January 6 – January 9, 2017
In my last post, I traveled from Lake Havasu City to Ehrenberg. It would be my final stop before going to The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzsite. I had such a wonderful experience at the RTR in January 2016. I learned a lot and made quite a few friends, some of whom I’m still in touch with.
When I drove into camp at Ehrenberg, the first person I saw walking along, was one of those friends. Les told me where he was camped and gave me a long list of other names of people he thought I knew, and where they were camped. I’m terrible with names, I mean really terrible, but I drove and parked nearby the rigs he’d described. I didn’t meet any of them that night, I was trying to see a face I recognized, but I was just a little too far away, so it was the next morning before I plucked up the courage to casually walk their way. As I got closer I heard someone say “Is that Roxy I see,” and I knew it would be okay. I couldn’t remember any of their names, but I knew their faces.
They invited me over and then invited me to camp with them, and I joined the little band of nomads.
The community of nomads and travelers that have come together because of Bob Wells, his blog Cheap RV Living, and his creation of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, are truly some of the most gracious, down-to-earth, honest, kind, and genuine people I’ve ever met. They come from all walks of life, some are struggling to live on a government pension or disability, and have worked for minimum wage all their lives, and yet others are retired with a comfortable bank account and pension, impressive titles after their names, and college educations that blow the mind, and of course, there is everything in-between. Regardless of their background, the one thing we all seem to have in common is that everyone is treated with respect, as long as they do the same in return. I’ve spoken to several people who have come from truly bad situations, and are really struggling financially to get by, but they have been greeted with open arms and have been offered help instead of being looked down on. This is what The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous is about. It is not a festival, it is a boot camp for beginners (Bob’s own words) and a gathering place for Nomads, so they can make new friends and meet like-minded people. And it works, the community and tribe that has grown from Bob’s hard work are very special. We gather to meet, and help one another, and create lasting friendships. It’s hard to meet people when you’re always moving, so Bob created the RTR to help out a bit.
To get an idea what camping in Ehrenberg is like, you can watch my YouTube Video – Camping With a Group of Nomads in Ehrenberg.
I was having a very pleasant time visiting with this group, some who were newly made friends. At one point we got on the subject of the internet because I was going to drive into Ehrenberg to check my email and create a blog post. A couple of the people I was camping with had Wi-Fi in their vans, and I enquired about it. It sounded truly wonderful, but the Jetpack would cost $75.00 and then there was the service, which I believe Verizon was charging around $120 a month for back then (or more). I’m one of those people who has a pay-as-you-go phone because I don’t want to pay more than $15.00 a month for phone calls. I certainly couldn’t afford a data plan. It was totally out of the question.
That’s when one of my new friends told me that he had a couple of spare Jetpacks, and he’d give me one if I was willing to get it flashed myself. Apparently, he’d had a flashed Jetpack, but had let the monthly payment expire, so he’d bought another Jetpack that came with two months of service again because it was easier than getting it flashed. I figured I had nothing to lose, because if this worked, I not only would I get two months of WiFi in my van, but afterward it would only cost me $5 a month for unlimited 3G wireless. I was very excited about this possibility and borrowed one of their Jetpacks so I could go to e-bay and type in the keywords, Verizon, Unlimited, 3G, and hey-presto, there on the screen were a good many choices of Jetpacks for sale, already flashed, with two months of service included. I scrolled down and found some providers that offered the flashing service on its own. I settled for a mid-priced service because he had a good reputation, and got in touch with him like he told me to (before paying the fee). Then I used PayPal to pay the guy to flash my jetpack remotely ($30) so that if he turned out the be a bad deal, I’d be able to get my money back. After that, I followed his instructions, which involved hooking my Jetpack to my computer and downloading a program that allowed him to access my Jetpack through my computer. It was a bit awkward, and even a bit nerve-wracking (giving a stranger access to my computer), but eventually it got done, and later that day I had WiFi in my vehicle, and all it cost me was $30.00, which even included two months service. The flashing service I used was by unleashedddata, and I’m recommending him because he was honest, and has answered every question I asked him, even after he’d done the service and didn’t need to ever respond to me again. I will use him again if I forget to renew my subscription at any point in the future.
When I finally got connected to 3G, I was so elated that I did a little dance around camp, (much to everyone’s amusement), and I was still thanking my friends weeks later.
This is a perfect example of the kindness and generosity I’ve received over and over from The Tribe. (My regular readers will recall when my vehicle died a sudden death in 2016, and how The Tribe and a host of other people came to my rescue, in a manner that was extremely generous). I didn’t ask for anything this time, and yet it was offered to me. I got WiFi in my van, and it changed everything.
For one, it paid for itself very quickly, because I didn’t have to drive into town almost every day to check my WiFi, which saved on gas. And I also didn’t have to pay for coffee to get a password, and I wasn’t sitting in McDonald’s with that horrible food tempting me all the time. I could check my emails from anywhere I could get a signal, and even create blogs to share with you. It was wonderful….Oh…and THANK YOU AGAIN…you know who you are. I’m still a very happy lady!
Of course, having internet meant having power to run my laptop and the Jetpack etc., and eventually that led to a dead battery. But I got help with that also, however, I’ll tell you that story another time.
As my friend Debbie of the TBI Girl blog says, The Road Provides…and it sure does.