The January 2017 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzsite, AZ

January 9 – January 23, 2017

I’d been looking forward to the 2017 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous ever since the 2016 RTR ended. I’d met so many people and made so many friends in 2016, several of who I’m still in touch with regularly on Facebook and through my blog.

There was a good number of us that got there a day or two early, and we’re glad we did. When I arrived, there was already a lot of people already in camp and they were pouring in continuously. Sometimes there was a line at the turn in, and I don’t recall that happening at all last year. It was obviously going to be a very crowded gathering. In the first few

In the first few days, it became so crowded that some people felt overwhelmed and moved to the outer boundaries of the camp, leaving more spots near the main gathering area for the new folks. Over the last year, word had spread like wildfire about the RTR and I think in part it was due to the increasing number of YouTube Video’s that were being made about it. There were a lot of the old-timers here, and a lot of newbies who had come to learn how to live this lifestyle (some didn’t even know how to pee without a regular toilet, they were that new), but also a lot of people who were under the impression that this was a festival of some kind, and that is not what the RTR is about, not at all.

I had settled in a spot near to the new friends I made in Ehrenberg. I’d parked Studley a respectable distance from my friend’s van, but was still wondering if I was a bit too close. One day, someone in another white van came and backed into the spot between us. I looked at him with a startled expression, and he asked if anyone was camping there already. I explained that there wasn’t, but that was my buffering space between my friend’s van and mine, and I was walking back and forth continuously, and I’d be walking right by his bumper regularly if he stayed there. He smiled and said, “Well then, I won’t let it bother me.” Well, what could I say to that? At least he was quiet, and left after about three days, at which point I put some ‘stuff’ in the vacant space to ensure it didn’t happen again. I think that most people who were at the 2017 RTR have a story similar to mine.

I have to admit it was a bit too crowded, and it stressed out a lot of people who were used to camping on their own or at least a decent distance from others rather than in an RV Park, or some other kind of cramped place. There was also a festival type of feel to it, and with that came loud music late into the night, and from many other places around camp. The organizer Bob Wells (YouTube link on Bob), got more than a little upset with all the noise, and one evening it was just too much for him, and he ended up leaving his own camp and driving down the road a mile or more so he could have some peace and quiet.

At the morning meeting following that night, Bob let it be known how unhappy he was with the noise, and in particular the drums (drums sounds carry a very long way). Some people got angry that they were being asked to keep the noise down, and said what right did he have to say anything (he was the founder and organizer of the RTR, and you were his guests), and others agreed with Bob. When Bob asked for a show of hands as to how people learned about the RTR; from his blog, or his YouTube Channel, the majority raised their hands for the YouTube Channel.

I think that’s when the light clicked on for myself and probably Bob. Most of the information about why Bob created the RTR, what his intention for it is, and what the RULES were for the Rendezvous, were on his blog, and NOT on his YouTube Channel. Therefore, most of these people had never even visited his blog and didn’t even know it existed, let alone seen the rules, and most had no idea why Bob held this gathering. (This link will take you to Bob’s video about WHY he started the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous).

I spoke to quite a number of people who were under the impression that he did it for money, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Bob doesn’t charge for this, and he works hard to help people and asks for nothing in return. He is one of the most generous, kind and gracious people I know. He only has goodness in his heart. The little bit of advertising he does on his web page might help to support what he invests into his web page, but he certainly doesn’t get rich off it. I know how long it takes to create one of these posts, it takes many hours or even days, and that doesn’t include the picture-taking, editing, and uploading time. As for a video, that can easily take half a day to several days to create. They don’t just magically appear as some people seem to think (well they do for the reader/watcher, but not for the creator). For Bob, helping people as he does, is a full-time commitment.

Anyway, after the initial upset, people figured out how to deal with it. The music lovers created their own little area away from camp, but still within walking distance. Bob camped down the road each night, which worked better for him and Cody (his dog) because he didn’t have to keep him on a leash when away from camp, and Bob had his silence and time to recuperate each evening, and some people just left. Things relaxed a bit, and a good time was had by all.

And this is one of the things I love about this group. When a problem arises, a solution is found. One that will work for everyone, at least to as an acceptable level as possible in such a large gathering.

I’m pretty sure that now that Bob knows why people had the impression that the RTR was a festival, rather than a boot camp and gathering to make new friends, he will take care of it over the next year.

