Jan 182017

For the last couple of days I have been involved in an email exchange with a couple who are brand-new fulltimers trying to adjust to life on the road. They are currently dry camping in the desert a couple of miles north of Quartzsite, Arizona and are freaking out about being in such a different environment from that which are used to back in the Midwest.

Unfortunately, a lot of their concerns are all due to one “helpful” RVer parked next to them who is giving them all sorts of advice and warning them about all the calamities that could occur. He walks around with a big sixgun strapped to his waist, because you never know when you might stumble upon a rattlesnake, or a coyote might come into your campsite, or you might cross paths with some Mexican drug runner. He also warned them that they could be drowned in an instant if a flash flood comes up in the middle of the night, and that being parked out in the middle of nowhere like they are makes them easy pickings for any kind of thugs who come along looking for an easy score. They said they have only been there for three days and are about ready to head back to Casa Grande or Tucson, where it is “safer.”

I spent many years of my life in Arizona, a lot of it wandering the back roads, camping out in the boondocks, and exploring the back country. And yeah, I’ve seen a few rattlesnakes in my time. And lots of coyotes. And who knows, I may have crossed paths with a drug runner at some point, but he was probably in his vehicle headed to wherever he was going to drop his load off and I never noticed. As far as flash floods, I’ve seen some doozies, no question about it. That’s why I never camp in or near riverbeds. Thugs looking for an easy score? I suspect there are more of them in the big city than there are out in the middle of the desert.

So yes, any of these things can happen. Or you might get hit by a meteorite. Or taken out by a drunk driver or some nitwit going down the road texting. Anything’s possible. But every year many thousands of RVers descend on Quartzsite and the surrounding desert for what some call Woodstock for Old Farts. They shop the vendors in the Big Tent at the RV show and on every street corner in town, they hang out with their friends and shoot the bull around the campfire, they play music, tell tall tales, ride ATVs, and have a great time. And in all the years we have been publishing the Gypsy Journal, I have never heard of any of them getting killed by rattlesnakes, or coyotes, or drug runners, or flash floods.

About the worst that happens is an occasional bicycle or generator left unlocked gets pilfered. So take the normal precautions you would anywhere else – if you want to keep it, lock it up! And relax. I really don’t think you’re going to be the first Quartzsite casualties to happen.

I told these folks to find a new neighbor. Life is too short to spend a minute of it listening to fools like the fellow giving them advice, or worrying about what somebody tells you could happen. Spend those minutes enjoying life instead. I guarantee you’ll be much happier.

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Thought For The Day – Life is too short to worry about anything. Enjoy it, because the next day promises nothing. – Eric Davis

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Nick Russell

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  11 Responses to “Or A Meteorite Could Hit You”

  1. Nick, tell that couple to head up to Plamosa road north of Quartzsite, go out to about mile 1.6 and on the left is signs for several SKPs groups. Ours is chapter 34, we are the first group on the right after you turn off Plamosa road. we would be happy to have them join our group and get away from that guy. Some of us will be here thru next tues or wed. Thanks, Doug H

  2. The bigger question in my mind is why people put themselves in such an uncomfortable position? There are millions of ‘ways’ of RV’ing — you don’t have to go the the desert in order to experience RV’ing and might not it be smarter to get a little experience under one’s belt before plopping down in the middle of the desert?

  3. I hope they take your advice Nick. Sounds like the guy just likes to scare people … he probably thinks it’s funny. Or maybe he just wants them to move, which they should ….. to a nicer dessert neighborhood without HIM as a neighbor.

  4. Just came from 10 days dry camping off plamosa road. No snakes seen no coyotes nobody bothering us . We were new to desert camping and parked off by ourselves in case we had to run our generator more often. Off Plomosa?.
    A group of the elks bof skip’s started moving in a short distance away and came over to visit and invite us to join their campfires for activities. We weren’t elks (but are looking at becoming after our time with them) but were escapees….Had a great time. If they are concerned hopefully they will read the comments and join up with one of these friendly escapees groups

  5. Good grief. All the years I’ve lived in AZ and traveled through and around deserts…those things happen in the city. Flash floods? Tucson, Phoenix and places all around the West have ’em. Big cities! Coyotes? They live in the middle of any western city, including Los Angeles. Rattlesnakes? Carry a big stick if you’re out in the desert in the spring or summer. They don’t like cold weather. Just watch where you’re walking. Big bad guys? Those people could be anywhere you are, including in a neighborhood. The best cure for these kinds of worries is a circle of other people (OTHERS, not him!) talking around a campfire. They aren’t worried. My family grew up camping by ourselves, often along a deserted desert road. Still do that, only on BLM land or the desert “pasture” of a rancher we know. Just be alert.

  6. I feel sorry for that paranoid RV’er. Life must be very miserable for him.

  7. HI Nick
    Send them to Boomerville, you can give them my email address and I will give them directions if you don’t have them, I hope they would have a wonderful time here, you cold tell them to drive their toad out first if they are nervous, hope we can help.

  8. Being a single woman I travelled by myself for 18 years and never had a problem with any one or nature. I stayed in the desert in Quartzite, overnight in truck stops and rest areas never a problem. Only one rest area that I wasn’t comfortable in and I moved on. We are on this earth for a certain period of time make the best of everything I sure did and have great memories and met lots of lovely people.

  9. I see that Gretchen already posted what I was going to say: Send them to Boomerville. We will take good care of them.

  10. Nick,

    Give the folks north of Quartzsite our email address and tell them to email us. We’ll invite them over to our campground in Q and show them that it’s not all the doom and gloom that their “neighbour” makes it out to be.

  11. The only person I personally knew to get bitten by a rattlesnake stepped on it in her backyard. (pygmy rattler) She researched before calling her doctor, and since there have been NO adult deaths in Florida from a pygmy rattler bite, opted AGAINST antivenom- only took a weeklong course of antibiotics and some pain pills. In Florida we are at risk for hurricanes, but get some warning first. My actions? Up north I prepared for power outages and blizzards – down here I prepare for power outages, wind and rain. There are risks EVERYWHERE you go, you pays your money and you takes your choice. (And as a former backpacker I have never felt safer, even when solo,a s when out in the deep woods)

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