(ISO 80 f/3.2 1/160 6:45 pm Post processing: increased Vibrancy, desaturated most of the colors so that the gas pumps would stand out more.)
If there is any explanation at all about why we are in Quartzsite, it is this garage.
About 25 years ago Carl was driving from west to east. Just outside California he made a stop at this weird place that had a lot of RVs, a dirt road through town, and a garage with a store next to it. It was a place that he told me about several times in the later years.. .whenever we talked about where we would like to revisit and what we would like to see that we had never seen. Quartzsite was never mentioned under the discussion of where we’d like to live. No, we were far more conservative than that, in fact, when we left NH it was with the intention of moving to Portland, OR… but first we wanted to see lots of the Southwest.
Prior to 1989, there wasn’t so much in Quartzsite, at least not visible to the passing traveler looking for a gas. Carl recalls a single garage and a store and assumes this one is it as it is located on Main Street.
Quartzsite already had a reputation for its winter RV crowds even back then. My research shows that the Quartzsite Improvement Center (QIA) was incorporated in 1974… thus hundreds of thousands were already coming to the town in January for annual Pow-Wow Gem & Mineral Show. About 1500 vendors – or “tailgaters” as they used to be called came to sell their goods as well. If Carl had arrived during January, Main St would have looked like “a giant flea market.” From what I can tell by reading about Quartzsite’s history, Carl passed through just before the town became incorporated in 1989. Right after that the “commercialization” of Quartzsite begin… a McDonald’s was built and Ted’s Truck Stop & Bull Pen was employing about 100 employees.
I suspect Ted’s put the above pictured garage out of business. Ted’s is also now abandoned and I suspect that Pilot Truck Stop had a lot to do with that. Ted’s is pictured below:
(ISO 80, f/8, 1/250 9:35am — post processed with “Modern Portrait” in Aperture, which increased the vibrancy and decreased the saturation.)
As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, Quartzsite has a Mayoral & Town Council election taking place this month. This history is actually a key part of the race. Our current Mayor and Council are seeking to build business on Exit 19. There is a 4-story hotel coming in with an IHOP, a real grocery store (but no one has said which chain) and a monied organization is putting in some “nice” RV parks. Up until this point, all business has been developed at Exit 17, which is closer to the original “Main Event.” The current council’s is to continuing the trend to improve Quartzsite for its annual residents, which now exceeds 3000 people.
The opposing Mayoral candidate and council members want to keep Quartzsite as it was… in fact they want to turn back the clock by reducing vendor fees so that more of them come back. And reduce taxes and other fees so the RV Parks don’t have to raise their prices. They that the winter population is down in recent years and they want to get this crowd back up to the reported million or more in the winter. I’m not sure what they are going to do about the four lane paved Main Street and the other improvements that have taken place (Fire Dept, Medical Center, etc).