Join the Vandwelling Tribe! Summer RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous)

Tribe-Fire-New_Year

There is a bond formed when you gather in nature around a fire. Ehrenberg, AZ New Years 2012

I just got an email from a reader asking me about my efforts to create a tribal community. He said that he had seen posts on the blog about people joining me in my camp and my standing invitation for all of you to feel free to join me. He was curious about exactly how that worked. It was such a good question I thought I should answer it here for everyone to see; especially since the Summer RTR is only three weeks away. Here is part of his question:

I’m sort of hung up on this “tribe idea”. I like getting away from everything but I really also enjoy people (some of my best friends are people). It seems from your posts that your developing a small group of folks (disciples ?) that tend to want to go where you go(?). I was wondering, for instance, when you went to Prescott did you go alone, did others follow, did you go and, after awhile, others joined you?

It just seems that there are times when it’s nice to have a neighbor or 2.

First, I have to finally come-clean and tell you my original intent with all my gatherings was to gather an army of mindless drone “disciples” who would do my every bidding and give me all their money!! But it just didn’t work out that way! I would have had better success trying to do that with a herd of cats than I had with all you crazy vandwellers!! So despite my best efforts at mind-control, brain-washing and manipulation, I still don’t have any disciples!

Tribe-Sierra

This was the first time a group of us were together for an extended time in camp. Many were together for 4-5 months. Sierra NF, Summer 2012

Of course I am just kidding; I have no desire to control anyone, mainly because I know that is totally impossible with such rabidly independent people as vandwellers and RVers. No, my goal was very much like the author of the email: “sometimes it’s just nice to have a neighbor.” The truth is that very few of us are actually hermits, we like people, we just want a limited number of them and when they are around, we still like our privacy and boundaries. I love having others around, but need my “alone-time”. My general routine is that I go for a walk every morning and night and after each walk is my community time when I gather with others and we just sit around and BS and enjoy each other’s company. Then generally we go our separate ways and enjoy our alone time. If you look out and see others gathering, you can come and join in, or you can remain alone. Whatever works for you; there are no rules or expectations. We occasionally do group meals or group trips, but it is all spontaneous, it just happens. We try very hard to watch out and care for each other. If you need something and I can help, I do. If you are going to go into town I might ask if I can come along or if you can pick something up for me. Again, no rules or expectations, just good people doing good things.

Now, let me add one caveat; don’t come here expecting to be entertained. We each have such a need for alone time and privacy that if you come here with any neediness, you will probably be disappointed.  There is only so much of “Me” I can give away, and when that is done for the day, I head for my trailer or off for a walk. There is nothing here (except for a connection to nature) that will make you happy if you aren’t already happy in yourself.

As far as moving camp, I try to remain in one spot for as long as I can to save on gas. I only move if there is some reason to, like a Ranger has asked us to move or if the weather is getting unbearably hot or cold. Sometimes we all just get itchy feet and somehow we know as a community it is time to move on. Once there is a general consensus it’s time to move and where to move to, everyone decides for himself if that works best for him. If it does he comes along and if not he stays or goes somewhere else. People come and go all the time. Most don’t stay for long, but a few stay a long time. It all depends when your feet get itchy, and that is different for everybody. When we do move camp, we rarely drive together. Again, we are just too independent; I’m going to drive the speed I want, and you can drive the speed you want. Usually we agree to meet someplace and then drive the last little distance together. Most often we meet at a Walmart and do our final shopping. Once in the new camp, some camp close by and some camp a mile or two away. Whatever works for you is fine with me.

I have two goals in opening my camp:

  1.  First, I think of it as a training stop where all the knowledge and experience I, and others, have accumulated over the years is available to anyone who wants it. I know how hard it can be to make the leap into living in a van, but then to add a whole new way of life like living on public land can be too much for some people. My goal is that they can come here and ease into the transition. As they discover the problems I can offer solutions that I have found and often I actually have what they need. As I write this a new friend is borrowing my 90 watt suitcase solar panel and another is charging her laptop off the solar system in my van. Another friend found her dark van was too hot so she was glad I had an 8 feet step-ladder she could borrow to paint the roof white. With all the sincerity I have, I say to everyone reading this post that YOU are welcome in my camp. All that I know and nearly all I have is available to you (there are some limits!). I want nothing in return from you except that you live your best possible life and you help others as you get the chance.

