Virginia on the other end of U.S. 60!

  7. Avatar Zman says:

    Bob
    if you could magically combine your van and pull trailer and money was no object what kind of vehicle ,RV would it be. What would Bob be living and driving in as you boondock down the road.

  8. Avatar Openspaceman says:

    Bob_

    Counting the days…working on my awning…stocking my cupboards… my destination…a piece of dirt in the Arizona desert, 2000 miles away.

    Thanks for the video. A few more weeks…I’m almost there.

  9. Avatar Omar Storm says:

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for yet another great write up. The videos really enhance the post and give the reader live view of what they are missing.

    Hope to see you soon,
    Omar

  10. Avatar Rob says:

    I’m not sure if I’m going to get to Quartzsite this month. But I might!
    Two weeks to Thanksgiving Day too.

  11. Bob,

    I just read about this guy…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyBvbot3emM

    on Rolling Steel Tent’s Feb 20, 2015 blog. Thought you might enjoy it.

    MFH

  12. Avatar margo says:

    how wonderful to have the video!! i’m hoping to get down this yr. so far in the last 2 yrs i’ve passed you guys going up when you were going down and down when you were going up and when you were going side ways to, kind of like some strange dance, maybe with luck i’ll make it this time

  13. Avatar tommy helms says:

    Who knew Cody could dance?

  14. Avatar Walt says:

    Looks amazing and very peaceful. Sadly, I’ll be spending another winter in Idaho, wishing I could figure out a way to convince my wife to let me go out for an extended trip. But family responsibility comes first, so I’ll wait and hope each day that our special needs son can move incrementally closer to independent living. Then perhaps my turn will come. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the desert through your lens.
    Walt recently posted…#194 – Let’s Play A Game Of Musical ChairsMy Profile

  15. Avatar Lori Hicks says:

    Hey Bob, I’m in Quartzsite, too.
    I’m in the RTR site but back a little ways, only one 5th wheel here.

  16. Avatar Nelda says:

    I sure wish we were there too!

    Nelda and Jerry

  17. Avatar Ming says:

    great video, it feels like I’m visiting. Keep them coming!

  18. Avatar Cae says:

    Doing videos was a great idea. Thanks. I went through flagstaff yesterday. Still pretty cold.

  19. Avatar jim says:

    Enjoying your videos very much glad you got out of the cold in time must be nice to stay warm most of the time lol

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jim, it is really, really nice chasing the best weather, both summer and winter. Having lived 45 years in Alaska, I hope to avoid as much snow and cold as I possibly can!!
      Bob

  20. Avatar Bob Baar says:

    Love your blog! Sorry we can’t make it sooner But Mom won’t leave the grand kids until after Christmas.We want to join your tribe as soon as We can get there from Greenwood IN right after Christmas. We are not van dwellers but I am like minded about your life style.We are on our way towards living mobile full time but we are not there yet. Although we will be in a 5th wheel can we join you in Quarrzite in January?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Bob, of course you can, all types of vehicles are welcome. Vandwelling is an attitude, not a choice of vehicle!

      I’m looking forward to meeting you!
      Bob

  21. Avatar Gerald says:

    This isn’t a comment. I’m hoping this will be a way you could get back to me. I have two structures I have been trying to figure out how to deal with. In reading your blog yesterday it suddenly came to me these may be something a vandweller could really use. I have been trying to engineer an emergency shelter that can be easily delivered to disaster areas. Without going into all the detail these structures are geodesic domes. I have two prototypes that completely break down & “relatively easy to setup- tear down. I could send pics & more info. I’m a terrible typer so I am hoping we could speak directly. If you would be interested in pursuing this would you let me know by email & I would give you my phone # and you could call me or I’ll call you???? Gerald

  22. Avatar Gerry AKA Ham Radio Guy says:

    Hey Bob,
    I’m currently in Las Posas South in the LTVA. This year I decided to pay the $180 and enjoy the free water, dump station and trash dumpsters. Been following your site for sometime now. Might have to swing by and visit for a while, I could use some local friends. I’m in a red white and blue 1981 Toyota Odyssey that I built from the ground up. It’s comfortable for me and my dog, who could also use some friends to play with. My background is in automotive and RV electronics and two-way radio, so if anyone is frustrated with any electrical problems I might be able to help. If anyone heads this way I’m about .8 miles past the dump station on the left. I have a red reflector at the entrance to my “driveway” and I’m about 100′ off the road, always welcome guests with a smile and a cold iced tea.
    Gerry

  23. Avatar jw rushing says:

    Hey Bob,,,I can not save your pictures any more,,You change your picture format,,,Can you change it back,,,thanks

    • Bob Bob says:

      jw, I haven’t changed anything. Occasionally I use links instead of uploading them directly, but I would think you could still download them and save them. Which picture couldn’t you save?
      Bob

  24. Avatar jw rushing says:

    Hey Bob,,,,Do you have a map for the RTR camping this Jan,,,,,,,thanks,,,,JW

  25. Avatar Mike says:

    Hey Bob,
    I will be heading for Quartzsite for my first time in Dec. I see on the BLM website that there’s a fee of $180 for long term camping. How does that work?
    Mike

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mike, there are three types of BLM land in Arizona:

      1) BLM campgrounds where you pay per day to camp in a designated site in a campground.
      2) Dispersed camping where you just find a piece of land and camp in it for free with no one around to tell you what to do or where. It usually has a 14 day limit and then you have to move around 25 miles away.
      3) Long Term Visitors Area (LTVAs) where you pay $180 a get to stay on a designated section of BLM land for 7 months (Sept-March). Some of it has amenities like a dump station, vault toilets, water, and trash. Some of nothing, some are in between. Thy are all in the desert of Arizona and California.

      What you saw desrcibed the LTVAs. We will be on dispersed camping so it will be free.

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