The first stop, Quartzsite, Arizona is a favorite place for Donald and he can't wait to get going. Located west of Phoenix, at the junction of Interstate 10 and US 95, and 17 miles from the Colorado River, Quartzsite is not just a town, it's an event. Established in 1867 on the site of old Fort Tyson, (constructed in 1856 by Charles Tyson for protection against Indian raids) and named Quartzite because quartz was occasionally found in the area. The name evolved to Quartzsite through an error in spelling.
Rocks, rocks and more rocks……. a true rock hunter’s paradise. Piled high with agates, limonite cubes, gold and quartz being just a few of the stones and gems known to be prevalent here. In town, the Hi Jolly Monument honors the Arab camel driver, Hadji Ali, who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert. There are many points of interest including the Gem and Mineral Shows, historical sites, day trips and many off-road ATV trails. Donald is in heaven here. Not sure how many stones he can fit in the car.
Quartzsite is world famous for its winter show season………
Quartzsite hosts thousands of vendors at its famous outdoor and indoor swap meets. Shoppers can find anything and everything they could possibly want to buy. There are dealers and sellers here from all over the world with some of the most unusual items you can find. Several of the bigger show areas specialize in rocks, gems, and minerals from all over the continent.
Amethyst from Brazil, opals and crystals from Australia, turquoise from Africa and the U.S., fossilized geodes and ancient bones from everywhere.
If antiques are your thing, there are dozens of vendors who bring them in from all over the country----dishes, pans, lamps, jewelry, wagons, household items and much more. If you are looking for homemade craft items, there are plenty to choose from, and some you will not see anywhere else. There are several craft shows going on all the time, and major craft shows during the peak season.
If jewelry is your thing, there are hundreds of vendors selling handmade and commercially made necklaces, earrings, brooches, etc. . Made with some of the hundreds of kinds of gemstones found all over the world as well as in the desert area around Quartzsite. This is a dealer’s paradise, with hundreds of booths filled with gems, minerals, findings, ready made items and raw material for making jewelry and anything else you can think of. If you are a RV’er or sportsman, there are some shows that specialize in the things you may need for your traveling and pleasure. Looking for T-shirts, souvenirs, socks, windchimes, pottery, polished rock eggs, and other items, slices of rocks for any craft use, wood carvings, clothing, medical aides, dolls, Indian blankets and jewelry, and much much more, then Quartzsite is the place to come to in the winter. There is an old saying here that if you can’t find it in Quartzsite, then it hasn’t been thought of yet.
The “season” in Quartzsite starts in November and lasts until March. The main shows are in January and February. Some vendors stay all year. Quartzsite also has many many year round business that are happy to help you find anything you may need or want. Quartzsite certainly has something for everyone and Ada hopes Donald can resist buying every geode in sight.