    Tribe-RTR-Seminar

    A seminar at Winter RTR 2012. Quartzsite, AZ

  2. My second goal is to create friendships and bonds between vandwellers. We all need to know we are not alone, that we have a friend who understands us and is ready to stand by us when we need them. We need someone who has our back. I want that for each of you! I meet most people at the Winter RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) which is a wonderful time for all. Unfortunately, it is such a busy and hectic time for me that I don’t really get to know you then. I am just constantly on the go and I can’t really connect with people very well. I feel bad it is that way, but I think most people understand. So my goal is that everyone come and make deep, lifelong friendships with the people they meet there, even if it is not me. That is something I see over and over again. They come to a gathering and make friends and gain the confidence to go out on their own. My goal is to establish loose connections with many people and to facilitate their making life-changing bonds with others.

Right now there is a group of my friends over near Sedona. I haven’t seen them since they got there but I feel just as connected to them. Our connections run unusually deep; they aren’t fragile. We can go a long time without seeing each other and then pick up right where we left off as if no time had passed at all. Each of us knows we have a friend who has our back!

Tribe_Xmas-group2

Christmas can be an especially lonely time for many vandwellers. About 15 of us gathered for Christmas dinner 2012. Steve put on a great feast! Ehrenberg, AZ

If you come to the Summer RTR or to my camp, I can make stronger connections with you because there are less of you and I am not as busy. Coming up on June 18 through July 2 will be the 2nd annual Summer RTR. It will be a small group with lots of time to relax and play and to get to know some really great people. We will be camped in a National Forest very close to Flagstaff, Az. We will be within an easy afternoon drive of two of the most beautiful places in the world, Sedona, AZ and Grand Canyon National Park. If you haven’t seen either of them, it’s worth the trip all by itself just to see them.

Come for a day, a week, a month, a season, or the rest of your life! However long you stay, and whatever you drive or live in, you will be welcomed! If you are still in a house, you are invited to camp in your tent. Everyone is welcome from people living in their tiny cars, vans or gigantic RVs Here are some things you need to know:

  • Because I do not want to have problems with the 14 day camping rule in the National Forests, I can’t give you the exact location till the last minute. Head toward Flagstaff and I will post a map on my blog a day or two before it officially begins. In the meantime, there is always a map to my current camp so you can join us there and we will move to the RTR location as a group.
  • No permits are required.
  • Dogs are welcome; they need to be under your control.
  • Nothing will be provided! Everything you need, you need to bring with you. There will be no water, showers, plumbing or trash disposal
  • Flagstaff is a large town with everything you could need and I expect it to be about 15 miles away or less.
  • It’s all free, there is no charge.
  • We will have internet and cell phone coverage if you have Verizon.
  • The weather should be great. But come prepared for cool nights, hot days and rain just in case. Come prepared for insects as well. The Arizona sun can quickly burn you to a crisp so a hat and sunscreen are almost mandatory.
  • Chances are very good we will be under a fire-ban and can not have camp fires.

So there you have it, if you are looking for like-minded, good people to be your vandwelling friends, come to the Summer RTR. I think you will be very glad you did!!

Tribe-Thanksgiving_2012

I’m thankful for so many good friends (and Steve’s cooking)! Thanksgiving feast, November 2012. Ehrenberg, AZ

Tribe-Walk-Evening

The only thing better than a walk in beautiful nature is doing it with good friends! Quartzsite, AZ January 2013

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!

62 comments on “Join the Vandwelling Tribe! Summer RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous)
  1. Avatar Sam says:

    You didn’t tell everyone that you are a no-account, worthless, lazy, good-for-nothing bum!!!!!

    Heck the only reason Homer hangs around is because he feels sorry for you (he personally told me).

    Sorry I can’t make the summer RTR, someone really needs to but you in your place.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Sam, don’t mince words now!! I’m sorry you can’t make the Summer RTR, but at least tell me you can make it next January in Quartzsite. Two years without you is just too much! There are lots of beds to built and seats to be turned! And Homer misses you!
      Bob

  2. Avatar Kim says:

    Watch out – Bob will make you wear a name tag! :-}
    Kim recently posted…Mt. RushmoreMy Profile

  3. Avatar Steve says:

    To paraphrase Groucho, I wouldn’t belong to any tribe that would have me as a member. I don’t enjoy people. In fact, the reason I am looking forward to vandwelling is to get away from people as much as possible. I will love the solitude.

