2020 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTRs)
Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR): January 18th – 27th
Women’s RTR: January 14th – 17th
Gathering Location: La Paz County Fairground
Seminars, Small-Group Talks, Talent Show, Free Pile, Bulletin Boards
Find your friends, old and new!
Please DO NOT contact the Fairgrounds with questions – all the most up-to-date information will be posted here
Camp Together During the RTR and WRTR
We’re About Community
- Select a Camp Location for your group during the RTRs (Jan13-27),
- Create an Information Page about your Camp Location; include the camp’s coordinates and any theme or target group. Examples of places to create your information page include:
- Copy the URL (link) of your Camp Location Information Page.
- Fill out this form to post that URL and invite others to your Camp. The information you submit will be posted on the Virtual Bulletin Board, a clearinghouse of groups to camp with during the RTRs.
- Go to the Virtual Bulletin Board to find a group to camp with during the RTR and WRTR.
- View map and directions to La Paz Country Fairground. Note: Google Maps works incorrectly for fairground directions.
- Camping locations in greater Quartzsite & Parker areas. We will continue to update as we gather additional information.
- Print out a RTR or WRTR logo to display in your windshield to identify yourself.
- Get a sticker of the RTR or WRTR logo for your $5 contribution, a thank you gift. Pick up your sticker at the fairgrounds.
- Puchase other official RTR and WRTR merchandise online.
- Support the purchase of land.
- Volunteer to work the RTR and/or WRTR.
- Submit a proposal to be a presenter or facilitator of small or large group sessions. Cut off for proposals is December 15, 2019.
A Schedule of Events will be published at the end of December.
During this momentous 10th Anniversary of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, the event continues to evolve from its beginning as a very small gathering in 2011, to the many thousands who arrive each year to learn nomadic skills and experience the mobile community culture. Our changes over the years include a move from Dome Rock to Scaddan Wash in 2013. And, in 2017 we planned the first Women’s RTR.
Now, for 2020, new changes are here. The RTRs’ gathering place for seminars, the free pile, social connections and bulletin boards is hosted at the La Paz County Fairgound. And, our mobile community is dispersed camping across the greater Quartzsite and Parker areas, driving in to the fairground for events and expanded community connections whenever they desire.
Another new part of the 2020 RTR is our request for a $5 donation to help fund the event. Bob Wells, our President and the founder of the RTR, has been the primary funder every year since its beginning. This is not sustainable in the long term. Plus, much of Bob’s funds now support HOWA’s charitable work; he can no longer fully underwrite the RTR. So, we ask you, the RTR and WRTR participants, to help. If most everyone contributed just $5 each, then we could not only fund this event, but also provide some additional support for future gatherings.
For those of you who are unable to donate, please know that we want you to be at the RTR and WRTR anyway. We do not want to exclude anyone for lack of funds.
For those of you who are able, and do financially support the RTR and WRTR, we’d like give you a Thank You Gift of an Official 2020 RTR or WRTR Logo Sticker. Click here to support the events. Display the sticker so those who you camp near know you are with us.
With much appreciation,
Homes On Wheels Alliance, Inc.
Reasons for Starting the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous
By Bob Wells, HOWA President and Founder of the RTR
From the earliest dawn of human history mankind has gathered together in groups for safety, comfort and companionship. Making deep and lasting tribal connection with others is written into our DNA code and it's difficult to be happy without it. But, at the same time, there has always been a small group that could not resist the lure of individuality, travel and adventure--they had to know what was around the next corner and over the next mountain. Those people pulled away from the tribe and followed the beat of a different drummer. They are the nomads, gypsies and adventurers who changed and shaped our world.
But even the most rugged individualist isn't free from the genetic need for connection ... (click to continue) ...
… A perfect example of that is the Mountain Men of the 1800’s. They hated the monotony and drudgery of civilized life and couldn’t resist the lure of the mountains and desert, so they left the old life behind and spent much of their time alone in the glory and beauty of wild nature; constantly on the move, seeing new places and new things. But even in the midst of their need for travel and solitude they had a craving for companionship. They solved that by gathering once each year for a giant party called a Fur Rendezvous. During it they played games, drank, caroused and sold their furs.
In many ways we modern day vandwellers are just like the Mountain Men of old: we need to be alone and on the move, but we equally need to occasionally gather together and make connections with like-minded people who understand us. At least I know that’s true for me! I have an unusual need for isolation and alone-time. If I don’t spend quite a bit of time alone every day I start to get antsy and unsettled feeling like the world is closing in on me. But I also love to have others around–just not too close!!
In the spirit of the Mountain Man Rendezvous, I started the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (commonly called the RTR) in January 2011. There were 40 of us that first year and we all had a great time. It was so great that we’ve been holding it annually ever since and it has grown larger every year.
I choose to hold it in Desert Southwest because it has lots of great qualities that make it perfect for us:
- There is an abundance of BLM land where we can camp for free. Who doesn’t love free camping?
- While most of the country is being hammered by cold and snow, the Desert Southwest is relatively warm. But warmth is relative and the desert can be surprisingly cold, so come ready for some cold, wet and windy weather.
- The nearby towns are set up to meet the basic needs of RVers and Snowbirds, so getting water, disposing of waste and trash and buying supplies is easy.
