We drove over to the Desert Rendezvous on Friday morning, an easy drive from downtown Borrego Springs.
We drove past more of the big steel sculptures in the southern part of Galetta Meadows. There was an entire herd of horses, made in rusty steel, which spanned both sides of the road. It was pretty cool.
We showed up to the assigned coordinates and found there were a number of people already there. American Adventurist has been putting on these Rendezvous in various locations for several years. A main event is always some sort of community service. There was a limit of 150 vehicles, which filled up very quickly. I signed up shortly after they posted the event, and was WAY down the wait list. We learned only a couple of days before the event that we've gotten off the wait list onto the list of 150.
We only knew one couple who were planning on attending, although it turns out there were a few people that we "knew" from Facebook or IG or various forums.
We were also pleasantly surprised to see Mario, one of the owners of A/T Overland, (makers of the Horizon we used to have). Once people got settled in, we all started mingling, and we met some really nice people.
On Saturday morning, we went out for the community service, which consisted of cleaning up trash from a BLM shooting area. Most shooters will bring out targets, and after shooting, pick up their perforated targets and expended brass. Some, however, will haul out trash..sheets of plywood, old TVs, glass bottles and shoot it all up and drive off leaving their shell casings, broken glass everywhere, and random crap. The broken glass is a problem, especially as the desert tortoise will try to eat green glass shards, because it looks like grass. It is sad that a 100 year old tortoise who has survived blistering summers, predators, and flash floods, will wind up dying after eating part of a Heineken bottle.
We spent a few hours, picking up brass casings, a shot up mannequin, many sheets of plywood, old cabinets, and bags and bags of broken glass. There was a pile large enough to fill a huge dumpster, and we only cleaned up a small area. The exercise also brought everyone together as we hoisted large items onto trailers and shared trash bags.
After the clean up was over, we spent the afternoon visiting with new friends and looking at various rigs. One really cool couple had a Unimog they'd just acquired and is in the process of designing the interior buildout. They have already overlanded around Australia, and have a good idea what they need from their truck.
We also met a great guy who had built out a Sprinter and is living as a digital nomad in Southern California.
We also had a great (but short) visit with Mario.
While we arrived a little apprehensive about knowing almost no one, we found the weekend flew by and we left wishing we had more time to visit with newfound friends. The fun part about events like this is that almost everyone has common interests and easily shares experiences and stories. Hopefully we'll be able to attend the summer Mountain Rendezvous.
We left Anza Borrego and headed east, stopping in Westmoreland for a delicious date shake. We drove past the Imperial Dunes, where part of the first Star Wars movie was shot. We did not visit the dunes, but did stop at the nastiest rest area, ever.
We eventually spent the night at Painted Rocks, which is a BLM campground a bit west of Phoenix. They is an incredible display of petroglyphs on a rock mound next to the campground, estimated to be up to 1,000 years old. Naturally there are a few "postings" from cowboys from the 1800's sprinkled about.
Days are getting longer, but as we head east and gain elevation, nights are getting colder.