Thursday, January 23, 2020

Ten Years of RTR Gatherings!

    2020 is a big milestone for the RTR which was started by Bob Wells as a gathering of about 25 people who met in the desert to form friendships and share ideas. Over the years Bob’s website and YouTube channel have influenced and helped many more people. Homes on Wheel Alliance, which was founded in 2018 and now sponsors the RTRS, is providing another way to support nomads who are struggling and need a little help.
    This year has brought a lot of changes to the RTR. The BLM officials made finding a site to hold the RTR difficult. The areas offered were too remote, too dusty, or too expensive. After months of exhaustive searching by Suanne Carlson, co-founder of HOWA, a decision was made to hold the RTR seminars at the La Paz County fairgrounds, south of Parker, Arizona. This is not an ideal situation because attendees can not camp at the fairgrounds and must drive in every day from their camping spot on BLM land. Car pooling is encouraged. Most of the seminar attendees are new to van dwelling which is the usual scenario. The seminars never attracted as many people as the general RTR gathering. Most of the people who came to the RTR gatherings over the years to enjoy the comradery of fellow nomads have formed groups on their own this year.
   As a trustee and representative for HOWA, I been spending my days manning the HOWA booth and answering questions. It’s always fun to hear the stories of new van dwellers – how they made the decision to hit the road and where they plan to go when the weather warms up. Lots of excitement and smiling faces.

    We really miss camping in the midst of the larger gatherings but as volunteers, we get to stay at the fairgrounds and we don’t have a daily drive. Next year will probably bring more changes but even as the RTRs evolve they still carry on Bob Well’s mission to help people live the best life that they can!  RTR 34.01964, -114.23318

              The free pile has graduated to tables.
    Signing the van
                              Always good to see old friends.
Trying out the electric bikes. Thanks to Lectric eBikes!
Seems like there's always a film crew following Bob.
Volunteer parking

Friday, January 10, 2020

Still Camping in the Desert

   There are many spots to camp for free in southern Arizona and California which makes it easy to spend the winter where it’s sunny and warm. Most of our camping in this area is on BLM land and there are a few simple rules -  “Dispersed camping is allowed on public land for a period not to exceed 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period….After the 14th day of occupation, the camper must move outside of a 25 mile radius of the previous location.”  Since rules vary by location and state – A permit is needed for campfires in California and some areas require signing in with a host – checking  the rules for each area is a good idea.

    We’ve been moving to a new spot every few days. Mostly they’ve been places where we’ve stayed in previous years however we recently camped at a new area – American Girl Mine BLM land in California. Gold has been mined here since the early 1800s and it’s believe to be the first mining district in California. The last large mining operation closed in the 1990s but a good number of ore haulers traveled back and forth along the road while we were camped so there is still some type of activity at the mines.
   The dispersed camping area is very large level and mostly level. There’s enough room to satisfy people who want their own private spot and to accommodate large groups of friends camping together. The city of Yuma is less than 20 miles away and has a wide variety of stores and services. All of this plus easy access to the Mexican border town of Los Algodones makes American Girl Mine a popular place.

   The ground is hard packed so rolling around is fairly easy. American Girl Mine  32.8356, -114.81039