    So it’s all a grand idea for nearly most and I wish you luck, but it’s not for this kid at all. It would be very uncomfortable.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Steve, we represent the whole gamut of people from hermits to those who need lots of people. There is room for everyone!! But it doesn’t have to be either or. In the Sierras we had some friends that camped about 2 miles away and we stayed very loosely in touch. Maybe we would see them every week or two, maybe less. But they knew we were here and if they needed anything we were always available to them. Every so often we would get together for something and it was a great time for all.

      It’s a wonderful thing to know there is someone there for you and they don’t want anything in return and will never crowd you.

      But, there are people for whom even that is too much and that’s just fine!!
      Bob

  4. Avatar Ryan says:

    Bob… I was just about to email you for more details about the summer RTR but this last blog post pretty much summed it up. 🙂
    The wife and I are new to “living on the road” with our skoolie conversion and currently we are a little south of you in Dewey. (Our hometown is Prescott)
    Come hell or high water we will be at the summer RTR! (and the winter RTR of course) Both the wife and I are clamoring to meet some like minded folks. 🙂
    I will email you when we are ready to get back on the road and head north…. maybe we can join the tribe before RTR.

    Looking forward to meeting you and the other fellow travelers. Take care – Ryan

    • Bob Bob says:

      Ryan, I really like skoolie conversions so I’m really looking forward to seeing yours! Hopefully you can make it before then. Next week I expect us to move to around Williams (on I 40) until the RTR, then we will move to the location of the RTR near Flagstaff. I will have a map posted here whenever we move. So we won’t be very far away and I’m really looking forward to meeting you!
      Bob

  5. Avatar Dick says:

    Mornin ya’ll, I have been itchin ta meet up with ya’ll for some time now and at best, hope to make it to the RTR this winter, we’ll see, got lots 0 chores an situations to work out. I have for the last year or so been replacing parts on my ole van fo the purpose of meeting up with all the nomads round the country, so, hopefully will see some of ya’ll this winter.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Dick, I sure hope you can make it!. Life just seems to keep getting in our way doesn’t it? But it’s all good just the way it is!
      Bob

  6. The book “Tribes” by Seth Godin in an excellent read. It applies to all people, well almost.

    Another great post BOB! Maybe this will be the year to meet some of you in person.
    Martin Hamilton recently posted…Tips To Burn Calories By WalkingMy Profile

  7. Avatar rick says:

    Eastern USA van-ies rise up and be counted. We need an eastern Bob to lead us into the promised land. I so want to go to experience this RTR I’ve read so much about. Alas, I live in MA and the gas to Az is moo-ie to much cash-ola. Interesting that I can fly there for like $250 however to drive it would be like a gazillion dollars.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Rick, how about you! Can you host a gathering in Mass somewhere? There must be National Forest land you could meet on. I know there was dispersed camping in the National Forests around the White Mountains in New Hampshire when I was there, and that is an incredibly beautiful place. Plan it for this fall and I bet you would get lots of leaf-peepers! of course the traffic then is terrible!

      I just checked the U-Haul website and you can rent a cargo van for a week (pick-up and drop off in Quartzsite, AZ) and drive it 100 miles (that’s enough) will cost $140 total. Add an airline ticket for $250 and spending a week at the RTR costs around $400 I’ll pick you up and drop you off at the airport and loan you a sleeping pad and sleeping bag and a stove, pots-pans. If you can meet someone here to split the cost of the van, that will save you $70. If you have the money and can get the time off work, that is absolutely doable!!

      http://www.uhaul.com/reservations/RatesTrucks.aspx

      That’s got me thinking, I could do the same in reverse. If someone would do the leg work on the East Coast, I could fly in, rent a cargo van and join you for an official East Coast RTR! All that is involved is to find the dispersed camping site, answering emails, and picking me up at the airport. Not all that hard.

      Anyone interested!
      Bob

    • Avatar Denny says:

      Rick I travel regularly to both coasts following the seasons. My East coast time is mostly spent around South Carolina…if you were inclined, I may be able to help you with hosting an RTR.

