Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Escape from the International

I had wanted to come to the International since I joined the WBCCI. My greatest interest was being a part of the Vintage Club. When we were parked away from the Vintage group on asphalt instead of grass like the rest of the group, I felt slighted to say the least. There are all kinds of activities going on over there that we are not a part of. I had been warned that my expectations might not be met due to the cliquish nature of the leadership. My expectations were dashed to say the least. In a club going through so many upheavals, splitting the group was a very foolish move in my eyes. The folks all parked near me are likely to never come to one of these events again. When we voiced our concerns to the President and First Vice President, it was met with deaf ears. They were of course on the grass and the situation was just fine with them. We are making the best of it none the less over in the Vintage Annex. However it is such a shame to have a group as passionate as the WDCU excluded from the Club. I hope they have enough support to keep going forward in the future, for I will no longer renew my dues to the VAC. I cannot support an organization that does not support me. 
     We came here to see the fine state of Wisconsin. Yesterday we began doing just that. 

My good friend Steve Klohn took us to Old World Wisconsin. OWW is a collection of historic buildings moved to this location and restored to their original condition. They have people dressed in period costume to explain the structures and way of life for the people that inhabited them. I was amazed by the sights we saw here. I took over 350 photos and wanted to give you all a sample of just a few. 

Thank you Steve for helping us escape the sea of trailers and showing us some thing truly special. I look forward to what today might bring us.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The caravan continues...

Pee Wee and I made a nice early start for the Vintage Airstream Club rendezvous location in Jefferson WI. We originally had planed another day of blue line highways but it was becoming clear that folks were not too excited about an eight hour day so the route was changed to express ways and highways. The travels were definitely sped up by this change. Very quickly we were traveling into Illinois at 70 mph.

Along the way one of the tow vehicles in the main body of the caravan had a blow out, but all in all it was a very smooth drive. We encountered very few troubles along the way. Arriving at the rendezvous was a relief to find a nice shady location with electric for just about everyone that wanted it. The weather seemed be relieved by our arrival too, for by night fall the temperatures were pleasant and remained that way since.

Our caravan leader Rob Baker had done a tremendous job. He made sure that everyone was brought through safely and is a natural leader. Anyone reading this that does not know Rob needs to get to know him. He is an outstanding guy.

Another outstanding guy is Dale "Pee Wee" Schwamborn. I have been very fortunate to have spent so much time with Dale. The illuminations on Wally Byam, Airstream, the WBCCI, and his life experiences have been a great gift to me. To say the least, I am a very fortunate man. Not only have I learned a great deal, but I have made a great friend. As with Rob, you should get to know this man.

On Saturday morning we all lined up to caravan to Madison. Everyone was ready an hour before we had to be. 

Seeing a row of vintage Airstreams a mile or so long is a very wonderful sight. What people must have thought seeing us rolling down the road.

We all paraded into the Rally site and snaked around through the entire grounds. Almost everyone was out along the route waving to us and welcoming us in. We were told we would all be parked together on the grass, but for some reason when it was our turn we ended up on asphalt. None of our group was very happy about this. Fortunately it is a short walk to the rest of VAC group. We are making the best of it. 

Happy Hour is a great time every evening and we are enjoying eating dinner communally.

There is really no way to express the sight of so many Airstreams. Wish I could do a better job of that.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On the road with the WDCU and others too....

Dale "Pee Wee" Schwamborn and I left about a half hour before the main body of the caravan. The river crossing into Ohio was very dramatic with dense fog hovering in the valley. 

And we peal off yet another state. Good bye Pennsylvania, hello Ohio. They make Airstreams in Ohio you know.

The Factory was our next stop. After 47 years Anna had returned to the place where she was built. The building where she was built is now where the Sprinter vans are converted to Class B motor homes. The Factory  was kind enough to empty a lot for us to park in and to camp in over night. Unfortunately it was 100 degrees outside and the aluminum was threatening to melt in the baking sun. We all ate something and went on the free tour.

Factory tours are always interesting. Even though my trailer was not made in this building, it was cool to see how the modern trailers are built. We were given strict instructions not to take photos. I do not know how it happened, but my camera went off by accident a few times. Hope no trade secrets were seen.

Here are some brand new trailers lined up having interiors installed and finished off.

A high priority for me was to see Wally's gold trailer. The closest I could get was ten feet away through a chain link fence. I wanted to see the trailer that made her way through Africa. The same trailer bandits had said was made of solid gold. Luckily they were not able to catch up to the caravan and steal it. Iodized aluminum is a far cry from gold. It was a shame to see the folks at Airstream have so little regard for such a special trailer, leaving it to the weather pushed into a far corner of factory grounds. I asked many people, but no one would allow me to go and see her up close. I had to walk through peoples back yards to get to her.

She looks so sad behind that chain link. The gold pigments weeping down the side. I hope someone important at Airstream reads this and realizes what an injustice they are doing. Those streaks look like tears running down the side. Bob Wheeler, you should send this trailer to me and get her restored by someone who cares.

I hope they do this one justice too. She was the very first trailer built at Jackson Center. 

Once the factory closed we all pulled around to the grass and had happy hour under the three large trees. Being on the grass was at least 15 degrees cooler than being on asphalt. Everyone pitched in and Rob Baker picked us up some pizza. 

I was up before the sun, ready for the next day. It had cooled off dramatically and the sun rise was so beautiful. Hope Anna enjoyed coming home again.

We rolled into Indiana. I wish I had something nice to say about Indiana. Oh, well....

They do have big smiles in Indiana. Must be all the corn.

One very cool thing about Indiana was our visit to Vintage Campers. Dan 
Piper was nice enough to let us stop in for a visit. Dan is a restorer and dealer of vintage units.

All these need homes. A very nice selection. He will sell them out right or he will restore them for you. 

How about a trolly top Zimmer? 

A 32 foot Vagabond?

I know, a Spartan Manor. I won't show you the one I am thinking of buying. You might snap it up on me.

The group is growing as we travel West(go West young man, go west).

I always love studying maps. I need to study harder for I never realized Indiana was next to Mexico. We continued on to our next stop, The RV Hall of Fame. They have a fantastic collection of pre war trailers.

The also have a few post war trailers and RVs.

Nice motor home....

One of fifty Bowlus Road chiefs. That trailer would be good training for living in a submarine. We could not go in, but it was very tight feeling even from the outside looking in.

And we decided to roll down the road to a local campground where those that wanted to could plug in. The temperature was close to one hundred and folks were melting. The choice was a good one, for there was a pool and mini golf for the kids. We all pitched in and got Famous Dave's BBQ for dinner. It was not up to Texas standards, but hit the spot none the less.

My next entry will be of the caravan to the Vintage Airstream Club's rendezvous to the International.