Xscapers Bash Part 2 and How to Make Friends on the Road

January 19 (continued)

This year the Xscapers Annual Bash is set up differently than previous years. Instead of two weeks spent in Quartzsite, there’s a part 1 and part 2 to the event, with the first week being in Q, and the second week being down near Winterhaven, CA along American Girl Mine (AGM) Road – where I boondocked for a while last February with several other Xscapers solos unofficially.

Those of us going to part 2 pull out today and make our way south on 95 towards Yuma, then west on I8. Or, go west on I10 to Blythe, then south on 78. The two routes are close to the same distance, but 78 is said to be less busy than 95, so the event coordinator J.P. recommends that route. I go that way, and stop for groceries in Blythe on the way.

Somewhere along 78

There are fewer people at AGM, and a lot more space to spread out. I park next to friends Kelly and Marshall of Camp Addict (whom I camped with last year here), and Joni of The Galavan.

Near sunset I reacquaint myself with the big wash east of camp, which is full of interesting green rocks and little furry-looking plants, a big contrast from all the spiky things at Kofa.

After dark, the party starts. There’s not a single night here at AGM without some sort of social event happening in the evening. I make it to most of them!

Nail and facial night with Kelly, Joni, and Hannah

January 23, Tuesday

Yesterday I crossed into Mexico to see my dentist, Dr. Eva Ureña, for a cleaning. All goes well – you can read the linked article for more info on dentistry in Los Algodones.

Today, I go on a hike with Marshall. Beyond the big wash lies a mountain range dotted with mines connected by twisty roads. It’s a fun place to explore. We take his Jeep as far as it’ll go (it’s a 2WD model) and then start walking.

Most of the mines are blocked off and inactive, but a couple are still in use and surrounded by ‘do not enter’ and ‘private property’ signs. We climb a peak nearby and get a good view of this one.

That lighter colored stuff was almost pink in person – tailings.

There are also old dwellings and numerous posts with markers on them. This appears to have been a building once upon a time. Wooden stubs at roof level indicate where beams use to be.

Marshall would’ve been too tall to stand up in this building

On the way back out we stop at this building. Old structures like this always make me curious about the story behind them.

After dark, Bill Trinkle hosts another light painting workshop. I spin my poi…

And also steel wool. Who knew that fine-grade steel wool burns? The sparks it throws are pretty amazing. Note: you can seriously injure yourself playing with fire! Be careful, practice without first, and have someone standing by to help in case something goes wrong.

January 26

Let’s see. On the 24th, a large group of us cross to Los Algodones for lunch. I have a fish chimichanga at Molcas Tacos, which isn’t an authentic dish by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s so good! I’d had tacos at a stand across the street the day I came for my dental cleaning, so I got the best of both worlds.

me, Jessica, Tami, Margot, and Brian

Yesterday, the group took a trip to the Imperial Sand Dunes just up the road for sunset.

And it was a good sunset! I hope to come out to the dunes once more before leaving AGM.

Photo credit: Marni Pearlman

And today the Annual Bash officially ended with a potluck brunch. Although for those who just don’t want the party to end, the week-long Mexico Convergence down in San Felipe starts tomorrow, and a good number of this group are caravaning down bright and early in the morning for that. I’ll be hanging around here until my two weeks are up (there’s work to catch up on), with a few other Xscapers who haven’t yet moved on.

* * *

And so, another busy winter gathering season comes to an end, at least for me.

Every year I hear from one or two first-timers who are disappointed with their experience at RVing rallies and gatherings like the RTR and Annual Bash, and it usually stems from not feeling included.

My advice on how to make the most of these events is very similar as in my article about how to meet people and avoid loneliness on the road: be proactive about reaching out.

You’ll get out what you put in to these events, so if you want to feel included, be the person who speaks first. Attend the group campfires and seminars and strike up conversation. Ask others what kind of rig they have, how long they’ve been on the road, their favorite place to visit. You won’t jive with everyone you meet, but when you do connect with someone, keep the conversation going. Ask new questions to answers they give about your opening questions. Share the story of how you ended up on the road. Find out what else you have in common besides being an RVer and dig into that.

If you have a good conversation with someone, seek them out at a later time to continue building the relationship. Don’t be afraid to invite them over to see your rig, or out for a walk or some other event. Exchange contact info and keep in touch.

