Summer RTR Canceled




The Talent Show where I gave the sad news that we had been evicted.

The Talent Show where I gave the sad news that we had been evicted.

This is a difficult post for me to write, but we were in the middle of a wonderful summer RTR near Flagstaff, AZ when it was suddenly ended by a visit from a Federal Law Enforcement Officer and I was cited for having more than 75 people at a gathering without a permit. The Federal Law Enforcement Officer ordered us off the land by noon the next day or everyone would be cited.

There is no one to blame for this but  me. While I had no idea how many would be coming I should have planned for the worst case and jumped through the hoops and gotten the permit and not taken the chance. I had expected a good turnout but I thought it would be spread out over the entire event and not be a large number all at once, right from the beginning. I’m still not 100% certain we were over 75, but he was convinced.

It doesn’t matter, what’s important is that it is canceled so do not come to it! If you get there you will be all alone! If you are still coming, email me and I will give you the location I’ve moved to and you are still welcome to camp with me.

Please understand that this will have no impact on the winter RTR in Quartzsite, Arizona which is January 10-22, 2017. That will continue exactly as planned and in the same spot it’s been at the last three years. Apparently the BLM is unconcerned about the size of our gathering, last year a BLM Ranger came and spoke to us even though we were a large group. There are many very large groups at that time of the year as big or bigger than us and apparently they are not willing to make them all get a Permit.

So there you have it, the summer RTR is canceled so please do not come to it!

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

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

107 comments on “Summer RTR Canceled
  1. I am grateful for the people I was able to spend time with – old friends and new. And I’m grateful for the things I learned in the few short days we were together. I hope to see you all again in Q! Safe travels everyome. And Bob, thanks for all you do!

  2. I am so sorry to hear this. I was unable to come but I was really excited about the new location and looked forward to another great RTR post with pictures and video.

    Funny how the government complains that we don’t use public land enough to justify the expense of maintenance, yet the gathering of a wholesome group of conscientious campers gets broken up.

    Hope all had fun for what little time you were able to meet.

  3. Avatar Nut501 says:

    Sorry about the RTR being canceled! Life will go on. Bob, what is the magic number of people that can gather without getting a permit from the park service? Also, is the permit for meeting or camping or both? What is the cost for a park permit?
    Life offers many experenices, we can all learn. We don’t want to make the same mistake again.
    Hope the next one will be better and everyone will have a great time!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Nut501, thanks for the encouragement! Sorry, I don’t know the answers to your questions except the magic number is 75 people coming together in one spot.

  4. I got a copy of the permit application process from BLM last year to see what is involved. It’s no big deal. Might be safer to go ahead and get one for Winter RTR??? No??? I’m sorry this happened.

  5. Avatar Rob says:


    Any idea what the fine will be for exercising your First Amendment rights without a permit?

  6. Avatar Roxy says:

    So sorry this happened. The Ranger could have asked you to get a permit at that time and make it legal, instead of just ending it. That’s not cool at all.
    Roxy recently posted…Bear Visitors…My Profile

  7. Avatar Roxy says:

    Just watched your video, it came from the top, not just one ranger. Still sad.
    Roxy recently posted…Bear Visitors…My Profile

  8. Avatar gary e green says:

    that’s bullhooie !! that all i got to say ! if you need help paying the ticket, i’m there for you BOB, sorry about what happen i know you really like the place ! maybe next year, we get a permit, and we will have a protest rally !! after all its OUR LAND TOO !!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Gary, but it’s a good rule, too big a group does damage. We didn’t, we left it better than we found it, but that isn’t always the case. I’ll just have to adhere strictly to the rules in the future.

  9. Avatar marieanne greaves says:

    Some people are so miserable in there own lives,they get their ha ha’s ruining other’s joy. Sad commentary, of the powers that be you showem by having a good time elsewhere! ?. ?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Marieanne, no doubt the best revenge is to just go on and live a happy life–that’s exactly what I plan to do do!!

