My brother, John (N7JY) and I (WB6WKB, now AD7DB) made the 400 mile trip from Southern California to Phoenix Arizona to attend the ARRL Southwestern Division Convention, which was held in Scottsdale on the weekend of October 6-8, 2000.
This is our story.
We departed from Huntington Beach around 6:30am on Friday morning, driving John's other car, a red Chevrolet. It had VHF radios installed, and got considerably better mileage than the big N7JY Grizzly Bear (a gigantic Suburban diesel meant for towing a trailer).
We followed the freeways out of Orange County: the 22, 55, and then the 91. The 91 took us into Riverside, and then we took the 60 through Moreno Valley and joined into I-10 at Beaumont. The weather was solid gray overcast, where you don't even see the bottom of the clouds, but not thick enough at ground level to be called foggy. The TV weatherdorks call it a "marine layer." It's also called the "June Gloom" because it tends to happen a lot during the summer. We came out from under it as we entered the desert in the Banning Pass.
(For a picture journey of I-10 through to Blythe, please check out my I-10 roadtrip page. We'll wait for you here while you take a look.)
Eighteen miles later we came to Quartzsite, Arizona.
Quartzsite is famous because it's literally the world's largest swap meet. Thousands of people, called "snowbirds", escape the snowy weather in other states and come out here for the warm winter months in the desert. It seems a large number are hams too.
They camp in their RVs and many of them run their own swap meet stands right there. We came through in early October. The snowbirds had not arrived in numbers yet; in December and January this place looks very different!
Most of the RV campsites have minimal hookups for electricity and water, some have the septic but not a whole lot of them I could see. The bookstore on the left, Readers' Oasis, belongs to artist Paul Winer and is well worth a visit.
There's an historical monument to the man known as "Hi Jolly." He came from Arabia with the first shipment of camels that the Army used here in the 1850's; Hi Jolly was the caretaker for the camels. This pyramid at the cemetery is his Last Camp. A sign nearby tells about him and the Army's camel experiment.
After leaving Quartzsite, it was on across the desert with the cruise control set at the maximum legal posted speed of 75 (with everyone else still passing us like we were standing still) and deeper into Arizona.
(Yes, that picture on the left was from the same area, different trip. I guess the clouds gave it away.)
Around 3:00pm, we arrived in the Phoenix metro area. We navigated unerringly (thanks to me) on the I-10, the 202, and the 101 freeways to Indian School Road in Scottsdale, and then went west a couple of miles to the convention site at the Ramada Valley Ho hotel.
The weather cooperated well during our visit.
Highs got up to just under 100°, but with the very low humidity
it didn't feel like it.
"It's a dry heat" as the locals all say.
On the next pages, you may check out: the Convention, sights around Phoenix, other places we went in Arizona during this trip, and the return trip to California.
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Copyright © 1997-2000 David G. Bartholomew, AD7DB.
The contents of these pages do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my Internet provider, my page host (QSL.net), my employer, the people who put on the convention, the ARRL, the other convention attendees, nor anyone else on the planet. Or anywhere else. And if I left anyone out, them too.