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Old 07-15-2007, 04:52 PM   #15
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Why now? Reference to Club Politcs. NO! History!

The question of my timing is a valid question.

My Mother, Helen Byam Schwamborn, retired at the age of 75 in 1979. The two of us had family memories, Airstream memories and WBCCI memories. That's a lot of memories.

My Mother passed away July 22, 2004, just a few days short of her 100th Birthday. Wally Byam passed away on July 22, 1962. Interesting date July 22nd.

After her death I was contacted by Russ Banham, author of Wanderlust, Airstream at 75. What was supposed to be a limited call turned into many hours of conversation and letters, notes, pictures and such be shared with Russ. Of all writings prior to Wanderlust this is the first time rumors, speculations, twisted histories were corrected in the time frame of 1896 to 1979. My Mother left me a collection of family items and other personal items from her days with Airstream and WBCCI. With these items Russ and I changed some of the historical miscues and added a wealth of knowledge not available prior to Wanderlust. Russ is one helleva writer and biographer.

In 2005 I went to the Springfield Rally. This was the first leg of a later trip to Kenville, NS for the dedication of the founding of the WBCCI in 1955.

We are building steam

I happened to find a picture of two models in the 30's. If was captioned Stel and Helen. No, no, no, no. This picture was take with two models. Not Stel and not my Mother.

This led me to the Sierra Neveda Unit. Diane Leipper and I have been working on an informative website with family, Club, and Airstream history.

I came to this form after writing some thoughts about the possible reincarnation of the 1959 African Caravan. My comments are on the WBCCI forum. I am not in favor of putting Airstream owner's lives at risk.

So, here we are.

My interest is to share histroy with Airstream and Club members.
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:26 PM   #16
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Rivet PEEWEE, I salute you

I just read your posts on the WCBBI forum and completly agree with your position on the African Rally.

I also want to say I'm envious of your wealth of experience and I am really excited that you are willing to share much of this increditable history with us.

I think you will like us, We are fans of Airstream and the forum rallys are all about fun!

I really look forward to your posts.
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeeWee
This led me to the Sierra Neveda Unit. Diane Leipper and I have been working on an informative website with family, Club, and Airstream history.
PeeWee, the Sierra Nevada Unit website is an amazing document of WBCCI history. I've been enjoying it for weeks now.

Thanks for sharing!!!!

Dave
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:37 PM   #18
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Dale,
It is great to have you on the forums and I had no idea that you lived in Arizona. I don't go to Dewey much because they closed my favorite place to visit, Youngs Farm.

I am a member of the 4CU (Four Corners Unit of the WBCCI). We are the newest unit in the club and were operating under a provisional charter until a few weeks ago when the IBT voted to grant us a full / regular charter. Earlier this year my wife, Jan and I hosted the first rally for the 4CU. It was in your back yard at Deadhorse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. It was agreat event and everyone had plenty of FUN! Plans are being made at this time for Deadhorse II which will most likely be held in February again. Once the plans are set I will contact you with more information. We would love to have you stop by for dinner (pot luck) while we are there and maybe we could twist your arm to share a story or two about Wally and the early days of the club.

I can promise you will meet some very interesting people who know how to have fun.

Untill then,
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeeWee
The question of my timing is a valid question...

I came to this form after writing some thoughts about the possible reincarnation of the 1959 African Caravan. My comments are on the WBCCI forum.
I am not in favor of putting Airstream owner's lives at risk.

So, here we are.

My interest is to share histroy with Airstream and Club members.
welcome to the forums dale.

sharing history is a useful notion and i hope you do.

as for the potential 09 trip, here are some topic specific places to post your opinions.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f286...ion-31388.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f286...airo-8454.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f347...van-24626.html

this thread is your 'member introduction' time and i don't want to litter it with caravan related issues...

but IF you'd like to offer opinions related to the 09 trip in any of these other threads...

i'm sure some of us will respond.

i did read your comments on the wb' site...

oh my.

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:58 PM   #20
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Richard,

Sounds great.

My e-mail address: go to Sierra Neveda Unit and they have a message center for me.

Dale
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:24 PM   #21
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Post Away.......

