Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Let's do the Time Warp again!"

Oh, I have SO MUCH to tell you all about!!  A lot has happened since I last posted.  I’ve been super busy working long days into the nights and traveling, all of which has kept me from getting my computer fully charged and posting.  But first, I need to catch you all up.  We need to time warp back a couple of weeks. 

"It's just a jump to the left, 
and then a step to the right"

On January 14, I headed south to Quartzsite for the last few days of the RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) and the opening of the RV Big Tent Show (and when they say Big Tent they mean BIG TENT!).  
The BIG Tent

The RTR is a yearly gathering of mostly vandwellers (but there are lots of other types of rigs there too – anyone is welcome) organized by Bob Wells of CheapRVLiving.  

If you want to hit the road, 
with a tent or with a towed, 
in a bus or in a van, 
or an SUV with your best friend Dan, 
Bob’s great website is the place to go, 
with everything you will need to know.  

- (I was in a rhyming mood)

Participants gather for 2 weeks of boondocking in the desert around Quartzsite enjoying seminars that cover pretty much everything you need to know for your full or part-time life on the road.  There is no cost for attending the RTR nor do you have to register, just show up and join in on the fun.  The other great part of this gathering is seeing all the different rigs people live in, how they have set them up for living, and learning about their unique lifestyles.  I saw some amazing designs and ingenious ideas.  Even though I missed most of the gathering, I still learned so much and met some amazing people. 

RTR Gathering.  Everyone is scattered all over the desert - this is just a small portion of the attendees.

One of the coolest things I noticed was age range of those in attendance – 20-something’s to 70-something’s (maybe even 80-something’s).  It just goes to show that you don’t have to be young or retired to start such a journey.  I met several women in their 60’s – 70’s who had raised their families and were now on their own but had the clarity and courage to make THEIR longtime dream a reality.  They didn’t let their children's or friends' fears and doubts stop them, they just blazed ahead.  Boy, do I admire them - they are road warriors in every way. 

The desert and Quartzsite off in the distance

Another reason I wanted to go to Quartzsite to attend the RTR and check out the big RV Show was to learn more about Workamping and find a job for the summer.  A lot of full-timers workamp for a season or more to earn enough money so they can travel the rest of the year.  Workamping can take many shapes:  Camp hosts at campgrounds; retail, wait staff, shuttle drivers, and equipment rental jobs in National Parks; working at Amazon in the fall; or even sugar beet harvest work.  There are so many different types of jobs in so many locations.  (NOTE: Not all workamping jobs pay wages, some only give you a campsite in exchange for working 20-40 hours per week; some may pay a wage, but not provide a campsite or housing for free; and others pay a wage AND give you a free campsite.  If you are looking for a workamping job, be sure to find out what the terms are BEFORE accepting a position.  Do the calculations to see if what they are offering is worth your time).  Probably the most common workamping job is as a campground host.  As a camp host, you greet guests, “enforce” the rules, and basically keep the campground and bathrooms clean.  Hopefully you also have time to enjoy where you are – especially if you are lucky enough to be working in a National Park or National Forest or other gorgeous location.  Well, I was fortunate to score a sweet job for the summer working as a campground host in Washington State in the Cascade Mountains.  Ah, the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite places.  I am super excited.  My campground is on a lake so I will get to enjoy paddling around it in the beautiful handmade canoe my dad made me.  What an adventure this summer will be!   

An RV Wagon Train I saw circled up ready to defend against. . . Wiley Coyote?  Roadrunners?
If you have never been to Quartzsite, AZ, you are missing out on a very unique experience.   During January and February the small, quiet town and surrounding desert swells in population from just under 3,500 to upwards of 1 million people with RV’s, trailers, tents, vans all scattered across the desert boondocking among the Saguaros.  Most are coming for the (Ah-hum) warm weather and the big Rock, Mineral and Gem shows, RV Show, and the hundreds of vendors who sell just about anything you can think of, and a few things you probably don't want to think of.  

Yep, you read that correctly, Bacon Lemonade.
I have to say the Garlic Parmesan Curly Fries DID look good!  But I couldn't afford them financially or gastronomically.

For someone like me who is crowd-a-phobic (and short), going to the Big Tent show and vendor area was a bit overwhelming, but I am glad I went and experienced it.  I recommend checking it out at least once.  Be sure to bring comfortable shoes, and a GPS! - I got lost trying to find my way back out of the Big Tent area - and I don't get lost easily.  I think I got confused with the rows upon rows of huge, "all-look-alike" RV's on display and the deviously calculated placement of the porta-potties.  I did eventually find my way out of the maze and back to the general mayhem of the A - Z rows of vendor tents.  

Rows A - Z of vendor tents across the street from the Big Tent area.
I never got through all 26 + rows of vendors and I was there ALL day and had to have walked several miles.

The trip to Quartzsite was a blast and a much needed break from hanging in Lake Havasu for so long.  I ended up staying for 5 days and enjoyed the company of new friends and a new place.  After Quartzsite, I headed back to Lake Havasu City and the BIG surprise!

. . . to be continued  (Oh, it's going to be good!!!)


  1. I'm glad you went!! I'm excited to hear more of your adventure. You wrote your experience so well, it was like I was there walking around with you.

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Angel,

      I wish you were there walking around with me - maybe I wouldn't have gotten lost! ;O) It was quite interesting and fun in it's own special way. And a good workout too!

      I have been thinking about you and hoping you have thawed out enough to get to and from your house safely. That was a huge amount of snow you got. It is cold here again, but only for a few days. It has been so windy that it's been challenging to get anything done outside. But it is supposed to be warming up to delightfully hot temps next week - just as I have to leave the region to head back east to the cold. Just my luck.

      I hope you will get to experience the uniqueness of Quartzsite soon. It is definitely worth checking out.

      Sending you warm wishes and I hope warm weather too!


  2. Hi Jordan,
    I full-time in a "tall" teardrop too...a T@b trailer towed by a 4-door Jeep. I was at the RTR, sorry to miss meeting another teardropper. I will be working as a camp host in WA on Lake Baker, was wondering where you will be, sounds similar. I also have a blog, would love to hear from you!

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I remember seeing a couple of T@B's at the RTR, maybe one was yours! (I really like those teardrops on steroids!) :O) I got there late the second week so didn't get to meet too many people. I will be on Lake Wenatchee this summer. Looking forward to checking out your blog - it looks like you have been having a blast since going full-time! I'm glad you are making your dreams come true.

      Happy camping and enjoy the weather in Q for me!