As for myself, I had a wonderful time. I made a lot of new friends and met a lot of my followers. I lost track of the number of people who recognized me (actually they recognized my headband/scarf/Buff before they recognized me. Ha! Ha!), and it was wonderful to learn that what some people think is a silly little ego-driven blog, has actually inspired people to break away from their dull lives of slavery to the $$$, and get out and enjoy life a bit more. Even if you only do this for a month or two months a year, it will help to improve the quality of your life. You’ll become more resilient, independent, joyful, free in spirit, less wasteful, less materialistic and there will be many more benefits gained over time. Perhaps you’ll see in that short time just how little you really need to be happy and will adjust your life accordingly, even if you return to a stick and brick after your initial try-out. And it is a good idea to try out this lifestyle before going all-in because it’s certainly not for everyone.

Last year when I came to the RTR, I was living in Mitzi. Mitzi was a Mitsubishi Montero Sport, which is a mid-sized SUV. She was small. I didn’t have room for a ‘proper’ toilet. I had a tiny little pee container, and when I had to go ‘poo’ I took a doggie bag and paper and walked a long way from camp. This year I had room for a ‘real’ toilet. I spent six months looking for the perfect container. Not too big, and not too small. I found one just in time for the RTR. What a difference it has made, I love it. I’ll do a post and possibly a YouTube Video on that one day.

Oh yes, stay tuned, we Nomads love to talk about our bathroom solutions.

The RTR runs for almost two weeks. Most mornings and some afternoons there are classes on how to live this lifestyle. Bob holds most of them, but this year others held their own classes in the afternoons. Many didn’t even make the schedule because they were so impromptu. I think one of my favorite classes was how to make a solar oven for just a few dollars. I’m looking forward to trying that one day. I think I have everything I need with me to create one right now. Maybe I’ll cook a cake on Easter or something.

Aside from all the informational classes, there was a talent competition, a cook-off (there wasn’t going to be one this year because it’s such a lot of work, but someone stepped up and did one anyway), and much more. You can get an idea by looking at the calendar below, and I’m not sure if everything made it onto this schedule.


As you can see, on the 21st we had the Burning Van. This year the van had been made from wood so it would burn a little slower than last year. The burning van was created in 2016 by Karen and Tony because someone had a huge cardboard box they wanted to burn, and Karen and Tony decided to make it into a van to burn instead, and now it has become a tradition. Here is a link to the 2016 YouTube Video I made, and the 2017 one.

And there we have it. In the end, a good time was had by all, and on the final day we all cleaned up the area as much as possible. One lady tore down as many of the numerous small campfires that had sprung up as she could, another picked up micro-trash, others tore down the bulletin boards someone had kindly created, and I helped to pack up the Free Pile which I’d been attempting to keep tidy through the gathering, and many others pitched in to leave the place as spotless as possible. I imagine that when the BLM Ranger came and did his inspection, he could find no wrong. Indeed, I think we even hauled off some trash that campers prior to the RTR had left, and that’s the way it should be. The Nomad rule is to always leave a place cleaner than you found it, and whenever possible, leave-no-trace at all.

I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. Please visit the HOME page to find more articles, and feel free to share, sign up and leave a comment. Also please visit my YouTube Channel.Until next time…remember to step outside of your comfort zone as often as possible.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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16 responses to “The January 2017 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzsite, AZ

