Today was open house day at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. Since this event started they handed out green and red ribbons. If you put a red ribbon on your vehicle it means don’t approach as that person wants to be left alone. If you put a green ribbon on your vehicle it means you welcome company. Our campsite area was too far from everyone else so I didn’t bother with the ribbons. I enjoyed walking around and checking out everybody else’s vehicles that had a green ribbon for open house day today. There were people living in their cars that made a great use of their space, homemade truck campers, a log cabin on a trailer, cargo vans like mine, teardrop trailers and a cool army truck and trailer, to name a few. A friend and I went on our nightly cramp fire tour tonight handing out candy except that tonight we also brought the ingredients to make Smore’s for people. We met our campfire tour friend here and invited her to stay at our campsite area. She is 23 and just started living in her van full time. Her dad helped convert her van for her. She saved up money and plans on eventually getting a job on the road in the conservation field. I think it is pretty cool that she’s doing this so young.
This morning the nice guy in the ‘Breaking Bad’ rv and a few other campers made a group of us pancakes and cappuccino for breakfast, which is much better than the banana and instant coffee I am used to. This afternoon they had a solar seminar. This evening I met a leather tramp that wandered into the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. I am a rubber tramp because I travel in my vehicle. A leather tramp travels by foot. The leather tramp asked me where the music area was so I pointed him in the right direction and then he asked if I could just walk him there which I did and soon regreted because he was acting very eratic like he was on drugs. He told me he hitchhikes and hops trains to get where he wants to go and then just sleeps on the ground wherever he is at. He didn’t even have a tent or a blanket. I asked him his age because he looked young and he said 19, which is the same age as my son. I asked him if he keeps in contact with his parents and he said ‘yes’ but I didn’t believe him. All I could think of was how worried his parents must be because I would be if my son was doing what he is doing. He asked what I slept in and I said my van. He then asked to sleep in my van and I was like ‘no way’. He started to sleep on the ground near the group campfire so me and some other campers put down a flatened cardboard box for him to sleep on and I found a blanket from the ‘free pile’ to put over him. He kept getting candy from me all night so I put the last of my candy next to him while he was passed out. I felt bad for him and at the same time grateful that I have the son that I have.
There is part of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous called Skooliepalooza. Skoolies are former school buses converted into buses to live in. There are several owners of them camping together, including a ‘short bus’ conversion. One of the owners gave me a tour of his former school bus. It looked absolutely beautiful. There are so many different types of vehicles that people are living in here. There are the typical RVs, cargo vans converted to campers, passenger vans converted to campers, pop-ups, homemade truck campers, etc. There is an RV here that looks just like the RV in the tv show Breaking Bad so everybody calls it the ‘Breaking Bad RV’. Super nice guy that lives in it. He was in the military and is now living in his RV. He brought a ton of food here and cooks every day for anyone that wants it. I have met a lot of people here that were in the military that are now into this lifestyle. There is also someone here in a semi truck (minus the truckload), a hippie mobile made from a plumbing truck and a former wonder bread truck (all in order below). Tonight I went with some friends to what we are now calling ‘band camp’ where they were playing music that was a little farther away to not bother the people camping in the main area. I had fun dancing and listening to music. I met some more really cool people. There must be at least 500 people here by now. There are also people here doing a documentary on this lifestyle to see why it is so popular. I wouldn’t want any other lifestyle. The vast amount of people here shows you that a lot of other people feel the same way. So glad it is the weekend so I don’t have to work. People usually don’t expect me to answer the phone or emails on the weekend so I can take a break.
