Monday, February 11, 2008 -- Casa Grande, AZ
The Gypsy Gathering Rally
Those living the RV lifestyle don't have the persistent stable neighborhoods that folks with normal houses have. In our previous "vinyl siding and waferboard" lives, we knew those living around us: next door was Gary and Maureen, on the other side Keith and Mary. Across the street was Bill and Jill, Paul and Cindy, Paul and Claire, and Tony and Helen. We'd get together, play cards, party, borrow tools, and talk about the other neighbors. There were informal competitions for who could put the most fertilizer and water on the yard -- the winner got the greenest lawn on the street. There was a comfort... a stability... something to rely on.
So when one commits to a fulltime RV lifestyle for a period of time that consistent social "backstop" isn't there. Neighbors come and go... You come and go. The "neighborhood" is constantly changing. Yesterday, Phil and Jane were next door. Today, they've been replaced by Jim and Darby. The consistency and comfort is gone. Or is it?
Since we started this project almost 8 months ago now, we've actually found that our constantly changing neighbors are very consistent after all: consistently social, personable, talented, and friendly; consistently willing to help; consistently interested in what we've been doing and where we're going; and always very genuine. Well, almost always -- I have run into a person or two from California with a superiority complex and who were quite sure their "do-do" has no odor whatsoever. But aside from them, it's been 99% great, friendly, "real" people. There's a kinship that includes an incredibly wide-ranging socio-economic profile. It doesn't matter what you drive or what you live in. It's the darnedest thing... it's a big family.
Everything I said in the paragraph above has been driven home again with our experience here at the Gypsy Gathering. This is only the second rally put together by fulltimers Nick & Terry Russell. Nick is the editor of a publication called the Gypsy Journal, a printed tabloid-style paper aimed at the RV community which he publishes totally from his bus-conversion RV -- only the printing is done elsewhere. Somehow, after just one previous attempt, he's managed to gather together almost 300 RV's and over 500 RV'ers for four days of educational seminars, fun, and socializing.
All 300 of us are parked closely together at the Pinal County Fairgrounds. A few of the fairgrounds building are being utilized for meetings and seminars. There are a few vendors here with products or services aimed at the RV community -- and RV'ers are similar to golfers in that they believe the next device or electronic gizmo is the one that will solve all their problems.
Tonight we attended an informal jam session, where some of the more musically talented rally attendees just sit around and play anything that comes to mind. The music is surprisingly good, the audience appreciative -- and we had a blast.
That's today's news from Casa Grande, AZ.