In my last post, there is a photo of a sculpture of three camels on the Quartzsite town limits sign. Why three camels? Before the civil war, a U.S. Army Camel Corps was established to test the effectiveness of camels for desert military transport. With the Secretary of War Jefferson Davis’ approval, there were 77 camels purchased to blaze a trail in New Mexico and Arizona from Fort Defiance to the Colorado River.
In 1856 the Army hired a Syrian native, Haiji Ali, who was dubbed “Hi Jolly” by the soldiers, to be the unit’s camel herder. The name Hi Jolly stuck and he became a living Arizona legend. As the camels’ caretaker, he proved the camels worth in this Army experiment, but the project was short lived.
With the onset of the Civil War, the unit was quickly dissolved, the camels auctioned off, and Hi Jolly decided to settle in Quartzsite until his death. His resting place is the most popular attraction in Quartzsite. In fact the entire cemetery is named after him. Hi Jolly stayed here, what should you know if you wanted to stay here too?
Staying Around Quartzsite
There are over 45 campgrounds in this small town but the big draw for RVers is the vast amount of Bureau of Land Management land nearby. There are free BLM areas where you can camp for up to 14 days and other longer term stay regions called LTVAs.
The free short term 14 day camping areas are:
- Hi Jolly
- Roadrunner (Mile 99)
- Plomosa Road
- Dome Rock
- Scaddan Wash
At the entrance to the short term areas, there is a volunteer who will provide you with a 14 day pass to affix to your RV. They are easy to spot because it will be the only RV to have a large wooden picnic table in front of their rig.
The long term camping areas that are just south of I-10 on Highway 95 are:
- La Posa North
- La Posa South (has water, dump, etc.)
- La Posa West
- La Posa Tyson Wash
The four long term areas charge $180 for seven months (September 15 to April 15) and $40 for two weeks. The two week stays are renewable. As you would suspect, these areas are much more crowded and have much more traffic than the short term ones. Each one has a manned check-in station to take fees, etc. Remember, all of these areas are located out in the open desert near Quartzsite.
The town Post Office does receive General Delivery mail but the system is frustrating to say the least. As of this writing the window is only open between 12 – 1 PM and every day there are very, very long lines to pick up mail. When the clock strikes 1:00 PM, the window closes regardless of how many people are in line. As a result of these limited hours, some folks drive to post offices in Blythe, Ehrenberg, or even Parker to get their mail.
The Quartzsite General Delivery address is:
Your Name General Delivery Quartzsite, AZ 85346
Should decide to use the General Delivery service in Quartzsite, the local market sells “I survived the Quartzsite Post Office” T-shirts!
By far the easiest way to receive mail locally is via a small stationary store on Main St. called Quiet Times. They charge a nominal amount and are very friendly too. You can get UPS, USPS, and even freight there. The only catch is that they are only open on weekdays, from 10-4 PM. They also do copies and faxes. Their address for receiving mail/packages is:
Your Name C/O Quiet Times 90 E. Main Street Box 2813 Quartzsite, AZ 85346
Phone: (928) 927-8081
There are several companies that offer services to the all the RVers including vehicle wash, repairs, remote water fill and dump. We had friends tell us that Quartzsite is where they come for repairs and solar work.
The RV Pit Shop is a fast moving operation that has four propane filling stations, water fill, and dump. The long lines at the Pit Shop extend out into the highway. We found that the RV dump at the Tumbleweed RV Park at 600 Kuehn Street was much easier to deal with and was an easy in and out for water and dumping.
For groceries, there are some small grocery stores in town, the largest is the Roadrunner Market on Main St. The nearest large store is an Albertsons in Blythe, CA and there is also a Wal-Mart in Parker, AZ which is about 40 minutes away.
There are several RV dealers here, but the one with the most parts is RV Lifestyles on Dome Rock Road.
Of course, there is an abundance of goods at the Tyson Wells Market with all the vendors selling everything from jewelry to brussels sprouts.
The big tent is gone now, many folks have left and the town of Quartzsite carries on. As I write this, there is another beautiful sunset and the only sound is that of a coyote in the distance. The desert certainly is a draw for many RVers in the winter months.