The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous begins

2013 RTR – Photo by Bob Wells

Yesterday was the first day of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, more commonly known as RTR. People came from all over the country in their various vans, RV’s and trailers — one or two even came in cars and tents — and more are on the way. It’s a joyous event when old-timers and newcomers get together to compare rigs and notes, help each other fix mechanical problems or set up solar panels, go exploring, share meals, and sit around the camp fire trading quips and stories in the evening.

Something about this lifestyle encourages night owls like me to turn in not long after the sun goes down and rise before it comes up. My inner clock resets as soon as I get away from city lights. In the morning, I sit cozy in my sleeping bag, waiting for the sun’s rays to warm up LaVanne and me. Then it’s time to get moving: breakfast, brush teeth, sponge bathe, and go.

There’s always something that needs doing. Trash and potty need dumping (at appropriate venues in town), or laundry needs doing at the laundromat, or bodies need showers (also at the laundromat: $6), or water jugs need refilling, and of course, gadgets always need recharging.

Then there are the morning and afternoon walks, the sometimes twice-daily seminars (consider RTR a two-week intensive on Vandwelling 101), and the socializing. At yesterday’s welcome seminar, I found myself volunteering to lead the morning walks (if only to force myself to walk every day) so I got up even earlier to get dressed and ready before writing this, because I have to head out in a few minutes to meet the others and play leader.

I have a feeling that by the time it’s over, some of us will collapse in a heap for a few days. Aside from all the activity is the added stress, for the disproportionate number of introverts among us, of socializing. We love it but it does take a toll.

Maybe that’s why retreating to the van after dark to restore is such a pleasure.

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