Our 3-day trip to Quartzsite was great. We drove down on Thursday, while Rachel and Addison flew into Phoenix, rented a car, and then drove to Blythe - the closest town of any size- beating us to the hotel by about an hour. Quartzsite is an open-air swap meet -supposedly the biggest in the world - gem and mineral show, and flea market held in January and February each year.
We missed out on the big show (Jan 14-26) and most of the gem/mineral people had already decamped to Tucson, but there were still enough vendors to make the trip worthwhile.

Marie with a "small" piece of amethyst.

We spent time at 3 or 4 separate venues, each with anywhere from 50 to several hundred vendors, in addition to visiting several stores. Our favorite area was Tyson Wells, where this old cactus served as our landmark for meet-ups. Addy was fascinated with it, even more so after we spotted a mama dove nesting in one of its many large holes.

While the big kids shopped for gemstones (found some good deals), old watches (nope), rocks, beads, minerals (oh yeah, brought back tons of those) and jewelry, Addy and I walked and talked and played. We even had our own tailgate party, eating Ritz crackers and drinking grape soda, while watching the big trucks drive by and talking about why cactus had thorns. This place was little kid heaven - lots of dirt and rocks to kick around, mud to stomp in, non-breakable things to touch, trinkets to talk grandma into buying, and dogs of all sizes, shapes and colors. Addy's very favorite thing on our walks was to ask people 'what's your dog's name?' She also amassed a sizable collection of rocks and beads that various people gave her. My favorite Addy quote - after being told that she could touch an entire table of rocks (non-breakable!!), Addy clasped her hands to her chest, sighed and said "That makes my heart glad." My reaction (and the reaction of the grandparents in the next booth who overheard her) was 'so adorable.'
Even with the time difference - Blythe and Quartzsite are 30 miles apart but in different time zones- we got a full day and a half of shopping in before Rachel and Addy had to leave
for the airport today at 2.
The best shot from the Addy-Cam; it's interesting to see the view from her level.

We're already planning next year's trip, this time to Tucson. Bigger, better gem and mineral shows! Can't wait.