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The 10th Annual RTR!

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!

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The First WRTR

The 2019 Women’s Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (WRTR) was held in Bouse, Arizona, January 4 through 8. It was projected that between 800 and 1,000 women would attend . . . and that became the reality. Each day, women pulled into the WRTR entrance glowing with achievement that they had overcome hurdles, obstacles, setbacks, fears and anxiety to travel, for some, thousands of miles alone for the first time in their lives. They were greeted at the entrance by other women who had volunteered to help set up the event, greet participants, manage the sound system, and provide information and assistance where it was needed. These volunteers arrived at the WRTR site three days early to receive training and do all the tasks involved in setting up the event. Thousands of people learned about the origin and mission of this newly formed nonprofit organization during the WRTR and RTR. Homes On Wheels Alliance Trustees and other dedicated volunteers manned the booth eight hours a day for two weeks to spread the word and take donations. 

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Emergency Gas Money

Another great testimonial from a nomad who used the emergency fund.
We are so happy that you were able to find us in your time of need.

“Due to some minor bad luck I was in the middle of the month with zero dollars. I met a friend who let me know about the Homes on Wheels Alliance and their emergency fund to help nomads stay out of bad situations. I contacted them and requested $50.00 for gas money for heat because I am in a very cold place up north and within a few days I had the money in my paypal account. If you’re a nomad get involved with these folks. It’s a smart idea to have friends. Good luck and happy travels. May  kindness and goodness meet you every step of the way.”

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Emergency Van Repairs

 Charlene contacted HOWA for assistance with repairs to her van. After supplying all of the necessary information to Charmaine of HOWA her request was approved. Nick DeCarlo of DeCarlo Auto Pros in Show Low Arizona worked with Charlene to make repairs so that her van was roadworthy and she was quickly able to be back on the road.

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Solar panel awards

Day one of the solar panel awards was an absolute success!

We provided 15 people with life-changing solar panels and the accessories required for installation. A huge thank you to Santan Solar for the donation of solar panels and Berger Foundation for funding the accessories.

We are thrilled to help out more nomads today. A big thank you to all the wonderful volunteers. We couldn’t do any of this without you. @ Quartzsite, Arizona

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Simply Lesa

Originally from Maine, Lesa has been part of the Cheap RV Living nomadic community since 2005. After years on the road, Lesa was blessed with a piece of property and spent her time as a nomad in her SUV.

In 2018, health issues required that she stay on her property in a travel trailer that was not roadworthy. Healthy again, in April of 2019, Lesa hit the road in her SUV. In September, Lesa returned to her property to sell the trailer to travel full-time and, within two weeks of selling the trailer, the SUV developed an oil leak and her dog was diagnosed terminally ill. Lesa contacted Homes On Wheels Alliance (HOWA) for a tent to sleep in while her application for wheels was being decided.

Lesa just spent her first night in her HOWA no-build build minivan and reports that the bed is “great” and she slept soundly even without the planned window coverings.

Many of Lesa’s life events led to stoicism and her pursuit of minimalism. All of her creative pursuits were taken away in very traumatic ways which led her to connect more with nature while finding meaning and freedom in less. According to Lesa, being a minimalist doesn’t mean living without, but living with things chosen with respectful intention. With gratitude to HOWA, its donors and volunteers, this intelligent and thoughtful woman is looking forward to her next adventure and giving back to the nomadic community in her own special way.

Post contribution by: Diana Hollenbeck

 
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