As an introvert who usually travels alone, I often am asked how I make RVing friends, and the answer is attending meet ups like these. The event itself often tires me out and isn’t a very relaxing experience. But the friendships I make at the RTR and Xscapers convergences last long after the last campfire is put out.

For this one I was spinning the steel wool behind, while Kelly posed in front

Yes, it’s a lot of effort and can be uncomfortable to go out of your way to make new connections (and strengthen existing ones) for two weeks straight. But the payout is enjoying the other 50 weeks of the year with a far-reaching network of people whom you can visit with on a more casual basis as your paths cross on the road. Over time, your friends introduce you to their friends, and before you know it, you’ve a part of something that sticks and bricks folks can hardly conceive of: a true nomadic community. It won’t happen all at once, and as with many good things it takes effort. But it’s worth it!

Photo credit: Michael Nistler

Thanks Patrons!

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  1. Rhonda on February 1, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    What beautiful photos of poi spinning, Becky…how nice to create art for others to enjoy in a social setting. Looks like you had a wonderful couple of weeks. Thank you for sharing and safe travels…:-)

    • Becky on February 2, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      You’re welcome and thanks Rhonda!

  2. Pamela Campbell on January 31, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Well, you’re just having a great old time! Good for you! My big regret is I didn’t have warm enough clothes, or maybe just a warm jacket. After one neighbor fire at night where I did have a nice time, I was so cold I didn’t go to any more fires st night. I do have contact info for several people and also from a mentoring group led by Lesa after the WRTR. Very nice time during the whole thing. I’ll get a warmer jacket so I don’t miss more opportunities.
    When I look at the map I realize how close I am to so many beautiful and interesting sights. I’m planning to go to New Jack City and Sawtooth CG to experience those wonderful giant rocks. And see the giant sequoias and maybe Yosemite.
    Thanks again, Becky, for sharing in your blog.
    Happy Trails. Pamelab

    • Becky on February 2, 2018 at 6:19 pm

      Yes, a warm jacket is important for winter camping, even down south!

      You’re welcome and have fun!

  3. Holly on January 31, 2018 at 8:15 am

    • Becky on January 31, 2018 at 10:05 am

      Neat! Glad you enjoyed this Holly.

  4. Jim@HiTek on January 31, 2018 at 7:25 am

    I happened to be in San Felipe at the Padrino’s restaurant in downtown with friends when we watched a caravan of 15 or so RVs inching their way through town. I think that may have been your group of nomads.

    It was the evening of the end of the Baja 150 (Jan. 28th) so streets were blocked off to facilitate the racers. The caravan missed the perfect street to turn on at the corner just before Padrino’s. Probably didn’t know about it. I was worried that all those RVs would end up where I was staying in Campo San Felipe behind the casino which is the first RV park you come to on the street the caravan turned onto. Relieved they didn’t stop there as it would have been really crowded and I planned on leaving the next morning.

    But they all made it with a minimum of disruption to the townsfolk and racers. Must have been harrowing for the RVers not use to driving a big rig in small Mexican towns though.

    I would have gone to introduce myself but didn’t find at which RV park along the sea they ended up at.

    • Becky on January 31, 2018 at 10:02 am

      Could have been Jim? There were more than 15 rigs going but they may have split up into groups. No wait, they left on the morning of the 26th and made it that day, so it must have been a different group. Hope they got where they were going!

  5. Judy Blinkenberg on January 30, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Beautiful spinning and steel wool pictures. It’s a lovely light show! Hope we can go to American Girl mine soon. Great photos!

    • Becky on January 31, 2018 at 10:00 am

      It’s a peaceful place to camp, so much open space and the mountains are full of neat things.

  6. Rob on January 30, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    You have that right, just walk up & say “hello, how’s it going?”
    You might end up surprised… these gatherings are all about meeting people.

    It sounds like you had a good time!

    • Becky on January 31, 2018 at 9:59 am

      I sure did!

    • John Louis Willard on February 2, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      I agree with all of this , I also am a member of AA (17) yrs clean and sober, AA has a huge community and it takes a while to assimilate there to. I am thinking of trying this within the year , maybe a cargo trailer build into my home on wheels . Glad I found ya . I’m reading your book now , love it so far. Thanks 🙏

      • Becky on February 3, 2018 at 3:45 pm

        Thanks for buying my book John and I hope you get a lot of use out of it! Safe travels and happy trails.

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