Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quartzsite public art makes for ironic political statement

Every year to honor the snowbirds (and encourage their return) the community organizations of Quartzsite put on their best efforts. Sometimes these efforts have unintended consequences. Witness if your will, the current round-town art show called Rockin' in Quartzsite. Since the town is prominent for its pebbles, why not get local artisans to paint pictures on slabs and then distribute the art around town, a sort of earthy easter egg hunt, if you will.

To our twisted thinking, the jewel this year is posted just outside the door of town hall. Mary Jo Gilder must have spent considerable effort recording an image of the entrance to a mine, nicely laid out on a brownish slab. However, a close look at the title Mary Jo selected for her masterpiece just seems to some--well--somehow just suitable to its location.

Some just don't get it. Local political pundits will tell you the whole town gets it. You be the judge.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No relief in sight for Quartzsite postal follies

A "quick trip to the post office," isn't in Quartzsite. As we mentioned in our last post, lines at the post office had gotten pretty long with the arrival of the snowbirds. We thought it had reached the pinnacle with 30 minute long queues. We were wrong.

On Monday the lines stretched from the service counter, into the lobby, around the corner into the farthest post box bay, down the full length, across the back, and halfway back to the main lobby. By conservative estimates there were 50 to 60 folks patiently (more or less) waiting to be served. Why stalwart postal employee Reuben hasn't had a heart attack is anyone's guess.

So what's the deal? We asked US Postal Service spokesman Peter Hass why the lines. Hass told RVing Quartzsite that the local post office is currently down in its compliment of counter staffers. "We are going through the process," of hiring more workers. How does that translate in terms of relief for the footsore and weary, yearning to be free of long ques and "call for mail" cards? That, says Hass, is impossible to say. All Postal Peter could promise was, "We are diligently working on it."

We also popped the worrisome question: Since the posted policy at the post office is that nobody can use "general delivery" for more than 30 days, and since there are no available post office boxes to rent, what happens when your 30 days are up? Hass said he checked with the local postmistress, and the word is, "Nobody is being told they can't receive general delivery mail after 30 days, so long as there are no boxes available for rent."

While we don't expect Santa to bring a new posty to Quartzsite, it may be that once the seasonal mailing rush is past, things will settle down. Meantime, it may be faster to drive down to Ehrenberg and buy your stamps. Remember, it's only 20 miles west.

'toon courtesy

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quartzsite measuring standards: The 'birds' are back

If lines at the post office and at some popular eateries are the measure of the return of the species, wintrus-snowbirdus then the town is seeing the signs of the annual influx.

Down at the post office, in all its essential wisdom management has left poor Reuben all by himself to handle the crowds that throng in, signing up for new mailboxes, sending out seasonal packages, and generally cooling their heels in the typical 35 minute lines that come each winter. If you weren't facing a monopoly, it's likely you'd take your business elsewhere. To a degree you can: If you're just looking to buy stamps--and since there are no stamp dispensing machines in the lobby--take yourself down to the General Store about a half-mile east on Main Street (B-10) and you can get them quickly.

An unseasonable cold snap settled down over the area, and looks to be with us for a few days. Line ups at the propane retailers are common. In the past we had touted the folks at the RV Pit Stop. Trouble is, the proprietor of many years, Charlie, was forced to sell out when his health gave him problems. Seems like the friendliness of service and low prices went right along with him. We've found better prices and really nice folks a few blocks closer to the B-10 at The Jerky Store and More. LP prices are typically a dime a gallon less, and they take credit and debit cards, unlike the Pit Stop. Bob and Alice are cheerful, caring folks, who not only serve up fast gas, they have some excellent grub in their deli. I'm particularly fond of their teriyaki beef sticks.

If good food can be measured by the number of cars in the parking lot, then bypass Sweet Darlene's on Main Street and drop in next door to The Jerky Store and grab your meal at La Casa Mi Rancho. Yes, Mexi-food headlines the menu, but there's plenty of "American" food on the menu. But there's still no substitute for The Big Fish Fry up the block at the Grubstake Bar and Social Club. Just a single order of the gigantic proportions served up at the 'stake fills up our two hungry souls, and the fish is NEVER fishy. Big crowds do you in? Give 'em a phone call and make it "to go."