Give me a straight answer, do we have to join first?
Greetings Jason and Andrea!
You shouldn't have to join before attending your first rally. Most units have an unwritten policy of welcoming non-member families to at least one rally as a trial-run. In those instances, the visitor is asked to pay the rally fee -- and often the membershp director for the unit will contact the prospective member a few days later to encourage them to consider joining. I know of people who have joined at Unit and Regional rallys that I have attended -- in fact, the couple who I was parked next to at the International Rally in Bozeman last summer joined the WBCCI and registered for the International Rally all in one fell swoop.
As others have said, there can be a tremendous difference in local units. In 1995 when I joined as a 35 year old, I was among the younger members. One thing that I have learned along the way is that one indicator of the activity level of the unit is the level of Vintage involvement -- and Vintage involvement usually means a higher probability of younger members. The Vintage Intra-Club was just getting started in 1995, but by the time I attended my first International in 1998, the Vintage Airstream Club had become very active. There are a number of local units across the country with an active VAC contingent -- one of the reasons that I have maintained my membership in the Wisconsin Unit despite having moved several times during the intervening years -- and even when I first joined it was not my closest unit -- I just preferred where they usually held their rallys when compared to my closest unit.
With your '74 model coach, you should fit right in with the VAC crowd found in a number of the local units. VAC members from your area may be able to give you leads on the club with the most active VAC groups.
I can certainly attest to the fact that I have gotten so much more enjoyment from my Airstream as a result of my membership. I never would have seen some of the sights in Ohio had I not participated in the 1999 Vinate Airstream Club Wagon Wheels Caravan to the International Rally in Dayton, Ohio. I would also have been hard-pressed to plan a vacation that was any better than the Wagon Wheels Carvan to the International Rally in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Good luck with your research!
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)