PeeWee,

This is your "introduction" thread - for most of us, we crave the background that you bring to fill in the history of the WBCCI and your connection to that history here on the AF. So fill us in with your background anywhere you see fit - the Moderators here will guide you along when you stray too far off topic. Since you started this thread only you can determine what belongs in it.

If you do decide to post elsewhere or start your own discussions on current topics, I'm sure you will have a large following here that will listen to your sincere and "OPEN" comments.

Keep it coming, it's fun to read .

Mike.
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:45 PM   #22
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Thoughts from Advance Scout Africa 1959

A No Opinion on a 2009 African Safari


Iím not sure if my communication yesterday was clear.

The original Africa Caravan in 1959-1960 had the following areas covered.

Political stability in the areas of travel. Colonialism, protectorates, autocratic control of nations gave safe going from Cape Town to Cairo. Only two occasions did we have to have extraordinary protection. The Emperor Haile Selaise had twenty of his palace guards ride with the Caravan through most of Southern Ethiopia. This area was under tribal control. When we left the U.S. Army base in Asmara we had two jeeps with mounted 50 caliber machine guns escort through bandit territory on our way to the Sudan.

There is no doubt that there is safety in numbers. With 41 rigs, four or five doctors, a factory mechanic, paid advance scouts, and Wally Byam there was an infrastructure. Many of the Caravaners had been with Wally on several Caravans. Europe, Mexico, Central America, and Canada. The Wagon Boss, Louis Mousely had been wagon boss in Eastern Canada, EuropeÖwhat a guy to be at the head of the Caravan, he orchestrated the parking at the camp sites, and he held the Caravan in-line.

Backing up the group was the Wally Byam Caravan Headquarters. They made the arrangements, they wrote the letters, and they arranged for visas, they arranged for transportation of the rigs. Under the control of Helen Byam Schwamborn.

The doctors carried a full range of medicines and medical equipment. If you became sick go to trailer xyz and see the doctor. If you were sick you had a doctor in camp not 200 miles away.

Over the years the Caravaners that traveled with Wally on three or four Caravans were mechanics, not by trade, but by travel. They could work on gear boxes, cabinets in the trailer, anything that needed correcting. This group of 8 or 10 families helped make the trip go from south to north.

Letís not forgot Art Ruiz from the factory. With his product knowledge and the support of the Caravan mechanics mountains were moved at times.

The advance scouts check out the roads in most areas. There were several times that it was necessary for them to remain with group on travel days. They checked campsites, talked with national, regional and city officials. They posted signs to the camp grounds. Checked out market areas. Took passports to embassies for visas, Bulgaria is an example of that chore.

But the shinning glory was Wally Byam. The world traveler, the entrepreneur, the engineer, the diplomat, and a leader. Wally was always in charge. There have been many Caravan leaders over the yearÖbut no Wally Byam. The can do man.

That was then what about now.

STABILITY

It is gone. Tribal law, tribal fighting, and lawlessness reigns in most of Africa. Also the United States has lost most of its esteem. United States equals Americans. What does this mean? In too many areas of the world American citizens have a target on their backs.

A high profile expedition like a caravan of Airstreams in Africa is tempting to bandits, radicals, and terrorists. Even with armed mercenaries for protection, can you survive a heavy fire fight, what about land mines? If captured what about ransoms? Beheading? Torture? Execution?

Is Africa safe today? Not really.

LEADERSHIP

There was only one Wally Byam.

MEDICAL

Africa has many epidemics. Some are communicable diseases without any form of treatment. (They might threaten the Caravanners.) This alone brings on wide spread poverty. In 1959 people were poor but self-reliant. Today there is poverty so wide spread, and so deep that survival is the motivation to do anything.

SEASONED CARAVANNERS

How many people going to Africa can raise there hands and say I have been of three or more Caravanís of extreme conditions?

The age range in 1959 was four years of age, to Doctor Monroe in his 80ís. The average age of our group was 50.

GO OR NO GO?

The little I know about the big pictureÖmy answer is NO GO.

Iím concerned that the trip is a 60/40 chance of making it without some form of international news of a serious nature. The only way a trip like should be conducted is if you are 100% sure that you are not putting its members in harms way.

