The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous is Almost Here!

Chile Dinner at RTR 2015. The only thing missing, was you!

Chili Dinner at RTR 2015. The only thing missing, was you!

While I love living cheaply off-grid in a car, van or RV sometimes it does get a bit lonely. Even though the majority of us who chose this life are at least partially loners (and sometimes extreme loners) some part of us usually still longs for contact with like-minded people. We probably need a certain amount of space and alone-time even while meeting with them; but still it’s normal and healthy to want some time and connection with others. Up till now the difficulty has been finding them! Society frowns on unconventional living so most of us keep a very low profile, trying hard not be noticed. Plus, there just aren’t many of us and we’re widely scattered around many cities and a huge amount of public land.

One good reason to come to the RTR is the Big Tent RV Show. It really is a big tent!

One good reason to come to the RTR is the Big Tent RV Show. It really is a big tent! This is one row out of three rows.

At the show there will be many vendors hiring for the coming year, including Amazon.

At the show there will be many vendors hiring for the coming year, including Amazon.

I always found it difficult to make a connection with other nomads so I decided to try to create a gathering place for us once a year. My hope was that if we came together we could form a network of friendships that would grow and expand and eventually become a tribe. I took the Mountain Men of the early 1800s in the Rocky Mountains as my guide. They were extreme loners and went very long period of times without seeing another human being. But even as introverted as they were they still gathered one time a year in a Fur Rendezvous as they called it. The main intent  was to do business by selling their furs and buying a years supplies of staples, but that quickly became secondary to the huge party it became. The real purpose was to see old friends and make new ones.

My good friend Randy leading one of the many seminars.

My good friend Randy leading one of the many seminars.

So following that pattern I posted notice on this website of the first Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (commonly abbreviated as the RTR) in January, 2011 in Quartzsite, AZ. That first year we had 45 people join us and we all made such wonderful friendships that it was a huge success. This year, January 5, 2016 will be the 6th one and I’m sure the largest yet.

In order to help you find it, I’ve made a video of the route to the RTR. It should be embedded here:

If not, either click or cut and paste this into your browser to see it:

I chose Quartzsite because it has an abundance of free camping on BLM land it would be easy to find a place large enough to hold us all. And while it is a tiny town, every winter it explodes with RVers who are coming for all the good weather, vendors tents and especially for the Big Tent RV Show. That’s a huge tent filled with every kind of thing any RVer could ever want, and many things they don’t! It’s just about as entertaining as a circus!

Chris and Cherie from the Technomadia blog dropped by and led a seminar on Technology for Nomads.

Chris and Cherie from the Technomadia blog dropped by and led a seminar on Technology for Nomads.

One other reason so many nomads gather in Quartzsite is it has the logistics we require to thrive in the desert; everything we need is readily available. You can easily:

  • camp for free,
  • take a shower,
  • dump your trash,
  • dump your tanks,
  • find water,
  • get mail and packages delivered.
  • buy propane,
  • buy and install a solar power system
American Land and Lesiure is a ery lalrge company and they were there hiring campground hosts for the following summer.

American Land and Leisure is one of the largest operators of campgrounds in the National Forests and they were there hiring campground hosts for the following summer. As a National Forest campground host you get a free site and paid for every hour you work.

I worked for California Land Management for 3 years and recommend them. By the end of the show, they hope to fill every position.

I worked for California Land Management for 3 years and recommend them. By the end of the show, they hope to fill every position.

There are four main reasons you should come to the RTR:

  1. Forming friendships: I’ts impossible for me to describe the quantity and quality of life-long friendships that are formed here. I’m not talking about casual friends who are really just an acquaintance, no, I’m talking about intense bonds that endure through time, distance and space. Many of the friends I made at that first RTR remain like brothers and sisters to me even though we often go long periods of time without contact. The bonds we form are greater than that.
  2. Finding a Job: For many of us, the main thing it offered was up to 4-8 booths set-up by Workcamping employers who were there to hire people to work for the upcoming summer season. Many of them are in National Forest campgrounds as Campground Hosts which pays for every hour you work and gives you a free site. Best of all, you are in a beautiful National Forest, a place most of us wanted to be in anyway! If you are willing to work remote, it’s very likely you will leave there with a job for the summer.
  3. Support system for new Nomads: Over time the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous evolved and now its primary mission has subtly changed to be  training ground for newcomers. It can be quite a shock to the system to go from a conventional life to a nomadic life in a car, van or RV, so quickly finding a support system is very important! That’s mainly what it’s become. Of course it remains a time to relax and spend time with old friends for many of us, but for just as many it’s a lifeline that runs between their old life and their new one. So if you are new, come for the support; if you are an old-timer, come to give support! Everyone wins and comes away richer and fuller because of it!
  4. Learning the ropes: Everything about being a nomad is new and requires a lot of learning. By far the very best way to truly discover it is to be in it and see it done by others. For that reason we offer 9 different seminars and numerous smaller classes  covering many of the details of vandwelling. Better than that though, nearly every one of us is so excited and passionate about our nomadic lives that we love to share them and talk to others about it. If one of  your questions isn’t covered, just make a friend and ask him, he or she will be glad to help!

