The 2022 Annual No Host No Cost Gathering of Treks in Quartzsite
The 2022 annual no host no cost gathering of Treks was held in Quartzsite, Arizona Thursday January 20 thru Sunday January 23. Again Covid depressed the attendance numbers and demanded some behavioral and procedural changes. Even with Covid, 35 Treks attended accompanied by about 5 SOBs (some other brand).
We kicked off our 2022 gathering with the Thursday afternoon Welcome to Quartzsite heavy hors d’oeuvres social get together where we learned that again about 30% of our Trekkers were first timers at Quartzsite. There were Trekkers in attendance from every corner of the United States. Nobody went back to their Treks hungry, you can be sure of that. A few new multimeters (voltmeters) found new homes as well.
Friday saw an impromptu gathering of Trackers and Samurais, a very popular toad. Quite a bunch were in attendance and a lot of heads were seen stuck in hoods. This was followed by our traditional Tech Talk where a number of topics of interest to Trekkers were covered. Bret Medbury quickly covered the benefits of converting your Trek to LED interior lighting and of upgrading to “Smart” fuses that Glow When they Blow; Big Al gave a great presentation on upgrading to Lithium batteries, their charging systems and properly managing them; Brad Tubner spoke on the flaw that exists in and failure mode of some of the later electric awnings. He generously volunteered to repair/upgrade any present; Lee Buckley gave a presentation on the latest and simplified version of upgrading the Hydroboost brake booster to a more potent unit.
The technical stuff was appropriately followed by our afternoon social/cocktail gathering. This Happy Hour was special as we were also treated to a presentation by Redlands Truck and RV informing us of the services they provide and the goodies they offer for our Treks.
Saturday Lee Buckley hosted a group to caravan to The Desert Bar. The Desert Bar is totally off grid, a fair ways from any civilization, and a very unique experience. Nellie E Saloon (thedesertbar.com) Saturday also was the day the Quartzsite RV Sports & Vacation Show (AKA The Big Tent) opened. Many took advantage of the big tent and also prowled the flea markets etc., available in the area.
We had absolutely wonderful weather with one exception. We had our potluck scheduled for 4:30 on Saturday and at about 2:00 the skies began to darken, turned angry by 3:00, rain by 3:30. By 4:00 it was a downpour and we had to call it and postpone the pot luck to Sunday noon. Dick Kreutzer and Bret Medbury went door to door with the sad news and got wicked wet. At 4:30 the rib fairy showed up at each Trek door with a huge platter of the most luscious pork ribs any of us had ever had, wow. The “Rib Fairy” was Pat Larson and her husband David doing the lugging. Her story was the ribs were done and they had to leave in the morning so here. The ribs really were world class.
Anyway, by 5:00 the rain had stopped, the sun was shining, and folks started showing up with pot luck food. Shows how well they listen huh? In fairness the folks at the Desert Bar had not been back at 4:00 and by 5 they thought they were late. So in typical resilient Trekker fashion there was an impromptu pot luck. Sunday at noon we had another great Trekker potluck. To me, it is just amazing the fantastic food Trekkers can prepare out in the desert and also do it on a flexible schedule.
Sunday morning was our traditional Flea Market where a number of Trek related and non-Trek related items found new homes. This is also the day when at least some of our Trekkers must move on down the road. Now though they are loaded down with new friends, new information, new ideas, something fixed (maybe) and fresh lies to tell around campfires. There were lifetime friendships sparked here, priceless.
This year was an experiment where we attempted to improve internet connectivity by moving to a new location that seemed to offer improvement, however the new site was not all we wished for in multiple ways. The new location was checked last year by multiple folks using multiple services, BUT we were fooled because signal strength (number of bars) is not the same as bandwidth (speed). In addition, these checks were done last year when due to Covid there was far less crowd in Quartzsite. We had full bars on our T-Mobile/FMCA hotspot, but speed was less than 0.5 MBPS. The same was true with almost all providers, although Verizon was slightly better.
Laura and I traveled all over Quartzsite with our T-Mobile/FMCA hotspot and saw absolutely no improvement in bandwidth anywhere even sitting directly under three different towers. The system simply cannot handle it when a town of 2 thousand jumps to well over 10 thousand and 99% of the increase are users are dependent of the cell towers.
The bottom line is that unless the providers do something to increase bandwidth in Quartzsite the connectivity is really bad no matter where you are. If you are a Verizon user a booster helps at the original gathering site because the signal is weak, but all other services that we were able to check have plenty of bars and a booster can frequently be a liability. See the videos posted recently on Trek Tracks Cell signal boosters any good? (trektraxs.com). Here is one more in the thread https://youtu.be/14tWiAsqfJk.
If we want to preserve our traditional Quartzsite experience, I would like to request that all of our Trekkers contact their cell/data providers and Quartzsite Chamber of Commerce to lobby for better bandwidth at Quartzsite during January and February for the benefit of their businesses. If customers refuse to come, the businesses, including the big tent will be hurt. This is especially important if you are using the FMCA promoted T-mobile hotspot since so many FMCA members (including all their officers) go to Quartzsite. The only place we know of with bandwidth was at the Tyson Wells (Big Tent) area itself. I have contacted the RV Travel Newsletter people at rvtravel.com and the Quartzsite Chamber of commerce at QuartzsiteTourism@yahoo.com on the subject. I have yet to contact FMCA.
OBTW Laura and I returned after the Big Tent was gone and the internet was not measurably better.
A vote was taken of those that had experience at both gathering sites and nearly 100% voted to return to the original gathering site. A date change was also suggested, however that does not appear to offer significant improvement in Bandwidth either.
The 2023 Quartzsite Trek Gathering will happen in the traditional location on the traditional dates. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.
Here is a great video of the Trek murals at our gathering this year done by Joe Driskill Trek Safari Murals Quartzsite, Arizona 2022 – YouTube Also Joe gets credit for the drone photos included here.
Submitted by Bret Medbury