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Old 12-14-2004, 01:49 PM   #1
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Hints for First-Timers at WBCCI International Rally

Calling experienced WBCCI International Rally attendees. Many members may be considering making the 2005 International Rally their first large Rally. To me, this Rally has many things that will make it a wonderful “first-timer” experience (IMHO). Unlike some rally sites, this is one that can quite easily be approached from most any direction without the necessity of towing through high-traffic/congested metropolitan areas, and it will be in close proximity to some great scenery and entertainment. My suggestion (much like the last two years), is that we provide these “first-timer” International attendees with information that will help them to have a POSITIVE first-time International Rally experience.

I will start with some of my observations based on my attendance at each International Rally since 1998 (the Vermont International is the only International that I missed during that time period).

General Observations:
  • Prior to your arrival on-site, check your coach for the following:
  • Be sure that your potable water tank is filled. It is not terribly unusual for there to be some delay in running the water service - - especially if you arrive as part of a larger group such as the VAC parade.
  • Be sure that your battery(ies) are fully charged as there are instances where there may be some delay in running the electrical lines - - again this seems to be more common if you arrive as part of a larger group such as the VAC parade.
  • Be sure that your waste water tank(s) are empty as it may be several days before your section will be eligible for pump-out. “Emergency” pump-outs are available, but there is a significant extra charge involved.
  • Be sure that you have enough LP to operate your refrigerator, water heater, and refrigerator for several days as the on-site propane fill-service typically only operates on a “limited-schedule”.
  • Be prepared to remain parked over-night in the “Bull-Pen” area if you arrive after the posted “parking” hours - - the “Bull-Pen” is well marked and is typically “dry-camping” with no utility connections. Hours for parking usually runs from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and may operate on even more abbreviated hours on Sunday.
  • It will be very helpful to have a Citizen Band Radio in both your coach and tow vehicle. Much of the communication at the International Rally is via CB with daily announcements being made early each day - - I believe its 7:30 a.m. but this is strictly by memory. Channel 14 is the one that is generally utilized for communications during the Rally.
  • If you are parking in the non-30-AMP area, you will need a conversion plug to convert from your plug style to the standard 3-prong 120-Volt outlet - - one with a “pig-tail” can be beneficial given the crowding of plugs at some outlet posts.
  • If you are parking in the 30-AMP section, you may need a converter for your plug if it is other than the typical 30-AMP RV plug style, and a length of heavy-duty RV extension cord (I base both of these observations on prior experience with caravans/rallys where 30-AMP was provided but was far enough away that the shore power cords on my Vintage coaches wouldn’t reach without an appropriately rated extension cord).
  • Since water is provided via “Daisy-Chain”, you will need a “Free-Flowing”, large bore hose “Y” that doesn’t have shut-off valves for connecting your coach to the “Daisy-Chain”. At least two 50’ white potable water hoses in either the 5/8” or ¾” size are generally quite useful. I find it useful to carry a short length of “high-pressure” potable water hose that I connect between the free-flowing “Y” and my coach that I have equipped with a shut-off valve so that I can easily shut off the water supply to my coach without impacting any of my neighbors.
  • If your coach has a small or no wash water tank, you will find a blue tote-tank to be quite helpful in dealing with wash water beyond the scheduled pump-out. There was a “convenient” location to dump our blue tote-tanks at the Lansing International Rally .
  • You will want to be prepared with adequate leveling supplies as we are often parked in fields where leveling may take a few more “boards” than might be the case in a typical campground.
  • If you are traveling with a pet, don’t forget to get a copy of his/her health records from your Veterinarian to have available in case of injury or health problems. It is also helpful to have emergency contact information for your regular veterinary service as the local veterinary may wish to contact your pet’s regular health care provider in the event of an injury is illness. Vaccination records can be particularly important should your pet scratch or bite another camper during travels - - while my dogs have never bitten another camper, I realize that they can be unpredictable especially in stances where they are in unfamiliar surroundings being exposed to new experiences (I always worry about small children as my Chihuahuas are rarely around children of any age except when RVing).