  10. Avatar Calvin R says:

    I’m glad you had that many people together, whatever the exact number. By next year, you will probably know more about what is happening–whether it’s a new repressive attitude, someone having a bad day, or something else.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Calvin, I ran into two Rangers while we were there and they both knew my face and first and last name. I’ll have to strictly follow all the rules.

      • Avatar Calvin R says:

        Ouch! The rangers knowing your name and face recalls my “wasted youth” in rural Ohio, except that you have done very little that’s either illegal or harmful. I’m guessing somebody somewhere is offended with your advocacy. Please pay attention to all those rules people usually don’t even learn. Ordinary people are often amazed at how much trouble society can make for harmless, law-abiding people.

  11. Avatar Guy says:

    I’m not sure what the permit cost is, but I’d throw in a few bucks on a Go-Fund-Me to help cover the cost next time. Even though I probably won’t be there, the videos you make from these RTRs is well worth a little money. Thanks for all you do.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Guy that is very kind of you but it really is not necessary. It was my mistake and the wonderful folks here took a collection and I’m hoping it will be enough to cover the fine.

  12. Avatar Cae says:

    Too bad. Maybe switch to BLM location?

    • Bob Bob says:

      CAE, BLM land is much too hot this time of the year. It’s remarkably hot here! My next move will be up to the high country of Colorado.

      • Avatar Marshall says:

        Hey Bob, my wife and I are vandwelling up at Cache Creek, but we will very soon be moving down to the forest above Crestone. Very nice up here now. Low 80’s/high 40’s at nice. Maybe we’ll see ya yet this summer.

  13. Avatar Susanna B. says:

    Although I am an un-introduced major lurker I care about and admire the tribe. One day….
    Is there a way to donate to you citation fee?
    Pay pal?
    Any other way I don’t know of?
    Thank you and THANK YOU for the amazing resources you provide and the dreams that are inspired, well that’s my story at lease.

  14. Avatar Steve says:

    Here is the way I look at it. If there were no regulations, rules, laws, and time limits the beautiful forests and public lands would start looking like a third world country. People would start moving in and setting up permanent camps that eventually would start looking like Hoovervilles. I know…..most of the nomads on this site obey rules and laws and do the responsible things. And this was just an oversight by Bob….honest mistake. But not everyone is not that courteous or caring. So, just like anything else a few spoil it for the others that follow rules and laws. Don’t believe me, just look at all the idiots that break the rules at Yellowstone. Pathetic…

    There has to be a way to track what is going on in the public lands and how many people are there. Sometimes these rules and laws are set up to protect the very people that are camping there. I don’t think they are used to harass people, they are there to protect our beautiful nature areas.

    Anyone know of anymore reasons these rules and laws are set up for our public lands? And please be honest.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Steve, I agree with you 100%. Public Lands must be protected from it’s “owners”, they are it’s worst enemies.

    • Avatar Calvin R says:

      Public lands must indeed be protected, but I have studied and lived out too much psychology and history to believe that’s the only motivation. People fear that which is different, and that surely factors into the “living in the forest” actions.

      • Bob Bob says:

        Calvin, I agree and I’m certain it was much more than just a passion for the forest. We would have had a calm reasonable conversation but he was quite anrgy at me. I was being taught a lesson.

    • Avatar Kay says:

      Hi Steve, yes. I agree there needs to be at least some rules / laws, regs on property, whether its BLM or private. All too often, it seems like any time a property is offered as a place to “camp” for free, whether for a couple of days, couple of weeks, well…those camping don’t always care a whit about the property, after all, it’s not theirs, so the property gets trashed by some.

      I’ve got a small acreage not far from where they got booted, & if I had headed down there, I’d have been camping on my own little patch, as I do have a dog, who is not allowed to run loose anywhere, & I don’t want to have any “larger than her” running loose anywhere near us, as I don’t want any altercations.

  15. Avatar Rob says:

    Bob, just wondering where you are? I would still like to stop by and shake your hand. Rob

  16. Avatar Denver says:

    The democrats will see wild Federal lands closed to the great unwashed if it is the last thing they do.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Denver, I don’t believe that’s true any more than I believe Republicans will cut down every tree or drill everywhere for oil. They have philosophical differences, but unlike the horrible lie that permeates our culture, neither of them are monsters.