      I can’t commit without knowing when and where you’d like to have it. My time is pretty flexible generally speaking, but I do have a couple of friends on both coasts that I help out when in those areas…they both maintain honey-do lists. I try to make it to both locations at least twice a year, and yes….I do spend a lot of money on gas.

      Let me know if you’d like to consider it.
      Denny

      • Bob Bob says:

        Denny, I’m not sure who you are writing to, but if you are writing to me, I am interested. If you are talking to me, you can email me at [email protected].
        Bob

        • Avatar Andrea says:

          I live in North Carolina and am camping in Vermont the second half of July. While there we will check out two supposedly free dispursed camping areas – one around Grout Pond and the other just past Woodford State Park.

          I don’t know if any further Eastern RTR plans have been made, but I am happy to help you all out with that in any way that I can – just let me know. My email is [email protected]

          • Bob Bob says:

            Andrea, I would love to put together an East Coast RTR, but the logistics of it have been too difficult for me. I’ve figured out how I can do it but I would like to combine it with a trip to see my mom in Florida. So I am looking for someone to help me figure out how to do one in Florida in March. If you think you can help me, I would love to hear from you!
            Bob

  8. Avatar Laughing Richard says:

    Bob,
    It sounds like a great life that you’re living and I’m looking forward to doing the same real soon. I’m a bit of an introvert/hermit. Sometimes I enjoy being around a few people and sometimes I just want to be left alone. But I have to admit that it’s nice to know that someone else is not too far away if I should need any help. The way you have described vandwelling in this blog article makes it sound very appealing. A group of like minded people that share and at the same time give each other the space they need.

    I’m still overseas for one more week then hope everything falls into place to make it at least for the last few days of the RTR.
    Fingers crossed. Looking forward to meeting you and everyone else.
    Richard

    • Bob Bob says:

      Richard, i am something of an introvert/hermit myself, and I can assure you it can work. But, there is no where to work here on public land so you have to have an income without a job. I think if you are really frugal you can get by as a campground host in the summer and drawing unemployment in the winter.

      it’s the perfect life for me!!
      Bob

  9. Avatar FRANK says:

    Bob, do you think you might be able to make the photos that you take appear much bigger when one clicks on it.
    That would be soo cool, since the photos you take are also soo cool.

    I like the vehicles and nature photos you take, just an idea of course, just don’t charge me any gold dust for it. Joke!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Frank, I think I can, but that will mean making them higher resolution which would probably slow the site down. Uploading more pixels takes longer. But, if I load them at a higher resolution then shrink them down to display on the page that might work. Then when you click on them it will only be slower while it is loading that one picture. I can do an experiment and try it. Not this post but the one after it I will load a higher-res photo and tell you to check it out.

      Okay, I won’t charge you this time, but next time I will have to!!
      Bob

      • Avatar Mara Alexander says:

        I may have a way to fix that so everyone’s happy 🙂

      • Avatar Dazar says:

        You can make the smaller pics like thumbnails, that link to larger pictures…so only those who wish to see larger pictures will have to load them when they click.
        Dazar recently posted…Floor Matters…My Profile

        • Bob Bob says:

          While i know you are right Dazar, I am not a fan of thumbnails. I prefer to be able to see the picture without having to go to another page. I upload them at a fairly low resolution to speed things up. I can upload then at a higher resolution and then just shrink them to the right size for the blog. I’ll give that a try and see if it affects the speed too much.

          But thanks for the suggestion, I appreciate it.
          Bob

  10. Avatar Diane Overcash says:

    I was hoping to make it to the summer RTR, but not this year. I still need to work a little while longer. I’m cramming all the east coast experiences in so I will be ready to make the permanent move to the West.
    I’m practicing living in my ambulance, so I can get all the bugs worked out. Looking forward to meeting up with you folks at a future date.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Diane, sometimes we just have to wait patiently for everything to fall into place. Generally, everything works out just the way it should!! It sounds like you are taking full advantage of the delay!!