- If you are interested in working as a campground host, you are almost certain to find a job in the town of Quartzsite, AZ! Every year there is a Big Tent RV Show held in a huge tent and the population of the area swells to giant proportions as RVers come from all over the West to see it. It’s worth the trip here just to see the crowds in the tent! But what makes it perfect for us is that most of the largest concessionaires that operate Forest Service Campgrounds in the National Forests come here to do their hiring for the coming summer season. It’s very likely you can get a job if you want one.
Many experienced mobile dwellers attend the RTRs; and, an even larger number of newcomers. That creates a perfect opportunity for learning, so we put on seminars most days covering basic subjects of interest to vandwellers. In 2020, we are adding small-group talks and discussions to more fully cover issues facing many mobile dwellers today. If you are interested in teaching a seminar or leading a small group, and have expertise in the subject, contact us and we will see about adding it to the schedule. Even if you’re not sure it is a good idea for vandwellers, contact us anyway and we will figure out if we should do it. Click here to submit an online proposal. Cut off is December 15.
Schedule of Seminars and Small Group Talks
We expect to pubish the schedules for both the RTR and WRTR by the end of December.
Dogs on a Leash:
All dogs will be on a leash while at the fairgrounds. It’s a their rule and just common courtesy. Bob expresses “I hate that rule as much as you do!! Fifty weeks a year I try to live as rule-free as I can, but we are going to have a lot of people in a small space so there is no choice, we have to follow some simple rules.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. It’s a long ways away, why should I come?
A. The main thing people take away from the RTR are deep, life-long friendships. Over and over again I see people come here and make friends that last them a life time. You’d think we travel so much and that we see each other so infrequently the friendships would fall away; but I’ve found the opposite is true. I may only see some of my friends once a year or even less, but when we do get together again it’s like we just saw each other last week. The connections are surprisingly deep and intense. Truly, we make friends for life and become brothers in a tribe. The friendships you make here will be priceless to you!
Q. Are there any fees for attending?
A. There are absolutely no costs for attending. Of course you will spend your normal amount for food and gas, but there are no fees for the event.
Q. What will be provided?
A. We will provide porta potties and a few trash cans at the fairgrounds for day use. Other than that, we will be “dry eventing” at the fair, with no water, electricty or food. You can get water and food in town.
Q. What will the weather be like?
A. Generally it’s pretty nice with daytime highs in the 70s and overnight lows in the high 30s or 40s. However, a winter storm can blow through at any time and the weather can turn cold and nasty with very high winds and even rain. So come prepared for cold weather with warm clothes, sleeping bags and heaters.
Q. What should I bring for camping?
A. Bring everything you need for your normal life. Special camping items you’ll need are water jugs, extra blankets, coats and heaters. If you want a fire you’ll need to buy your own firewood because it’s illegal to gather firewood from the desert.
Q. What is there to do in the Desert Southwest?
A. It’s a surprisingly interesting place:
- Rock Hounding
- Mountain Biking
- Shopping the vendors
- People watching
- Going for cheap dental, prescription drugs and eyeglasses in Algodones, Mexico.
Q. When should I get there, and when do I need to leave?
A. The Desert Southwest is a great place to spend the winter. Nomads usually get here in November and stay until February. So you are welcome to come early and join a Caravan, or stay in a camp of your own. You are equally welcome to join a Caravan during and afterwards. What happens pretty often is people make a close group of friends and they start traveling together after the RTR and head off and make a camp of their own. Every time that happens we feel like a proud parents watching ther kids going off and starting a home of their own!
Q. Where is there nearby shopping?
A. Shopping is available within a 20 minute drive of the fairgrounds, in Quartzsite and Parker. Parker has the larger stores and selection.
Q. I’m not a vandweller yet, or I live in an RV, can I still come?
A. Of course!! Vandwelling isn’t a choice of a vehicle it is an attitude and you are a vandweller when you say you are. Come join us no matter what you live in, even if it is a house!
Q. Can I stay in a tent?
A. You can, but you need to be aware that the winds can be truly brutal here in the desert. You’ll be much better off if you have a vehicle you can move into during windstorms. If you have to be in a tent come prepared for cold weather and bring a tent capable of standing up to huge winds.
Q. Are my pets welcome?
A. From Bob, “My attitude is, if my dog isn’t welcome, I’m not welcome so your pets are welcome here.” Every year we have a great pack of dogs that are wonderful! The standard warnings apply: Don’t let them bark, pick up after them, and they MUST be on a leash. But a unique warning applies while camping, be aware that coyotes see little dogs as a great dinner so don’t let them run around unsupervised.
Q. I’m interested in getting solar power installed, can I do that there.
A.. There may be people here who are willing to assist you with your install, but we can’t promise that it will happen. Post your request on the bulletin boards in the fairground.
Q. Can I get mail or packages sent to me there?
A Yes. Of course you can use General Delivery at the Post Office.
Q. Can I spend some time with Bob and ask him some questions?
A. We have to be honest with you and say that during the RTR Bob is incredibly busy. He says, “I know some people are disappointed that I can’t really spend time with them but I am just swamped the whole time. I found that I don’t get enough time to myself so I’ve started to go off alone every day just to maintain my sanity. I hope you can forgive me.”
Q. Where is it located?
A. The events, including the seminars, small-group talks, free pile, bulletin boards, will be at the La Paz County Fairground. Participants will camp in the greater Quartzsite and Parker areas, driving in to the fairgound to take in the events..
Directions to the La Paz County Fairground
Q. Will participants pay for parking at the fairgrounds?
A. No. The parking for the RTR and WRTR event day is free.