      Seeing anyone who thinks differently than you do as a monster is a form of mental illness that will destroy this country very quickly.

    • Avatar John Bruce says:

      That is so untrue, do your research. It wasn’t a Democrat who put a bill allowing a foreign corporation to take over a sacred Native area over for mining purposes. But it was a Democratic President who put a stop to it.

      Put succinctly, Conservatives are never conservationists.

  17. Avatar mike says:

    Life goes on Bob. Permits are super easy to get, you had no idea it would draw such a gathering this year, thats good and bad for you. Let us know if you need help with the ticket, should not be more than $175.00, but I’m not up on the new fines. You can also arrange a meeting with the head ranger of that district and tell him the truth…last year we only had x amount of people, did’nt expect such a turnout, woops, he might just have you pay the minimum, or tear up the ticket if folks left it as they found it. I’m sure the ranger will report the lands condition to the home office upon his return from his second visit. Good luck, Mike.

    • Avatar Linda Sand says:

      Permits may be easy to get but I suggest someone other than Bob apply for ours. Like he said, they know him and are out to get him. Their misperceptions of Bob are obviously being used against us.

      • Bob Bob says:

        Linda, that’s actually a pretty good idea, it may not be practical because whoever signs it is responsible for the actions of everyone. We;ll have to wait and see.

  18. Avatar BobM says:

    Hi Bob,
    It looks like you may have gotten caught up in the bigger picture. With the beginning stages of urban Terror – ism & precarious government voting instability occurring I would think your website and details have been passed on to all agencies in your area. Nothing like a large band of people who have no easy method of being tracked or identifiable purpose to come up on the radar. Hopefully u were not wearing that shirt you have on in the video when the enforcement agent was there 🙂 Keep an eye out for drone activity.

  19. Avatar Corky says:

    Bob, I almost made the trip from Memphis, Tennessee, and would have enjoyed the brief time there and probably moved on to your next site if time permitted for me. I’m sure everyone here would gladly pitch in a reasonable amount on any necessary permits. Keep up the good work and let us know what you need.

  20. Avatar margo says:

    bob–don’t take this to much
    to heart. margo

  21. Avatar joe says:

    At least you can still camp so that is most important any way bob you can look for to winter rtr keep your spits up now you know who your friends are

  22. Avatar Zman says:

    Oh Boy… What’s next?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Zman, the winter RTR will continue as usual and I wasn’t planning on a summer RTR 2017, so we will have to see about a 2018.

  23. Avatar Alan says:

    Hi, Bob. We met briefly at the Williams campsite. … I did some reading on the homeless situation in Flagstaff and the forest there. A lot of homeless folks in the forest, some causing trouble (mostly unintentionally). Lots of folks like us, too, utilizing the forests more heavily than the average citizen. It’s causing pressure on the forest and the Forest Service, and they’re pushing back. Not that it justifies them being a**holes about it, but there’s a bigger picture.

    That said, I don’t like the way the “solution” is always to stomp on the little guy. The desperate homeless and those vandwellers whose motivations are more a need for thrift are the result of social problems, not the cause. Get folks affordable housing, improved pensions and disability, or WHATEVER. I don’t know what the solution is. But solve it, politicians, do your jobs. And then the smaller number of vandwellers and back-to-the-wild types won’t stress the land.
    Alan recently posted…Grand Teton National Park, Moose, WyomingMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Alan, you are exactly right, it is also extra stressed because the homeless will even come up from Phoenix to escape the heat for the summer. I am sympathetic to their plight and have nothing real bad to say about them, just doing a hard job as best they can.

    • Avatar Lucy says:

      Read somewhere- can’t remember where- that:

      ‘It is illegal to be homeless’… spooky way of thinking, isn’t it ?

      • Bob Bob says:

        Lucy, yes, the homeless are hated in this country, and we just get lumped in with them and hated too.

