Living in the Real Desert: Fact Resembling Fiction

Quartzsite, Arizona mystery mobile home graveyard

Quartzsite, Arizona mystery mobile home graveyard

Riding to town this afternoon I decided to take an alternate route to the main strip leading to town. A quick decision was made to take a dirt road where the surface was hard packed enough to make the bike tires move fairly well despite the lack of asphalt. It was this detour that made living in the real desert suddenly become “fact” eerily resembling fiction.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I’ve been binge watching all my DVD horror collection. Three of these films were watched back-to-back; the first being Wes Craven’s 1977 The Hills Have Eyes with the delightful Michael Berryman and “Lassie’s mom” Dee Wallace, and the last two being the damned good remake of the original film and the 2007 The Hills Have Eyes II that deviated from its Craven roots by a lot.

Screen shot from The Hills Have Eyes II 2007
The Hills Have Eyes II 2007

So it was with something resembling trepidation and downright creeped out fascination that I observed what appeared to be a sort of graveyard for mobile homes, aka trailers, RV’s and boats off the side of the road. On the opposite of this dirt road is a recycling business.

Boats, truck and propane tanks

Slowing to a stop, I took some pictures and observed that apart from a couple of different sized watercraft vehicles there was also an old propane truck, complete with tank on tow behind it. A few RVs and a big trailer with a semi, or Mack” cab set up to pull the silver monstrosity if its tires weren’t flat.

More RVs...
Please forgive the blur, pictures taken “on the run.”

The whole thing had a sort of “horror film feel” to it. Especially as the first trailer/mobile home had a shadowy figure lurking behind the big window in the stripped “living room.”


It really felt like fiction had become fact, behind that tall fence in the “real desert.”  Although arguably these skeletal remains of holiday vehicles and abodes did not resemble the “nuke town” in The Hills Have Eyes II.

In front of the odd assortment of “dead” tin human receptacles is an old RV park that has had a “closed” sign on it since I got here at least. This derelict “Winnebago” version of the Bates Motel, looks to have been closed for some time. No stuffed animals or murderous mummy’s boy named Norman here…


However, this place looks like an old deserted drive-in theatre, the site has old electrical hookup standing lonely and disconnected next to small rectangles of gravel and what appears to be a water outlet of some sort.

Tour trailer derailed
No “Highway to Hell” for this tour vehicle…

There is a “reception” building that looks as deserted as the old damaged denizens of the graveyard behind it, but there are a couple of dirty cars in front of the structure and about 500 yards away from it, next to a wash, or arroyo, is a washing line and the drying clothes hanging there change regularly.

Someone is washing their clothes and apparently living in the rundown and creepy looking old RV park with all those dead occupants scattered behind it…

It honestly creeped me out and after taking a few hasty pictures with my trusty iPhone, I got the hell out of there in case Papa Jupiter came after me with his family trailing behind. This living in the real desert lark does sometimes feature fact that certainly resembles fiction and vice versa. A little hard on the nerves of an older “big kid” with an overactive imagination.

15 February 2015

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

16 thoughts on “Living in the Real Desert: Fact Resembling Fiction”

  1. We don’t have the creepy desert, but we have plenty of deserted drive-ins. They used to be really common around here. Two are still actually showing movies. The rest have either been converted to some alternate purpose (storage is common) … of just stand there with the weeds growing. Right now, it’s all buried under tons of ice and snow … who know what will remain if indeed spring does come?

    People dump old vehicles anywhere they can where it won’t cost them money. Around here, it’s likely to be the woods. Same concept. Ugly. AND creepy. Oh, and illegal. Almost forgot that part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amazingly, Vegas had a drive-in still operating! I remember trying really hard to take my daughter to one when we visited in 2011. I’d been telling her about them for years and only one was still operating back then in the region. Sadly, we ran out of time so she’ll most likely not get to see what it was like to hook a speaker up to your car and watch a film from your car, or outside the concession stand, in the warm months of the year. These vehicles seemed to belong to the folks who “owned” the old RV park….doubly weird…


      1. We have one good one where they’ve recreated the whole experience. The food is good too. They do NOT use those hang off the window speaker anymore. They use the radio. You tune in to their channel. Also, since for $10, you get two first run movies for however many people you can stuff in your vehicle, there’s like a two hour wait to actually get IN. We’ve gone a couple of times, but it got to be too much of a hassle. If it weren’t for the long wait, I would do it, but that two hour wait in the car in line is too much for us.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ugh! Two hour wait equals instant turn off! Ahhh, I miss those speakers and the fact that in the summer, with your windows cracked, you could hear the sound of the film being tinnily replicated throughout the night air. That and you could watch the movie(s) with friends of choice and not have to put up with some ninny talking, or acting like a prat. Although they used to be so much cheaper than a tenner!


