Interview with a Quartzsite RV Couple
(This is a bit of satire I came up with to describe the peculiar
folks I encountered here. Perhaps I shouldn't make fun of Quartzsite
RV-ers since, after all, without them there would
be no RV Show and no customers for Tropic Hut to sell to. On
the other hand, people who spend their winters this way just
to get away from cold weather are, well, not like the rest
INTERVIEWER: Thank you for allowing me to
visit your motor coach.
RV HUSBAND: Ya, you betcha, it's a pleasure
to have ya!
RV WIFE: Would you like some iced tea? We
have ice today.
INT: You mean there are some days when you
don't have ice?
HUSBAND: We turn off the fridge a couple days
a week to keep the batteries from running down too fast.
INT: Ah, I see. This motor home is quite impressive.
May I ask how much a unit like this costs?
HUSBAND: Sure. The basic coach was around
two hundred twenty grand. With the satellite TV system and
some other upgrades we wanted it came to right at a quarter
INT: My, that's quite an investment.
WIFE: If we could afford it we'd buy a unit
for twice that much so we can spend winters away from
the cold back home!
HUSBAND: Right! Our neighbors back home in
northern Minnesota are digging their cars out of snow every
day, and we're spending the winters where it's not cold!
INT: Why did you choose this area near Quartzsite
to park you RV for the winter?
HUSBAND: Because it's cheap. A BLM permit
is just a hundred eighty bucks for three months.
INT: But you spent a quarter million dollars
on your motor home....
WIFE: That doesn't mean we don't want to save
money whenever we can!
INT: Quartzsite is a rather amazing
place. The permanent population is under four hundred, but
in the winter this area swells to over a hundred thousand people,
all living in RV's. The town has no movie theaters, no shopping
malls, no golf courses, only about a half dozen small restaurants
and two very small grocery stores. Do you miss the
features that a resort area or larger city would offer?
HUSBAND: Well, sure, Quartzsite is boring
as heck, but it's not cold, right Marge?
WIFE: Who needs fun things to do? It's not
INT: The climate here is extremely dry - less
than four inches of rain per year. Do you ever find that uncomfortable?
WIFE: Oh my, yes. I go through a bottle of
hand lotion every month down here, but it's not cold.
HUSBAND: My problem is with chapped lips because
I really don't like smearing waxy stuff on my mouth every night,
even though Marge makes me do it. Still, it's not cold!
INT: I've noticed it's also very dusty here,
especially since you are parked on a dirt lot completely surrounded
HUSBAND: Heh heh, ain't that the truth! I
wake up every morning with grit in my teeth and nostrils, but
ya get used to it. Besides, it isn't cold!
WIFE: I have to wipe dust off the counters
every day and I never do quite get used to my hair feeling
like straw. But Larry and I always say, 'Dust, schmust, at
least it isn't cold!'
INT: Since you are parked on open land out
in the desert you don't have access to standard water, sewer
and electrical services. Is that inconvenient?
HUSBAND: The pumping company comes out twice
a week to drain our gray and black water tanks and fill the
fresh water tanks, so it's usually not a problem. 'Course,
every now and then we run out of water, right Marge?
WIFE: (laughing) Yes, dear, I do like to take
a long shower sometimes and give my hair a really good shampoo
to get all the dust out.
HUSBAND: One of the upgrades we bought on
this motor coach was an extra large capacity water heater.
With the standard water heater there was only enough hot water
for about a four minute shower. The bigger water heater lets
Marge shower away for almost twelve minutes.
WIFE: So there's plenty of hot water for
my long showers. Trouble is sometimes there isn't enough water for
my long showers.
HUSBAND: Yep, so sometimes Marge has to finish
rinsing off with bottled water...
WIFE: My, is that cold!
HUSBAND: ...and then we have no water
till the next day when the service comes out to refill
tank. That's inconvenient, sure, but it beats cold weather!
INT: It occurs to me that, with the amount
you have invested in this RV, you could rent a nice beach house
every winter for ten years and still be money ahead. Is there
a reason you prefer being parked on a dirt lot in the desert?
HUSBAND: A beach house ain't got no wheels!
With our RV we're free to go wherever we want.
INT: Don't you spend the entire winter parked
at the same place?
WIFE: But we could go some place else
any time we wanted. We love that freedom.
HUSBAND: Exactly. Our total living space may
be less than the size of our single car garage back home, but for the
winter we're road warriors! Free to go anywhere we want!
WIFE: In just a few hours we can pack this
place up, pull in the slide-outs, put away the stabilizers,
secure the satellite dish, turn off the gas, roll up the awning
and we're ready to travel!
INT: That kind of freedom must
HUSBAND: That's what it's all about - the
open road! Well, that and being some place that isn't cold.
WIFE: Being free to spend winters where it
isn't cold means we win!
INT: There is one last thing that some might
find difficult about spending all winter away from their homes.
You must have family and old friends back home. Do you ever
miss them while you spend several months here in Arizona?
HUSBAND: Do you have any idea what winter
is like in northern Minnesota? It gets down to twenty degrees
below zero, sometimes colder. We don't get out in that cold
to see family or friends anyway!
WIFE: We do stay home through Christmas some
years. Larry usually wants us to come down here in mid November,
but I convince him to stay so we can see our grandchildren
HUSBAND: I figure our friends and the kids
will still be there in April. Might as well get out of the
cold as soon as we can.
WIFE: That's when he reminds me of another
thing we like to say, 'Family, schmamily, let's go where it's
HUSBAND: Don't you see? We got it all figured
out! We spend our winters where it's not cold!