There was a time when people lived in tribes, or groups of Nomads that moved across the land according to the climate, the availability of food sources, and the weather. These communities or nomadic bands took care of each other’s needs and made sure that no-one went without. Some were hunters, some were gatherers, some were warriors, but they all took care of their own.
When I was at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, I was with my tribe, and they took care of me. I didn’t ask for most of these things, but many of my needs were met, simply by being among people who cared, and saw, and wanted to help another member of their tribe.
I didn’t really have the ability to help anyone financially, so I took it upon myself to attempt to keep the free pile tidy throughout the RTR. It was the one thing I could do, to say thank you to Bob, and as a way to pay-it-forward. Several people at the gathering gave themselves small tasks to help things go a little smoother. Some of the tribe helped people in other ways, and I was at the receiving end of so much kindness and generosity, that I wanted to dedicate this post to saying thank you to all of those who helped me. I’m not going to mention names, because I don’t think you want recognition, but you know who you are.
Trimming of the Fender
One problem I was still having with Studley, was that one of his oversized tires was hitting the fender in certain circumstances on dirt roads, and even on the highway in places like those deep dips they have for rain run-off during storms. I’d paid someone to squeeze as much lift as they could out of the van, and later on added helper springs (thanks to more friends I made at the RTR. They installed these for me while I was in St. George, in December). However, adding the springs just made the fender hit the tire in a different spot (though they definitely improved the ride). I realized there was only one solution, and that was to cut away a bit of the fender. I’d been hoping to avoid that, but after six months of scratching my head, I came to realize that it was the only answer, unless I wanted to put $1,200 or more into ‘doing it properly.’
It just so happened that there was a welder at the RTR, and he was offering his services for whatever people could afford to pay, or not. I asked him if he’d cut a bit of the metal off, which he did, and I might add that he did a beautiful job. He got the angle so perfect, it’s hard to tell it had been trimmed unless you are looking for it. Afterward, he told me there would be no charge. You know who you are, and I thank you. I can now go on dirt roads, with odd-angled dips, and it’s wonderful. This was one of my biggest problems with Studley because it was tearing up my tires. You saved my tires and made it possible for me to get into back roads. What’s the point in having an AWD, lifted van with rugged tires, if you can’t leave the blacktop?
I’m actually a little embarrassed by this, but also truly grateful. One day Bob pulled me aside and said he had something to give me from an anonymous giver, and then proceeded to hand me a $100.00 bill. I was stunned and very grateful. But that’s not all. Several times throughout the RTR, people came up to me and handed me money. $20 here $10 there, someone gave me $60. I refused all of it, but they insisted. I would find the money stuffed in a shoe or something when I turned my back. Some told me that they had wanted to make a donation to my fundraiser last year, but when they went to do it I’d already closed it down. They still wanted me to have the money, even if I felt I didn’t need it. By the end of the RTR, I had $220.00 in cash gifted to me.
I tucked the money away, refusing to spend it on day-to-day stuff like food, gas, and trivial things. I wanted to spend it on something worthy. By the end of the RTR, I’d made my decision what to buy with the money.
When I was in Ehrenberg, before the RTR, some kind people had gifted me a Verizon Jetpack so I could get Wi-Fi in my van. This had made a huge difference in my life but had also opened up a can of worms. Now that I could sit in my vehicle and work online, watch Netflix, and so on, I was using my starter battery a lot to supply the power to these things. This meant I had to idle my vehicle more which is not good for the alternator, or drive around to charge it up, which still burned gas. One day I turned the ignition key and learned that my battery was dead. Oops, and not good.
A lot of people had been suggesting I get solar, but it had been a money issue for me. I thought I could do without it, I’d managed for thirteen years after all. But it finally dawned on me that this was a solution to many of my problems. I would be able to charge my laptop, my Jetpack, my phone, my camera, my Nook and whatever else I needed power for, all from the sun. I would save on alternator costs (I got through them every couple of years when I lived in Mitzi) and would help preserve my starter battery and save on gas. I’d be able to stay parked in one place for longer periods instead of having to drive every day. The decision was made, I’d use the money that I’d received to buy a solar panel and controller. I decided to purchase the Renogy 100W Solar Kit, off Amazon. You can find a link to it in The Nomad Store $ on my home page.
I was actually okay with food. I’d left Colorado in November with so many cans of food, I thought I’d never get through it all. However, many people who knew me still kept bringing food over. One person saw someone unloading food on me (he said it was stuff he didn’t want, would never eat and so on, and it would go on the free pile if I didn’t take it), and she assumed I couldn’t afford to buy any, and while I was away from my van came by and hung a bag of fresh food on my door handle. For sure I didn’t go hungry at the RTR. Not only because of this, but because there was food on the free pile, and so many people have cook-outs that it’s just about impossible to go hungry. I think I gained weight while I was there, along with a few others I know.