  • We are encouraged to come prepared to dress in red and white on two days during the International - - Canada Day (July 1st), and Independence Day (July 4th). Many will also carry national flags for the US and Canada for display on these days.
  • You may wish to enter the International Rally Grounds as part of a group and be parked with that group. There are a number of Caravans that terminate at the International Rally and it is not uncommon for participants to park together. Units as well as Intra-Clubs (VAC and Free Wheelers are two examples) will also often arrange to be parked as a group (there will an appointed time when all interested members will be asked to be present in the Bull Pen - - or in the case of the VAC at another meeting point near the Rally Grounds).
  • There will be free bus transportation provided from the International parking area(s) to the convention center or activity hub. You will find designated bus stops near all of the main parking areas (the buses are generally the “yellow limousines” familiar to school children). Due to tight parking conditions in many of the International venues, this is often the easiest method of getting to and from activities. I have attended two Internationals where my tow vehicle never moved during the duration of the Rally - - it was far simpler to utilize the buses for transportation.
  • You will want to stop by the registration table at your earliest convenience once you are parked (you will need the parking locator data provided to you by the parkers when registering - - section color and row number). At the registration desk you will receive your ribbons (these are needed for admission to official functions) for your nametag(s). This is also when you will begin to understand how beneficial the large red numbers are - - they are the primary means of identifying our coaches to emergency personnel when parked at a large rally. When you complete your registration if you are a First Timer, your photo will be taken. You will also receive your official program that lists all of the activities and seminars for the Rally. While in the registration area, you will want to take time to take a quick tour of the area and observe:
  • There will be tables set up by the various regions, Intra-Clubs, and other divisions of the organization promoting their International activities. You will likely find a number that you want to include in your itinerary. For some, you will need to purchase tickets such as dinners/brunches, etc.
  • There may be tours available and these are usually something for which quick action is necessary. Again, when offered you will likely find at least one or more of interest.
  • There will be a locator board in this area where all participants names and locations can be found - - the locator board is generally updated daily.
  • Each Unit will also have a bulletin board in this area. Most of these bulletin boards will have a place for members to sign in and provide their location.
  • In this area, you will also likely find a message board that contains notices of changes in location of seminars/events as well as any cancellations that may occur. This board is updated frequently especially early in the Rally.
  • Optional “accessories” that can help to increase your enjoyment of the International might include:
  • Outdoor “patio-carpet” for use on the curbside of your coach - - this helps to “define” your front porch and becomes a place to get acquainted quickly with your neighbors.
  • Comfortable folding chairs for each member of your family. These will be useful for your patio as well as for attending Unit, Intra-Club, and certain other functions held at the parking-site where chairs often aren’t provided. Many Units as well as some of the Intra-Clubs will have “4 O’Clocks” or daily social hours at the parking area and for these you will need your own comfortable chair to carry along. A small, portable folding table can also be quite useful for these “4 O’Clocks” as well
  • Supply of “munchies” for use a “pass-arounds” at the “4 O’Clocks that you attend. Most, but not all of the “4 O’Clocks” will have pass-arounds as part of the socializing.
  • Flag Holder and flags for your coach. This is a part of the International experience that many enjoy. Some display only their national flag while others display several with examples being state, unit, officer, and/or intra-club flags/banners. The scene on a sunny day with flags being flown by hundreds of Airstreams is one of the unforgettable International experiences.
  • Supply of non-perishable ingredients and supplies for your favorite “Pot-Luck” dish. While it doesn’t always happen, it seems that there will be at least one “do-not-miss” pot-luck during most Internationals - - these are often Unit or Intra-Club activities.
  • If you are parking in the non-30-AMP area, you will likely find that one or two auxiliary fans to circulate the air in your coach will be of benefit - - this was practically a necessity before I had Fantastic Vents installed in my coaches. I initially carried two low-draw 120-volt fans that I could place in the end windows, but upgraded to the Endless Breeze fans offered by Fantastic Vent (the Endless Breeze fans are 12-volt) about three years ago.
Vintage Airstream Club Observations:

