Quartzsite. The Legend. The RV’s. The Trade Shows. RV Flea Market extravaganzas!
I attended with the expectation of meeting all kinds of other RV’ers. I had dreams of gathering endless useful information about RV’ing from new friends and from the trade show. I envisioned evening group campfires, folks sharing stories about adventures and misadventures. However, this did not happen right away, and it could have easily NOT have happened without some kind of effort on my part.
What a disappointment that would have been.
I found myself for the first three or four days hardly speaking to a soul and wondering what I was doing wrong.
I can explain and I can also possibly help you meet fellow RV’ers as well.
Rewind back to day one…
When I pulled into the long term visitor area, I needed to be isolated, so that I could walk the dogs easily off leash. I also needed to run my portable generator daily to recharge my batteries and I didn’t want to disturb anyone else’s peace and quiet. It felt like a disadvantage to park as a loner because I felt it clashed with my desire to meet some fellow RV’ers, but it was necessary.
I unhooked my truck and got the RV organized, ready to hit the big tent the next morning to look at RV’s and to meet people.
Day two- I walked into the main tent area and almost immediately wanted to walk out. Endless booths of pushy sales people wanted only to sell as much as possible to every single warm body. Camping memberships, cooking oddities, gadgets, campground memberships, silly decorative flags, even things that are not RV related (exactly) were for sale.
Otherwise, I hustled through all three rows (I had no choice if I were to successfully ‘dodge’ the salespeople shouting at me) just to be able to say I had ‘seen’ the whole tent.
But in my eyes, I saw only a bunch of ‘junk’ that I sure did not need! Blame it on my whole simplifying thing I suppose, but that was what I saw. Annoyed, I could not get out of there fast enough.
Still, I lurked around the rest of the RV show for a couple more hours, hoping to meet some friendly folk.
I did not ‘meet’ anyone, and I especially did not see anybody that even looked a decade and a half close to being a Generation X’er like myself. No, I was not totally surprised, but I hoped that there might be a FEW people ‘like me’ who I could meet, make friends and share stories with. I went home feeling even more isolated.
Once again, It felt funny to come to Quartzsite at the ULTIMATE gathering of RV’ers and to feel isolated! What was going on? Did I just not fit into this new lifestyle?
The next day I did not even bother venturing into town. Instead, I explored more desert with my two reliable best buddies, The Girls.
Finally, around day 4 I realized I needed to take action or this trip would be written off as a total bust. I needed to reach out to people who were in clubs and organizations I was a member of on Facebook and in the RV world such as Escapees, Full-Time RV’ers and more who were here at QS.
I powered up my laptop and searched Facebook for my RV’ing groups, and right away I found a young couple, Brad, and Carlie of http://www.Livingwithbullies.wordpress.com sharing their new blog and asking to see other’s RV’ing blogs as they are new RV’er’s. It turned out they were here in QS! I told them I would love to meet them and share information about their journey and what brought them to make such a change. We met up for lunch at Silly Al’s pizza and had a great time. Finally! This new approach was already working.
It turned out they were here in QS! I told them I would love to meet them and share information about their journey and what brought them to make such a change. We met up for lunch at Silly Al’s pizza and had a great time. Finally! This new approach was already working.
Finally! This new approach was already working.
Next, I met up with another Facebook group member- a woman and her mom who full time in a motorhome, Evie and Joy. They invited me to a mid-day campfire get together for Escapees Boondockers. We met up and now I have two more friends who full-time RV. They were full of great information, just like I had imagined.
My biggest success and enjoyment came from a new offset group of Escapees, called Xscapers. It’s a group which was made for younger working RV’ers. All it took was a post I made to the Facebook group ‘Full-Time RV’ers’ asking if I was one of the only solo full-time female in her 40’s here in QS. The post received a whopping 229 likes (so far) and 98 comments.
Chris Dunphy from http://www.Technomadia.com (Check out their blog about mobile technology when RV’ing) reached out to me on this post and told me about the Xscapers, a group he helped create.
I suddenly found myself invited to come to watch a movie on the side of Chris and Cherie’s way cool retro bus with fellow Xscapers who were mostly in their 30’s and 40’s. I jumped at the invitation and went that evening.
I met some very cool folks and we watched the movie ‘Priscilla, Princess of the Desert’. Have you ever watched a movie on a screen hung from the side of a bus? Neither had I. It was pretty cool, like a drive in, but sort of backwards. Did this enhance my QS experience? You bet. There was pre-movie social complete with music and finger foods.
Even better, I joined the Xscapers Quartzsite group on Facebook and found that a few of them were going to a place called The Desert Bar the next day. A bar in the middle of the desert??! There is no paved road, it’s all off road to get there. It sounded very ‘Wild West’ and as though it would make a great story, so I was in!
I met up with about about 10 of the Xscapers and we had a great time talking RV’s, the lifestyle and everything in between!
FURTHERMORE, I was invited to come to a get-together later that night where they were parked. The day extended into night and I had my second campfire since my launch.
Great friends were made, and I know I will see them all again someday down the road.
What is the moral of this story? Well, you may not come to QS and immediately feel like a part of the gathering. There is no single ‘command station’ for activities going on in Quartzsite. Getting the ‘in’ on what is happening is hit or miss unless you know people or are already involved in a group. That is kind of what I was expecting, but nothing like it exists.
There are MANY groups and organizations that are in attendance. The key is getting actively involved in a few before you go. I usually dislike formal gatherings and planned get together’s, but I was way off in terms of how they would be. (Stuffy? Rigid? Unfriendly? Xscapers was none of the above.) I will forever be a member of Xscapers.
THIS was how you should experience Quartzsite if you are looking to network and/or share information about this increasingly popular way of life. You have to reach out or know people BEFORE you attend. Social media sure helped me. A big thank you goes out to Cherie Ve Ard and Chris Dunphy for kicking off the Xscapers and for inviting me in! Thanks to Greg Thomas as well for sending me an invite to the club. (I was already in it without knowing it, as it’s a new offset of Escapee’s.)
Here are some clubs and organizations I would recommend joining to enhance your RVing social life:
http://www.escapees.com- There’s a small yearly fee. They have get-togethers called “rallies”, they have a newsletter, and forums where you can connect with other RV years. It’s quite a large group and there are some groups such as the Xscapers where you can find a niche to join
Facebook groups: if you already have a Facebook account, simply search “Rv”, “RVing”, “camping”, and similar titles to find groups you can join and socialize with. (Free)
http://www.rvillage.com- it’s basically a forum for RV years. Sort of like a Facebook page for RVing. Free to join.
There are plenty of others down there. Simply go online and search for whatever your interests are and include the word RVing or Rv or camping.
I will see you guys down the road…