      I’m really looking forward to meeting you and checking out your ambulance!! Hopefully I will see you soon!
      Bob

  11. Bob, the Thanksgiving Feast 2012 was in Quartzsite… my table cloth, me in the photo in my blue chair… it was Quartzsite.
    You check the blooms on the Agave plant again???? Hope you get a photo.
    Charlene Swankie recently posted…Agave… the Century PlantMy Profile

  12. Dick… as in Cuz???? Really, you finally gonna get your butt our West here???? I sure hope so. I gotta see what you have done to the van… and meet the pup.
    Charlene Swankie recently posted…Agave… the Century PlantMy Profile

  13. Avatar Nemo says:

    to confirm Bob, fire restrictions in place statewide 🙂
    Stage I Fire Restrictions
    Southwest Area (AZ, NM, OK, TX)
    The following acts are prohibited until further notice:
    Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove other than in a developed campsite or picnic area listed in the order.

    Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site/improved site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

    For Tonto National Forest administered lands under Stage I Restrictions, Discharging a firearm except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations.

    Note: each agency/tribe must cite their actual regulations/laws; therefore the wording for the prohibition may be slightly different. Exemptions may vary according to specific agency laws and regulations.

    Stage I Exemptions:
    Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.

    Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.

    Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.

    Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

    All land within a city boundary is exempted unless otherwise stated in city ordinance.

    Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe.

    An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity.

    Baseline Restrictions:
    Fireworks and incendiary devices are never allowed on federal public lands.
    National Parks, Monuments, and Wildlife Refuges host year round fire restrictions. Contact the National Park you plan to visit for specific restrictions.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Nemo, that is always good info to have. It has been hot, dry and windy here. That’s a combination that adds up to extreme fire danger! Fortunatley I rarely build fires so it won’t be missed by me. Plus, that means I don’t have to gather firewood for the RTR. The lazy side of me loves that!!

      Any chance you can make it. We aren’t that far away! If not, I plan to get over your way later in the summer.
      Bob

  14. Avatar Suzann S. says:

    Once gain, you’ve posted great info and wet my appetite even more for van dwelling. This week the center seats will be removed from my van. Later today I find out if I’ve landed a part time night shift job so I can raise cash to get on the road. Bit by bit the dream is taking shape! I love your attitude toward people in general and your willingness to share your knowledge. Never, ever doubt that your efforts are not appreciated. I already consider you family, even though we’ve never met. After reading your blog for awhile & seeing it evolve, I know there is at least ONE other crazy, independent, strong-willed person in this world! LOL Best wishes for the Summer RTR.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Suzann, every time I read the comments that confirms to me there are lots of crazy, independent, strong-willed people in my little world! I am so glad you are one of them. 99% of the time when people come into camp, it does feel like family!

      I’m sorry you had to add a night shift job, but I will be very glad if it moves you closer to your dreams coming true!
      Bob

  15. Avatar Bodhi says:

    I would love to see your conversion. Looking for a mobile groomer here. Love the NVs!

  16. Avatar CAE says:

    Any nice lakes near the Sierra location?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Cae, just one of the prettiest lakes I have ever seen! We could leave camp and in 10 minutes be parked on the sandy beach of Shaver lake, one of my favorite places anywhere! We had a friend join us, and every day of the summer she drove to the lake and spent the whole day there swimming and lounging. If you want to see some photos here is a post I did of the lake:
      http://cheaprvlivingblog.com/2012/09/fun-at-the-beach/

      Bob

  17. Avatar Diane says:

    I really enjoy and look forward to reading your posts (and the comments) I should be able to join you all for a week or two this summer 🙂

    • Bob Bob says:

      That would be wonderful Diane, I love meeting new people and learning form them! I’ve never met anybody I didn’t learn something from them. but only a week or two, that’s not enough!!

      Hopefully see you soon!
      Bob

  18. Avatar Diane says:

    I will be converting my Nissan NV to use for mobile grooming (small dogs) in the front half and sleeping area in the back half of the van. I am anxious to see how each of you have configured your vans.
    Diane recently posted…Join the Vandwelling Tribe! Summer RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous)My Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Diane, I think that is a really good idea! I think you could keep very busy in Quartzsite with a mobile dog grooming business. There are about a MILLION RV snowbirds that gather there in the winter and the majority of them have small dogs. Once you build some word of mouth business it could really boom!

      The Nissan NV should be perfect too! How long is it from the back seats to the back doors?
      Bob

  19. Avatar Mara Alexander says:

    “The truth is that very few of us are actually hermits, we like people, we just want a limited number of them and when they are around, we still like our privacy and boundaries.”

