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We Care Pahrump, Nevada November 2021

  In January 2021 HOWA was the recipient of a $3,000 Community Grant from Walmart. Thank you Walmart! In keeping with the requirements that the grant money be distributed to nomads in need in the Pahrump area, a We Care event was held in the spring of 2021. $1000 was distributed leaving a $2000 surplus for another event in the fall of the year. Since this coincideded with the start of the fall caravans the event became mobile and event volunteers traveled to five caravan locations and distributed 52 $100 grants. In all $5,200 was distributed – the $2000 plus $3,200 from genorous donors. Thank you donors!

A few of the grateful recipients.

all photos by Bobbie Stice

A huge thank you to the HOWA stuff and volunteers, Phyllis, Grey, Christy, Lisa, Suanne, and Bobbie

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The Caravans are Back!

photo by Sarah Meg Hart

New nomads are often timid about camping alone especially if they have little experience. To fill the need for companionship and support, Bob Wells, the president of HOWA and founder of Cheap RV Living started the caravans in October 2018. Watch Bob’s Video HERE. Early in 2019 HOWA became the sponsor of the caravans. Caravans continued through 2019 and into early 2020 when the outbreak of coronavirus made in-person gatherings too risky. A wonderful solution was found by holding virtual caravans – the first on March 30, 2020. The virtual caravans have been a huge success but now that coronavirus vaccines have proven to be very effective in cutting the chances of contracting the virus, in-person caravans have started again! HOWA strongly recommends that all attendees follow the CDC guidelines to stay safe and healthy.

photo by Sarah Meg Hart

Caravans are open to everyone – new nomads, experienced nomads, full-time nomads, and part-time nomads. All types of rigs are welcome. Typically caravan groups camp on public land for 14 days, then move to camp at another place for 14 days, and so forth. Camping is free and no amenities are provided. For more information click HERE.

Due to the popularity of virtual caravans, they will continue, so if you can not go to an in-person caravan, attend a virtual caravan where you can chat and make friends with like-minded people. Click HERE.

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Items Needed for a Minivan Home

Minivans are a good choice for full-time living or weekend getaways. They are one of the most economical cars to buy, get good gas mileage, are easy to park and drive, have some degree of stealth for staying in populated areas, and once the seats are removed they are roomy enough to make a comfortable living space.

 A simple build requires few skills and can be accomplished easily and quickly. Consider removing the passenger seat or turning it around to face the living area if more room is needed once the rear seats are removed. Start with the basic necessities of bedding, food, water, and cooking equipment. Storage units keep supplies and clothing organized. A source of power will be needed for charging cell phones and other devices. Depending on the climate a small heater or fan could be a necessity.  Many of the things you already own may be perfect for a build so sort through your possessions before buying anything new. Keep everything simple. An overcrowded home will not be comfortable on rainy and cold days when you’ll be spending time inside.

The Homes on Wheels team has compiled a list that they consult when outfitting a simple minivan build for a new recipient. All of these items are not used in every minivan home but the list is a good starting point for anyone considering making their own minivan home. The list is now available to everyone! Click HERE to see it.

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Part 3 – Journey of an Astro Van

It’s finally time for the Astro van to become a Home on Wheels for a deserving recipient! Barbara has been couch surfing in the homes of friends and family for several months. During this time she was making preparations to move into her car but it would have been a difficult life because she has significant back problems. As a long-time fan of Bob’s videos she was aware of the minivan award program but was surprised and honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Astro van. Barabara is excited to start her new life in the Astro which will be a more comfortable than living in her car because she will be able to stand up with room to spare.

None of this would have been possible without the generous donations from the nomadic community, the donation of the Astro van and tires by Richard and Amy, the repairs by Silver Star Auto, and the donation and installation of the hightop by Fiberene.  To make life even more comfortable and convenient GoSun donated a GoSun Kitchen which includes an oven, cooler, solar panels, and components.

A big thank you to all of the donors and the volunteers! To donate go HERE. To apply for a minivan go HERE.

Hard at work – Barbara with handyman volunteer, Duanne, and volunteer mentor, Ditzy

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Part 2 – Journey of an Astro Van

The Astro gets a hightop!

After a thorough inspection by Silver Star Auto, the Astro van, rolling smoothly on new tires, was ready for the next step – the installation of a hightop by Fiberene! Once again the donors, Richard and Amy, graciously offered to deliver the van and pick it up when the job was finished.

Fiberene generously donated the hightop and the labor which was completed by Gonzalo Rico. Installing a hightop is an exacting process that involves cutting and removing the roof of the van, and properly sealing between the van roof and the hightop to prevent leaks.

On the drive back to their house Richard and Amy discovered that the repairs on the air conditioner done by Silver Star Auto had not solved the problem. Back at the shop, Silver Star Auto diagnosed a bad compressor which would cost $1,300 to replace. Neither Richard and Amy or HOWA could afford to pay that much. Not to be deterred, Richard contacted Anderson Auto Group, the owner of Silver Star Auto, and explained the situation.  Anderson offered to do the work free of charge!

Fixed and ready to be delivered to HOWA at Pahrump, Nevada!

Thanks you Richard and Amy, Gonzalo Rico of Fiberene, Chance Corbitt General Manger of Silver Star Auto, and Anderson Auto Group for your generosity!

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Part 1 – Journey of an Astro Van

A wonderful donation has come to Homes on Wheels Alliance in the form of a 1999 Chevy Astro van! Astro vans are very reliable mechanically, have good ground clearance, and a surprising amount of interior space for a vehicle that’s under 16 feet in total length.

The Astro was donated by Richard and Amy after Amy purchased another vehicle and no longer needed the van. But they didn’t stop at donating the van. They took the van to Silver Star Auto for a pre-purchase mechanical inspection and also had the air conditioning repaired. Next, they bought new tires! Richard and Amy have really gone above and beyond to make sure that their donation is in good working condition for a deserving recipient.

Applications for the Astro, which will be awarded in September 2021, can be found HERE. All applications are carefully reviewed by the HOWA staff. The chosen recipient will spend two weeks in Pahrump, Nevada camping with the HOWA staff and an experienced nomad volunteer mentor. We are excited about awarding this van to a nomad!

Watch for Part 2 – The Astro Gets a Hightop!

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