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big red numbers

WBCCI Airstream Big Red Numbers


Though Ralph has the Wally Byam Caravan Club in his bloodstream we knew virtually nothing about it when we bought the DWR and fell awkwardly into membership in 2007. Now, with one week to prepare ourselves for the spectacle that will be the WBCCI 53rd International Rally—our first official rally as members—procrastination must end. It’s time to apply our Big Red Numbers.


Among the many annoyances at the unforthcoming WBCCI website is no official explanation of the history of these numbers or what point they practically serve today, sixty years since the club was founded. Most members surmise that their purpose is threefold:

  1. To look up other Airstreamers in the club directory (stalkery)
  2. To allow authorities to find you in case of emergency (improbable)
  3. To help you identify your trailer among the hundreds of others at a rally when returning drunk from happy hour (credible)

Whichever. Displaying The Numbers on the forehead and rear of one’s Airstream is part of the nerdy esprit de corps of the WBCCI and I’m all about it.


They arrived in our membership packet three years ago with two pages of complicated directions but I’ve seen no reason to apply them until now, as it would take a dangerous number of martinis not to be able to pick out our model from the lineup at a small rally. We were told by the dealership that there were only 25 made and though I’ve tried, I’ve only been able to surface two other DWR owners: Tom Hanks, and a very nice web designer in Minnesota. I am loath to permanently affix anything to our rolling collector’s item that didn’t come from the factory or that was conceived and authorized by Design Within Reach and/or Christopher Deam.


Other ‘streamers before us have been equally reluctant and have devised clever ways to temporarily attach The Numbers. I opted for the peel and stick method recommended by the Phred Sez column in the Blue Beret and ordered a sheet of (not cheap) static cling vinyl from Squier Design, an outfit that creates custom vinyl graphics for race cars. They vowed that the material would adhere well and “stay clung to the Airstream at highway speeds.”


I honestly tried to read all three sets of tips and instructions from Phred, the WBCCI, and Squire, but my mind went into mental neutral after the first paragraph of each and I tossed them aside. (As Fredo would say, “I can handle things! I’m smart!”) The steps I followed (measure a little, squint a lot) are illustrated above. My scotch tape process turned out to be very sticky and slow going, especially the zero. Proceed with caution and nearby cocktail, or affix the conventional way.

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