Au Revoir My Sweet Desert – Quartzsite, AZ
At the core I’m a sentimentalist and a romantic, so I try not to think too often of goodbyes. Most of the time I prefer to use the French term au revoir, which loosely translates to “until we see each other again”. It has much less finality, and encompasses so much more hope. After all no one can completely predict the future, in this life or the next.
And so it was with some sadness that I said au revoir to the desert mere days ago. After we finished the BBSBU we decided on a last dash to one of our favorite boondocking locations, choosing a slightly new spot this time around (review coming) so we could hang in complete solitude. It was partly to test out our new system, and partly so we could relax & re-immerse ourselves in the desert we love so much.
I admit that not everyone understands this madness.
The desert is a foreboding environment where only the most marginal of creatures survive. How could anyone love such a dry, dusty, lonely place? Or find anything interesting in such a barren landscape? Or feel attached to any of those crumbling, hodgepodge desert towns? The people are strange and the landscape is unlivable. It’s a place for ghosts and nasty things with spikes.
And despite all this, or perhaps because of it I feel perfectly at home here.
For me, the desert is like the odd-ball friend you end up falling in love with. Beneath her hard surface lies a raw beauty so deep and complex it’s astonishing when you first notice it. From cool mornings where the first threads of warmth spread over the rocks, to hot afternoons where the sun bakes the ground into tantalizing and ever-moving mirages, to the evenings where the heat leaves suddenly, like a scorned lover and everything turns to gold, red, orange and pink. I’m enthralled and forever glued to my camera wanting to capture the beauty, the next show.
Even the dusty towns have depths and layers you don’t initially expect. People come out here for so many reasons. Some to find their peace, others to escape yet all are seeking freedom from “regular” life and this creates both an amazing variety and instant bond.
I still remember the tech VP who quit her job at HP to camphost at a remote BLM spot, the 80-year old lady who came out here in her ancient truck to rock hound, the guy who came here in his trailer to relax after summers chasing gold up north. All intensely interesting people from all walks of wealth and life. There may be the occasional unscrupulous sort and perhaps even a few crazies, but they are few and far between compared to all the “modern” cities I’ve lived in. The desert, with all her extremes, makes sure of that.
And everyone who comes here, if they allow themselves to be, are captivated over time.
Once you look beyond the spikes and rocky brown ground, once you let your eyes relax to the horizon and take in the whole you see a different world. Perhaps it’s that that first moment of loneliness on a dusty road or that first sunset bathed in neon-rich light, but suddenly your mind shifts and you understand. Desert life is never the same again.
We left Quartzsite two days ago and it was a bittersweet affair. With our planned route East, we may not be back this way again for 2 years. Right now that seems like an interminable time and so very hard to accept. But perhaps, just like a fine desert day, it’ll pass faster than we expect?
Our last evening in Q we mingled with the desert folks at Silly Al’s, walked along our dusty boondocking road and enjoyed one of the most colorful and intense sunsets we’ve ever experienced. We wanted this last stay to be special and the desert delivered, oh yes she did. She was profound, romantic and painfully beautiful, as she always is.
Au revoir, my crazy love, until we meet again.