Saturday, January 29, 2011

As Seen In Quartzsite..

Every winter the annual gathering of Rv'ers at the Big Tent RV Show and surrounding flea markets and mineral and gem yards in Quartzsite Arizona, or "Q" as many call it, is something that is rare on this earth. This sleepy little down turns in to something akin of an "Old West, Boom Town" overnight, with the same energy lasting for a few months afterward.

This was my first year to see this phenomena after a long desire to do so. My youngest son and I rode the Monsterhome down from V-town with the White Rhino in tow. We landed at the Hi Jolly, 14 day BLM camp Friday night and commenced a little reconnoitering to town that evening to get our schedule tuned for the next day.

Into Town

I had heard and read all about the massive crowds that descends on the town during the first weekend of the big show so, we decided to pick up the tail end of the shin-dig in an effort to avoid the herd and with that success, I think that's a recipe we'll adhere to in the future as well.

Now a lota other folks will get into some good detail about "where is what", "when is what", "where to go" in Q and all those high pressure details but, I won't do that instead, I am just gonna post a few pictures of  "As Seen In Quartzsite" and let your imagination wander from there.

The Big Tent
The Big Tent at 0915hrs! We drove right up into a ringside parking spot and wondered
if we shoulda brought our bowling balls. 'Glad we didn't 'cuz the place filled up well by 1000hrs.

The Big Tent is the center of the show and it's a must if you are an RV'er. The highlights were:
  • Lots of LED light vendors. LED's are a must for every RV boondocker. I picked up some for my computer desk that I am typing under right now. The LED's dropped the current draw by 80% and they are brighter than the old Halogen bulbs.
  • A superb display and literature by the Canadian Tourist Bureau. I walked away with at least 5 lbs of literature and after creasing the cover of the first glossy, I am ready to head that way - some day.
  • I hooked up with the Blue Ox folks to get a  tune-up on the tow bar for the White Rhino. 
  • The good folks at The Good Sam Club insured that my son was a winner of one of their prize give aways. And with that, I will no longer be annoyed by their postal mailing of offers that rarely seem to fit my needs.
The "Bigger Show" 

By far, the bigger show is what makes up Quartzsite overall. There are many swap meet, flea market and individual trader lots around town. I won't confuse you with all the names and locales because that would confuse me too and like you, I was just happy to wander and enjoy what I discovered.


Quartzsite is a place of contrasts that starts in the outlying BLM campgrounds where folks in million dollar coaches are as comfortable as their fellow RV'ers in pop-top, tent trailers camping on the spacious, BLM camp areas, all within a distance of self perceived privacy.

As big as it gets!
As small as it gets.
These two rigs were within 100 yards of each other.

My son starting digging in the dirt before he could walk. His interest in gems,
minerals, mining and the related process is one of those things that makes
being "a dad" special. With that interest in mind, we had to go to Q where at one of
the bigger yards he found a nice gem for his sister and another for his teacher.
The Flea Markets!
No Fleas but, a whole army of Ants made from scrap steel and river stones.

Adult Day Care!
Ha! A great sense of humor here. One swap meet entrepreneur
sells beer instead of all the stuff everyone else sells.
Modern West Boom Town
Every Old West Boom Town started in tents including
grocery sales and more. Across the dirt path was a Drug Store, also in a tent.
The Blacksmith has moved in
150 years ago, he came in a wagon, today the transport is an old School Bus.

Need a ship's wheel? 
How about a Wooden Indian?
Remember what I said about "Contrasts?

Just More Stuff!
These would have been better with a full demonstration -
a tub if water, white smoke and all.
This line up of photogenic junk caught my eye.

 Junk to Art!
At a private junk lot on the main drag had the most eclectic collection of stuff in town. The caretakers were characters themselves that could obviously arrange junk into a string of art.

One of my favorite shots of the trip.

The Best for Last and The Theme of this Blog Entry

At one of the Flea Markets was a double wide tent that was right out of the era of the Hudson Bay Company. It was stocked full of every hide, horn, skull and other animal remnants that you could imagine yet, more. I looked for the PETA protesters for a good laugh unfortunately, none brave such a frontier as the town of Q.

The Trappers Tent!

By far, of all the stuff we saw today, nothing was as different, as "outside the box" as flat out entertaining in this theme as the what you see below.

Need any Muskrat Jaws?
Hah! I didn't think so!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ya gotta be kidding me! It's a Ford not a BMW!