Remember that if your coach is 25 years-old or older, you are eligible for membership in the Vintage Airstream Club, and part of the fun of International can be parking with the other Vintage owner’s in the Vintage Airstream Club section - - in the past, this was often referred to as the “Green” section as we were usually parked in (and made up a rather large part of) the Green section.
  • If at all possible, plan on “Parading-In” with the VAC. Watch the VAC website for details regarding the “assembly point”. Generally, we meet at mall or shopping center that is in close proximity to the parking area. Often, we are permitted to dry-camp at this location overnight - - this will be explained in the materials on the VAC website.
  • If you have a flag holder and flags for your coach bring them along as part of our parade usually involves a stop shortly before entering the parking area to raise flags and we will enter the site with our flags blowing in the wind (the speed is kept within reason to allow for this part of the activity).
  • Consider coming prepared to participate in the Vintage Open House. Your coach does not have to be restored or refurbished - - one of my favorite memories was participating in Open House when my Overlander was in “as found” condition. Some things you might want to consider having available for Open House as well as for sharing during VAC “4 O’Clocks”:
  • Scrapbooks or photo albums that you have maintained during the restoration, refurbishment, enjoyment of your coach.
  • Showroom literature, manuals, and reference materials that you might have for your coach. I usually display the showroom literature and owners’ manual for my coach.
  • Many of our members find it interesting to maintain a “Guest Book” for their coaches during Open House. There have been reports of 200 or more visitors to some of the more popular coaches during Open House.
  • Some members enjoy dressing for the period of their coach during Open House - - I am thinking of trying to locate my burnt-orange leisure suit to go along with my ’78 Minuet for the Springfield International.
  • If you are towing with a Vintage tow vehicle, you will probably want to be prepared for questions about it as well as your coach. I am planning on traveling with materials (showroom literature, manuals, etc.) for my Cadillac as well as the Minuet for my Open House display.
  • Some members also play period Music or run period videos during the Open House. Since 1998, I have carried my copy of The Long, Long, Trailer that I have playing on my video player in the coach during the Open House.
  • Some members also like to display period accessories in their coaches. I often borrow many of mine from my home including: chrome plated canister set (inherited from my paternal grandmother), polished aluminum salt and pepper shaker with matching spice shakers, cast iron skillets and Dutch Oven (that often traveled in my Overlander when it was new), 1970s “Flower-Power” place mats in Harvest Gold and Avacado Green with Orange trim (a promotional gift from our bank in 1969), and Revere Ware stove-top Percolator that dates to 1959.
  • Don’t forget to include your blue tote-tank. Even if your coach has a built-in wash water tank, it will likely be of such size that you will need to dispose of wash water before the scheduled pump-out. We will have to hope that we are parked in close proximity to the approved disposal location as my tote-tank needed to be emptied every-other day at the Lansing International Rally.
  • Be prepared to be with your coach during its first pump-out if you are unsure of how its tank will react to being pumped. There have been reported problems during pumping from owners with pre-1966 coaches where tanks collapse because the venting wasn’t always adequate to compensate for the suction - - I know that a long-time owner of a ’64 Sovereign acquainted me with this at my first International, and I have always made it a point to be present when my Overlander is pumped because its original venting is such that its tank may be subject to collapse if the suction is too great (I have a plastic probe that I can insert into the toilet to hold the valve open in the event that I cannot be there - - but it is necessary to be sure that the water is turned off to the coach when this is done).
Free Wheelers Observations:

If you are single and traveling alone, you may want to consider participating with the Free Wheelers (an Intra-Club of the WBCCI). The Free Wheelers will be having a Pre-Rally near Springfield and will be parked as a group if previous practice is followed in Springfield. I am a member of the Free Wheelers, but usually park with the Vintage group and am more aware of what to expect in the VAC parking area than the Free Wheelers area.

One activity that is nearly always offered by the Free Wheelers is a Solo Travel Seminar that is typically offered at the parking site. Many issues will be discussed at this seminar including solo hitching techniques as well as hints for easier solo RVing. You don't have to be a Free Wheeler to attend the seminar as the information is such that it can be helpful to anyone - - one acquaintace mentioned that learning of the solo-hitching techniques and secrets saved a few squabbles between spouses when hitching-up.

The most important thing to do is to arrive with an open mind with a dose of patience ready to have a great time and you will likely depart having had a fantastic experience (IMHO).

Related Threads of Interest:

A General Discussion of the 2005 WBCCI International – Springfield, MO
Thread 13577
Thread 5218

The Pros and Cons of the 2004 WBCCI International - - Lansing, MI
Thread 12420

A General Discussion of 2004 WBCCI International - - Lansing, MI
Thread 12092
Thread 11947
Thread 11653
Thread 9023
Thread 9783

A General Discussion of the 2005 & 2006 WBCCI International Rallys
Thread 12137


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
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)
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Old 12-14-2004, 02:21 PM   #2
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Wow! Great tips for newbies.

