Plan Now to Join us for RTR 2017 in Quartzsite, Arizona

Another beautiful sunset over another beautiful RTR.

Another beautiful sunset over another beautiful RTR.

It’s the final weekend of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous 2016 and things are finally winding down for all of us, but especially for me. I keep VERY busy during these two weeks but I’m going to have to say that I’ve enjoyed this one more than any other we’ve ever had–even though it is by far the biggest.

We had a big crows at the Gadget Seminar. It's a Show-and-Tell of your favorite gadgets.

We had a big crowd at the Gadget Seminar. It’s a Show-and-Tell of your favorite gadgets.

CB demonstrating his favorite gadget, a tiny 500 watt inverter generator he uses to charge his batteries when he doesn't have enough solar.

CB demonstrating his favorite gadget, a tiny 500 watt inverter generator he uses to charge his batteries when he doesn’t have enough solar.

I mainly attribute the wonderful time I’m having this year to the wonderful summer I spent totally alone and exploring nature. That was the very first time since I’ve been on the road in the last 7 years that’s happened. The summers of 2008-2011 I worked as a campground host. The summers of 2012 and 2013 I hosted summer RTR’s which were full of new people and friends around me constantly. Summer 2014 was spent with many other people and driving to Alaska with my girlfriend. So 2015 was my first real solitude in a very long time, and it turns out I must have it for my mental health. As much as I’d like to have summer RTR’s, I can see now that it just can’t happen. The winter RTR is so essential it must continue and for it to go on I must have summer’s alone to recharge my batteries. That means no summer RTR’s.

We had a small-car living class where the owners of three Toyota Prius's and Toyota Highlander Hybrids talk abut living in or spending months at a time their cars.

We had a small-car living class where the owners of four Toyota Prius’s and one Toyota Highlander Hybrid talked about living in, or spending months at a time,  in their cars.

I time the RTR around the Big Tent RV Show for two reasons, 1) it’s a lot of fun to go into it and see the crowds and all the “stuff” for sale, and 2) it’s pretty easy for us to get a job. There will be numerous companies hiring there for summer jobs such as a campground host in the National Forests. There will also be booths representing the Sugar Beet Harvest and Amazon hiring for the 2016 season. So the three main jobs that apply to full-time Nomads are all there, giving us all a great opportunity to make enough money in a few months to live without working for a long time. How sweet is that!

The Big Tent Show really is in a great, big tent!

The Big Tent Show really is in a great, big tent!

Many members of the RTR got jobs the first day of the Big Tent Show!

Many members of the RTR got jobs the first day of the Big Tent Show!

The seminars have been very well received this year and I think a lot of people new to the life have gained a sold base to build a future nomadic life on. I remember all too well when I first started out how new and frightening everything was. There was a very steep learning curve to nearly aspect of our normal lives. The every-day things we take for granted in a stick-n-brick house were suddenly a challenge. Things like cooking, cleaning, refrigeration, going to the bathroom, bathing, even where to live were suddenly totally unfamiliar.

Karen leading a class on how to create your own map of your travels anyone can use on Google.

Karen leading a class on how to create an online Google map of your travels anyone can use.

Moving into a car, van or RV can be very disorienting so one of the main goals of the RTR is to give you a safe place to learn among friends all these new and unfamiliar skills. I intend the Seminars to lay out the basics as simply as possible, but there is nothing that can help as much as asking your neighbor how they do something and he stops and takes the time to demonstrate it for you. She’ll probably go on to tell you how she first started out doing it and what was wrong with it and how it evolved to work better.

Randy Vining leading a Question and answer seminar .

Randy Vining leading a Question and answer seminar .

In that simple 10 minute conversation you may have been spared months of frustration while you went through the same trial-and-error process of solving what used to be a very simple problem. Even better, you probably made a friend  for life who will become your greatest treasure on this earth!

Peter taste-testing his soup creation making sure it is perfect--it was!! Another incredible meal at RTR 2016.

Peter taste-testing his soup masterpiece, making sure it is perfect–it was!! Another incredible meal at RTR 2016.


Every night people start to gather around the campfire at sunset. By dark it’s a huge crowd.

Every night people start to gather around the campfire at sunset. By dark it’s a huge crowd.

Of course a great life is built on smiles, fun and laughter and there is no shortage of that here!! Everywhere in camp there are groups of people laughing and joking having a great time! Friendships are forged that will endure time and distance; we may not see each other for another year, but when we do  it will be like we were never apart. Nearly every nomad I’ve ever talked to said they had more friends as a nomad than they ever did living in a house, not only that, but they were deeper friendships than they ever had before. You can too!

If you start right now, you can join us and be a nomad in a year! For a few there are circumstances that won’t allow it, but for everyone else, all that’s lacking is the will.  All it takes is a commitment of your will to make it happen. Here’s a step-by-step guide to how you can do it:

  1. Start getting rid of your clutter and extra stuff. Sell all of it you can for as much as you can and put the money into a savings account towards buying a van and building an emergency fund. Everything that you can’t sell or live without goes to a thrift store or to the dump. If you have the money you may want to keep a storage unit, but everyone I know soon regretted it.
  2. Stop buying any new things unless they are a direct requirement of your new nomadic life. Try to avoid buying brand new things, instead, watch garage sales and thrift stores for the camping items you’ll need–you can save a lot of money that way.
  3. Be reading about which vehicle will serve you best and what you can afford and decide what it will be.
  4. Once you decide on a vehicle home, start reading and learning about how you can cheaply convert it to live in. Also, scour every source for a deal on a vehicle like you want. You never know when a super deal will pop up and you want to be watching and ready for it. Great deals sell fast so be alert and watching.
  5. Start practicing living and taking trips in whatever vehicle you own right now.  If you have a car, find a way to make a bed and sleep one night a week in it in your driveway. Once you master that start taking weekend camping trips in it. Starting with campgrounds so you feel safer and then branching out to dispersed camping and stealth camping in cities.
  6. As problems pop up (privacy, heat, cooking, storage, organization, etc.) go online and find solutions–there is a solution for every problem! Nearly everything you learn in a car can apply to something bigger and it will give you an idea of what it’s really like to live in a tiny space. If you later move into a van, it will feel like a mansion!
  7. If at all possible, as soon as you can, get out of your house or apartment and start living in your car or van while you continue to work. That way you can pay the monthly house payment to yourself and you can be the Lord of your own life. Save all that money toward your emergency and travel fund. The emergency fund always come first.

