Quartzsite Part Two – Xscapers Convergence

On Tuesday the 17th I depart the RTR for another gathering taking place on the other side of town, the Xscapers Quartzsite Convergence.

A sunset from my dinette window at the Xscapers site

Xscapers is an extension of the Escapees RV Club that is aimed at working-age RVers. Membership in one gives you access to the other, they’re essentially the same thing – the ‘Xscapers’ name came about as a way to re-brand for a younger crowd. You do not need to be a member of the club to attend their convergences, but many people who attend one end up joining because it’s such a neat group of people.

Besides offering the typical club benefits of magazine, camping discounts at parks, an active community, and access to mail forwarding and residency, the Escapees/Xscapers website hosts a treasure trove of information on RVing, has a job board for RVers, and works with several bloggers (myself included) to provide content to a younger (and young at heart) crowd.

Melanie’s margaritas win first prize

While Xscapers convergences do have seminars on different aspects of the RV lifestyle (subject to who is attending and is willing to discuss what topic), these gatherings tend to focus more on social events and outings and most of these tend to be on the weekend or during the evening as many attendees work remotely during regular business hours. Other outings hosted by the club focus more on informative material for new RVers (the Escapees Boot Camp) if you’re looking to learn more about the lifestyle.

Sadly, I was sick for most of the nine days I was with the group and missed a lot of the events.

The Margarita competition the evening of the 17th was a lot of fun. The next morning I fall sick and sleep most of the next three days.

On Friday the 21st I’m feeling well enough to join the solo travelers among our number (nine of us) for pizza at Silly Al’s. This place gets the best reviews of the food joints in Quartzsite and I’d been meaning to go. It’s always crowded so expect to wait for a table, but the pizza is worth it. We arrive at 5 pm and wait about a half-hour. The next morning I’ve lost my voice and can’t stop coughing, back to self-quarantine in the Casita for a couple days.

Solo crew at Silly Al’s

By the 24th I’m still hoarse but understandable, and the coughing is limited to brief fits, mostly at night. A group of us drive out to Kofa Wildlife Refuge for a hike out to the only native stand of palm trees in Arizona.

A big hiking crew

On the way our tour guide JP stops us at a neat rock art labyrinth, someone sure had a lot of time on their hands!

It feels nice to be outside after several days confinement in the RV. The hike is about a mile round trip (the drive out is the longest part by far) and follows a canyon up between bluffs.

Before long we’re hiking in the shadows, even though it’s nearly 11.

At the end of the trail a sign points up the side of the cliff. The palm trees are lodged in a crevice halfway up! Experts aren’t sure how they got here or how old they are, as it’s impossible to date palm trees since they don’t have growth rings. There is no visible water source, either there’s a deep spring that provides the water they need or the topography of the notch they’re in holds rainfall. The spot gets less than an hour of sunlight at this time of year, and we’ve time our arrival for mid-day to make the most of it.

That evening is trivia night, and my team wins with 14 correct answers out of 24 – the questions were hard! I happen to be quite bad at trivia and contribute nothing to to the group other than our name: Team Us. It’s a good thing the other five members knew what they were about.

The next night is movie night! The weather in general has been less friendly than last year, with several days of wind and rain and now several nights with lows in the 30’s, but JP, who is designated host for the second half of the convergence, manages to get a corn dog truck to come out and cater for the event and that’s incentive enough to drag people out of their warm RVs.

Corn dogs!

Thursday the 26th is the last full day of the convergence. I drag myself out of bed to attend the brunch at 10 am and say goodbye to the folks who are pulling out today. I’m glad I came, even though I haven’t been able to get out as much as I would have liked.

Brunch crew, photo credit Gabi Welch

My last sunset in Quartzsite is a pretty good one.

The last campfire social goes late, not surprisingly. This is the last most of us will see each other for another year. But the great thing about good-byes between RVers is our paths are sure to cross again down the road!

Photo credit Greg Thomas

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  1. Julie on February 16, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Hi Becky. Really enjoy your blog and following you. I also bought your ebook. I plan to retire in 5 years so I’m starting to get serious about moving ahead with my full-time RV dream. I have been stuck on getting a Class C vs. a truck/trailer like you, but just don’t know which is the better route to take. I’d probably still have to tow a small car if I did get a Class C. I have a question for you – well, actually hoping you can squelch a fear I have about towing, hitching, unhitching, backing, maneuvering, etc. I would be going solo like you, and without a helper/navigator, it all seems a bit daunting. I know everything will be a learning process for me, and I’m up for the challenge. I know I’ll eventually figure it all out. Just thought I’d ask you . . . Was the whole towing/hitching process easy for you to learn and get used to? Am I overplaying this?

    • Becky on February 17, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      Hello Julie, thanks for buying my guide and I hope you get a lot of use out of it! I’m sure you noticed that the guide has a worksheet for helping you figure out the best type of RV for you, making columns and rows with the positives and negatives for each type really helps. You’ll also want to tour as many different types of RVs as you can to get a feel for what they’re like – pictures and floorplans seen online never do the real thing justice.