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Old 12-14-2004, 03:21 PM   #3
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Great list for first -timers. It would be really nice to have the Airstream forum decals before we go. Also-where can I buy the bracket and poles for the flags? Are the flags a specific size?
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Old 12-14-2004, 03:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Craftsman
where can I buy the bracket and poles for the flags? Are the flags a specific size?
Check this out: Flags on Airstreams

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Old 12-14-2004, 03:40 PM   #5
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Hints for First-Timers at WBCCI International Rally

Greetings Craftsman!

Originally Posted by Craftsman
Great list for first -timers. It would be really nice to have the Airstream forum decals before we go. Also-where can I buy the bracket and poles for the flags? Are the flags a specific size?
The flag pole brackets that most of use can be purchased from Pole Ease using the information found below that was quoted from the classifieds on the WBCCI website:

12’ FLAG POLES ALUMINUM 1” diameter. Heavy-duty holders for 1 or 3 poles. Price - poles $31.50 each, holders single pole $21.50, 3 pole holder $29.50 plus shipping $6.00 per package. Order from ¬POLE EASE, 9751 Rexford Rd., Jackson, MI 49201, Ph. 517-536-8022.
These holders mount on the hitch jack post - - they utilize muffler clamps. Ideally, if you can find them, stainless steel muffler clamps will provide the neatest installation as typical steel clamps begin rusting rather quickly. The clamps aren't include as there can be at least two different sizes of jack posts, and I believe that the holders are pre-drilled to accommodate at least three diferent size jack posts.

Most utilize flags that have a maximum size of 2' x 3' - - much larger than that and you will likely have problems with the flags contacting the dome panels on windy days. The VAC flags can be obtained with the information found below that was quoted from the VAC website:

To order Vintage Airstream Club Flags, Decals, Badges or pins, call or write:
Robert Herman
2092 Culbreath Road C12
Brooksville, FL 34602

The new version of the 2'x3' dark blue nylon flag now has the Vintage club logo printed on both sides with the words VINTAGE AIRSTREAM CLUB also printed on both sides.
To order, send $25.00 to Mr. Herman.
The easiest way to obtain the WBCCI flag or banner is through your unit's club supply officer, or from the club store at the International Rally.

Good luck with your preparations for the International Rally!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
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)
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Old 12-14-2004, 06:40 PM   #6
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Has anyone ordered from Pole-Ease lately? I tried and tried last summer and never did get them from that ad. Thanks for any info. By the way, Kevin, an incredibly well-thought-out listing,all the components. Thanks for the thought and time it took to create this!
1995 Airstream Classic Limited 30' ~ Gypsy
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:35 AM   #7
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Thumbs up

Good Job, Kevin! You covered most of the basics that newbies (and not-so-newbies) need to know about in order to enjoy an International rally; and you did so in a clear, easy-to-understand manner.
One minor thing I'd suggest (a convienence, not a requirement) is some sort of clip, holder, or receptical right outside the door to one's coach for communications purposes. A real simple method is to hang a common clothes pin on a string from the exterior door knob or grab handle. Some folks devise cute little boxes or envelopes to temporarily mount beside the door. Anything that will hold a few sheets of paper will do. This provides a secure way to leave messages for others, and they can leave messages for you, while you are away from your trailer; also, newspapers and notices from WBCCI, etc.
Not having been to an International rally, one may not want to blindly pre-register to serve on a committe; but once you arrive and see all the volunteer opportunities feel free to volunteer to help if you notice one that is an area of interest to you. They almost always can use more help with everything from typing to sign making, from running messages to moving stage props, from monitoring the CB communications base to collecting water lines (at the end of the rally), and nearly everything in between.
Volunteering is not required, by any means, but usually can be tailored to fit your schedule and is a good way to meet others, and get an 'inside' look at some of the operations of such an undertaking as the International rally.
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Old 12-16-2004, 06:25 AM   #8
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It sounds exciting but a bit overwhelming. It kind of gives me that first day of kindergarten feeling...
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Old 12-16-2004, 08:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by maxandgeorgia
Has anyone ordered from Pole-Ease lately? I tried and tried last summer and never did get them from that ad. Thanks for any info. By the way, Kevin, an incredibly well-thought-out listing,all the components. Thanks for the thought and time it took to create this!
I've purchased three poles and the pole holder for the front of the trailer. I ordered these at different times. Pole ease is a business run from out of the house. If you can't get through during the day, try an evening. They are located in Michigan and are on central time.

Their product is very good. I lost a spring assembly and they replaced it for free. BTW they, or their products are usually at the internationsl.


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