Celebrate, Then Measure

After our little celebration at Denny’s, we went right out and started measuring the minivan in the parking lot … taking pictures like proud parents of their first child.

Interior width, length and height were measure on our new-to-us 2000 Ford Windstar.

Fluids were again confirmed to be clean, without suspicious odors.

Looks like Bob and Suanne are discussing something serious with Cliff doing a walk-around on the minivan.

The build begins this week, as a small volunteer team assemble in the forest of southern Oregon.

Read more

We Got a MiniVan

Homes On Wheels Alliance purchased a first minivan to make into a home for someone in need.  Here is a short video clip of our little celebration just after picking it up.

Dinner at Dennys celebrating the purchase of a mini van to grant to someone in need through Homes On Wheels Alliance.

Posted by Bob Wells on Monday, May 20, 2019
Read more

An Evening Potluck

Caravans are groups of people who choose to camp together during a published time. As a nomad, you don’t have to be alone out here. In the Caravans, participants make friends, have fun, and create community.

Vans, RVs and a car .. all types of rigs are welcome in the Caravans.

Caravans meet on public lands where dispersed camping is free. Typically, a Caravan Group will spend two weeks at a location and then move to another camp, satisfying BLM and National Forest Service (NFS) rules. Participants practice Leave No Trace ethics, where they carry everything out that they brought in.

Sunsets over a shared meal at the Caravan.

Recently, the Homes On Wheels Alliance Staff were camping in the same general area as one of the Caravan Groups — Pahrump, NV. So, we decided to share a meal and visit together one pleasant April evening. (See photos.)

Bob satisfied after his meal.

Caravans began under the auspices of CheapRVLiving. Shortly, Homes On Wheels Alliance will be assuming the program. The official switch-over date is July 1, which is the beginning of the summer quarter’s Caravan Program. To find where the Caravans are located and then RSVP, go to the Caravans group in Meetup.

Suanne enjoys chatting with Caravan participants.

Consider joining us!

By Suanne Carlson, Executive Director

Read more

Linda May’s Land Donation

Hi everyone. I want to share some really cool news about a gift of land to Homes On Wheels Alliance (HOWA). Linda May, the protagonist in Jessica Bruder’s “Nomadland and one of the co-stars in the upcoming movie of the same name, donated her 5 acres in Douglas, Arizona to HOWA! Most wonderfully, hours after Linda and company departed for their new home in Taos, our first Caravan participants arrived. Everyone loves how peaceful and quiet it is here.

Thank you Linda. You are a real treasure in our community.

Our long term plans for Linda May’s place is a Training Center, which is basically a combination between a small Rubber Tramp Rendezvous and the Caravans. I’ve already started working with County Planners to make it happen, contingent on Planning and Zoning Commission approval next year. (Note: HOWA’s Board of Trustees has accepted the transfer of the Caravans from CheapRVLiving to HOWA.)

Suanne Carlson, Executive Director, Homes On Wheels Alliance, April 1, 2019

Read more

The Nomad Life

I have a passion for the work of Homes On Wheels Alliance (HOWA). This lifestyle that I lead, traveling and living in nature, feeds my soul and, from observation and experience, is the chosen lifestyle of many thousands of others for the same reason. It’s both fulfilling and frugal, living large with a small carbon footprint. I both hope and anticipate that HOWA and its partners will be able to help many people be successful as they move into their safe and secure nontraditional homes, within a lifestyle that’s fulfilling and honorable.

This vandwelling experience, be it in a car, van or RV, is often misunderstood by the general population. We are sometimes lumped together with the addicts, alcoholics, and the mentally ill homeless on city streets and along railroad right-of-ways. For me and my nomad friends, however, it is a choice of a quality lifestyle entered into with full knowledge that some in society will associate us with the former.

Jessica Bruder’s 2017 acclaimed book, ‘Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century,” has dispelled some of that myth. Bruder, an immersion journalist, wrote this documentary after she lived and worked among us. It’s about a significant segment of the vehicle-dwelling population — retirees who support themselves by working physically demanding jobs while traveling in their RVs. These senior citizens, often victims of the 2008 Great Recession, have chosen a quality lifestyle on the road in lieu of senior housing or a room in their child’s house. Yet, this itinerate work is hard and the lifestyle is unsustainable in the long run. Bruder raises some hard issues for us to grapple with on behalf of our US senior citizenry. Similarly, HOWA is also starting to grapple with solutions to help our nomadic elders, those whose bodies will no longer allow them to travel or be itinerate workers.

The book is eye opening for those that read it, yet the movie, also titled “Nomadland,” will touch a much larger audience. The revolutionary message that a quality lifestyle is out there for the taking, with a cost-of-living significantly less than a traditional household, will resonate with many who have never considered such a radical departure from the norm, young and old alike. Impressively, this docufiction movie stars awarding winning actors Frances McDormand (Fargo, Three Billboards) and David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck, Temple Grandin). Yet, Director Chloé Zhao is known for her unconventional employ of “real people” as actors. I’m especially proud to say that two of my nomad friends, Linda May (protagonist in the book Nomadland) and Charlene Swankie, are supporting actors. Myself and many other nomadic friends were extras.

As HOWA’s Executive Director, I want to do whatever I can to position ourselves and our partners as resources for those exploring the nomadic lifestyle. Filming is now complete; after a year or two of editing, the movie will hit the theaters*. I want us to be ready – ready to help new folks determine if the nomadic lifestyle is for them, ready to teach requisite skills to be successful, ready to support a culture wherein we care for and honor nature, ready to provide assistance when the unexpected happens to a vehicle dweller, ready with a supportive community of fellow nomads. We have much work to do.

I’m so excited to view Nomadland, the movie. Yet, I know this next year or two will go by in a flash as HOWA works to set a supportive and sustainable infrastructure for our new and growing nomadic community.

*In addition to this movie, we expect documentaries featuring Bob Wells (President of HOWA and owner of CheapRVLiving) to continue to be in the media and raising    

Suanne Carlson, Executive Director, Homes On Wheels Alliance, February 17, 2019

Read more