Hopefully you’re either planning to come to this one coming up next month, or are planning to come to future ones, either way here are the details you need to find us including the schedule and maps.

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

Thanks for supporting this site by using these links to Amazon. I’ll make a small percentage on your purchase and it won’t cost you anything, even if you buy something different.


Here is the Schedule for this years Rubber Tramp Rendezvous followed by maps to it.








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

56 comments on “The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous is Almost Here!
  1. Maybe I missed it but do we need to register?

  2. Avatar Rick Morrow says:

    Little woops on the coordinates on your second last image. That should be 33.650828, -114.145942. +114 would put the RTRer’s someplace in China, although one would hope they’d notice their RV getting wet long before that… 🙂

  3. Avatar Calvin R says:

    That was pretty informative. I enjoyed the video. I’m especially glad you showed where to get the permit. Has the camp host arrived yet?

    I think I could get a permit and find the RTR from the video, probably without having to see it again. Is the Big Tent Show less crowded earlier in the day or later?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Calvin, no they still haven’t arrived here or at any of their normal spots–its very strange!

      Later in the day is better, but best yet is to wait until the next Monday or Tuesday when the crowds will greatly diminish.

  4. If you happen to come from the north or south on highway 95, you don’t need to get on the interstate (since there’s no on/off ramp as 95). Just turn east on Kuehn Road.
    Al Christensen recently posted…Creeping around in the dark againMy Profile

  5. Avatar Zman says:

    Your care and concern and love for your fellow man is so evident; keep up the good work!

  6. Avatar Jim says:

    Great directions! It’d be hard for anyone to get lost. Jim

  7. Avatar Michael says:

    I may not be able to get there on the first day. Is it OK to arrive a day or two later? Thanks for all your work!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Michael, you are welcome to come at any time and stay as log as works for you. The reason I make it 2 weeks is so that more people can make at least some part of it. I think you’ll be glad for any amount of time you can get.

  8. Thank you so much for putting this together for all the nomads! I hope to attend for a portion of RTR. Thank you again, for all of your efforts.
    Jim Schmechel recently posted…the book of lifeMy Profile

  9. Avatar Sameer says:

    Mr. Pico and I are so excited!!! Seeing old friends and new friends….learning new ideas! WOO HOO!
    Sameer recently posted…The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous is Almost Here!My Profile

  10. Avatar Mike says:

    Bob, Really like your new videos, watched em all.
    It would be so cool if you could ask those you interview how much they spend each month to live. This helps us wanabe’s figure if our incomes are enough to make it. SS is jacking me around, sending me $150 a month cause they said they over paid me last year….I should be back to a gtad over $1000 a month in Feburary. March is when I plan on hitin the road living in my van I got. Thanks Mike.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mike that’s a great idea!! I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of it myself!!! From now on I’ll ask everyone. However, some people honestly don’t know and others would rather not say so some may not have it. But, I’ll always ask if it’s okay and if it is we’ll talk about it.

    • Avatar judy says:

      Mike, How much $$ it will take for you to full time is an easy bit of Math.
      On paper list all your Fixed monthly expenses like payments, cost of phone & internet etc. Add those figures.
      Then you need to make a list of anything you might be paying once a year or every 6 months like vehicle insurance, license tags etc. Total those numbers and divide by 12 months. That figure needs to be added to the Fixed monthly expenses amount.

      A third figure you need to come up with is the cost of replacing your tires, battery & any other big ticket items and get a monthly replacement figure.
      For instance:
      I recently replaced four tires that were new in 2012. I can reasonably expect to replace my tires in another 3 years. I divided the cost of 4 tires by 36 months to get a monthly cost for tire replacement. My 5 year battery will need replaced in 24 months so cost of a battery is divided by 24. When you have a monthly replacement cost for all your High Dollar future Expenses add those to your monthly expense figures.

      This grand total (Obvious monthly expenses and Built in Savings for other unavoidable expenses) is what you Subtract from your monthly Income.

      NOW you have the figure which will be available every month for general spending on food, paper products, gas, meals out, entertainment etc. It helps to divide that figure into 4 wks to give you a better perspective of what you have available to spend or divide by 30 to get a daily spending limit.
      To truly know where the $$ goes (and see if it’s enough $$ for you) I strongly suggest you begin keeping track of Every dollar of your general spending. Don’t forget the cost of the Sunday paper you might pick up from a kiosk. What it costs at the laundromat. Not all spending comes w/ a receipt.

      By keeping track, I discovered that one month I spent more money on fast food than food from the grocery!

      My monthly income is a bit over $700. I earned $3,500 at Amazon to recover financially after the trip to AK. Because I hope to never work Amazon again, I’m inspired to be frugal!! Hope this is helpful.

      • Avatar Michael says:

        Thanks, Judy. This is very helpful to me. I am currently trying to get up to guts to go full-time on my $1000 a month SS. I plan to attend the RTR in Jan. to pick some brains and get enough inspiration to go for it. Will you be there?

        • Bob Bob says:

          Michael, most people can live quite well on $1000, but there are many variables no one can speak for you.