        • Avatar Lucy says:

          Isn’t it unjust to hate homeless people, chances are many of them are in this situation due to factors they can not control. In 2008 when the real estate market came crushing down the homeless population increased. Banks were bailed out ( & they still are ) people that lost everything has been totally ignored by the legislature,NO BAILING out to them, they were dumped on the streets & hated by most of the society, how fair is all these ?? Anyone can become homeless at any time !!

          • Bob Bob says:

            I agree 100%! Instead of offering help, they are devising new and creative ways to take even more from the lower classes and move it up the upper classes. The wealth divide in this country is astonishing and growing at an incredible rate.

        • Avatar Lucy says:

          Van dwellers aren’t homeless they are houseless…either way I can’t understand how large part of society can hate either group. ‘ stick-and-bricks’ population seems not to comprehend they themselves have the potential to wind up pushing a Target’s car with all their belongings in IT up & down the streets, just the wrong financial move & our butts will end up sleeping in an alley.

          My regards, Lucy.

          • Bob Bob says:

            Lucy, you are so right! Most Americans are in a much more precarious financial situation that before the 2008 collapse, so the next one will be many times worse–probably to the point there will be no chance of a recovery.

    • Avatar BobM says:

      As is usual in this country a tipping point is being reached. To many people attracting attention to the forests with negative coverage will cause harsh new rules to be introduced. These rules will of course not be favorable.

      • Bob Bob says:

        Bob you are probably right.

      • Avatar Todd Sullivan says:

        I read the article. It’s hard to blame the Forest Service. They are dealing with many folks that are involuntarily homeless, and have tried to hang on to everything possible. The article mentions baby cribs, mattresses, and other items out there in the forests. What you have then are small landfills.

        Those that are voluntarily houseless plan their way ahead, they reduce inventory, and make it easy to see they are temporary visitors at each stop.

        If the Forest Service starts getting strapped for manpower and are spending thousands to clean areas from homeless impacts, then even 5 minutes or $5 to attend to an RTR gathering will wear on them. At that point it’s easiest for them to just say ‘no’ to everything.

        To me that seems to be the simplest explanation.

  24. Avatar chris says:

    Bob, thank you for having the unfortunately short-lived Summer RTR. I very much enjoyed it and hope to attend future ones, as well the Winter RTRs. You’re the good guy in this and I appreciate your hard work and vision.

  25. Avatar Mitchell says:

    Bob, I’m curious if the ranger knew why the group was there. Did he know before talking to you? did he ask? I’m sorry this happened to you and everyone else who was there or on their way.

  26. Avatar scrambler paul says:

    Bob I enjoy reading your blog and admire the way you live your life . I like the comradery among the Tribe ,people helping each other live a better life. Beats all hate some people feel . You are such a good role model the Park Rangers will know what a mistake they made prejudging the RTR and being bad-ss rangers . I look forward to the winter RTR . We made it to Quartsite in Feburary after you’ll left,see you then

  27. Avatar Mush says:

    What’s the old saying? No good deed shall go unpunished? You are an inspiration, my friend. I’m blessed to know you. See you in January

  28. Avatar Tom says:

    Hi Bob,

    My buddy and I sure enjoyed our first RTR! Great people and great event. Bummer it had to end early. I’m looking forward to Quartzsite!

    About 80% of the people I talked to said this was their first RTR mine too. Is that normal?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Tom, no, this wasn’t normal at all–it was fueled by the Youtube channel. That’ given me a much large outreach and people respond better to videos than text so the videos are bringing them out. I expect it to continue, but the winter RTR will be much more balanced with new and old timers.

  29. Avatar Clay says:

    Hey Bob, isn’t this the same assholes that gave you flak a couple of years ago? It would be a good idea to a least publish the names of the ranger(s) so their neighbors know what type of people they are living next to!

