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. 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 am making more friends living in my van than I ever did when I lived in a stick and brick house. I have met some people that I could see myself always being friends with that are similar to me that are enjoying the outdoor life, living in their vehicles and exploring new places. I went on a nice hike today with the two friends I am camping with. I think its easier to meet people when you are outside a lot unlike when you live in a stick and brick house and you just see your neighbors going to and from your car. A van pulled up near us today that had two little kids and their mom and dad living in it. One of the kids came over to talk to us and then ran back to get his little chair because he wanted to sit with us around the campfire, which I thought was pretty cute. Then his parents came over and hung out at the campfire with us. The mom is a psychologist that counsels clients over the phone and the kids are homeschooled. They just came back from Mexico and the little kid was speaking Spanish to us that he learned while over there. Just shows you that this life is for everybody. You don’t have to wait until the kids are grown or when you retire.
The three friends that I am camping with and I had a nice New Year’s eve party at our campsite last night with music, dancing, and good food. I actually made it past midnight. We knew there was rain on the horizon and that the area has flash floods because we are camping in a wash but figured we would be okay since the area we are camping on is a little more elevated than the road where the water rushes through from the mountains when it rains. I don’t hear a lot of what is going on outside while I am sleeping because I have a sound machine app with ear phones. However, one of our friends told us this morning that she woke to the sound of water flowing outside and walked outside to see a fast flowing river next to where we are camped, which is a flash flood. The flash flood caused the higher area near our campsite to erode which came very close to our vehicles (picture below on what it looked like this morning after the area dried up). My friend stayed up and was ready to wake us if the water got up to our vehicles so we could walk to higher ground on the other side which we wouldn’t be able to drive up. The flash floods are so strong they can take your vehicle with it. We were fortunate that the flash flood didn’t make it up to our vehicles. Lesson learned – no more camping in washes if rain is coming. Today we went on a nice hike and then afterwards had an excellent dinner of black-eyed peas which is a southern tradition for good luck in the new year.