Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jim Range

I was lucky to be able to attend the funeral service for my friend and mentor Jim Range this week. The service was held at Fletcher's Boat House along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., just upriver from Georgetown. About three hundred of us gathered to honor Jim. I saw many old friends and many who I consider family. Jim's spirit was alive and well and his life mission to save wild places is a mission all of us there agreed needs to be kept alive. The pain was palpable from the quick and unexpected loss of this man that so many of us felt so close to. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jim Range, a man with amazing grace

Tonight I got news that my friend Jim Range--a man who took me in to his life nearly 22 years ago--died yesterday.

I am so very sad. I am also so incredibly grateful that Jim is such an integral part of my experience on this earth.

I love you Jim, and I miss you terribly.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

1840s Fur Trader Arrives in Q

Meet Pinky Williams, an 1840s American Fur Trader--found in Quartzsite, AZ in 2009. Each summer this Texas native can be found at Royal Gorge Bridge in Canyon City, Colorado. He is a professional re-enactor and is here selling antlers.

The Portraits of Arizona Series, by Utahredrock, 2009.

Jacob Kanab Powell in Quartzsite

The most beloved dog in Quartzsite.

The Portraits of Arizona Series, by Utahredrock, 2009.

Utahredrock's Jewelry Table, Quartzsite

Jewelry at Tyson Wells H-19.

Fabulous Quartzsite, Arizona

A gold purse for the ages, $20.

Airstream of China, AZ

Antique Chinese scrolls available at Tyson Wells H-19 in Quartzsite, $30 each.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Cool Joe

Joe AKA Coolie AKA Coolio is a native of Maryland and a veteran of the show circuit. He's back in Quartzsite for the 2009 season and is now a college graduate and a veteran of even more trips to China.

Originally posted January 19, 2008: A veteran of four trips to China, Joe is a college student here on winter break. He attends Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.

The Portraits of Quartzsite series by Utahredrock, 2008.

Paul the Naked Book Seller

Paul is featured in the current issue of Airstream Life, in the Quartzsite article. He's a reason to stop in Quartzsite any time of the year--a true desert character.

Originally posted January 16, 2008: Operating one of the finest independent bookstores we've ever visited, Paul Winer is one of Quartzsite's most famous residents. He was a male exotic dancer for 25 years. His act went beyond just stripping and included comedy, dance, and song. He parades around almost naked at his Quartzsite bookstore which is one of the few businesses in town opened year round. It was a cold day today in Quartzsite and he was wearing a sweater. He also had a sock-type contraption over his male parts but was bare beyond that.

The Portraits of Quartzsite series by Utahredrock, 2008.

Dapper Dan, Modern Day Hobo

Dapper Dan is back in 2009. He is now the father of a baby girl and will be a great dad. His lifestyle seems to be changing somewhat.

Originally posted January 14, 2008. Meet Dapper Dan. He's introduced me to a subculture I knew little about. He's a self described traveler and hobo, riding the rails as his method of transport. He goes where he wants, does what he wants, and lives with total freedom. When he works, he's a hard worker. He's also a smart and personable guy who has a lifestyle that makes mine look downright conventional. Dan works for a vendor near me in Quartzsite. He's sleeping in the desert with a tarp and his sleeping bag and a crew of fellow travelers.

The Portraits of Quartzsite Series by Utahredrock, 2008.

Kindred Spirits Greeting the Morning Sun

Jay and Carrie are back again in 2009.

Originally posted January 15, 2008. Finally I meet my match. Jay and Carrie are rock dealers and Airstreamers. Here they greet the morning sun. They personally buffed their 1966 Airstream to a glorious shine. They are third generation owners of this trailer and passionate about their Airstream. They're also first rate rockhounds and dealers. This is their 13th year in Quartzsite.

The Portraits of Quartzsite series by Utahredrock, 2008.

See more Portraits of Quartzsite

I will be adding new portraits in 2009, starting late next week. For the rest of the 2008 series visit the January 2008 archives, accessible on the upper right side of this page.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What is Quartzsite? And where is it?

Quartzsite is a tiny little desert town along Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Palm Springs, California.

It's a hardscrabble place that is sometimes called the poor man's Palm Springs.

Each winter, and in January especially, it fills up with people, most of whom come with their RVs. There are rock, gem, jewelry, RV, and car shows, as well as flea markets offering all sorts of stuff. Free spirits congregate in Quartzsite from all walks of life.

January of 2007 was my first time in Quartzsite and I loved it so much I stayed for 50 days--open for business the whole time with my traveling retail operation. I mentioned to Arizona's Governor Janet Napolitano last summer that I'd spent nearly two months in this little town. She looked at me twice and said “there must be quite a story behind that!”

Indeed there is.

Quartzsite is a fun, quirky place. I can't wait to set up there again! I'll be there soon. If you found this web site via Google, click here for more. After clicking, be sure to scroll down.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Living the Jetson's lifestyle, in Phoenix

Here is my Phoenix setup. I've been here since early September, and could be here for a while--though with Quartzsite and a California trip pending we'll at least get on the road a little bit this year. I like to think of my "guest house" as Jetsonesque. Jake, one of the cutest dogs of all time, is not in a photogenic mood here.

Airstream still life

Living in a 150 square foot mini palace on wheels has changed my choices of decor. The 1970s represent a low point in American design, or on the positive side--a unique period in American design. Think plastic. Since my 1973 trailer is mostly original I've embraced the era with the few choices I've made for accessories (like silverware).