    Yes!!!

    Since I had to move back to civilization (to take care of some family for a bit), I’ve watched the craziness in this town (suburbs of a larger city) that happens when too many humans are living in too small an area. One day when I was driving it dawned on me…it’s like when you cage up animals, with too many in the cage. Once docile social animals become mean and angry, simply because they don’t have enough personal space.

    This is just one humans’ opinion, but I really don’t think humans were meant to live in suburbs and large sprawling cities.

    Small communities, where there’s enough people to help and share and yet allow for personal space (both physically and mentally), small enough so that people can know their neighbor but enough space so you’re not “up in each others’ business”, seems like a much better way to live.

    I think it’s also a little bit like the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder. When I lived on the outskirts of the foothills, and had to “go into town” to do shopping and such, I looked forward to seeing people, for a little socializing, but on my own terms.

    My family has called me a hermit for years, because I’m perfectly content alone for long stretches of time.

    • Bob Bob says:

      mara, I couldn’t agree more. And I can totally relate to absence making the heart grow fonder. I could no more live in a city than I can fly to the moon, but after being out of them for awhile I really get a hankering to visit one again. Not big cities though, I can’t handle them unless I just have to. Mid-sized towns are nice though.

      family comes first, and you have to take care of them, hopefully you can get back on the road sooner than later.
      Bob

  20. Avatar Rob says:

    Bob,
    Thanks for all of your help you gave me! I’ve decided on what I’m doing and going to do about the RV issues so that I can get back on the road. I’ll not be able to make the RTR this year but plan and hope to next time 🙂 I’m looking forward to meeting you and anyone else this July.
    I’m looking forward to getting back on the road again and enjoying myself. I don’t have other transportation but saw the motorized bike on you site and thought “hummm, that would work for me” so I’m going to look into getting one in the near future.
    I’m looking forward to learning more about full time RVing and traveling.
    Thanks again and will see you in July!
    Rob

    • Bob Bob says:

      You are very welcome Rob! You can get the motor kits to mount on your own bike at a pretty good price. But they can be tricky to mount, you need to be pretty handy to get them set-up. But they are really cool once done! You can easily get 100 mpg and ride along at 20 mph.
      See you soon!Bob

  21. Avatar Diane says:

    Bob, my NV measures 10 feet from the back of the seats to the rear door and 70″ from side to side. I plan to order an RV tub and build the stand and surround. I doubt solar could support the force air dryer, so I plan to use my Honda 2,000 Watt generator. I like the idea of a 90 Watt solar set up to charge smaller items (laptop etc). I am getting lots of ideas from your blog and all the creative, wonderful folks that contribute.
    Bodhi – I hope to see/meet you at the Summer RTR.
    Diane recently posted…Livin LargeMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Diane, it sounds like you have a great plan. Would you consider doing a guest post on your conversion? I’m sure you could inspire others to look for ways to work out of their vans. Really all you have to do is take lots of pictures and give some explanation of them. I’m sure you are busy and i will understand if you don’t have time.
      Thanks, Bob

      • Avatar Diane says:

        I would love to share my conversion with you all. I plan to begin work on the van in about a week, I will take several before and after photos. I am excited to see if I can translate the vision in my mind into my dream work/camp van 🙂
        Diane recently posted…Livin LargeMy Profile

        • Bob Bob says:

          Diane, 10 feet is not much space, if you set aside 5 feet for the dog grooming that only leaves you 5 left. I lived in a homebuilt truck shell for 3 years and I loved it. But it was 7 feet long (the length of the pickup bed). So I know that can be comfortable. I would think the key thing is to use vertical space with tall shelf units and cabinets. I am VERY interested to see what you come up with!! One thing I did is to hang a hammock across above the bed and use it to store soft items like clothes, bedding, winter gear; anything that wouldn’t hurt me if I hit my head on it.