My teenage son drives a 1996 Ford Ranger. We picked the little rig up from a BLM auction at a paltry sum and have steadily added good maintenance to make the truck reliable. As of late, he has noticed a gasoline leak from the tank when the tank is full. Today we removed the bed from the truck for inspection and found the rubber filler neck, cracked and porous at the base.

A quick call to the local Ford Dealer "Team Ford" in our neck of the woods was in order. It kinda went like this.

1 More Mile:
I have a 96 Ranger and need a filler neck for the fuel tank. The truck is equipped as .....

Team Ford Parts Guy: Ah sure, we have a lot of those in stock. They are in high demand.

1 More Mile:
Great, what are the damages?

Team Ford Parts Guy:
Lemme see here, the total is $572.19.

1 More Mile:
I don't need the gas tank, just the filler neck.

Team Ford Guy: That's right, it's $572 for the filler neck.

1 More Mile:
It's a God Damn rubber hose! How can you charge $500 dollars plus for a rubber hose?

Team Ford Parts Guy:
Ya, I know, seems like it costs more than the truck is worth!

1 More Mile: You are INSANE!

Team Ford Parts Guy: Well, I do have them in stock.

1 More Mile: Well, that's one for me that you will keep in stock forever. See ya! (CLICK)

Off the phone, I immediately stalked the 'net to see if this price is as radically crazy as I thought it was or, to be more blunt, to see if Team Ford is hosing all it's customers like rabid Gorilla.

The first searches turned up non-OEM version for as low as $28 with free shipping and full OEM parts as low as $148 with free shipping.

So, let's imagine that the dealer cost for this part is $148. The selling price is $572 or 280% profit. Folks, that's "Highway Robbery" in the tallest order.

I opted for a non-OEM from a highly reputable Ebay seller for $60 delivered.

Links of Interest:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Road Trip, Car Show, Chili and the Nevada Outback

I decided to take a couple of the kids on a short road trip today to get out of town. A bit east from our base is the town of Mesquite, NV and this weekend the Town and Hotels were hosting a custom car show and chili cook-off.


Today was the last day for the car show and I'd guess that 40% or more of the entrants had already packed up and headed out of town. The cars that were left varied in quality with a few that were simply superb.

1970 Chevy Nova, Drag Car.
"All Business" Office!
This Nova was a beautiful - truly top quality. I suspect this car runs in the 7-8 second range in the quarter mile.

1934 Ford Coupe
Coupe Motor
I see a lot of "Typical Hot Rods" at our local car show, especially in the 1932-35 year arena. Every once in awhile one stands out. This one surely is one of those. This car appeared to be a fresh build with the latest technology used in all area.


We then hit the Chli cookoff. It was one of the ICS "International Chili Society" deals, good for entertainment and that's about it. I'll delve more into my ICS experience some time soon and, it will be entertaining.

I did do my duty and tasted all 30 or so People's Choice concoctions and made my vote for the one I liked best. Of all, only one was worth remembering.

I also remember the horrible service by the Outdoor Beer Bar hosted by the Casablanca Hotel of the "Black Gaming Companies". Will someone tell me why patrons have to wait 30+ minutes in line for a beer at a chili cookoff? ...Even when the event announcer is remarking about the single server and the long lines! Black Gaming should be ashamed!

Nevada Outback

After we toured the little town of Mesquite, we decided to take the river road out of town and wander as far as we could to determine if their was an alternate route other than I-15 from Mesquite to Overton, NV.

We didn't find that route but we did find ourselves on the Back Country Byway heading for Gold Butte. This really turned out to be a fun drive of excellent Nevada back country, dirt roads. Hell, most of this road in the dirt sections was more smooth than the majority of California freeways.

On the way we spied some awesome off-road trails, and roads that were all well marked by the BLM as well as spectacular camp spots among very serene and beautiful rock formations. We'll be back for that, for sure!

Lowrance GPS Screen
The town of Gold Butte is gone. Not much but a few littered pieces of the old abode lying here and there. Come to think of it, I really didn't see much in the way of mining activity either. Perhaps we missed some of the old town.

The slim remnants of Gold Butte

We continued on past Gold Butte and down a fork in the road that was marked to lead to lake Mead. The trail became a lot more technical in the last 10 miles and I really enjoyed the ride in the old Dodge. Tht truck is just made for this kind of stuff.

The "White Rhino" Dodge Chase truck down below the
high water mark on the north east shore of Lake Mead.
Links of Interest:
GPS Information:

Today's Route - CLICK for Google Earth File