Quartzsite Christmas

Sand, rocks, warm temperatures, and a complete lack of snow aren’t what most people think of when it comes to Christmas. But for me, it was absolutely perfect.

The day began like any other day — wake up, snuggle Lister, get up, make coffee. It was the warmest morning we’d had in a while, warm enough that I didn’t need to turn on my heater. I let Lister roam around outside while I caffeinated. Then it was time to establish a new Christmas tradition for me: a motorcycle ride.

I didn’t go fast or far. It was just an hour-long cruise around the empty streets in and around Quartzsite. Having lived in the northeast most of my life, Christmas is right in the middle of a six-month winter, too cold to ride and with terrible road conditions I don’t want to deal with, even with heated riding gear. No such trouble here, though. A Christmas bike ride is a novelty I don’t think I’ll ever get used to, and I’ll definitely appreciate it.

The main reason I cut the ride short is that I had other plans for the day. Our camp had an elaborate Christmas dinner planned, with somewhere between 20-25 people camped in the area and a few guests attending. You couldn’t ask for more perfect weather. Darryl and Marilyn did an amazing job coordinating everything, with the food set up in Wayne’s tent to keep it warm. It even got a little bit too warm inside. I brought over a portable fan to add a little circulation to keep the temperature reasonable.

I brought Lister over on his leash, where he immediately made himself the center of attention. There were several well-behaved dogs around, and everyone got along well. This was the longest time I’ve kept Lister away from the van, aside from when we’ve temporarily moved into a friend’s house on occasion. He did great and soaked up all the petting and loving he could get.

Naturally, he stole a few chairs throughout the afternoon as well.

December 25 was also the eighth night of Hanukkah this year. I was looking forward to seeing Jenn’s menorah fully lit up just after sunset, and was not disappointed. It’s no small feat getting nine small fires lit at the same time, but with Marilyn’s help she pulled it off.

After dark, we lit a campfire, and the festivities continued. I’d found a bottle of tequila in my booze bag. This baffled me because I don’t know where it came from. I don’t even like tequila. So I put it on the drinks table and invited everyone to help me make it go away. This ended up fueling some shenanigans as the night went on.

Adventuring with Amanda‘s video captured the experience better than I could ever hope to. I’ll just leave this here so you can see it for yourself. You can even hear Amanda and I jamming on our djembes with Matty on his guitar. They don’t call him Matty Van Halen for nothing.

This was the best Christmas I’ve had in a very long time. I’m not the biggest fan of the day. It’s become so commercialized and materialistic, with too much emphasis on buying stuff. With the exception of a couple of cards and a generous gift from my parents, I didn’t get any tangible presents this year. That’s fine. I don’t have space for a bunch of stuff I don’t really need anyway. What I did get was a wonderful day enjoying the company of my chosen family out here in the desert. You can’t buy an experience like this. Maybe, just maybe, I’m becoming a bit less of a Grinch about it.

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