A lot happened during the second week of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, so you might want to get comfy before you start reading this post.
Week two of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous started with a seminar on Boondocking in the National Forest and on BLM Land.
What is Boondocking?
RVers tend to have different ideas of the definition of boondocking.
Some say that is strictly parking out in the “boonies” without electric, water, or sewer hook-ups. Others use a broader definition and don’t have the “boonies” requirement – simply parking anywhere without hook-ups (also know as “dry camping”) qualifies as boondocking.
(Thanks to http://www.rv-dreams.com/boondocking.html for the above info.)
Mr. B talked primarily about dispersed camping on public land, including National Forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, Corps of Engineers land, wildlife refuges, and some state owned lands. He gave tips for finding free dispersed camping on public land using atlases, maps, gazetteers, and phone apps. The smartphone app folks at the RTR were talking about is US Public Lands. See Mr. B’s review of it here http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/technomadia-visits-rtr-review-smartphone-app-us-public-lands/. (The review is about a third of the way down the page.) Mr. B also recommended DeLorme atlases and gazatteers, (http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10042&minisite=10020) and Benchmark atlases (http://www.benchmarkmaps.com/).
Many people spend much of their time boondocking on public land. There are usually 14 day (or less) limits on camping in such areas. In some places the 14 day camping limit is strictly enforced, while in other areas enforcement is lax. It should also be noted that it is illegal to reside on public land, but that such land is open to the public for recreation.
At the end of the presentation, I was talking to two young women, when a third woman walked up and asked if I had a list of blogs that had been mentioned during the women’s meeting. One of the young women piped up that Silly, a woman attending the RTR, had gone around and taken photos of “everyone’s rig” and had posted those photos online. She went on to say that Silly wanted each of us to tag the photo of our rig and add a link to our blogs. I said, “She did what?” I was hoping I had misunderstood what had been said. But no, no misunderstanding. These women seemed to think it was perfectly ok for Silly to have gone around photographing rigs without permission. They assured me that no license plates were shown.
I was shortly marching to Silly’s camp. I was very calm when I walked up, but the look on my face must have been hellfire and brimstone, because the look on her face was nervous fear. In a low, even voice, I said, “I heard you took photos of everyone’s rig and posted them on the internet.” She answered nervously that she had just posted them on Facebook. She immediately followed with an offer to remove photos of my rig. I told her I would appreciate it if she didn’t post any pictures of me or my van anywhere on the internet. Then I left.
Maybe I should have told her that she had no right to come into my camp while I wasn’t there and take photos without permission. Maybe I should have told her that not everyone wants photos of their life plastered all over the internet. Maybe I should have told her a lot of things, but I only told her not to post photos of me and my stuff.
As soon as I saw (the Divine) Miss M, I explained to her all that had happened. She was none too please.
Later that day, I heard Mr. B politely ask Miss M if he could take some photos of her rig. She said yes, then told him what was ok to photograph and what she didn’t want him to take pictures of.
He came over to my van next and politely asked if he could take photos of my van. I thanked him for asking, but told him I’d rather if he didn’t. I then told him about Silly taking photos of rigs without permission and posting the photos on Facebook. He said that at one of the first RTRs, someone had taken photos of rigs and posted them online. One of the women attending the RTR was being stalked, and the stalker recognized her van from the photo online and came out to the gathering to hassle her. It seems like that would be a good lesson in why it’s a bad idea to post pictures without permission!
Tuesday was also open house day. On this day, folks were invited to go around and look at how others had set up their living space. My van and I had a handful of visitors.
The seminar on Wednesday was on stealth parking in the city. It more accurately could have been called stealth parking and sleeping in the city because it was primarily about sleeping in a van and not getting caught. I’ve been living in vans on and off (mostly on) for five years, so I already knew most of what was covered. There’s also quite a bit of information about stealth parking on the Cheap RV Living website, so if you want to learn more about it, check out http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/bobs-12-commandments-for-stealth-parking-in-the-city/ and http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/stealth-parking-locations-part-2/.
Wednesday was also the day of the potato bake! Ms. Dee and her husband M provided baked potatoes for the 70+ rubber tramps who wanted to gather and eat together. Everyone was asked to bring a topping for the potatoes, so we were able to dress our potatoes with quite a variety of yummies, from cheese to bacon bits to green chile salsa. Again, it was nice to have an activity around which to socialize. Thanks again to Ms. Dee and M for hosting this fun meal.
(I had forgotten when the potato bake was held and had to ask my RTR lady friends for help. Thanks to Mr. Jay for looking it up and to Lady Nell for emailing the info right out to me.)
Thursday’s seminar was on work-camping. Mr. B talked mostly about working as a camp host, but also touched on getting a job in a small town with a big tourist season, such as Jackson, Wyoming. He mentioned the sugar beet harvest in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana, but didn’t have many details about this work. Folks who’d been part of the Amazon.com Camperforce spoke about their experiences. (A couple of folks had great experiences, but a woman who’d worked in the Camperforce in a different state had a terrible experience.) At the end of the seminar, a fellow talked about his life as a traveling poker dealer. (You can read about his experience here: http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/nomadic-poker-dealer/)
I skipped Friday’s seminar on budgeting to go into Quartzsite.
On Saturday I went into Quartzsite and checked out the Big Tent. (If you want to read about the Big Tent, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/03/02/the-big-tent/.)
I got back on Saturday just in time for the soup dinner. The soup dinner was set up like the chili dinner, where everybody was asked to chip in a can of soup to toss into the pot. Big thanks to The Cook who stepped in again and organized his small but hard-working crew to make several pots of really delicious soup. I remember there was a potato-leek soup and a very nice vegetarian option, which is what I ate. I don’t remember what the other choices were.
On Sunday morning, Mr. B talked about state residency for folks living full time on the road, as well as how those folks can receive mail. I’ve mostly got those things figured out, but I attended so I’ll have some ideas if my situation changes.
On Sunday afternoon was the second women’s meeting. (To read more about the second women’s meeting at the RTR, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/25/the-second-womens-meeting-of-the-2015-rtr/.)
There was nothing scheduled for Monday morning, but Mr. B added in a “philosophical discussion” about the lies rubber tramps sometimes have to tell in order to live the way we do. I decided not to attend because I wasn’t all that interested in a philosophical discussion and because I suspected some of what I would hear would piss me off. I think I ended up going into town that day.
And then the RTR was over! Just like that!
To read about my first week at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/21/the-rubber-tramp-rendezvous-week-1-2/.