Report from Rubber Tramp Rendezvous 2016

The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous is in full swing and this one is by far the best, and biggest, one yet.

The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous 2016 is in full swing and this one is by far the best, and biggest, one yet.

We’re one week into the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) 2016 and I can honestly say it’s probably the best yet! The turn out has been huge (somewhere around 150 vandwellers/RVers)  and like always the people are some of the best I’ve ever known! Every person I’ve met has been so kind, friendly and glad to be here among other like-minded nomads–but most of all, free from the work-grind and the rat race.

With over a hundred different rigs, we are scattered all across the desert. Some are close together and enjoying the social time, others are further out and enjoying their privacy. It's your choice.

With over a hundred different rigs, we are scattered all across the desert. Some are close together and enjoying the social time, others are further out and enjoying their privacy. It’s your choice.

Of course, it’s easy to be happy and joyous when you’ve left the stress of modern life behind! Humans were born to live in the simplicity and freedom of nature, but our  modern lives are 100% the opposite of that; no wonder we’re all so stressed, unhealthy and unhappy!! When you finally throw off societies yoke and begin to live with all the freedom, simplicity and nature-connection that vandwelling offers, your life will begin to change. Smiles become more common than frowns and contentment starts to dominate  instead of frustration and anger.

Everywhere you look in camp you'll see groups of people laughing and visiting with each other.

Everywhere you look in camp you’ll see groups of people laughing and visiting with each other.

So it’s no surprise to me that there are so many smiles and laughs here! Everywhere you go you’ll hear people talking with a smile in their voice and a laugh in their heart–it’s who vandwellers become at the core of their being. Life is no longer an endurance contest waiting for the “golden years” those times are here, now and very satisfying!

The Women Only meeting.

The Women Only meeting.

That’s all the more remarkable considering the somewhat poor weather we’ve had; even several days of clouds, wind and rain haven’t damped our spirits! Fortunately there were only a couple of days when everyone was forced inside and other than actual rain we’ve take every chance to get outside and be with each other. Now the bad weather has gone and all around camp little clumps of people will come together and visit and then they’ll dissolve and another one will form here and there as people mix and up and visit. Unless it was actually raining there has been a central campfire nearly every night (thanks to David who brought a whole bunch of oak firewood all the way from Tennessee) and there’s a whole bunch of happy noise coming from there!

That's Peter working his magic on a huge pot of chili. You can se three pots in this shot and there were three others on the table behind him. He watched each and every one like a maestro directing a Grand Orchestra creating a work of art!

That’s Peter working his magic on a huge pot of chili. You can see three pots in this shot and there were three others on the table behind him. He watched each and every one like a maestro directing a Grand Orchestra creating a work of art!

At the first RTR we started the tradition of having two meals at each event, one a soup diner and the other a chili dinner. Everyone brought either a can of soup or chili or fresh ingredients for either one and threw it all in a pot and we saw what came out. It may sound terrible but it actually came out very well–except for one year when I scorched the chili. But as we’ve grown it’s really gotten too big for me to handle. While I am  not a cook, even I could throw cans in a pot for 50 people but I can’t do it for 120 people–and not have it come out tasting good.

The first thing Peter did as line up a bunch of helpers and I have to give a great big thank yo to each and every one of. We're all eternally in your debt!

The first thing Peter did was line up a bunch of helpers and I have to give a great big thank you to each and every one of. We’re all eternally in your debt!

As a gift from the gods, last year a new member named Peter joined us and he just happened to be a professional chef who could take a bunch of cans and turn them into a gourmet meal for 100 people in the middle of the desert! So both last year and this year  we did more than share a meal, we shared a truly excellent meal! Everyone was very generous with bringing caned goods and many fresh ingredients like diced vegetables and cooked meat. Beyond that we had many bake cornbread and bring it which elevated the meal to a whole other level.

Natalie and her work of art! Thanks to everyone who bought cornbread, vegetables, meat, rolls and canned goods Because of everyone's generosity, the meal worked perfectly.

Natalie and her work of art! Thanks to everyone who bought cornbread, vegetables, meat, rolls and canned goods Because of everyone’s generosity, the meal worked perfectly.

Breaking bread and eating chili together.

Breaking bread and eating chili together.

All-in-all, everything has gone as well as it possibly could have and without any doubt it has been one of the best ones we’ve done yet. The only thing missing is you. So start planning right now to attend next year. That gives you a full year to plan your vehicle and escape route–I believe you’ll be very glad you did! See you then! Here is the page where you can get more information about RTR 2017 as it comes out.   http://www.cheaprvliving.com/gatherings/

I’m making Videos on my good friends James and Kyndal’s YouTube Channel. See them here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_W_E5SFCxwpSOaqMjOOBTg

To see what’s going on at the RTR, check out this video:

If you don’t see the video above, click or cut and paste this into your browser:

//youtu.be/tuAWm_wQR18

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The job isn't done until the dishes are done and a big thanks to Tom, for washing all the dishes as we dirtied them. After the meal we had a separate crew do the final clean up. Thanks to each and every one you who helped make this such a wonderful meal!

