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the international

Wally Byam Caravan Club International Rally, Gillette Wyoming 2010Wally Byam Caravan Club International Rally, Gillette Wyoming 2010

Lowered expectations are the key to happiness.


Every Airstreamer under fifty warned me about the dork factor of the WBCCI 53rd International Rally. Thusly, we had a rockin good time.


Yes, there was a weird opening ceremony involving unit flags and the procession of club officers in their blue berets; the sort of ancient tradition like the Elks’ 11 O’Clock Toast or the Shriners’ love of clown cars that many people enjoy. And I was confounded by the focus on structured indoor activities that had nothing to do with camping: byzantine meetings heavy on the Robert’s Rules of Order, some board game called Joker, ham radio workshops…it was like being on a senior cruise without the buffet. No one cooked wieners outside their rig or stood around drinking beer. To be fair, we were only there for a couple of days—during which time the Wyoming weather was blasting hot and so windy that the martini literally blew out of our glasses—and I regrettably missed the vintage area open house and sanctioned “block parties”.


Yet, the stirring sight of hundreds of old and new Airstreams in one place—more than 700—and meeting our immediate neighbors (all relegated to the “latecomers” field) made the experience worthwhile. Parked to the right was delightful Galen, a former Olympic bicyclist and coach, now a college instructor teaching a class on Motorcycle Literature. Behind us was a friendly wired guy towing a 93 Classic Limited who explained how to boost wifi reception using a Pringle’s cantenna


Findling online Airstream acquaintances from Facebook and Twitter, the WBCCI forum, the marketing team, and the Airforums face to face at the rally was swell as well and I’m ready to try another one. I think there will be some real camping to be had with new Oregon Airstream friends at the Sutherlin Hiway Haven rally next month, “a weekend of mid-century nostalgia” including a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Wally Byam’s historic Cape Town to Cairo Caravan featuring a dinner based on the original menu and a potluck of 50s-inspired desserts.


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