When Bob Wells started the RTR in 2011 no one dreamed that it would become so large so fast. From a gathering of fewer than 50 people, the RTR attendance swelled to many thousands in 2019 and outgrew the site at Scadden Wash, east of Quartzsite, Arizona, where it had been held for years. After months of searching for a different location with little success, Suanne Carlson, HOWA executive director who took over the management of the RTR and WRTR in July 2019, and her team of assistants developed a new plan- the RTR would be held at the La Paz County Fairgrounds and attendees would camp on BLM public land.While this wasn’t a perfect solution, because the part of the fun of the RTRs is camping in a large group, everything worked very well. New nomads and nomads-to-be attended the seminars then camped for the night with HOWA Caravans. Nomads who had attended RTRs in previous years gathered with friends at camping areas scattered across the desert. Most had no need to attend the seminars but they still enjoyed the spirit of the RTR gathering.
The fairground’s stage and bleachers made a good setting for the seminars. Smaller break-out sessions were held in an open area of the fairgrounds. Booths were set up for HOWA information, name buttons, tee shirts sales, first aid, media passes, free pile donations, and information on the Nomad Chapter of DBSA. LectricBikes, a HOWA supporter, brought several electric bikes for RTR attendees to test ride. A talent show and nomad game show added to the fun.
Planning for the 2021 RTR and WRTR is difficult because of the uncertainty surrounding the safety of large gatherings due to coronavirus. If it’s safe we hope to see all of you at the RTR and/or the WRTR in 2021!