The Wally Byam Caravan Club International

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In the wake of our own newly purchased Airstream and our interviews with various people living out of their own Airstreams, we decided to get in touch with the main club for those who’ve chosen to make owning an aluminum trailer part of their lifestyle. We caught up with the club’s International Marketing Chairman, Fred Richardson.

Wand’rly
The club was started with some beautifully lofty goals, Wally Byam wanting to help people overcome their fears and see the world. It seems he recognized that when people see others willing to do what they dream of they’re more apt to take the chance. Is that still a core part of the WBCCI?
Fred
Wally Byam was the driving force that inspired folks to answer the call to the adventures that could be theirs in an Airstream Trailer out on the open road. He encouraged people to seek Fun and Adventure in places that they previously had only dreamed of. As a promoter, Wally encouraged Airstream owners to join him as he lead caravans around the world, across the United States, Canada and Mexico. These caravans lead to the organization of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI) being formed in 1955. Members of the WBCCI were recognized in their travels by displaying their Big Red Numbers to the front and rear of their Airstream trailers. Those adventures are still alive today as Airstream owners gather together in local Units in 12 Regions across the United States and Canada. They enjoy getting together in Rallies at campsites in various places to share their adventures. They still plan caravans, locally, nationally and internationally…and yes they still proudly display their Big Red Numbers that indicate their WBCCI membership numbers.
Wand’rly
I see several caravans planned around the US and Canada for 2013. Are you guys still organizing world wide travels, too?
Fred
There have been plans made, however none finalized to re-create some of the world-wide caravans that Wally lead originally. With the uncertainty that exists today in some of those countries none are planned that I am aware of. However, Airstreams are now being sold in several countries around the globe and that same fever of adventure is beginning to materialize in the UK, Japan and China. Hopefully, we will see the WBCCI club expand to those global countries in the near future.
Wand’rly
Can you give me a brief rundown of what you see the club’s primary role for Airstream owners being?
Fred
The WBCCI is the Airstream Owners RV Association. The club maintains a full time office and staff that is governed by an International President, a board of Directors made up of Officers of 12 Regions across Canada and the United States. The club maintains a “Blue Book” of Rules, Regulations and Constitution and Bylaws. The staff produces a monthly magazine/newsletter (The Blue Beret) that contains information about caravans, news about members, tips and specifications for maintaining your Airstream and much much more. There is also a guideline for organizing and setting up a caravan. www.blueberetonline.com The WBCCI has been a model for many other travel / RV clubs over the years and it’s heritage includes a guideline for members to follow. It is called “The WBCCI Code of Ethics”–To be ever mindful of our responsibility to Wally Byam Caravan Club International, Inc., and through conduct, indicate to the public that membership in this organization is an assurance of our courtesy on the road and good will to all peoples and countries.

To be ever mindful of what we say or print with respect to its effect on others so as to avoid disharmony and ill feelings among club members and to dedicate ourselves to the work of cementing together the members of WBCCI in bonds of good fellowship and mutual understanding.

To conduct ourselves in a manner to inspire others engaged in recreational vehicle travel to a full appreciation of the intent and meaning of this code.

To maintain our camps in an orderly manner and leave them in the same way.

Wand’rly
Are any of the Byam family still involved in the club?
Fred
Dale Schwamborn, a first cousin once removed of Wally Byam. He resides in Dewey Arizona. Dale worked in the recreational vehicle industry including with Airstream.
Wand’rly
Do you have a particular caravan that you’ve attended that you enjoyed or might have a good little story about?
Fred
I personally have not participated in a National caravan, however I have organized and lead a couple of local caravans. The most recent was a 10 day caravan that was called “10 Days of Utopia Caravan” that included visits to 5 different cities in Central Texas including Utopia, TX which was the setting for the recent movie 7 Days in Utopia starring Robert DuVall. While the movie was fictional, it was filmed in a real place, Utopia, Texas. Our travels included visits to a historic bank in Uvalde, TX, and a hands on tour of the Pioneer Flight Museum in Seguin, TX. 20 trailers participated in the adventure that also included a stay on the Frio River in Concan, TX. There the ladies handmade and modeled their own Easter bonnets then all had an adult easter egg hunt and attended Easter Sunrise services on the banks of the Frio River. The springtime caravan allowed everyone to view spectacular wildflower displays, camp out on three different rivers and enjoy many dutch oven cookouts and pot luck dinners.
Wand’rly
Anything else you’d like to push, promote or shamelessly plug for our readers?
Fred
WBCCI Member benefits include caravan and rally resources, newsletters, websites, a Club sticker, Big Red Numbers for your Airstream, a logo-wear store, and a group of truly fine Airstreamers to make and share new memories with. A tradition of camaraderie, history and adventure. Those Big Red Numbers prominently displayed on the front and back of Airstreams that you see going down the road mark a long tradition of identifying the trailers, and families who own them, in the Wally Byam Caravan Club. They signal new and amazing journeys—-far and wide, trailering history, and life-long friendships. Airstreamers wear them with great pride.

Next time you see a trailer, with Big Red Numbers, wave. Or better yet, get your own set by joining the WBCCI today and start a real adventure tomorrow.