I know this all seems like really radical suggestions, but I honestly believe that even if you try it for a year, and then decide the nomadic life isn’t for you, you’ll still be glad you did it. Here’s why:

  1. You will have created great memories of a year of adventure. Great memories are how you make a great life.
  2. You’ll have spent time camping and being in  nature and that’s essential for your mental, emotional and physical health.
  3. You will have broken away from the tyranny of consumerism and embraced a simple, even minimal life. That alone will radically improve your life.

I firmly believe you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so what’s holding  you back? All you need to do is make a decision and start taking small actions every day–before you know it, you’ll be a nomad, living wild and free, drinking deeply of all the best that life has to offer.

See you next year at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, January 2017 in Quartzsite, Arizona!

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

See our second video from the RTR here:

If the video doesn’t appear above, click or cut and paste this link:


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.



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

33 comments on “Plan Now to Join us for RTR 2017 in Quartzsite, Arizona
  1. Jeff Johnston says:

    Bob,Im enjoying your website as usual. Its the first thing I open when I receive e mails.Just curious, of all the gadgets people possess were there any that were “inventions” that people created or deviations from a gadget that was reworked or modified ? Thanks, Jeff, the snowbird in Fla.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jeff, there was one totally new and creative idea I saw, but he had already left before the gadget seminar. I shot a video of it to come out in the future. It was a home-built super-insulated cooler. Very simple but very ingenius. C

      There was another bed I had never seen before and I shot a video of it.

      And a school bus with a woodstove, I’ve also got a video of it.

  2. David Swanson says:

    Superb synopsis Bob, I’m sharing it with all my friends and family! In my 18 months of Prius only sleeping and happy living, if there one thing I’ve learned it’s that I will never stop learning about this life style. For me, the RTR has been an invaluable and amazing distillation of old and new knowledge. Thanks so much for making this happen Bob, I’ll be back!

    • Bob Bob says:

      David, it was great to have you hear, it’s my pleasure to see people’s eyes open up to new ideas and make new friends. It’s all good!

  3. Cae says:

    I’d love to see a review of the gadget talks. Keep up the great work

  4. Mary Price says:

    Thank you so much for this info. I have been living in my car with a 9×13 tent since May. I have had some Indiana Jones Experiences but have made it thru with help from all the wonderful campers that are out here. One question, do I need to sign up somewhere to go to the RTR or just show up and what month is generally the best time to go.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Hi Mary, there are no fees or sign up for the RTR. You just come in and camp. It’s always the middle two weeks of January but it changes every year by a few days.

      See you next year!

  5. Walt says:

    Although I have to wait for my wife to decide to retire before I can join the nomadic life, I might have to see if I can at least talk her into letting me come down for next year’s RTR. It sounds like a great time, and the timing might just be perfect as it will take place a month or so after I turn 60. I am curious as to whether you have many vegans show up. Thanks.
    Walt recently posted…#202 – Just Like Herding CatsMy Profile

    • Linda Sand says:

      I’m not Bob so should probably not be answering this but I do remember them making one pot of chili/soup with no meat in it for those who prefer not to eat meat. Since the chili/soup dinners are the only joint meals you’d be on your own for the rest of them unless you meet other vegans and decide to have your own small gatherings.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Walt, it would be great if you could make it. We always have a few vegetarians and we make vegetarian meals at the dinners, but we don’t have many vegans and don’t prepare vegan meals.

  6. Gary says:

    Thanks Bob,looks like everyone had a wonderful time, i will plan to be at RTR 2017 my friend,really looking forward to meeting you. 🙂


  7. Gary S says:

    Thanks Bob,looks like everyone had a wonderful time, i will plan to be at RTR 2017 my friend,really looking forward to meeting you. 🙂

  8. Cathy (SnowGypsy) says:

    As one who was watching from afar and thinking that could be me next year, this is a very timely article.

  9. joe says:

    Glad you enjoyed another rtr all those folks seem like a good time to be with some time I will get there to enjoy take care

  10. Willy says:

    Bob, Although I was only able to attend one day of the RTR I was able to find some new places to camp in the area from my camp next door.I also met some great folks around the campfire.Thanks for doing this and I hope to attend next year and be able to spend more time.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Willy, I’m glad it worked out for at least one day and you got to some value out of it. Hopefully next year you can stay longer. See you then!

  11. Ed says:

    Hi, I’m interested in attending RTR 2017! Wonder about freezing pipes and what to prevent it? Also how to register? Thanks

  12. Thomas McFeely says:

    Hi I’d like to attend but there doesn’t seem to be a date posted anywhere thanks if someone can tell me.

  13. Ron says:

    Really enjoy site! Do you have many buy cheap rv fixer uppers at your gathering? We’ve done two and would love to talk about it. We’ve been living the good life for 4 years

  14. Bob, I encountered a woman who talked about going to the RTR in Scaddan, WA this year (2017). Is this correct information?

  15. Brooke Northrup says:

    When is the Winter RTR happening exactly?
    California van couple trying to come for the event, any other information is much appreciated!

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