The job isn’t done until the dishes are washed and a big thanks to Tom, for washing all the dishes as we dirtied them. After the meal we had a separate crew do the final clean up. Thanks to each and every one you who helped make this such a wonderful meal!

Bob
About

I’ve been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

35 comments on “Report from Rubber Tramp Rendezvous 2016
  1. Rob says:

    Nicely done!
    FWIW there has been some great education in the seminars, good people to meet and a LOT of ideas from seeing how others have done what they’ve done to their vans, trucks & cars.

    Thank you Bob!

  2. I am happy to hear RTR 2016 is going well. Thank you for organizing it for the nomads. Life on the road can be pretty solitary, and it is good to gather together every so often. I’m sure everyone is very appreciative for the opportunity! 🙂
    Jim Schmechel recently posted…WyomingMy Profile

  3. David Ainley says:

    Thanks you so VERY much for showing me how to change my life in such a positive way and for organizing RTR where I’ve met so many wonderful people and learned so much. Words alone can’t convey my gratitude.

    • Bob Bob says:

      David, you are very welcome! And I owe you a big thanks for bringing enough firewood from Tennessee for the entire RTR!! That saved me a bunch of money! Thanks again!!!
      Bob

  4. Calvin R says:

    Thank you for the post! I know you’re busy and I appreciate you thinking of those of us still stuck at an address somewhere. The sheer normalcy of your community dinner ought to encourage people who fear being “different.”

    I enjoyed meeting more vandwellers in the video. They were very encouraging, especially Rob talking about income issues and Diane encouraging everyone in general and pointing out positive reality for women. I will forward your email/link to a friend who is in mid-crisis but has some money available, unless you object. Whether or not she ever goes mobile, she needs to see this particular video. Also, both she and I are tent campers, and I can tell her we are welcome. My friend here and I have talked about how to use tents full time, and I’m sure we will discuss that further.

    • Steve says:

      Calvin, I am interested to know more about your full time tent idea. Is there a website that deals with that or could you share some ideas on the ways that this can be accomplished and still have a certain level of comfort and hassles of setting up and breaking down?
      I am researching different ways to travel on a tight budget while avoiding motels.
      Maybe a thread could be started in the forums to stimulate some ideas and pros and cons on the subject.

      I didn’t notice but one or two tents at the RTR in the pics and videos. There are a lot of rocky areas there so that could pose a problem to overcome. But, I am sure is doable.

      • Calvin R says:

        Steve, I think I need to start a thread on the forum for this. There is an older thread or two that I’ll find to figure out where to put mine. There’s also a Facebook group, “All About Tent Camping” that has a full-timer or two on it and some useful threads.

        You might be surprised how easily some tents set up, including some very durable ones. Everything else can be done on an “as needed” basis.

        • Steve says:

          Calvin, I will be looking for your thread. I will also check out the FB group. I have 2 tents, a small 4 person dome, and and a 6 person Coleman instant tent. I have used both but they are now just sitting in the garage. I was just going to use my Ford Escape instead of them but, I have been practicing here at the house and although some things can be accomplished ok in the vehicle it is tight and more room is needed. I will look for your post.
          Thanks

          • Calvin R says:

            I posted my thread as “smaller car, bigger tent?” in the Car Forum under Choosing the Right Vehicle. Incidentally, I know someone who is car-dwelling in a Coleman Instant Tent. I have no doubt that it’s easy to set up and take down. It’s plenty big, too, but I’m not sure about its durability. I’m following her adventures with great interest because the Coleman is much less expensive than most of my choices.

          • Bob Bob says:

            Calvin, if it’s the person I think it is, she gave up on the tent and is living in the back seat of her super-cab pickup. But it could be someone else with a Coleman Instant Tent.
            Bob

    • Bob Bob says:

      Calvin, we actually have two great tents here, one is the Kifaru Tipi tent and the other is a Kodiak canvas tent. They are both great tents but as you know I’m not a fan of tents in the desert. But I see them as an outstanding supplement to a vehicle you can escape to in bad weather and be in the tent the majority of the time. That works well.
      Bob

      • Calvin R says:

        There are very few people full-timing in tents without a motor vehicle, at least in this part of the world. My health conditions at this point would make cycling or foot travel difficult in any case In my situation, I will be buying a vehicle soon unless my doctors advise against it. That would be a major obstacle.

