Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Road Runner Boondocking–BLM

Quartzsite, Arizona
    Another 14 day boondocking area on the BLM land surrounding Quartzsite. We found this site to be the flatter and easier to access than other areas where we’ve stayed previously.  La Paz Valley Road, the turn off from US 95, is paved. There are a good number of short access spurs off of La Paz Valley Road so there’s plenty of room for many RVS without crowding. During our stay we noticed quite a bit of generator noise as most of the RVs did not have solar panels.

   The ground is hard packed and hasn’t been churned up so rolling is fairly easy. Road Runner  33.5818, -114.23476

Saturday, January 26, 2019

RTR Access for People with Mobility Concerns

     Quartzsite, Arizona where the RTR is held is located in the northern part of the Sonoran Desert. Most of the flat ground is covered with angular rocks that knit together to form an even surface known as “desert pavement”. The pavement is fairly easy to roll along until it’s disturbed then it becomes very rough and everyone with any type of mobility issue has problems getting around.

  Years ago when the RTR gatherings were smaller the fire pit and seminar area was the recognized handicapped camping area but other people were welcome to camp there too. Since the RTR has grown so much two large areas were marked this year as handicapped and they got a lot of use. It was good to see so many people pushing the limits of their abilities especially since I’d been the only person using a wheelchair at many of the earlier RTRs.

  I waited too long and lost the opportunity to talk with most of them but here are a few of the ways people found to get around more easily.  I use a FreeWheel which is a large wheel that attaches to the footplate of my wheelchair. It lifts the small front wheels off of the ground and also provides some extra stability. Putting it on and taking it off takes just seconds. I highly recommend it.
  Tom, who has multiple sclerosis and has attended three RTRs, has a RMBev Multi-Point electric scooter. The large wheels glide over most of the rocks.
   Bob, who lost a leg in an accident, and was a first time RTRer has a Renegade All-Terrain Wheelchair that has push-bars and gears.  The Almost Happy Camper posted a nice interview Here.
   I’ve forgotten the name of the woman who had a Firefly electric handcycle that attached to the her manual wheelchair but it worked very well for her.

 Cody, pictured here with Bob’s dog Cody, used a standard hospital style wheelchair and just powered his way along using his arms and good leg.
     Our friends Jerry and Nelda have trouble walking far and sometimes use their Segways.  The larger the wheels, the easier the Segways climb over the rocks.

  I also saw people using scooters and electric wheel chairs. The ones with small wheels tended to get jammed up on the rocks so off road models are a better fit.

  I encourage everyone to attend the rendezvous but be aware that the desert and the town of Quartzsite are not very accessible and there’s only so much that can be done to provide access at the RTRs.  RTR   33.64909, -114.14563

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

RTR 2019 Burning Van

      A few years ago at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Tony and I ran into Beth as she was about to break down a large cardboard box to put it in the trash or burn it. After rescuing the box we hacked out a primitive van shape, got everyone to sign it, and with help from Nelda changed the words to “Little Boxes” to make an end of the RTR theme song.
     The burning of the van has become a yearly tradition. Each year the van gets a little better and we change more songs.

    Bob Wells, the founder of the RTR, made a video of this year’s Burning Van and included a short interview with us about the start of the tradition.  Burning Van

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Thoughts on the 2019 RTR

 Another Rubber Tramp Rendezvous has come to a close with a good time had by all! The days were mostly warm and sunny and the rubber tramps were friendly and happy. The attendance projections were a little high – I don’t think we hit 10,000, maybe 3,000 to 5,000 over the 12 days as new people arrived and others left.

 Traffic on the one lane wash was handled by the volunteers who had two way radios.  The day of rain didn’t sweep anyone away although a few people got stuck because they parked or drove on soft ground.  The ground was mostly dry and firm by the next day.

 New to us were the porti-potties (they were there last year but we missed that RTR), a huge dumpster for trash, and a stage for the seminars. The RTR has become a big-time event!

 We were very impressed with the courtesy of the campers. Generators were off by 10 PM and if there was loud music at the PTR (partier) camp, we did not hear it. We did a sweep of a couple sections of the camp area before we left and found just a few bits of micro trash and no fire rings that had not been dismantled as requested. The volunteers who kept everything running smoothly deserve a big Thank You!   RTR 33.64909, -114.14563


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

RTR 2019

 This is the ninth Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. The number of people attending doubles every year so this year 10,000 people are expected, Yikes! We were a little worried but the BLM moved us to a new site that is much larger than the previous sites and farther away from the rest of the Quartzsite boondockers. Today is the first day that people are allowed in and tomorrow the RTR seminars start. This is a good way for anyone new to the lifestyle to learn about van and RV dwelling and to meet other like-minded people. So far everything is going great!

  We’ll be here for about two weeks and hanging out with friends for a few days after the RTR so I probably won’t be posting very much for a while. RTR  33.64909, -114.14563

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Crawford's RV Park


   Boondocking out on the desert is what Quartzsite is all about for thousands of people who are escaping the cold and snow of the northern US and Canada but there are also a bunch of RV parks on either side of the interstate. We’ve gone to Crawford’s several times in the past to dump our waste water because it’s a bit cheaper than other local places and there’s never a wait in line. The park doesn’t have a dump station so just pull into an empty site for dumping and water fill.

  We decided to stay overnight to top our batteries off because we’ll be boondocking for days and our solar panels do not quite do the job when we’re depending on the winter sun. The park has some permanent residences around the edges but most of the spaces are for snowbirds. Short stays are given the sites closest to the highway. We were charged a discounted rate - maybe because we were only staying one night or maybe because our RV is small.

  The park is bare bones with gravel sites, restrooms, showers, and a laundry room. It’s very convenient to all of the businesses along Main Street. The gravel makes rolling around in the park very difficult but the sidewalks and curb cuts on Main Street are in good condition.  Park  33.66664, -114.21185


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Colorado River Boondocking

    The BLM land south of Ehrenberg, Arizona, is popular with boondockers. Most people follow the east frontage road at Exit 1 on I-10. This leads to a large flat plateau with room for hundreds of RVs however it’s barren and bleak. A much nicer and more scenic area can be found by driving down Ox Bow Rd after turning west at the exit. Ox Bow travels parallel to the Colorado River and provides access to many pull outs and small clearings.

   The clearings right on the river can be very busy but we shared a spot with friends on a small back channel away from the main road where it was peaceful and quiet even over the Christmas holidays. The ground is hardpacked dirt, easy to roll around, but may be muddy if it rains. Ox Bow Rd is gravel, wide and well maintained.
IMG_580533.56924, -114.53255

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Tohono Chul Gardens


  Tohono Chul Gardens, surrounded by suburban development,  preserves 49 acres of plants native to the Sonoran or Chihuahuan Deserts. The gardens support thirty-eight species of birds and provide a stopover for 57 migrant species. Trails wind through themed gardens and loop around groups of saguaros and other native cacti. A small museum displays the work of local artists. The greenhouse has a good selection of native plants for sale.


   A very small portion of the trail near the garden entrance is paved and accessible. The rest of the trails, except of the South Loop Trail which has a washed out section and a steep hill, are hard packed sand with small stones and are mostly accessible although wheelchair users may need assistance. The Saguaro Discovery Trail can be accessed by the fairly level, southern most section of the South Loop Trail. The Desert View Trail has hills and loose sand so backtracking and assistance may be necessary. The museum and greenhouse are accessible.


   Designated parking for large vehicles is along the exit road but the parking lots are roomy enough for RVs on days with average visitation levels.  Gardens   32.34005, -110.98227