Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Quartzsite, Arizona

The pictures show me selling my books in the Quartzsite library and at the Reader’s Oasis Bookstore.

Quartzsite, Arizona is where about 700,000 RVers come to see friends, shop at the RV vendor’s booths and camp free in the desert BLM land. When we came to Quartzsite in 2000, we saw a town of adobe buildings and dusty tents. Uncle Don, dressed in his black Stetson hat, dark long sleeved shirt and what he called his $2 pants with a $500 belt buckle, walked along the dusty path to the grocery store to buy his morning newspaper. He would pause and turn around and look at the large tents of Mc Clouds that sold precious and semiprecious stones and tell his dogs to go home. Mom and dad would drive from Mesa to see him and eat at the Stagecoach restaurant. Quartzsite had an elementary school and churches but no bank or dollar store. If you changed the RVs in your mind’s eye to horses and stagecoaches and wagons, you would picture a mining town of the Old West.

Today the streets are wider and are lined with new concrete sidewalks. Uncle Don lives in Oregon. In place of the tents of Mc Clouds, you see rows and rows of shiny new RV dealers. Aluminum buildings house the gems and rocks and other vendors. Most of the little specialty mom and pop vendors are replaced by huge establishments in aluminum buildings. The Stagecoach restaurant is closed. Quartzsite now has a bank and dollar store but you can’t buy a daily newspaper. While progress has changed Quartzsite to better serve the needs of residents and visitors, it seems that it lost some of its charming ambiance.

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