Life in the Real Desert: The Wind Down

Town sign outside of Burger King

Town sign outside of Burger King

Somewhat amazingly, the big wind down has already begun in Quartzsite, Arizona and Life in the Real Desert is about to change once again. Riding down the main drag in town the first noticeable thing is the lack of big tents and vendors who have been present since at least the start of 2015. Apparently this mass evacuation will continue until the end of March and the sleepy burg will go back to being semi deserted once more.

I stopped here last year in February/March and was told that I’d missed the rush. Having been here for the busy time, I am quite anxious to see just what the quiet times will bring. Of course there will be less snowbirds for a start. There are not that many who opt to live here year round. Those that do, immediately lose their feathered status.

Summer temperatures soar, as they did in Vegas, but at night they do drop dramatically. The folks who opt to stay are used to this drastic see-saw effect of hot and cold. Of course in the Nevada gambling town of Vegas there are enough buildings, pavement and people the sun going down does not equal a huge drop in heat.

Last March, in Las Vegas, I was sleeping with windows open and a sheet on the bed. Coming to Quartzsite, I was offered heavy blankets. I turned them down, explaining that I could take it.


When the sun set here, I immediately froze. There was no gradual decrease of temperature, one moment it was hot and then, BAM, cold. By the time morning came, I was wearing every item of clothing that I owned and had desperately wrapped the dogs’ blankets around my shivering body.

I will, in fact, welcome the increase in heat and pray that the nighttime hours in summer do not drop to what feels like sub-zero figures. While I’ve gotten used to the increased Fahrenheit readings, I’ve learned that less clothes, more fluid and a change in operating hours equates to more comfortable living conditions. Cold, however, is a different aspect completely.

Although the reaction is amazingly similar, more (rather than less) clothes, more fluid (of the hot sort) and a change in operating hours, the end result is nowhere near as satisfactory. I do not like the cold, my body despises it and my operational capacity is cut down accordingly. It is hard to type when you cannot feel your fingers.

Granted, extreme heat also results in less productivity. But, regardless of what the climate is, I would still rather battle heat.

While the town is winding down and the snowbirds are slowly following the vendors lead and heading out, I have learned that a new bike with new gears is easier to ride than a cheap second-hand one. My initial bike was a Chinese knock-off of a BMX and it damn near killed me.

My new bike, a 700c Schwinn, is a dream and apart from the fact that I have to keep centering the front tyre is a lot easier to ride. I am now in the process of getting either saddle bags or a box for the back to facilitate grocery runs.

I will, hopefully, have sorted out some sort of television and Internet within the next month. Both quite important as my writing income for the new site has rather disappointingly worked out to considerably less than I was hoping.

Things will even themselves out eventually. Getting used to the different setting, sorting out living conditions and becoming a recognizable figure around the local area is helping to at least make me feel a little less disoriented. Some setbacks are very temporary. Having to cancel Hulu and Netflix has hurt, but I can rejoin as soon practicable and will do so.

The reality is that I’ve missed so many episodes of shows I wrote reviews and recaps for that I am hopelessly behind and will not catch up, even with serious binge watching. Hopefully TV will be restored in time for summer replacement programs.

Until things are back to “normal” my immediate goal is to write two articles a day for my personal blog and the same again for the new website. On top of that, I have plans to write a certain amount each day on my own books.

The move from Vegas, while necessary, has been almost catastrophic in terms of output. Other factors, which I will not go into here, have also upset the balance of work and “off time.” While I struggle to maintain a certain status quo, I will continue to write and keep practicing what I have learned and continue polishing my output.

6 March 2015

Author: Mike's Film Talk

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

6 thoughts on “Life in the Real Desert: The Wind Down”

  1. Congratulations on your weight but I was referring to what you carry.
    Some packs are so heavy that they can add pounds to your bike. That type of weight. Some packs weigh 2lbs while others weigh 6 oz. Same function.
    Everything I carry on hikes was purchased for its function and it’s actual weight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you were matey! Very good advice as well. The pack I have now weighs a ton and when you add the MacBook Pro onto it, must go around 20 pounds! Although it feels like much more! LOLOL I’ve been looking for bike bags, and so on based upon weight based on your advice. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. The summers heat is a killer for me. There are small back packs with pocket for a water bag and a straw that comes out near your face. Easy to sip while riding. About $15.00. Plus pack hold more stuff. It’s small.

    Remember weight, even a pound can make a huge difference. Weight is your enemy while hiking/biking.

    There are cold towels that are sold in large box stores like Lowes or Home Depot. I think there are two in a pack and you put them in your freezer. Then put them in a small cooler or ?? to carry with you.
    Construction guys will drape one around their necks when it gets really hot. Last about 30 mins which is enough to cool you for an hour or so.
    Also about $15.00. Reusable.
    Just ideas for your hot summers riding your bike.
    Congratulations on your new bike!!
    Yeah you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I plan to circumvent the real heat by heading out early in the morning and coming back late in the evening. All the “full timers” say that is the real secret to survival when temperatures go well over 120 Fahrenheit. Thanks! I’ve been out on it every day, since I finished putting it together and today a chap who works at Burger King was excited to see that I’d purchased a Schwinn! Exclamation point was his. I had no idea about what I was getting, lifetime guarantee, but went by the price. Speaking of weight…I’ve been trying to lose a bit, something my cardio folks have been recommending for some time now and I’ve dropped from 189 to 170! Well chuffed (super pleased) and I’ve noticed that the little pod I’ve been carrying around my waist for years now is disappearing! Way hey!! ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Yes, the desert is a different environment. Jerusalem had a desert climate and even the difference between shade and sunlight could be 40 degrees, easy. No moisture in the air to hold the heat. And most homes didn’t have central heat, so while winter was relatively mild, I don’t think I’ve ever been colder than I was there in winter. I sense you don’t have heat in the trailer? Or air conditioning? Or a desert cooler? Or a space heater?


    1. In the RV, I have a small heater (a blower) that is temp controlled. Although, when it’s really cold, I cannot boil the kettle at the same time I have the heater going. So I have to shiver till the kettle’s boiled and I can then sip a mug of tea, or coffee, with the heat back on. It wouldn’t be quite so bad but there are places where the outside comes in, via vents with no blocking system. There is an air conditioner, but my answer to the heat problem is to wake early, head for town and the fast food/truck stops which are air conditioned. That was for the price of a coffee (at the fast food joints anyway) I can work in relative comfort. Heading back in the evening, when its cooler will allow a fan to relatively cool things down. The cooler, I’m told, doesn’t work and air con in the desert is not cost effective, and until I start making more money, un-affordable…I think I just coined a new word! LOLOL The lack of moisture already has my arms looking like two pieces of leather. I need to get some more sun creme!


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