        However, it’s more expensive both up front and in running costs to own a full-size van versus a minivan or a passenger car that can be modified for comfortable sleeping.

        I believe that most of the tent campers you see have little experience and/or do little research, often choosing that as a last resort in emergencies. My friend who commented elsewhere is in that situation. Whenever possible, planning counts, and so does learning. Using a tent that is not the fabric equivalent of a $300 car improves the camper’s odds of success. That would include the Eureka Copper Canyon you mentioned in a post a few years ago. I owned one of those. We paid close to $300 for that in 2008, but I would not buy it for dwelling use.

        Tent camping via bicycle long-term is more common outside the US, but usually involves frequent travel, a larger investment in equipment, and often includes outside support. I have studied that for obvious reasons.

        I agree that the desert is a particularly stressful environment for longer-term tent camping. I see no reason to limit my travels to deserts when I could drive to other comfortable winter climates. I can and will also choose, treat, and use a tent in ways that adapt to my situation.

        • Bob Bob says:

          Calvin, I see tents as an outstanding addition to living in a car. But I recommend that you have a car you can sleep in and be relatively comfortable, either short term or long term. The tent becomes a great asset but not essential.

          Here at the RTR we have 4 people who either live in or travel extensively in a Prius and they all sleep in the Prius and only one carries a tent to use as a garage for their extra stuff when in one place for a long time. I think that’s the best use of a tent.
          Bob

  5. Fran C. says:

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for posting this lovely update. It sounds like everyone is having such a great time. I am a Canadian traveler, currently in San Diego and have wanted to join you for the past couple years. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get there earlier again this year but I hope to make it over to Q and join you for the last few days of the RTR. So looking forward to meeting all of you. Thanks again for all you do to make this possible.

  6. Marie Watts says:

    I’m SO sorry to have missed it!!! I will try again next year…

  7. Nora says:

    Bob: I also appreciate taking the time out of your very busy days at the rtr to include the rest of us. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years and am stiLloyd determined to get out there. I have about 2 years left of my family responsibilities but am starting the downsizing process. Also thanks to those who took the time to be interviewed.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Nora, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you’ll get to your goal; and then the good times will get started!
      Bob

  8. Mitchell says:

    Damn! I sure wish I was there. But the gears are in motion – I will be free next year. Actually the end of this year.

    Thank you, Bob!

  9. linda says:

    Well No u-hall lady at the RTR this year, I am so sad to have to miss it. I am at this time making ready my new to me van for the road full time. I should kick off in about 2 more weeks.I learned a lot from the seminars the last 2 RTRs. I am happy you took the time to post what I am missing this year so I can look forward to it next year and when I do get there I will be able to stay as long as I want cause next year I will bring my own home instead of renting a u-hall.

  10. Casa de Wherever says:

    This is my third time with this tribe and it just gets better every time.
    The town of Quartzsite is quite fascinating with its variety and uniqueness
    plus solitude is available since we camp several miles from town. The weather
    is great, as are the shared meals, the informative seminars, the deep friend-
    sjps developed, and special thanks to Bob for shepherding this terrific
    gathering. This tribe is where it’s at !!!

  11. Matt Derrick says:

    Wow that looks awesome. I’m really trying hard this year to save up money and move into a van myself. I can’t wait to attend this next year!

  12. Cathy P. says:

    Yes, thank you so much! I just kept thinking “you could be there next year” throughout the whole video. It now looks like I will be doing this alone with my dog. Husband is taking house and family dog. My son wants to go into a day program and residential. It is coming together. At this point, there is no reason for me not to be there next year except for the weak voice that says, “Can you really do it?” I need to make a banner, “Yes, you can!” It is a little scary though.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Cathy, I totally understand how you feel, we all hear that voice! It is so far out of our comfort zone it just seems like a crazy idea. But it’s crazy like a fox! In my next post (out now) I address exactly how to start getting ready and how you don’t really have anything to lose, I hope it helps.
      Bob

  13. Ming says:

    thanks Bob, it’s lovely to read about your gatherings. They sure are appealing. We’re in for another stormy weekend of rain here in the PNW.

    Calvin, do let us know what tent you end up with and how you find it. I have used an Outbound 3 season tent until the seams fell apart on the inner tent, ended up making my own fly out of drop cloths for the last couple of years. That is where you end up having failures and leaks and is pretty easily remedied with some DIY. Floor waterproofing wears out too, but drop cloths inside and out can fix that too. It was a dome tent.

    • Calvin R says:

      I will do that, Ming. It’s down to canvas versus a tent around $320 that is meant for hunters in extreme environments, with a few other possibilities. I’m sure more information will show up in the thread (see above) and I think you can contact me there if you need to.

  14. tommy helms says:

    If it wasn’t called the RTR, it should have been called Bobstock

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