My friends at my campsite have been taking turns making delicious meals for everyone so I did a taco bar tonight which we had outside by our campfire. We pretty much eat everything by the campfire. I also went to town today and bought a ton of candy and when we did our nightly campfire tour we handed out candy to everyone we met, which was a lot of fun. I got back to my van after midnight. I am having too much fun to want to come home but I do love that my home is my van. This feels like I am at summer camp like when I was a kid except this camp is way cooler and I can come home when I want. We even have a schedule of activities every day just like summer camp. I heard that some of the campers were not happy about the singing, guitar playing and drumming last night because it was too loud for them so some of the people wanting to sing, play guitar and drum moved about a half a mile away so they can be as loud as they want. A friend of mine is calling it ‘loud camp’. So tomorrow night we are going to visit ‘loud camp’ and then come back to our campsite we have at the end of a desert street that we call the ‘cul-de-sac’. We have created our own little neighborhood here in the desert🌵
I am really enjoying the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. I have met so many awesome people. I love walking up and down the desert streets going up to peoples campsites to talk to them and people calling me over to their campsites to eat with them or just hang out. There is such a diverse group of people here but we all have in common that we all love the outdoors, living a simple life without a lot of material things and the freedom to roam that comes with having a home on wheels. Several times a day I have thought to myself ‘I have a really awesome life’. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that. I am so glad I found this way of life. I feel like I did when I was a kid and enjoyed doing silly things like skipping around the campground with two new friends (yes I really did that), singing with others at the campfire and not caring that I don’t have the best singing voice, dancing around the campfire to people playing guitar and drums and just overall acting silly and laughing a lot. I never get tired of the beautiful sunsets and beautiful moon rises in the desert. When I put my head to my pillow at night before I go to sleep I always smile and think what an awesome time I had tonight😊
After working in the daytime I had such a great time tonight walking around meeting people. I stopped asking people their names and telling them my name because there’s just no way we are all going to remember each other’s names. There must be at least 400 people here. A friend at my campsite area and a new friend we met today went on a campfire tour tonight just going up to peoples campfires and meeting them and then going onto the next one. Everybody was very welcoming. Lots of people were jamming together playing guitars, harmonicas, drums and singing. Some offered us food. Some offered us chairs to sit on. At one of the campfires this guy was teaching everyone how to do yo-yo tricks. On the way to one of the campfires this guy was telling us about his job as a psychic working from his home on wheels. Such a diverse and interesting group of people. I used to just go camping on weekends, now I get to camp everyday and with a lot of really cool people that have a wandering spirit like me. ⛺️🔥
The place is getting packed here. I have met so many awesome people from all over the U.S. and some from other countries and the event doesn’t even start till tomorrow. Most of the people are living full-time in their vehicles and there are some just coming for the event to check it out that are thinking of living full-time in their vehicles. Two of the ladies at our campsite made an awesome dinner tonight and we are sitting around a campfire. I never get tired of campfires. There is supposed to be a drum circle I’m going to look for (or listen for) right now. I Love dancing to drums.
I am at the camping site for the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. It doesn’t start till Tuesday but a ton of people are already here, like me. The running joke around here is when somebody wants to tell somebody else where to find them they say “I am in the white van” and laugh, because there are mostly white vans in the rubber tramp network. Cargo vans are always white and they are the most popular vehicle for people to convert to campers (like my white cargo van converted to a camper). Everybody is so nice and friendly here. This one guy painted on his van “free hugs” so me and my friend went up to him to get our free hugs and hang out with him for awhile . We celebrated our friends birthday tonight and had a nice campfire. He didn’t tell us that it was his birthday till we already got here and set up our camp so I made him a birthday card and hunted down a birthday present for him. There are a lot of people that come here to collect rocks to polish them to make them look really pretty so someone gave me some polished rocks to give to our friend for his birthday. When another friend and I were walking around we met this guy that is also new to being a rubber tramp and he asked us “What is the catch to living this lifestyle?”, because he loves everything about it. I feel the same way. There is no catch. This life is pretty awesome. 😊
I tried washing my hair before in my small van sink and it was a disaster, water everywhere. I needed to dye my roots yesterday and did not want to atempt that in the van or outside using my ‘hobo shower’ afterwards so I went to the Flying J truckstop to pay for a shower ($12) because I heard their showers are very nice and they have a ton of them so less likely someone would be knocking on the door wanting to use it since I needed to use it for about 30 minutes. When I went to pay the cashier for the shower she asked for my professional drivers card because she thought I was a truck driver (they get reward points with the card). I guess she thought that because I was taking a shower at a truck stop. The shower was very nice, even came with towels and soap. I felt like I was taking a shower at someone’s house. Quite different from the hobo showers I’m used to. So every few months or so I will have to find a Flying J truckstop to dye my roots – because I want to look like a classy hobo. I went on two hikes today and worked in between trying to catch up on work. Watched another beautiful sunset. Headed to Quartzsite, Arizona tomorrow for the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, going a few days early to find a good spot to set up camp with some friends that I am meeting up with to follow there.
A friend camping on one side of me at Lake Havasu had a mouse in his camper and my friend on the other side of me thinks there is a mouse nesting between her truck camper and her truck because she hears the sound of mice, so now I am hoping I don’t have a mouse in my house. I don’t know if it makes a difference that I am in a van but from what I’ve heard mice can find their way into the smallest of holes. It has been pretty chilly here and apparently the mice are seeking warmth and food, so I bought some mothballs to throw under the van because I heard they help repel mice. I don’t want my van to smell like grandma’s house but the thought of a mouse crawling on me during the night freaks me out. I am pretty much sleeping in my kitchen since living in a van and thats where the mice like to go. I would rather live with a mouse in my house though that not live in my van. Today I arrived back at my desert oasis in Ehrenberg, Arizona. Met up with some old friends (like from two weeks ago) and met some new ones. I missed the beautiful sunsets here.