After making the decision to get a solar panel, I talked to people about hooking it up to my starter battery until I could afford a deep-cycle, house battery. I got such conflicting feedback, I wasn’t sure what to do. Some said it would be okay as a temporary thing as long as I didn’t drain the battery, others said I shouldn’t do it at all. It was actually after the RTR that this problem was solved unexpectedly, and again without asking.
I was in CA visiting some hot springs with friends. We had all felt the need for a break from the desert area around Quartzsite and Ehrenberg, and a soak in some hot springs sounded like the perfect thing to do while I waited for my solar panel to be delivered from Amazon. We were at Five Palms Hot Springs when I got the call from Brent. He asked if I was still in need of a house battery for when I got my solar installed, and if so, he knew of one that some of his friends were giving away, hopefully to a person who was in true need of one. Wow! Naturally, I accepted the offer. I was elated. Now I just had to get it, but even that was taken care of. Brent delivered it to me at Holtville Hot Springs the next day. He picked it up from his friends, and because he was on his way to LA anyway, delivering it was almost on-route. Wow!!! a free house battery, still in very good condition, and a sealed one at that, with a battery case, and delivered to my rig which was parked at some hot springs in California. Goodness….I was blown away by the perfect timing of all of this.
I was on a natural high. The generosity that had been bestowed on me was beyond my wildest hopes. I had a solar panel, a controller, and a house battery. Now I just needed to get it all installed.
Some people do this kind of thing and think it’s fun and even easy. I found the task to be daunting. I had a little bit of money to invest, but I couldn’t go wild. I returned to Ehrenberg from the hot springs trip and asked Diane if she knew anyone who might be willing to help me with the solar installation. Her face lit up and she asked if I knew Wayne, “The guy with all the solar panels on top of his van, and the trailer next to it which was also covered in solar panels, left at the fork, over by the wash.” I didn’t know Wayne, but when I drove by he was outside, so I said hi. He didn’t know me either but actually looked delighted at the chance to install solar for someone. He said it was easy, and he didn’t want to be paid. Wow! Once again, I was almost in tears with gratitude.
The solar panel finally arrived, and Wayne started the job. Bit by bit, it came together. I thought it was a lot of work, he acted as though he was taking a stroll in the park. We were trying to do it on the cheap, so we used some scrap wood to make a platform for the panel to go on (because the solar panel wasn’t quite big enough to install directly onto my cross bars). Wayne painted the wood, installed the panel, then drilled a hole in my roof for the wires and sealed it with a box. He installed the controller, and the battery, and wired it all up using a lot of his own electrical supplies to make it all work. When my inverter arrived in the mail, he installed that too. All of this took about three days in pieces here and there. It had been a long process, and I was grateful to have a place to do it with so many friends around to help (my friends Jim, Jim and Shannone helped me to re-arrange things on Studley’s roof, to make room for the panel, and some stranger loaned me a ladder so I could do that).
On my first night with solar, I plugged in my laptop, and after working out a few glitches, I had power for all my stuff. Yes! I did another happy dance.
I’m truly appreciative for Wayne’s help, it was above and beyond, and I also want to thank his girlfriend for putting up with me being there so much. Aside from a few bits I had to buy, and the inverter, all it had cost me was a 36-pack of beer for Wayne. He even sent me on my way with some wire, so that I can add extra outlets around my van at some point (I bought the outlets, I just need to borrow the tools now). Thank you, Wayne, you have given me the ability to power all my things, and save a lot of money on gas and vehicle maintenance. I’m very grateful indeed.
My solar panel of choice, The Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit. Visit The Nomad Store $ to learn more.
THANKS FOR SUPPORTING THIS SITE BY ACCESSING AMAZON VIA ANY OF THE LINKS IN THE NOMAD STORE $ OR ON THE HOME PAGE, I’LL MAKE A SMALL PERCENTAGE ON YOUR PURCHASE AND IT WON’T COST YOU ANYTHING EVEN IF YOU BUY SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Please return here to enter Amazon each time you place an order, links are good for only 24-hours.
THIS IS A SHOUT OUT TO ALL OF YOU THAT HAVE HELPED NOT ONLY ME, BUT SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE AT THE RTR, AND OTHER PLACES ON THE ROAD.
THE ROAD PROVIDES, BUT ONLY BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY GENEROUS, HELPFUL, KIND AND COMPASSIONATE PEOPLE OUT THERE, LIKE YOU.
THANK YOU ALL!