After our relaxing time in sunny Yuma we travelled about an hour north to Quartzite. Every year thousands of RVers converge on this spot in January for the big RV show and many spend their entire winters here because of the cheap camping. In the Long Term Visitor Areas you can stake your spot in the desert for only $140 all season. They even have a dump station, water and trash. We opted for a more remote area with no services but lots of beauty about 15 miles south of town. The KOFA National Wildlife Refuge has camping for 14 days free of charge. Even though we only ended up staying 3 nights you can see we got lots of scenic photos. By the way, KOFA stands for King of Arizona and was the name of a mining operation.
We arrived on Thursday to scope out a spot. Heading in the gravel road we were worried we wouldn’t be able to turn around if we went too far so we picked a big level spot still a ways from the mountains. After unhitching we decided to drive up the road and found an even better spot with amazing views of the rock cliffs. We put out some chairs to claim it, drove a couple of miles back, hitched up again, and towed the trailer to the base of the mountain. It took quite a bit of maneuvering to get our trailer level while facing the right direction for the solar panels, but once we got it all set we enjoyed the stunning views.
You’ll notice from the photos that KOFA wasn’t as sunny as Yuma. While it made for great photos, it made for chilly camping. We spent the whole day Friday inside as the wind and rain whipped around us. We were glad our trailer is aerodynamic because some of the gusts were quite strong.
We even had a few rainbows.
We took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday to visit the RV show. We had been looking forward to this show since we left Seattle. I don’t know what we were expecting, perhaps something like the RV show back home only bigger, but boy were we disappointed. The “Big Tent” as they call the main area of the show was filled with vendors like those you find at the fair selling mops and pans and such, and not a lot of RV specific products. In fact we found nothing we were looking for on our list and only bought a Mac Attack BBQ pork sandwich (it had mac and cheese on it) and we didn’t even manage to take any photos. We walked through some of the swap meet area in town but soon grew bored of tent after tent of the same stuff. After less than 2 hours in Quartzite, we were done. We opted not to check out the small town (perhaps another time when the show isn’t on).
Insider tip: If you ever visit the show you can park for free during the day at the LTVA just south of the show. It’s much better than the crazy show parking where people circle endlessly and we saw 3 different vehicles stuck in the sand, plus it’s just as close.
Instead, we headed back to KOFA to take advantage of the sunny afternoon by hiking the Palm Canyon trail. It wasn’t too hard to get to the spot where you could see the palm trees, but we decided to scramble up the side of the mountain to get closer.
These crazy palm tress grow here naturally. The microclimate on this hillside supports the only grove of native palms in Arizona.
Looking ahead the forecast called for more cloudy, cold weather. While we can use our propane to heat up the place, it’s just not as comfy when it’s really cold and with the clouds our solar power was dwindling. It was a pretty easy decision to head back to Yuma for more winter sunshine. Amazing what a difference 50 miles can make!