Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

The sun sets over one of the many RV parks adjacent to the I-10 freeway in Quartzsite. Every year there is a snowbird migration to Quartzsite, Ariz., that increases the population from over 3,000 to close to 500,000. The warm sunny climate draws the people who are seeking deals at rock shows, pow-wows, and RV swap meets.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

The gas pumps in an old station on Main Street in Quartzsite, Ariz., greet many of the snowbirds coming to town.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

As the owner of the Reader's Oasis Book store, Paul Winer is one of the most interesting characters in Quartzsite because most of the time he walks around (nearly) nude. Winer, who also plays the piano is known to some of his audiences as "Sweet Pie," and is a tourist attraction for many of the incoming snowbirds.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

As the owner of the Reader's Oasis Book store Paul Winer is one of the most interesting characters in Quartzsite because most of the time he walks around (nearly) nude.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

The popularity of the rock shows in Quartzsite started the migration of snowbirds to the tiny desert town, now every year winter the population increases from about 3,000 to over a million people.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Perennial snowbird Pinky Williams sits in his booth selling magnifying glasses, knives and things carved out of antlers at the Tyson Wells, "Sell-A-Rama" in Quartzsite.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Snowbirds Blake and Joanne Sprague, from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, stand near their RV in the Hi Jolly campground during their yearly exodus to Quartzsite and to other parts of the west.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

In a scene repeated in many of the RV parks in Quartzsite, snowbirds from all over the world flock to the tiny desert town during the winter, shopping and exploring the desert by day, and gathering around the campfires by night.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

The Quartzsite Yacht Club offers dancing on weekends with the bar's favorite house band, "Hot Country," entertaining the snowbirds and locals who enjoy a little Texas Two-Step and line dancing.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Nightfall comes to the RV parks in Quartzsite with campfires and porch lights providing the illumination.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Snowbirds Carolyn and John Buergler from Cloverdale, Calif., spend a few weeks every winter in the La Posa RV park on BLM land in Quartzsite, Arizona. The happily retired couple travel all over the west with their RV, their ATV's, two dogs, and a pair of birds and two light-up palm trees.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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Calling all Snowbirds

Quartzsite, Ariz.  is little more than a hiccup on the highway in the Sonoran Desert. Each winter, the population increases from about 3,000 to over 500,000. Staff photographer Mark Boster spent a few days with the snowbirds of Quartzsite and came away with this gallery of images.

Watch Mark Boster’s video from Quartzsite and read Kate Linthicum’s story.

1 Comment

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