OK, guys and gals. Seems like this forum needs some smiles, chuckles, and maybe even some belly laughs.
For those of you who have had the “experience” of spending some time in Quartzsite, Arizona, dry camping among the thousands of other RV enthusiasts, you might enjoy some of the following episodes about "fake hookups."
After my first year experiencing Quartzsite, I quickly realized that I am one of those who thoroughly enjoys the gathering of great folks and the large variety of vendors that populate the various flea market venues during the time of the RV show (the third week of January).
Since my first campout with the RVA gang back in 2001, I have been an every-year regular attendee. One of the things that intrigued me was the various incarnations of fake “hookups” that were seen around the La Posa North BLM area—-each one different, some sort of corny, and some very realistic.
So, of course, I had to take a stab at making my own set of fake hookups for use exclusively at Quartzsite. Being the nit-picker that I am, my hookups had to look real and include water, power, and sewer. Looking back, I really overdid it, however, by adding a cable TV hookup and also a large 3 to designate the site number.
Over the years, we have always had a lot of fun with the hookups-—always snagging at least one newbie each year who thought that the hookups were the real thing. The fun times are when the newbies are convinced (sometimes with some misleading words from others in the RVA group) that the hookups are indeed genuine!
Sadly, we usually forget to add realism to the hookups by going out each morning and spilling water from a cup around the hose bib to make it look like it is dripping.
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Several people, over the years, have asked how I was able to find any hookups on the BLM land. The usual story-—delivered in as straight a face as I can muster at the time—-is that we just happened to find them by accident, sort of hidden under a bush, and covered by a large black plastic bag that looked like it had just been blown into the bush. We say that we always try to put the bag back against the bush, in hopes that no one else will find the hookups when we return the following year. We usually add that Virgil (one of the RVA gang) knows that Linda and I like the hookups, so he always tries to park nearby, but leaves the hookups for us.
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One year, Linda noticed that there were two fellas standing off a bit from our motorhome and were arguing over the hookups. One fella was obviously saying that they were fake, since there were no hookups on the BLM land, but the other fella kept pointing to our hookups and was convinced that they were the real thing. Since it was our last day and we were in the process of packing up, Linda decided to really pull their chains! We finished our closing up process, disconnected from the hookups (but left them in place under the bush), hooked up the toad and started to drive away. As the fellas were then starting to walk toward our hookups, we stopped, Linda jumped out, grabbed the hookups up out of the ground, waved them at the two fellas, and loudly proclaimed “We almost forgot!” The looks on the faces of the two guys was priceless!
. . . . .
There has been more than one occasion when folks have started to walk by, stopped, did a double take, started to walk away, stopped, looked back again, and sometimes even come up closer for a better look at this strange vision.
It is difficult to keep a straight face when we are asked in all sincerity “When are you folks leaving?”
. . . . . .
This past year, we had a banner year for the Quartzsite Hookups. One of the newbies asked about the hookups, and asked what we had to pay for electric. We quickly came up with the explanation that we had found the hookups by accident and were surprised that both the water and electric worked. We mentioned that the water was OK, but the power was kinda flaky and was OK for lights and small loads, but didn’t like air conditioners or microwaves. We mentioned that we had no idea where the water or electric was sourced-—only that it had always worked for us when we were in Quartzsite. (He left thinking that we were a couple of lucky folks!)
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Last year, we had two good friends from California finally agree to come out to Quartzsite and camp with us. A year previously they had stopped by and attended one of our campfire gatherings, and they saw the fun being enjoyed by a great group of people.
About four days into our camping week, one of the guys came over and asked if he could drag his water hose over to get some more water. We couldn’t resist goading him a bit further and asked him how much water he still had in his tank. When he replied that he “only had about 30 gallons,” we said “Gee, do you know how many flushes you still have left?”