    You assume the U.S. forest service has the best intentions when managing the public lands. Talked to a longtime sheriff deputy that patrols the Sierra National forest and he has pointed out how the forest service is actually destroying the forest. He concluded they are either evil or stupid

  30. Avatar clay says:

    Correction bob,
    I concluded they are either evil or stupid! Maybe just lazy

  31. Avatar Zman says:

    Bob you have become ” a Mover and a Shaker and History Maker”. Good Luck

  32. Avatar John Bruce says:

    Hey Bob, You’ve got a hit on your hands, plan accordingly. Maybe you need agents that would actually plan and handle the RTRs while you do your BLOG and YouTube channel.
    Sorry to hear about this.

    • Bob Bob says:

      John, you are more right than you know! I’m looking for a way to hire someone to take care of the details of my life so I can be free to create.

  33. Avatar BobM says:

    Hi Bob,
    You have a good following on your website and now the YouTube videos. You have brought a tribe together and helped a lot of people. How about using YouTube and the tribe to now advocate and help the national Forests and the limited amount of Rangers who protect them. People see the Rangers as the enemy but they are not. I think you could do a lot to help if you thought about it. Maybe even go into the lions den and ask some rangers how you could help them. They always need some volunteers for a day or two..maybe have the tribe help with cleanup on a weekend. It would be astounding if you could take what you have and turn around the negative impression people have of vandwellers/homeless into something to be admired. I think it is the next level for you 🙂

    • Bob Bob says:

      Bob, that is a very good idea!! In fact my next video will probably be a pro-BLM Ranger video. I’ll have to give some thought to trying to help them, just because I don’t have the time for any new projects.

      Great idea though, thank you!

    • Avatar JL says:

      Bob, what an excellent idea! And thanks for the reminder to take a trash bag on my rural rail-trail bike ride today.

  34. Avatar Zman says:

    Hey Bob Why not a Summer 2017 RTR same time and place as 2016? People are familiar and you’re wiser for it.

  35. Avatar Paula says:

    I don’t know how much trouble or expense the permit is, however maybe next summer it could be multiple groups of 40 people or so. For instance
    “Exercise Group”
    “Discussion Group”
    “Comedy Group”
    The appointed co-leader of each group would keep tabs and maybe hand out wrist bands in his group’s predetermined color. Limited to 40, camp kind of together.
    I trust you’ll figure out something good. 🙂

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Paul, if it happens again next summer I’ll just get a Permit and solve the whole problem. But I doubt there will be one next year, but anything is possible.

  36. Avatar Jeannie says:

    Hi Bob
    I just wanted to let you know that the summer rtr was a great experience for me. I made some great new friends that share my interest, and learned a lot. Even though it ended early, I felt like I got what I came for and it was definitely worth the trip.Thank you so much.
    Jeannie (Toyota Sienna minivan)

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jeannie, I hope you can make it to the winter, RTR, it will be much larger and I think much better. Of course it will last the whole time!!!! Hope to see you then.

  37. Avatar GrannyM says:

    Hi Bob
    I’m another lurker. I’ve wanted to be full time in an RV for most of my adult life. I discovered you about a year ago. I’ve watched all your videos and bought your book…kindle edition so I hope you at least got a couple pennies from that! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to make my dream come true but you help me keep dreaming it. I’m on SS & don’t have any money for a small RV/van but I’ve started watching Craigs List so if it’s meant to be something will happen 🙂

    I’m so sorry to hear about your shortened summer RTR and was looking forward to new videos from it. I learn from everyone! Many of the positive suggestions and comments just remind me that “it takes a village”. I think your “village” is the real deal and the villages the rest of us live in are highly inadequate/isolated/fearful/sad communities and certainly not in keeping with that lovely philosophy. Keep up the good work…you help some of us to dream! Sue aka GrannyMumantoog.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Sue, thank you so much for your kind letter. It make me so happy to know that my work has a small impact on peoples lives to make them better. Many people are like you and just can’t get the money together to buy a reliable van to live in, I’m afraid it’s a catch-22 I don’t have any answers for. It’s very sad that the elderly in this country are so often left with so little, especially women. I wish you the best as you work to follow your dreams.

  38. Avatar Mimi says:

    Thanks Bob for this site, all your work and your great personality that brimgs this all together.

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