Escape From Quartzsite

I’ve found that Quartzsite has a way of sucking you back in. It has this effect on many people, which is why they keep coming back year after year. For me, it’s even happened a few times this year. I went to Yuma, then came back. I went back to Imperial Dam, then came back. I had to wait for the last of my mail from Escapees to come in. That had me sitting in Quartzsite even longer than expected. I didn’t escape before the hot flash of a few days in the 90s arrived.

But before that happened, I ended up making a quick rescue run to Phoenix to help a new friend who broke down on the way to visit me. She’s very resourceful, though, and after getting towed to an Autozone, she actually fixed it herself before I could even get there! We had a late dinner, talked, then parked next to each other in a repair shop parking lot where she’d get her fix checked out by a pro in the morning. Lister also made himself right at home in her van, as usual.

It turned out everything was fine. I would’ve loved to spend more time together, but the breakdown stole what little time she had for socializing on her way to LA to take care of some important business. Hopefully, we’ll meet again down the road.

My mail arrived in Quartzsite too late Thursday for me to get it, so I did my Friday morning work meeting, got a few articles done, then picked it up on my way out of town. Finally, I was leaving Quartzsite for good.

My first stop was in Parker, where Running Man always has the least expensive gas around. That’s not saying much at $4.50/gallon, but it was still less than anywhere else. (I also like supporting Native-owned businesses, as Parker sits in the middle of the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation.) From there it was on to Lake Havasu City, where I could resupply at pretty much any name brand store I desired. I’d gotten some groceries in Quartzsite earlier in the week because I was out of things, but I filled in the gaps, put things away, and kept rolling north.

This was a difficult drive. The driving itself was easy, and I’ve traveled most of these roads before. The difficulty was Lister, who was miserable and yowled his head off much of the way. I don’t know why. I wonder if it’s because he forgot how to travel, but even when he was new at traveling, he was never like this. I hope this doesn’t continue. I may have to find some catnip to get him stoned while we drive, or at least calm him down a little. I really hope this isn’t the beginning of a new trend.

My destination was some free BLM camping all along the Oatman Highway, which I’d driven during my Route 66 trip. Oatman is a hoot, and you can read all about my first visit. This time I wanted to take advantage of that free camping, spend a few days, and ride some of the local mountain roads on my motorcycle. I found what looked like a nice pulloff south of town and set up camp. Only later did I notice the trash and broken glass around the area, but it was far enough from where I parked that Lister couldn’t get into it. Considering the surrounding scenery, I really can’t complain — especially for free.

Previous occupants might’ve trashed the place a little, but they did leave a fire ring, as well as enough sticks and twigs for me to have a small fire. It felt a little surreal, camping out like this on the side of Route 66. I felt a little bit of a connection with those who have done this before, but nearly 100 years ago, and out of desperation to find a better life in California rather than for fun like me. Yet right here, right now, we were the same, despite the years separating us. Maybe I should’ve done this last October for the full Route 66 experience, but I’ve done it now, and better late than never.

Tomorrow, we ride.

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