Friday, January 12, 2018


MORE THAN A THOUSAND PEOPLE GATHER IN THE DESERT NEAR QUARTZSITE AZ FOR THE 9TH RUBBER TRAMP RENDEZVOUS.  more than a gathering of hippies,  this is the spearpoint of a revolutionary shift in values.  I will say more when I've shown you a few picts.

Took this the first day--my camera can't do justice to the size of the crowd.  More than half of them are first timers.  Last year's crowd was about 400.

Stretching to the distance--new arrivals.
And looking in the other direction.

At the heart of it all is this man--Bob Wells.  A few years ago he lived in a van on the streets of Anchorage, Alaska.  He still lives in a van but he has catapulted himself to the status of guru of freedom with his writings,  you-tube reports and gatherings like this.
Learn more about him here.
From the top of my rig looking North

 My cluster of friends.
Old friends drop by 
Schedule of events.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: This happy crowd is drawn from all over America.  Every day a seminar is conducted on a topic relevant to us.  Today was Solar power. other topics include employment ideas, cooking,  Gadgets to make our lives better, camping tips and so on. I usually do a presentation on group wisdom we call a tin can discussion.
Sweet people I think you are seeing the beginning of a tidal values shift ---TOWARD FREEDOM OF TIME, MOVEMENT, INTERESTS.  We  embrace simplicity, frugality and ingeneuity as tools to win that freedom.
I've said this many times so no need to repeat myself.  A thousand people assembled in this remote desert however, is tangible evidence of our determination win it.
Here's a fragment from my poem HI JOLLY RETURNS TO QUARTZSITE that says it in rhyme:

Something grand and dear is happening here
the world could not have expected:
The mobile domicile and a new lifestyle
in Quartzsite are being perfected.

The sprouting seed of a brand new breed
living simple and light and lean,
living happy and free like wild Cherokee
in cozy little living machines;

a life that is bold, with ourselves in control
and with clusters of friends in affection
reinventing the tribe , helping revive
that long lost natural connection.

Choosing sunlight's glow over ice and snow
acceptance over sorrow,
adventurous game over riches and fame
and today over iffy tomorrow.


Rob said...

A lot of people here, way more than two years ago! But the "feel" is still the same as it was two years ago.

Ed Helvey - Location Independent Traveler said...

As always, Randy, very insightful. While I totally embrace the lifestyle and love the people I meet in my travels, I have a concern that this may grow to such a point it loses some of the romance and intimate tribal feel.

This seems to already be happening in the RV arena - that only a few years ago was thought to be dwindling (one of a few times over the last several decades) due to the economy, fuel costs, etc. I had dinner last night with a woman who has been handling reservations for RV parks and resorts all over the U.S. and has been doing so through the RV reservations company she has been working for - for well over 20 years. She said RVers now have to make reservations months and sometimes as much as a year in advance for very popular destinations and often, she and her fellow reservation agents can't book the people because "there's no room in the RV inns." I've also met and talked with many folks who have been downsizing from large Class A's and 5th wheels to vans, Class B's and small TT's because it's easier to find places to stay in smaller vehicles.

So, I commend and remain a fan of Bob's with what started out 9 years ago as a small gathering to help newbies get started in this fantastic lifestyle. I just hope it doesn't reach a point where there are so many of us that we lose our welcome in so many of the places we love to travel to, meet up and enjoy. This includes BLM, COE, nat'l parks and forests and our commercial friends, who so generously allow us to use their parking lots while we are in transit from one destination to another.

I wish everyone at this year's RTR a fantastic time and event.

Live free and be happy,

VtChris said...

Hi Randy! Happy RTR rally...say "Hi" to all my friends. I opted to go to Florida this winter. Geez...what Ed said. All my favorite government spots are wicked crowded, they are even enforcing reservations at the State Hunting/Fishing and Horse Camps. This full timing off grid and simple has gotten very popular. I think it is a combination of poverty (lots of folks that are out of options) and the internet spreading the word. Definitely heading back out West next winter. See you then!

David Atkins, Jr. said...

I have not left the rent per month and thankfully 40-hour per week employment. So, while not part-time/full-time RVing, I can appreciate Ed's concern. However, until there comes a time when human resources (people) are no longer needed, for brick and motor business's, organizations, institutions, etc... keep living free. Humanity, is more than likely, be years away from the nomadic life, and when that time comes, some will have become very tribal. Hence, life goes on... I guess?

kaBLOOnie boonster said...

Let's not get carried away with romantic escapism: 'freedom of the open road' and all that. The real explanation for the growth of 'nomadism' is that normal housing has become over-inflated. The government has made it a policy for decades to turn housing into a financial investment bubble.

I would consider it progress to see the cost of housing go DOWN, not up. Then we could move the financial markets over to Bitcoin and tulip bulbs.

Cecilia said...

This is such a long dream of mine to be there and see everything for myself. Maybe one day. Thank you and greetings.

Anonymous said...

Relationships seem to be the best of things, however they occur. And good ones even more so. Poverty, new populations, lack of traditional jobs, and social media combine to make new possibilities...most of them promising IMO.

Anonymous said...

Boonster is spot on. Fully 80% of the working population can no longer survive without some form of government assistance or charity, that is, unless they opt out of the rat-slugging rent seekers and go RVing.

There is nothing new about the lifestyle, no matter what the propheteers are saying. Gypsies have been doing it for centuries. Nomads, thousands of years. Hobos, since railroads began. Mobile-homers, since trailer parks. Romanticizing the lifestyle using a camera and a YouTube channel doesn't make it new, any more than the Gutenberg Press made gypsies new.

Bottom line, cheap RVing is attractive only because it is a viable alternative to paying rent or mortgage payments. Silicon Valley geeks with hundred-thousand-dollar paychecks live in RVs because they do not want to bunk up, like migrant workers, ten in a motel room, but want to save money to one day have real freedom and satisfy some wanderlust.

A lot of the window dressing that bloggers put on RVing, which by no means at all is an easy lifestyle, is compensation for the difficulty of surviving in a world gone mad with greed. The human race is the only ransom species on Earth. Natural resources are owned & monopolized by one person, group or organization, then made available to anyone else for a ransom. The practice has become so normalized throughout history, no one gives thought to the realty that such a system is a simple variation of slavery.

And RVers want no part of it!

CGrindahl said...

Some negative takes on all of this, which is unfortunate. What I see when I follow folks pursuing the van life, trailer life or RV life is remarkably optimistic men and women like yourself Randy. Is this life always easy? No, but folks who have a bit of resilience can handle the challenges in their myriad forms. They are making lemonade rather than lamenting that all they have to drink are sour lemons. I always welcome your comments Randy. You're a wise man.

Randy said...

Thank you Mr Grindahl for your important observations which I heartily agree with. Resiliance is a quality I've not reported on enough. I urge my readers to read the classic book by Joseph Cambell--HERO OF A THOUSAND FACES in which heroes from a thousand cultures respond to the call of the wild, dare to venture out into the unknown, face dangers and uncertainties,deal with and overcome them---and in the process is transformed in many ways---(one of which is to become more reliliant). What the hero does with his new self is the climax of the story--I urge you to read for yourself.