Quartzsite 2018: RTR and Xscapers Annual Bash

January 11, Thursday

Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) time! I depart Kofa Wildlife Refuge, AZ in the morning and make the short drive north to Quartzsite. Specifically, Scaddon Wash BLM area east of town.

As usual, the RTR (hosted by Bob Wells of CheapRVLiving) has grown again this year, and I’m parked farther out so as to not be right on top of my neighbor. I quickly discover that the RTR is being comprised of several ‘camps’ this year, and I end up in the music camp, a couple washes north of the main camp. I quickly meet my closest neighbors, and they all seem like cool people.

Taken the first afternoon. I ended up with many more neighbors as the event progressed!

The RTR is a fantastic place to learn about the ins and outs of life on the road. It runs a full two weeks and most days there are two seminars dedicated to some facet of of the lifestyle. Plus there are people here from all walks of life, so no matter how much money you have to work with or what type of vehicle you plan to travel in (van, car, RV), you’ll find other attendees to learn from. I’m heading the work-camping seminar on Saturday morning, so I have a little time to socialize.

The focus of the RTR is definitely on learning, and most activities are centered around that, but there are still opportunities to get to know each other. I’m in the habit of attending the daily campfire at the main meeting area, and because the evening is warmer than last year’s average, more people are out. This is a good way to break the solitude of Saddle Mountain and Kofa.

Ahh, it’s good to be back!

January 15, Monday

Like always, I don’t focus on photos at the RTR. Some attendees here don’t have or want an online presence and with so many people crammed in together, it’s easier to just avoid photos than to try to track down everyone in them to make sure it’s okay to put the photo online. I was number 811 to sign in (not mandatory), and an estimated 3,000 people came to the RTR this year, phew!

My seminar two days ago was well attended. I talked about Amazon CamperForce, national park jobs, and the beet harvest, then Bob talked a bit about campground hosting and a couple other odd jobs. Remember how I said I was ordering paperback copies of Solo Full-time RVing On A Budget and The Little Guide To Dreaming Big to sign and sell at my two seminars here in Q? Well I sold completely out at this first one! Thank you everyone who came out, it was a pleasure meeting several of you in person.

That’s a looooot of people!

Besides that, I spun poi at a party one evening (hosted by Jamie of Enigmatic Nomadics at his sweet skoolie), and attended an acoustic music night. All in all, I had a good time but as always the big crowds get to me after a while so I can’t stay long. Bob had staff to help him run the RTR this year and I definitely feel that things went smoother than last year.

Today I move north to Plomosa Road to join the Xscapers for their third Annual Bash. I’ve been to every one and watched the event grow every year, I’m the 144th rig to pull in this year. Evening campfires in a central gathering area are also a tradition here.

Before the party

January 19, Friday

Xscapers is a branch of the Escapees RV club targeted at working-age RVers. There are seminars, but for the most part they’re scheduled in the afternoon to give people who work time to do that in the mornings. I gave my work-camping talk yesterday afternoon to an engaged audience and answer questions afterward. Again, thanks everyone who attended!

I’d say if RTR is mostly education focused, the Annual Bash is more socializing focused (although there are plenty of educational resources to be found on the Xscapers/Escapees website). There are official and unofficial social gatherings almost daily and because it’s a smaller (and newer) group than the RTR, it’s easier to get involved in the community. On the 16th after a live music performance by the Status Crowes in the main meeting area, I go out with several photographers in the group for light painting sessions – something my poi work very well for.

Thanks Bill for capturing this beautiful shot!

It also helps that having a part of the Annual Bash since the beginning, I’ve already made a lot of friends here. So while it’s a bigger and bigger group every year, it feels less overwhelming because I already know so many of the attendees. I wonder if people who’ve attended the RTR from the start think the same way about that event.

All in all, my Quartzsite experience goes quite well and I have a good (if busy) eight days. Up next, part 2 of the annual bash, and some advice on how to make friends on the road!

Looking toward the Xscampment from the desert

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15 Responses to Quartzsite 2018: RTR and Xscapers Annual Bash

  1. Linda Sand January 26, 2018 at 4:20 pm #

    Breaking the RTR campers into smaller groups makes sense to me. That’s pretty much what happens in the long term areas, too. My Escapees graduating class group in La Posa South is where I spent most of my time but I also attended the RTR at Scaden Wash and a group that owned Sprinter-based RVs in LaPosa North. The challenge then becomes which days to spend with which group. You’re lucky in that I think your two groups don’t overlap.

    • Becky January 27, 2018 at 5:24 pm #

      Yes they did overlap this year Linda, only a day apart from each other sadly, so I missed some stuff, Oh well!

  2. Jodee Gravel January 26, 2018 at 7:05 pm #

    Wow! Those events are really exploding! Glad you had such a great turn out for your sessions. I’m sure everyone enjoyed all you had to offer. Great poi pic!!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Lazy Days Waiting for Disappointing NewsMy Profile

  3. Judy Blinkenberg January 26, 2018 at 8:33 pm #

    You are the sweetest young lady I have met! I don’t feel I belong to the Escapers group or the RTR group, even though the RTR had more of my age. My husband and I met a very nice couple and hubby attended 2 classes. I find I like more one on one and enjoy my creative time. I’d love to just sit and chat with you sometime, as you are so kind.

    • Becky January 27, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

      It was great meeting you Judy! I’m sure our paths will cross again.

  4. Lauri C January 27, 2018 at 3:58 am #

    Oh I’m sorry I missed the poi spinning! I was actually parked at the very end of your “road” at the RTR! I went by your rig every time I drove in & out of the “music” camp.

    It was actually my maiden voyage with my newly acquired 20’ toy hauler (soon-to-be art studio!!). My experience was very exciting! Most of it went very smoothly (with the excepiont of a minor issue with the old battery).

    I have a lot of possessions to liquidate and loose ends to tie up before becoming full-time – but I’m really excited about it and look forward to all the “lessons” of a new lifestyle!

    Hopefully there will be another opportunity to meet up with you in the future.

    Thanks for your post!!

    Lauri
    (Windkissed)

    • Becky January 27, 2018 at 5:28 pm #

      Glad it went well Lauri! It’s impossible to be present for every activity which makes me sad sometimes, but I always enjoy myself anyway making it to what I can. Best of luck to you!

  5. Denny January 27, 2018 at 7:05 am #

    By any chance did you record your seminars and post them?

    • Becky January 27, 2018 at 5:29 pm #

      I got a recording at Xscapers, it won’t be up for a while yet though, big file!

  6. David Michael January 27, 2018 at 11:08 am #

    Thanks Becky for your review of RTR. I always enjoy your insights and experiences.
    Will be there next year!

  7. Carl & Kathy January 27, 2018 at 11:09 am #

    Been following you for years and we’re camped right down the road about 1 mile north from you… We come here every year but have never attended tour RTR gathering. Next year might have to check that out.

    • Becky January 27, 2018 at 5:30 pm #

      I’ve moved on to Winterhaven, CA now but that is a nice little road to camp on for sure!

  8. Becky January 27, 2018 at 5:31 pm #

    Thanks for commenting everyone!

  9. Barbara (Nashville) February 8, 2018 at 7:17 pm #

    I ordered both of your books on Kindle a couple of weeks ago. Haven’t had chance to read them yet, due to DH’s health issues, a dog and working from home. Wanted to have them in case I ever get to travel as planned.

    • Becky February 10, 2018 at 2:03 pm #

      Thanks for ordering Barbara and I hope you get a lot of use out of them, (and that you get to read them soon!)

      I hope your DH gets better soon, and I hear you on how hectic working from home can be sometime!

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