      I won’t lie, hitching, towing, and backing up with a trailer (or a toad behind a Class C too I imagine!) do take some getting use to and it probably will be kinda scary the first few times – it was for me.

      Familiarity is the way to combat the fear. Once you have the trailer, practice hitching and unhitching several times with the tow vehicle at different angles. Take it out to an empty lot and practice backing up and turning. The more you do it the easier it gets. After years of practice it’s really no big deal anymore.

      Best of luck to you!

  2. Sarah Shillinger on January 29, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    I hope you are feeling better. Being sick is no fun.

    • Becky on January 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Yep all better Sarah, thanks.

  3. Arkansas Sue on January 29, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Looks like a great time despite some sick days. Glad you are on the the mend!

    We are preparing for our Casita lifestyle. Could you direct me to a post about the solar suitcase you use or a good website that explains the use of a solar suitcase?

    Love following your adventures!


    • Becky on January 29, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Here’s the post I wrote about my solar Sue: https://interstellarorchard.com/2016/02/09/solar-and-heat-for-boondocking/

      Do you already have your Casita or are you looking to buy one? I’ve loved traveling in mine and I hope you enjoy yours just as much. Thanks for following along and take care!

      • Arkansas Sue on January 29, 2017 at 2:35 pm

        Thank you Becky! Good info.

        We have a twenty year old, 27′ Panther Travel Trailer that we use for weekend camping. It is too old/bulky for the extended type travel we would like to do. As a 40 year anniversary/retirement gift to ourselves, our 17′ Casita Independence will be rolling off the line in June!


        • Becky on January 31, 2017 at 3:59 pm

          You’re welcome, solar does make a big difference.

          And how exciting! I bet you can’t wait until June!

  4. Sylvia Wright on January 28, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Hi, Becky, sounds like good material for a post topic: How you and other full-timers handle illness and injuries. (If you’ve already done that, please give a link.) Hope you’re feeling 100% again now. Best, Sylvia in Calif.

    • Becky on January 29, 2017 at 11:02 am

      I’ve talked about health insurance Sylvia (https://interstellarorchard.com/2016/11/30/2017-health-insurance-update/) but not from an angle of how to handle being sick in the rig no. I’m fortunate to be healthy in general and haven’t had reason to think about it before. I’ll think about it for a future post. I am better now, thanks.

  5. John T on January 27, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    Hi Becky, enjoy following your blog. Hope you get back to feeling 100 percent. Sucks to be cold and sick! I guess if there is a silver lining, at least you didn’t miss two weeks of paychecks. Be well. j

    • Becky on January 29, 2017 at 10:58 am

      I am feeling better now John, thanks. This was probably the sickest I’ve been since I hit the road, it’s the longest-lasting cold I’ve had in years for sure. One thing about being sick, when you get over it you remember how amazing it is just to be healthy. Silver lining there too I guess. Take care.

  6. Judy Blinkenberg on January 27, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you to your posts and those of Escapers for your posts. I have been on Facebook enjoying every post. Next year we won’t leave but continue looking. I hope Seniors are welcomed. We have so much to learn. Safe travels ahead, Becky.

    • Becky on January 29, 2017 at 10:57 am

      There is no age limit for Xscapers, it’s just a mindset thing. 🙂 Although if you’d prefer to camp with other seniors, the Escapees have gatherings out here too.

  7. Judy Blinkenberg on January 27, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    It has been wonderful looking at Quartzite with you and Facebook Escapers this week. We didn’t know and would have stayed but this was a close second. I want to thank you very much for your posts. While we are escapees due to our age, we haven’t started full time yet. I want to go to some upcoming groups but our cold weather of snow outside and only a fireplace inside has slowed us down. I’m hoping for April but will see. Thank you again. Blessings to you on your road ahead.

    • Becky on January 29, 2017 at 10:56 am

      Thanks Judy and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed these posts about Quartzsite. Hopefully next year you can come out and join in on some of these gatherings, there are a lot of great people who come out here and it can be a lot of fun. Take care!

  8. Jerryc on January 27, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Waved to you as you pulled off Dome Rock Road, but never got over the hill to say hi. Agree the weather has been less than desirable this year. I’ve looked for that rock art the last two years, but so far it has eluded me. Glad you’re on the mend.

    • Becky on January 29, 2017 at 10:53 am

      I hope you had a good time despite the weather Jerry.

      That spiral labyrinth is 2.8 miles down Palm Canyon Road, on the right-hand side. It’s a point of interest on Google Maps and you can get directions to it. Hope you get the chance to see it!

  9. Jodee Gravel on January 27, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Wow, it definitely looks much colder than last year!! Bummer you were out of sorts for much of it, but glad you could get out and enjoy some too. Wonderful sunset :-))
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Sooooo Many People – Austin, TexasMy Profile

    • Becky on January 29, 2017 at 10:49 am

      Thanks Jodee. Yes I sure do love Arizona sunsets!

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