      3. Agreed! That’s like the equivalent of the old “buck night” where you crammed your car full of mates and everyone got to watch a lot of films for uber cheap! Queueing in the summer heat, I agree, is not so good. If you sat there with your air con on it is also too costly, negating the great savings on ticket price.


      4. Definitely not my idea of a good time! One thing I loved about reviewing films was the fact that I could go to the front of the queue and zip right in, no waiting. I think it would kill me to have to line up now!


      5. When Garry was a working reporter and a celebrity (!), we got a lot of special treatment. Now, fortunately, we live in a place where aside from the drive in, there aren’t any lines. It’s just not that congested an area. Pretty rural, but only and hour and a bit out of Boston. Not bad. I haven’t waited on a line for anything except the drive in — ever — in the valley. My granddaughter thinks it’s a traffic jam when it’s three cars and a farm vehicle at a stop sign. My husband complains it’s heavy traffic if it’s one slow driver on Rt. 122 for the 2.5 miles from town to home. You get spoiled.

        If it weren’t for the ice and snow …

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That was my first taste of “special” treatment. Got to say, in terms of queueing up for movies, I really liked it. The one draw back was that for a long time, the studios were allowing non press to sit with the reviewers if there were seats left. Oh my Lord, there were people standing, more like hovering, near the seats to jump into. It would have been alright if these idiots were there to watch the film. But they would talk, leave their cell phones on, and the list goes on. They finally stopped doing it when one of the non press attendees smacked a reporter who asked him to turn off his cell phone.
        I’m not too sure I could handle the celebrity bit. I believe you have to be very special to do so. I still remember covering the Comic Con in Vegas and having people come up to say hi and how much they loved what I’d written and that was why they came. Pretty cool but also very surrealistic. I can’t imagine how he, or you, coped. The one time it happened to me sort of freaked me out! LOLOL

        I like the three car traffic jam! 🙂


      7. Being known, especially when you are on TV every night, gets intrusive. We couldn’t go anywhere and make it through dinner without someone coming up to gush at Garry. He like the attention and loved being recognized — he is a natural born ham and wanted to be an actor, but TV got in the way — but there is a trade off. A loss of personal privacy and people still recognize him, even after all these years of retirement. Does he mind? Of course not. He still give autographs. He’d be so disappointed if no one recognized him!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. LOL, I know I think I could have gotten used to it, say in about a year? My little brush with getting recognized came after Google pushed the author bio pictures and our publisher decided, very briefly, that it was a good thing. Soon after my “brush” he decided he didn’t like it! LOLOL I think the loss of privacy has got to be a bugger, but still… 🙂


      9. I wouldn’t have liked it all the time. Occasionally is nice, but all the time is too much for me. But you can’t turn it on and off. If you are going into work that puts you in front of the public, then you better like being recognized. Garry liked it. He sometimes found it inconvenient, but mostly, he enjoyed it and considered it a perk his work, which didn’t have nearly as many perks as people thought it did. it was very hard work, with very long hours. Often under physically taxing conditions and always under emotionally stressful conditions. It took a lot out of him and by the time he stopped working he was pretty beat up. The bit of celebrity that lingers and the post-career recognition, like getting into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, have been a real reward. No money, but satisfying nonetheless.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Yeah, people have no idea of the real work behind the “glamour” of the job. They see the travel, meeting and interacting with the rich and famous and do not realize the effort behind it. You said it best, incredibly long hours, challenging conditions and areas. Another facet of the job is that the pay is not what people believe it is, and if it does reach the stratosphere, there are very few tax breaks. The fact that he was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame is a real award.


      11. Everyone was convinced we were rolling in money. Millions. He earned a decent living, but millions? Not hardly. I wish! It got particularly difficult after he was laid off and we are desperately short of money — we had NO money actually — and everyone was convinced we were rich.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. That “celebrity” conception thing again. I remember speaking to several “names” while at GLV and they were all saying that the money was a real let down, now, and that it was getting harder, yet everyone assumes because of their job and the celebrity that goes with it, they are “rolling in it!”


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