        • Avatar judy says:

          I will be at RTR. Please introduce yourself as the Mike I responded to about finances.
          Just so you know, I alternate between being social and hiding out in my van when I become overwhelmed. Think in terms of having 100 strangers visit your house for 2 weeks to get a perspective of how it seems for me.
          Oh, you may not know that I’m Bob’s girlfriend, not simply a person who will travel to the RTR. I’ve been in my van for 3 yrs. I’m in the gray Chevy Express parked next to Bob.
          See you there!

  11. Avatar Rachel says:

    Hi Bob, Thanks for all the info. How far is the tent and vendors from the camp site?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Rachel, it’s about 5 miles to where the Big Tent will be. The good news is getting there is very easy–you don’t have to go through any lights and not even a stop sign.

  12. Avatar Calvin R says:

    Same question as Mike.

    Also, would a person in a single vehicle need to have something at the site when he’s away to let people know it’s taken?

  13. Looking forward to attending our first RTR this year. We’ve been fulltiming in our fifth wheel since 10/24/15 and are currently digging in at The Slabs. I’ve been living this life vicariously for at least ten years through your site and Randy Vining’s — so much better to be actually doing it in real time. We actually got to meet Randy here a few days ago . . . can’t believe we haven’t made it back yet . . . but I know there are lots of people who want a piece of him (and you!) and I try to respect that you guys STILL have a life outside of all us wannabees.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Jim, we appreciate your thoughtfullnes. We both try to be open as we can be but ti gets ad with that many people around.

      Enjoy the Slabs!

  14. Avatar tommy helms says:

    I hope we get some Cody Cam video from the RTR

  15. Avatar John Bruce says:

    My feet ache just looking at the Camperforce banner in the photo.

  16. Avatar Ming says:

    looking forward to the videos!

  17. Avatar Cheri says:

    Doesn’t look like I will be at RTR this year. I have a date with a Dr. to get a new knee. Just can’t walk on this one much anymore. I will miss everyone more than I can tell you. I am so sorry I won’t be there to teach the wire wrap classes. Love teaching them. Will see you next year. HUGS to all of you. Cheri and Tony “Grammahugababy”

  18. Avatar BeckyIO says:

    Hey Bob,

    We were talking about the RTR last summer at Yellowstone and at that point I was hoping to be there for at least part of it but wasn’t sure. Now I can say that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I’ll be arriving on the 5th when it starts!

    I’m super excited to try boondocking for the very first time and am counting the days until Amazon ends and I can start heading out there. Looking forward to seeing you again and meeting everyone. Thanks for the video of how to get there, it was super helpful I enjoyed the cheery background music.
    BeckyIO recently posted…2016 Health Insurance UpdateMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      I am so delighted to hear that Becky!! I think you are going to have such a great time and get to meet so many great people! With your new solar, you going to be set up right!

      I’m hoping you will consider co-leading the Workcamping seminar with me. You have a lot of experience I don’t have and I can talk about campground hosting.

      Either way, it will be wonderful to see you again!

  19. Avatar Steve says:

    I know that there are different type of vehicles that will be at the RTR. I was wondering if a popup camper would be a good choice to use to attend the event? What kind of problems could arise in using a popup in the desert. I know high winds could be a problem. But in the popup you would have more room to do things.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Steve, a pop-up will work fine. As you mentioned the wind can be a problem because of the flapping and making the camper cold. Cold might be a bigger issue because so far it has been an unusually cold winter due to El Nino. Come ready for cold!

      But otherwise it will work well.

  20. Avatar Mr. Free says:

    Greetings one and all! Been livin’ in my pickup in SoCal and working. Looking forward to converting a cargo trailer this Summer back East in the old home state. Enjoying all the blogs and info . . . a more authentic living experience is in the offering. I am leaving Cali in the early spring and will look around some of the spots you have mentioned.
    Perhaps there might be interest in the process and I could share. Okay, great work all and thanks!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mr. Free, sure you are welcome to tell us your story. You can send it in here but I recommend you join my forum. We have a sub-forum called “Captains Log” where you can record your build and your travels. Several people do it and it’s a wonderful way to share your new life.

  21. Avatar Roxy says:

    I’m thinking of coming down…I’m currently in Sedona. Won’t be there until about the 8th or 9th though. I’ve been living in my vehicle for 9-years now, except in the first 7-years I got a house sitting job in the winter and camped in the summer. I’m a woman on her own and it does get lonely at times, it will be fun to meet some other free spirits. I haven’t met another woman doing this full-time on her own yet, let alone one who is 54, and I know there has to be some. I have a Mitsubishi Montero Sport. It’s a good job I’m only 5’1″ tall, or I wouldn’t be able to sleep in the back of my rig.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Roxy, I think you are going to be very glad you came! You will meet many other women vandwellers, quite a few of them as young or younger than you. I’d love to see how you live in your Montero. That’s quite a feat!

      See ya soon!

  22. Avatar Marie & Terry says:

    We will be leaving Florida on Feb 17 and heading your way, would like to know where you’ll be camped at.

  23. Avatar Rod Dyer says:

    Hi Bob, When & where is the next RTR?

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