Where in the USA is the CoCo Locomoto? travel blog

Driving into Quartzsite

Saguaro Cactus between 30-40 feet tall

Zane Grays cabin in Payson

Sun setting on Superstition Mountains

Organ Stop Pizza

Part of the organ

Part of the organ

Part of the organ

The console

Leaving sunny but not so warm California, we headed for Arizona thinking we would finally get warm! Well global warming is really rearing its ugly head here. Deciding that since we had survived our trip into downtown LA, we would brave the craziness of Quartzsite, AZ where thousands of Rver's make the trek to this tiny desert town to dry camp or boondock in the winter. In the summer, it is a wide spot in the road but during the winter the town can swell to over 100,000. Tents full of vendors and streets lined with canopies and tents it seems like there isn't much you can't buy in Quartzsite. From the useful to the bizarre, merchants are hawking their wares. Cold, windy and spitting rain as we found a place in the desert to park for a few days, we wondered just how crazy we were and when we topped the rise to drop down into town, we really wondered! The next morning donning jackets, comfy shoes and water, we braved the crowds and finally found a place to park to wander though the "Big tent." Hundreds of vendors trying to grab your attention, it all gets a little overwhelming after a while so after spending about 4 hours trying to be sold everything from park memberships to doodads, we headed back to our desert home to watch the wind blow. During the niwght it started to rain and continued through the next morning. In the afternoon while it as still cold, cloudy and windy but not rainy, we decided we wanted to walk through just a small portion of the thousands of outdoor vendors so we bundled up, cussing all the way...this is supposed to be the warm Arizona desert, remember...and drove into town. The first clue that things were different was we could find a parking place without walking for miles but wouldn't you know most of the outdoor vendors were closed because of the weather. Deciding we'd had enough of the infamous Quartzsite, we took off for Mesa the next morning. Hoping that we would finally have some nice weather, we set up all our outdoor living area and got to sit out with friends one afternoon before the cold drove us into the motor home. We have had a few warm days but also some nasty, windy and cold days and even over a half an inch of snow the night before last! Not at all what we signed up for!!! We did venture out to the Mesa Market a couple of times which has over 1600 vendors and to an RV Park that lets vendors set up tables once a week. Realizing we both have become pansies, it was too cold for us. They have had a lot of frost here this winter and lost many shrubs, plants and trees due to the unseasonably cold winter. On Sunday, which was a beautiful day, we drove to Payson up in the mountains, about 75 miles northeast of Phoenix. It was a beautiful drive and the scenery was spectacular with the big saguaro cactus by the thousands on the south side of Camelback Mountain to scrub pine and cedar on the north side. While there we did see the cabin of my dad's favorite western author, Zane Gray but didn't get to go in as it was closed. Taking a different route home, we drove by Lake Roosevelt, a waterbug's dream in the desert and watched the sunset hit the beautiful Superstition Mountains just east of Mesa. It was a fun day and such a beautiful drive. Thinking we would stop for a nice Valentine's Day dinner on the way home, Mike remembered that the gate to our RV Park closed at dusk and we didn't know the code! Needless to say our dinner went by the wayside as we hurried to get back as the sun was setting...much faster then we wanted it to. Whew...we made it just in time. Once again getting to spend time with friends is a favorite and our friends Bob and Emma invited us over one afternoon where we visited and then went to the famed "Organ Stop Pizza," and famous it must be...we got there at 3:30, not realizing it din't open until 4 p.m. and were greeted with a line of people a half a block long! It boasts a Wurlitzer Organ which was built for and installed in the Denver Theater in 1927. With the advent of the 'talking picture' and the depression in the early 30's, the organ was rarely heard. Organ Stop Pizza purchased the organ in the early 70's and began the monumental task of moving it to Mesa setting it up and adding to it. The resulting instrument boasts 78 ranks, 17 tuned percussions and innumerable traps and effects and is the largest Wurlitzer in the world! The console is presented on an 8000 pound rotating hydraulic elevator and comes up out of the floor at the beginning of the entertainment. While we dined on some pretty good pizza (even gluten-free for Mike), we were entertained by Charlie Balogh playing the organ for about an hour. We had heard so much about this place from fellow RVer's and many comments of "it's a must do" on your bucket list that we decided it was time to see what all the hype was about and boy are we glad we did! Whether you are a pizza lover or not (Mike is...I'm not) it does need to be added to your list the next time you are in the area. You won't be disappointed.

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