Head south with the birds to the Arizona desert!

This year, about a dozen members from the Boise Trail Riders and Emmett Rough Riders Clubs have been enjoying the winter riding in the Arizona desert near Quartzsite, Bouse, and Brenda.  There are miles and miles of BLM desert to ride on.  You certainly need to bring a map and your GPS to keep from getting lost!  Trails crisscross all over the desert and even down into the washes!  (See photos below.)

What is a wash?  When it rains, the water rushes down the steep jagged mountains faster than the ground can absorb it.  The large amount of water causes gullies or large ditches to form all over the desert.  These gullies are called “washes” and can be from six feet to over a hundred yards wide. When empty, they look like dry river beds with all kinds of debris caught along the edges. You certainly do not want to be out in the desert especially in a wash during a rain storm—in fact, there are signs near the washes warning people not to enter the area during a rain storm!  (See photo of wash on the right and below.)

Wherever you see off-road vehicles, you will see a variety of recreational vehicles scattered all over the desert.  Most areas have immediate access to the desert. Some locations you may have to use your trailer.   If you park on BLM property, they charge $40 for a 14-day stay.  If you don’t want to park out in the desert, there are RV Parks in Quartzsite and the surrounding communities such as Bouse and Brenda with full hookups. Some parks may provide a swimming pool, laundry and game rooms, desert golf, model airplane fields, cafe, etc.—all the conveniences of home!  (See Desert Golf flag photo below.)

The mountains are jagged, so most of the riding is in the desert similar to Idaho.  You see not only ATVs, but also UTVs, dirt bikes and dune buggies roaming around.   The vegetation is certainly different than Idaho, but beautiful in its own way. Right now, the desert is beginning to “come alive”— Ocotillo bushes, Mesquite and Palo Verde trees are turning green.  You will find Arizona’s famous Saguaro cacti all over the landscape and more so near Tucson.  The Staghorn and Teddybear cacti are waking up too.  You certainly want to stay away from these plants—they will stick you!  Once the barb is in your skin or clothing, it is hard to remove.  (See Saguaro and Teddybear cacti photos below.)

So, what else can you do in the desert besides riding?  The last week in January, Quartzsite usually has an annual recreational vehicle show.  About a million people come to Quartzsite to see the show and they park their rigs out in the desert!  What a site to see if you have never been there—you have to do it at least once!  The rock, gem and bead show usually starts the following week and, by then, many of the RV show visitors have moved south.

Next year, you might want to load up your toys and head south with the snow birds for a winter vacation!  Average temperature in winter – mid 60s to mid 70s!

Happy riding!

BATRC Ghost Writer