It has now been a year since moving to the snowbird nesting home of Quartzsite, Arizona. Also known as the final resting place of Hi Jolly, the man who immigrated to help Uncle Sam’s Camel Corps work on a daily basis, this desert “oasis” for the elderly is interesting to say the least. In many ways the phrase second childhood could apply to most of the temporary denizens of this RV wonderland.
In retrospect, the area is much colder in January 2016 than last year’s winter chill. A head start in the latter days of December 2015 with temperatures that dipped below freezing on a regular basis in the night, cold has taken on new meaning. Not only that but it has also changed the purpose of certain items.
Most notable, the humble refrigerator was transformed into giant freezer. Every single liquid item, including eggs, became solid examples of their natural state. Green tea, bottled water, a “bag” of vegetable soup, milk, an energy drink and 10 eggs all were transformed into rock hard immoveable objects.
The eggs did have web-like cracks over the ice cold shells. After hoping on the Internet to double-check, it was found that one could cook once frozen eggs without fear of contracting botulism or salmonella. At least according to numerous websites, unless the raw eggs were stored in an device crawling with harmful bacteria, the icy yolks and whites could be thawed and cooked.
After moving the carton of ice-eggs to another fridge, one that was not altered by the constant lower temperature of under 32 degrees Fahrenheit, they became somewhat less frozen, and more “slushy-like” and able to be cooked. These frozen eggs fried up nicely, in a bit of oil, and tasted “normal” on bits of toast.
It has been discovered that the main fridge is still operating as a giant freezer…All liquid denizens are still icy and hard as a rock, with the exception of a partially filled plastic jug of apple juice. Just why the juice has not become one with the cold and, at the very least, turned into a sort of icy sludge, is not known.
If one Googles the answer, it appears that apple juice contains more sugar and this keeps the freezing rate pretty well contained. As fascinating as all this is, the one thing that the intense, and unusual, cold has not changed, is the amount of Snowbirds flocking into Quartzsite in the New Year.
2016 has seen a massive influx of these geriatric teenagers and octogenarian young oldsters. The vendors have doubled and tripled in sized and scope in the last few weeks and the legion of RVs, ATVs and motorbikes have quadrupled. Outside the tents, where one can buy anything from cool sunglasses to various kitchen utensils, a plethora of vehicles now rest, temporarily, while their aged drivers waddle, limp and trot throughout the vendors wares on offer.
There is also an increase in the desert rat brigade, the hippies and love children, not, apparently the same thing, and beggars line the entrances, when the sun shines, of fast-food eateries along the main drag as well as outside the General and Dollar Store.
As a point of interest, these grubby and lost individuals have been forced to move on from a facility that contains an ATM. This does not stop buskers (musicians) from playing their instruments for change until being moved on by the shop or restaurant owners.
There are those who seem to beg on a professional basis, one woman sports a new car and a sign which proclaims her need. This professional pan-handler wants money for petrol (gasoline) so she can visit her dying daughter, who suffers from a different ailment each week. She is moved on regularly, even the major personally called the 5-Oh to push her along. .
Of course with the new year just being days old and it still being the weekend, this snowbird paradise is chock-a-block (full to the brim) with both the returning population and those who are passing through. California license plates fill the car parks (parking lots) and each fast food eatery is filled to heaving with the hungry, loud, obnoxious and ill mannered.
Children who will, no doubt, all grow up to be as annoying as the 20 something’s who all appear to suffer from ADD, or ADHD and are incapable of sitting quietly, or still. They are in good company, as most of the elderly enter the dining areas with hearing aides either turned off or down and seem incapable of carrying on a conversation in decent decibel levels.
While writing about the indigenous population of Quartzsite, Arizona could become a full-time occupation, the setting sun and dipping temperature mandate an early finish to the working day. Riding a bicycle along roads populated by drivers who have little business being behind the wheel of a peddle tricycle, let alone a huge motorized death machine, is hazardous at best and nerve-wracking to the extreme. All the more so after dark.
In order to arrive alive at home, do not be deceived this writer has been forced off the road and clipped by an elderly driver before and has almost been hit several times by the same type of vehicle operator, it is prudent to depart while there is enough light for both the driver and the bicyclist to see by.
As the cold weather continues, and the stream of snowbirds, and new vendors, keep pouring in, it will be interesting to see what happens next.