The next day, we were getting ready to leave the RVA Trailer Trash Gang, and we decided to really jerk this fine fella’s chain. Early in the morning, Linda got up and “moved” our hookups over to a bush right behind our friend’s motorhome. When he finally joined the group in the morning and was asking us again about getting some water, Linda piped up and said “Did you realize that you have a set of hookups right behind your own rig? Why do you need ours?” Our friend was dumbfounded when he walked over and discovered some unused hookups right behind his rig. He kept saying that he couldn’t understand why he hadn’t seen them before.
After he dragged out his water hose, it was still about ten feet short of reaching the “hookups.” Linda, being the resourceful person that she is, walked over, picked up the hookups and put them down right at the end of the fellow’s water hose and said "Now your hose should reach!" The look on his face was hilarious, and it took his friend almost ten minutes to stop laughing so hard that he finally had to sit down! (We still kid our friend about being sure to have plenty of water before he heads out to Quartzsite.)
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Another episode involved some friends from our same town that had finally decided to join us for the RVA Quartzsite experience-—and to follow the group down to Mexico on one of our bi-annual trips to Puerto Penasco.
He was quite enthralled with the hookups—-for the first two or three days. Finally, one day, he said to me, “Mike, if those are real hookups, why are you running your generator?”
. . . . .
This year, however, was the best surprise, yet, concerning our Quartzsite hookups. Last year we had a couple (who we had met in the Florida Keys on our around-the-country exploration in 2010) stop by for just an afternoon while we were in Quartzsite. We had forgotten that they had seen the hookups and seemed to be impressed that we were so lucky.
This year, this couple was going to join us for several days and get to really experience the fellowship of the RVA TT gang. They couldn’t seem to find us, so they finally called (when they were clearly in sight of the group).
The fella was rather perplexed, though, since the BLM gate keepers seemed to have absolutely no idea where Site Number 3 was located-—you know, the one with the hookups! All of us had a good laugh over his experience. Once the “hookups” were explained to him, he saw the humor in his ignorance of the Quartzsite terrain.
. . . . .
When I had first put the fake hookups together, I was rather surprised at how much the whole thing had cost (especially since I had used a real electric box with a real TT30 RV connector inside). Admittedly, I really overdid the hookups for Quartzsite-—should have left off the cable TV connection and the Site Number, but no one has ever complained about how out of place some of it seems.
In retrospect, the cost has been worth every penny. All of us have had such a great time, snaring the unaware newbies—-and with some of them leaving still believing that Mike and Linda were such lucky campers.
. . . . .
Here are two other stories about hookups other than ours.
The first episode occurred at the Life on Wheels conference in Moscow, Idaho, in 2001 when a fairly large group of RVA regulars decided to attend the LOW conference together.
Dick Reid, the founder of the RV Driving School, was there in his very nicely converted bus. He had put out a fake sewer hookup beside his bus parked in a gravel parking lot on the campus.
One day, he was approached by a very irate maintenance man from the campus--thundering about the audacity of the camper to hook up to the sewer connection without permission. The guy continued his tirade for a good five minutes, getting more and more agitated.
Finally, Dick had had just about enough of the guy's ranting and raving, walked over to his sewer hookup, yanked it out of the ground, and said "Now, are you happy?"
Needless to say, the guy had nothing further to say, and slunk back to his truck with a very humble expression on his face.
. . .
In another instance, a fellow had put out a set of fake hookups. When he came back from a shopping trip, he noticed that the campers next to him had run an extension cord over to his hookups.
The fella went over to the folks to tell them that his hookups were fake and nothing was coming out of them. But before he opened his mouth, the folks came out and thanked him for being able to share his electricity. They mentioned that one of them had a medical condition that required them to have electric for some piece of equipment, and they were estatic to find electric without running their generator.
The fella tried to explain that the hookups were fake and that there was no electricity, but the couple was adamant that they were getting electricity.
After a little checking, the owner of the fake hookups discovered that his hookups were indeed actually "hot" when his generator was running!
(Either he had a bad transfer switch or an older motorhome that required the generator cord to be plugged into the coach to get generator power.)
. . . . .
Ok guys and gals, time for you to add your own hookup experiences…
(Some of you have to have at least a smile on your face!)