On the 8th, I take Julie back into Phoenix in the morning to drop her off at the airport. The sunrise as we’re getting ready to go is quite nice.
We shower and have breakfast on the way. I leave her at Phoenix Sky Harbor with plenty of time to catch her flight, and I do laundry and some shopping before going back to the RV. It’s been a great visit! And the gap until the next time I see her won’t be as long as I’m planning to visit family and friends in Wisconsin this summer.
The sunrise the next morning is fantastic. I think. I wake up at the tail end of it when brilliant orange suffuses the inside of the Casita from behind the blinds. By the time I grab my camera and get outside, the color has faded and my phone simply can’t capture the golden tone of the sky.
It’s time to be hitting the road. This year I’m going to arrive on time for the start of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) tomorrow on the 10th. Here’s one last shot of the hill southeast of camp with saguaro and organ pipe cactus in front.
On the way up 85 I pull over to get a picture of this neat rocky area which I’ve passed several times now. Of course today is a cloudy day so the color isn’t there. Oh well.
With a long stint of boondocking ahead, it makes sense to stay at an RV park tonight to dump, take on water, and fully charge all my electronics. After a visit to the Walmart in Buckeye (there isn’t one close to Quartzsite) I board I10 west and wind up at a place that will be familiar to readers from last year – good old Saddle Mountain RV in Tonopah. I’ve overnighted here a couple times on the way to or from boondocks.
Wow, tonight’s sunset. It starts out purple to the east, and lightens to pink.
When I’m back inside and think it can’t get any better, it switches to orange and red. I run back out.
The color fades to the east, and I scramble around to the other side of Cas to watch the show continue its westward march.
This is the 5/5 mindblowing Arizona sunset I wish Julie had been able to witness. Oh well! This just means she’ll just have to come out again sometime.
RTR, here I come! The rest of the drive to Quartzsite is a straight-shoot on I10. Traffic is light, and the road is in better shape than last year – it’s being resurfaced. At one point I10 narrows to one lane, but as I always tow at 60-65mph it doesn’t affect my speed.
To reach the RTR camp, you take exit 19 on the east side of Quartzsite and turn south onto Riggles Avenue. At the T intersection, turn left (east) onto Kuehn St (which may not be labeled. It curves in a dogleg shape and ends up paralleling I10 and is now called Dome Rock Rd. E. Follow it until it ends (a few miles) and then your only choice is to turn right (south) onto a two-lane dirt road. The RTR happens near the end of this road, just before it curves and the 14-day camping area ends. There’s a good map on the RTR page on Bob’s website that lays this out visually.
That page is also where you’ll want to go for the most up-to-date version of the schedule of events, and more about the meetup in general, such as what to bring and what to expect. The last day of the RTR this year is the 24th, but if you can’t come this year, there’s always next year. If you’re new to either full-timing or boondocking, this is a great event to attend because there are daily seminars (that run for two weeks!) on everything you might need to know about the lifestyle: domicile, mail forwarding, solar and batteries, work-camping, cooking on the road, RV gadgets, getting dental care in Mexico… the list goes on.
It also has a reputation for being very accommodating of all types of nomads, from those in large Class As to those tenting it or living out of a car. Old-timers help the new folks, and pretty much everyone I’ve met there have been friendly. Just understand that it’s a very diverse group of people from all walks of life. Be kind, we’re all here to learn and make friends.
That first official night, the main RTR spur road is already full to bursting, holy cow. I’m lucky to snag a spot on the edge of the main camp where a wash on one side of the RV provides the illusion of privacy. Don’t let the above picture fool you – I’m surrounded by rigs on three other sides. But, this is what a lot of people come to Quartzsite for – the camaraderie of meeting up with other RVers who often spend most of their year traveling alone.
Normally, if you want more privacy you can park down one of the other spur roads nearby and avoid the huge gathering on the main one, but there are other groups in the area this year and space is at a premium. I hear reports from other nomads during my stay about spats and arguments over noise level and space which makes me sad. I personally have no problems in my little corner during my week-long stay.
You’ll notice I’m not covering the RTR on a day-by-day basis, but rather treating this post like a summary. There are a couple reasons for this. First, I don’t get out and do much sightseeing because I’m here primarily to meet people, so there are no outings to report on. And tied into that, some attendees at the RTR don’t want to have an online presence, so to respect everyone’s privacy I limit the number of photos I take of people and rigs while I’m here.
Of course I also have to take a trip into town to walk through the booths while I’m here. The Big Tent doesn’t open until the 21st this year, but a lot of other vendors have already set up.
I pick up some cheap fuses and other odds and ends, and shop around for mats. After having boondocked a year I’m now on the lookout for a good mat to reduce the amount of sand and dirt that gets inside the RV (losing battle, I know), and provide a more defined outdoor space. Luckily I have some more time to find that perfect mat.
Next up, the Xscapers Convergence!
*If you attended the RTR this year and we didn’t get the chance to talk (and you wanted to), I’m sorry it didn’t work out. I’m quite introverted and need a good amount of alone time each day, this is why I prefer writing as my primary mode of communication with people I don’t know well. Plus there were just so many people there that I couldn’t find everyone, let alone find the time to have a conversation. Hopefully our paths will cross again!
- Quartzsite and the RTR – An introduction to the phenomenon that is Quartzsite and last year’s report on the RTR
- Rubber Tramp Rendezvous – Once again, here’s the official RTR page on Bob’s website. If you need better directions on how to get there, want to see the seminar schedule, or want to know more on what it is, go here
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