During the second week of January, I moved from the LTVA over to the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous gathering. Every year, like-minded nomads gather in Quartzsite to share experiences, learn new things about living and traveling on the road, and see friends – old and new.
Most of the seminars at the RTR are geared for people just starting out in this lifestyle, so after doing this for the last five years, I didn’t learn a lot that was new to me. Many travelers new to this way of full-time mobile living – especially solo women – find comfort and safety in traveling with a group of like-minded individuals. It is normal – and I guess healthy – to have a little apprehension in this world of ours, and to join with other people and travel with them is a good way to start this adventure.
The main objective of the meeting is not so much to learn how to live on the road as it is to just make friends. Everyone’s lifestyle is so unique that the only way to figure out how to do this is to just go do it. You can get tips from those that have been full-timing for years, but how they do things may be completely different from what is important to you. I went to the rally to say hi to several people I have met during my travels the last few years.
Each year the RTR gets bigger. There were estimates of 500 people there this year – more than double the number that showed up last year. I don’t enjoy large crowds. It seemed to me that the people were different and not as easy to meet this year. I guess the bigger the crowd the easier it is to stay by yourself. It probably is more me than them. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are 1000 people that show up here next year. I will not be one of them.
With so many people gathered together there are bound to be disagreements. On the second day there was a disagreement over playing music in the evening. Some wanted to play loud music around their camps and others didn’t want to hear it. The music players were consequently bannished to the DMZ (Designated Music Zone) two washes over. There were other squabbles about picking up dog poop, smoking, and toilet paper in the washes from those that came in tents unprepared for taking care of their waste. But mostly everyone got along well.
On one warm, sunny afternoon, my friend Todd and I went to town to browse the booths that crowd the streets of Quartzsite this time of year. It’s all the same from year to year but it is kind of fun to wander the shops a time or two. I bought a large spoon with holes in it that I will use to strain pasta, a jar of raw honey, and a new outdoor rug for the front of Minnie. Just a warning for those coming to Q. They have increased their police force and are handing out more tickets. They probably figure they need money from all the tourist in town as much as the shops do.
I’m now back at the LTVA waiting out a stretch of rainy weather. Donna is planning on joining me in a few days. We will try to visit some of the bloggers she has met online and then go to the Big Tent extravaganza. Richard and Dianna are driving up from Yuma to join us. Then we are planning to drive to Yuma to camp with Richard and Dianna and make a trip to Mexico for dental and drugs. Let’s hope we can get out of Mexico before we sever all trade across the border.