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Bring Your Own Vehicle

The price of minivans skyrocketed recently making it difficult to find suitable vehicles for the minivan builds so, in order to serve more nomads in need, HOWA started the BYOV program. Recipients, who must be full-time nomads and demonstrate financial need, will camp in their own vehicles on BLM land with fellow recipients and volunteers. Each project with planning, building, and final finish will take three days. More than one project can be selected and will be completed given the constraints of time, skilled volunteers, and funding. The program will take place in Pahrump, Nevada in the spring and fall.

At this time, each “Build Slot” is a single, well-defined, project. They are:

Bed platform
Shelving

Solar power system

Floor

Ceiling vent/fan

Insulated walls

Insulated ceiling

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If you are a full-time nomad in need, unable to afford even the materials to build out your vehicle, please read this page. The next BYOV will take place in October 2022 in Pahrump, Nevada. We look forward to working on many rigs, making them safe and secure homes on wheels.

If you want to volunteer to help with the builds please read this page.

 

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Bob’s Van Sweepstakes Fundraiser

$112,955 raised to help nomads in need! Thank you donors!

Bob Wells, president of HOWA, bought an ambulance in the spring of 2021 and generously donated his 2015 GMC Savana 2500 Cargo Van to HOWA to be used as a fundraiser. The van came with many extra features including a bed platform, shelves, high top, roof vent/fan, tinted windows, 400W of solar panels, four golf cart batteries, 2000W inverter, hot water kit, 600W microwave, and aluminum telescoping ladder.

Bob also donated two more items to raise funds to assist the nomadic community.

With Bluetti’s blessing, Bob donated a AC200MAX and B230 module to HOWA after he did a video review on it. To provide charging for the Bluetti power station, Bob purchased and donated a Bluetti SP200 200W Solar Panel.

Bob also reviewed and donated an ACOPower 42qt Solar LiON Fridge/Freezer with Built-In Battery & 90W Solar Panel for a fundraiser.

Sweepstakes tickets for all of these items were available online on the HOWA Rallyup page and could be bought in person at the WRTR and RTR. The drawings were held on February 02, 2022 at 2:00 pm. Congratulations to the winners!

  • DeAnn H of Oregon – winner of Bob’s Van
  • Kristine R of Texas – winner of Bluetti AC200MAX
  • Rick K of California – winner of ACOPower LiON Fridge/Freezer

The three sweepstakes fundraisers were a huge success, raising almost $113,000 to be used to fund HOWA’s programs. Thank you to all who bought tickets! Together we are changing lives.

 

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Part 4 – Journey of an Astro Van

Time for an update on Barbara and the Astro van! After waving goodbye to all of the volunteers at the HOWA van build in October 2021, Barbara began her journey as a nomad by visiting friends and boondocking in the forests of Arizona before heading to Quartzsite to attend the RTRs in Jan 2022. Originally Barbara had planned to volunteer at the RTRs but realized that she needed the information provided at the seminars and decided to hold off on volunteering until 2023 when she would be a seasoned nomad with a year of experience.

Barbara lived in Ecuador for eight years before returning to the US in July 2021. Without a vehicle or the funds to buy one, she thought a nomadic life wasn’t possible but receiving the Astro van has opened a whole world. Every morning she wakes up comfortable and happy in the little home that she’s altered to fit her needs which included buying a tent that serves as a storage area, sitting room, and kitchen. One of the surprise experiences for Barbara at the RTRs was the free pile where she found the exact items that she was missing. Thank you to everyone who donated their extra stuff to the free pile!

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

If you are a nomad in need please visit the HOWA Programs page.

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Rachele, an RTRs Volunteer

Rachele, Saturday, and Andrea, a fellow volunteer

Like many first-time RTR attendees, Rachele discovered the RTRs while searching the internet for the solution to a problem – where to buy an inexpensive but reliable car for her younger son. What she found instead was a YouTube video on the Cheap RV Living channel featuring Suanne Carlson living in her Prius. The concept was new to Rachele but intriguing so she gave her car to her son and bought a 20+-year-old Toyota Sienna with a good motor and transmission. After getting work done on the car to make it safe and dependable Rachele was ready for her first RTRs.

In Rachele’s own words:

“I came to the WRTR/RTR with no expectations except, helping in any way needed, the organization that had helped put the skip back in my step.


I set a goal for myself after my son’s (Rachele’s older son) last cancer treatment, to start living life now and stop waiting for tomorrow! Goal 1, after I got my van running was to volunteer for the fabulous organization that gave me the encouragement to start living again, not just surviving for tomorrow.


I arrived at the volunteer camp so nervous I parked a wash away as to not disturb anyone. I showed up my first morning nervous as hell not knowing a soul. Spent the days with amazing people, bonded together by the joy of building community.  I found myself quite emotional leaving with tears of joy because I felt as if I found my tribe!!!”

Thank you Rachele for volunteering and helping make life better for all of the attendees!

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The 2022 Online RTR

The 2021 online RTR was so popular the HOWA staff decided to offer online classes in 2022 for everyone who could not attend the in-person RTRs. Questions were answered in the chat during the classes so be sure to check the chat and the comments below each video for additional information. All online sessions are posted on the HOWA YouTube channel and can be watched at any time.

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2022 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Jan 14-23

The return of the RTRs! After reviewing the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines and the rate of infections in the Quartzsite area, the staff and trustees of HOWA determined that the 2022 RTRs could be held safely. The RTRs are held completely outdoors which allows proper social distancing and lessens any chance of infection. All attendees were cautioned to follow CDC guidelines.

The venue for the 2020 RTRs, La Paz Fairgrounds, was excellent but the lack of close dispersed camping meant long drives for people who wanted to attend the seminars. For the 2022 RTRs Suanne Carlson, HOWA’s Executive Director, persuaded the Quartzsite officials to rent the town park to HOWA. The location of the park in the center of the town surrounded by BLM land within easy driving, biking, and even walking distance meant many more people could attend the seminars. Over the ten days of the RTRs hundreds of people gathered on the grass of the baseball field to listen to seminars on solar power, work camping, safety, vehicle maintenance and other subjects of interest to new and experienced nomads.

 Popular features such as the button table, the bulletin boards, the free tables, and the plywood van were joined by “Flat Bob”and a crafts area located at the first aid station plus an opportunity to buy sweepstakes tickets and win Bob’s van . A generous donor supplied funds to buy warm blankets, hats, and socks to be distributed to any attendee who couldn’t afford to buy them. On the final two days of the RTR attendees were invited to show off their vehicles at an open house event. Wonderful entertainment was provided by the Status Crowes  and the Gong Gypsy.

None of this would have been possible without the help of the HOWA volunteers. Due to the hard work and cooperation of many people the RTRs were a huge success. Any concern that the Quartzsite officials had about renting the park for the event vanished when they saw how professionally the volunteers handled their duties and how much support the attendees gave and received over the ten days of the RTRs. HOWA has been invited to come back next year! Thank you volunteers and attendees! Hope to see all of you at the Quartzsite town park for the 2023 RTRs!

 

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