  1. Pingback: Leaving A Comfort Zone | Nomad for Nature·

  2. You can make a comfortable toilet also by purchasing a low cost toilet seat from the Home Depot and removing the hardware attached to the seat, it will probably fit on top of a 5 gallon bucket (also sold at the Home Depot). Check to see if the seat hole will fit inside the rim of the bucket for a better fit. Use 2 Glad Large size trash bags (or similar) for a liner (very important). Sprinkle each new paw paw with some Hydrated Lime (easily available from most garden supply stores or Home Depot probably – very low cost & lasts forever) or quality Cat Litter to help keep the smell down and the flies from making babies (worms) in the paw paw. When full to the level you can lift – tie off the plastic bags with a “Cable Tie/Zip Tie” and place the contents in another heavy duty plastic bag and then tie the bag closed using a cable tie. Now the bag and it’s contents are ready for disposal in a public trash receptacle which does not have a sign posted on it saying: “No Household Trash”. Do not use the bag ties that come with the box of trash bags – they are not strong enough to withstand the rough handling the bag and it’s contents may experience on it’s trip to the dump. When done properly you will use two light duty bags plus one final heavy duty bag = 3 bags total. You can place the bucket lid on top of the bucket loosely or you will have to use a Dremel to ream out the grove around the lid to allow it to fit over the bags. Also, you can buy a low cost small (7-10 gallon?) metal trash can with a metal lid and use it to store your 5 gallon bucket when not in use – it virtually eliminates any smell. It may be possible to use a metal bucket alone if you can find one that will work with the seat & bags. This system is low cost and easy to manage, better than a chemical toilet. I have used this method for years and i have not had any problems with complaints or signs placed on public trash cans saying: “No Human Waste Allowed”. People put dog waste and used/full baby diapers in public trash cans all the time. If you use my system you will probably have no problems with public officials. But actually in my opinion “Burning” human waste is the best method. I need to invent a small portable burner someday or someone else should invent one. gg (18 Mar 17)


    • How often do you need to toss your bag? I’m experimenting with a similar composting set up — 5 gal bucket with screw on lid (gamma) and wood shavings (from pet store). Make a deposit, cover with shavings and lid goes back on. Eventually, the compost would be buried, tossed in a pit toilet or dumpster. So far it’s perfect. Once a deposit is covered and lid goes back on the bucket, there are no smells. But I’m not sure how long it will take to decompose/compost? I’m a little concerned that the bucket will fill up before that happens… I’m beginning to think that it might be a good idea to go easy on the cover material (base layer and subsequent covering layers) or try some different materials.


      • Dear Bethers. For one adult your bag needs to be changed about every 3 to 5 weeks. I am going to change my bag today and it has been 8 weeks, but sometimes it does not last that long. I have not tried a composting system, but i suspect it requires too much “material” and you would be emptying it quite often. My experience with a “Porta Potty” is that it requires too much time with regular emptying plus the cost of that chemical you put into the holding tank. Keep in mind that i am 68 years old and i do not use the toilet like i did when i was a lot younger. Using Hydrated Lime (very environmental friendly) is the key to the efficiency of my system. It is not perfect but helps a lot in keeping the smell down and discourages parasites from developing. gg
        19 Mar 17.


        • Thanks for the response. Very encouraging to hear that you can get 1-2 months of use before emptying. I’m also not fond of frequent emptying. Will look into the hydrated lime.


          • After thinking about it – i thought maybe i should adjust my emptying schedule down for a more frequent use to maybe 9 to 12 days for a healthy person who has a regular daily toilet use. But speaking only for myself – i empty about every 6-7-8 weeks.
            I think maybe:
            1. Porta-Potty: 60 to 70% water/20 to 30% paw paw
            2. Compost Toilet: 70 to 80% sawdust/20 to 30% paw paw
            3. My System: 70 to 80% paw paw/20 to 30% Hydrated Lime. Please keep in mind that Hydrated Lime is a fine powder and is quite messy. You might want to re-package it into plastic containers for easier handling. I have considered using pure “Lime” but it is pretty “hot” and can cause burns on your skin (i think). If i can buy small quanities of Lime i will experiment with it. But some people say that it is not more effective that Hydrated Lime (much safer). gg 19 Mar 17


    • Messtime – It seems a lot of campers use a “one bag per deposit” set up. I was wanting to try and avoid that and was curious about how often you need to toss the bag. Also wanted to add that I think those $1K composting toilets are a bit of a rip off. Essentially you can accomplish the same thing with a different but less costly set up.


  3. I would love to buy you lunch! Just wish I would be able to join you. So I do hope you check out the PayPal Komi site so I can buy you a lunch and you can tell me about it!


  4. I know that you participate with amazon’s affiliate program, but have you ever thought about signing up for Kofi?
    It’s a micro-payment site that lets people “buy you a coffee” (make a small donation to you). It’s run in partnership with paypal, so if you have a paypal account it just links into that.

    I know there’s a lot of people that would love to buy you a coffee (or tea) or chip in a little just to help you out. It’s not like a “go fund me” where you need to have a big goal. it’s just a way for your readers or youtube viewers to say “thank you”. Think of it as a “virtual tip jar” for the people that enjoy reading your blog and seeing your incredible photographs.


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