          If you have a diagram of your tentative floorpplan and can email it to me, I would love to see it! If there is anything I can do to help, feel free to ask.
          Bob

          • Avatar Diane says:

            I am unemployed 2 months each year (I work for a school district) Tomorrow is my last day for this school year and I am chomping at the bit to start working on my van. There is a good chance that it won;t be finished before the RTR, but, I would be happy to show ya the progress to that point. If it turns out to be too cramped, plan B would be to buy a small travel trailer or convert a small cargo trailer into a living space. I am “dipping my toes in the water” this summer to the concept of this beautiful concept of a gypsy lifestyle. Excited to exchange ideas & stories with you and the rest that make it to the RTR.
            Diane recently posted…Review of the Prescott CampMy Profile

          • Bob Bob says:

            Diane, I am really looking forward to seeing your van however far you get!I’m sure you know I tow a converted cargo trailer with my van and I consider that to be a great combination. I think you’re doing this just right. Get the van ready to live in and then try it out. Actually I think it would be better if the van wasn’t done before the RTR because you will learn a lot about what you really want and need by spending time in it.
            Bob

  22. Avatar David says:

    Thanks for this post Bob. Have been looking forward to being at an RTR. Wanted to make it this winter, but still had kinks to work out of my Van. Will be leaving around the 12th, so will have plenty of time for the drive from New Hampshire. I think my Van wants to hit the road as much as I do, after having taken a year off. Hope to see you there.

  23. Avatar Ryan says:

    Bob,
    Roughly what is your next move after Flagstaff? Colorado maybe? The wife and I are just trying to loosely plan our summer migration a bit. Thanks, Ryan

    • Bob Bob says:

      Ryan, I honestly don’t have a clue. Several of the people I travel with are on such tight budgets that as of now we plan to stay in Arizona for the whole year. We will stay around Flagstaff for as long as we can but I understand there is such strict enforcement of the 14 day rule that we will probably move over to the Mogollon Rim area around Show Low or Payson. I think we can find a spot there where we can just sit for longer. We can also get higher elevation over there up to 8000 feet so it will be a little cooler.

      I am planning on leaving the trailer in camp and take 2-5 day trips in the van into Colorado and later in the fall into Utah. That way they can save on gas and I can get to explore. Tentatively, next summer (2014) may be a year for big travel plans, but not this year.

      You know you are welcome to join us for however long works for you!
      Bob

      • Avatar Ryan says:

        Bob,
        I completely understand the tight budget issue. We are in the same boat. In fact I gotta pick up a few months of work here soon to help rebuild the war chest.
        Moving over to the Rim sounds pretty reasonable. Are the 14 day limits a little more lackadaisical over there?
        Your idea about leaving the trailer behind and using the van for shorter trips makes total sense. If I can get our land rover running before summer RTR I think we may do the same. Abandon the bus somewhere and just camp out of our truck for a little while.
        We’ll see you at the summer RTR and maybe beyond. Take care. Ryan

        • Bob Bob says:

          Ryan, when it is 115 degrees in Phoenix (its supposed to heat 108 this weekend!) people flood out of there and head for the mountains in the shortest and easiest path possible, and that means taking I 17 to Flagstaff. Add the fact that it is the gateway to the Grand Canyon and it is right where the I 17 hits the I 40 and it is a very, very busy Forest. My understanding is that it has very strict enforcement of the 14 day rule and the limits to how far off-road you can park.

          The Mogollon Rim is much more out of the way and a larger area so it is my understanding you are much less likely to see rangers. Plus you can get higher, I think up to 8000 feet. So i expect to head over there sometime this summer.

          Driving that bus everywhere must burn a lot of gas, so taking road trips in the Land Rover just makes sense! All you need is a tent and sleeping pads. that’s why I like pulling my trailer with the van. I have two complete homes and two complete solar systems.
          Bob

  24. Avatar Tammie Parrish Miller says:

    Hello Bob! Not sure this is still a valid email address, but trying to find out about the summer RTR. I saw a comment that mentioned a summer gathering but I didn’t know it was an actual RTR. I’m excited to hear that I might not have to wait until 2018 for this awesome event!Please at your convenience. Send me the available info about this summer’s RTR so I can start planning my getaway! I hopefully will be able to pull it together to be there and to finally meet you!

  25. Avatar KimBee says:

    Hi Bob, Ive been watching yr videos on utube
    Very informative thankyou
    IM seachung for a campervan,
    Id LOVE to get to An RTR as soon as Summer 2018
    Wish me luck
    AND pls tell me how to join up. T.y.

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