PERSONAL COMMENTS

In 2005 at the Springfield Rally I had a small discussion with a meeting of those planning to go to Africa. In fact I was willing, at that time, to go. Not now. I will not associate my name or my family name (Schwamborn and Byam) to an undertaking that has a high risk threatening the lives of fellow Caravaners.

I have talked with a friend of mine from that trip. The person when asked to do something for the adventure, declined. The person didnít want his name even remotely associated with the 2009 tour. We both agreed about the almost recklessness of doing the 1959 trip today.

I am not currently associated with Airstream or the Wally Byam Caravan Club, Int. Both of these organizations need to be careful in choosing their endorsements of the venture. If the trip goes okay what a wonderful publicity coo. If it goes bad over 76 years of great stuff goes away. Personally the tour should be cancelled.

An evaluation needs to be made by the group.

First will the safety, security and well-being of the group be at 100%?

Second will medical needs be availability at all times, in a timely manner?

Third with the apparent risks involved do you want to tarnish the name and image of Airstream?

Fourth, with the apparent risks involved do you want to tarnish the name and image of Wally Byam Caravans, and the Wally Byam Caravan Club, International?

Fifth with the apparent risks involved do you want to tarnish the name and image of Wally Byam? A man who would never put his owners at the risk of this upcoming trip to Africa.

Please excuse by bluntness. But there is more to this trip than just the fever to re-enact the past.

Unicorns are gone forever! Out of Africa!
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:55 PM   #23
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Angry Africa

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeeWee
[CENTER]Unicorns are gone forever! Out of Africa![/FONT]
I gotta go with Pee Wee here. Taking such an American icon as a bunch of Airstreams to somewhere where Americans are despised so much is the proverbial red flag in the bullís face. You would be under prepared in an Abrams M1A2 main battle tank.

Vaughan
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:40 PM   #24
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I have no opinion on this Caravan other than my vacation rule when leaving America.

Don't vacation where people are shooting at each other.

Dale,

How did the trailers hold up on these extreme Caravans? What were the common breakdown items and what was the most unusual? I ask this as I am often off road with mine.

I had called G&C in Bellflower to ask about adding ground clearance for off roading and Rod told me to "Do what Wally did. Go slow. He made it from Capetown to Cairo like that." So far I have to tell you our trailer has been all over the Mojave and Sonoran desert with out any ill effects. I attribute this to going slow.

Milo
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:56 PM   #25
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping
I have no opinion on this Caravan other than my vacation rule when leaving America.

Don't vacation where people are shooting at each other.

Dale,

How did the trailers hold up on these extreme Caravans? What were the common breakdown items and what was the most unusual? I ask this as I am often off road with mine.

I had called G&C in Bellflower to ask about adding ground clearance for off roading and Rod told me to "Do what Wally did. Go slow. He made it from Capetown to Cairo like that." So far I have to tell you our trailer has been all over the Mojave and Sonoran desert with out any ill effects. I attribute this to going slow.

Milo
Milo,

Our biggest problems were the tow vehicles. Most African Caravanners had International Harvester Trucks. Unknown to Wally and the Caravanners were certain engineering defects with the axles, spider gears, differentials and the drive train in general. There were a few Fords, Chevies, Dodges, and one Landrover.

The first stock to go were spare parts in the continent of Africa, then Europe, and the all parts were flown from the United States. The gear ratio was bad and snapped spider gears, axles and such. Not a pretty sight.

The Airstreams fared better. The were occasional plumbing, electrical and cabinet problems on very few of the trailers. The Airstreams had an almost perfect records considering wash board roads, no roads, upaved roads and such.

Most of our roads weren't paved, no super Interstates.

You are right drive slow. You're not trying to be the evening crush getting home from work.

The Caravan was made up mostly of experienced Caravaners.

I hope this anwers your questions.

Dale Schwamborn
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:07 PM   #26
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Dale,

Thank you. You did answer my questions.

Now I only have a bazillion other questions about these Caravans.

Can you be talked into going to Deadhorse for a Q & A session?
We'd love to hear your experiences.

Milo
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:29 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping
Dale,

Thank you. You did answer my questions.

Now I only have a bazillion other questions about these Caravans.

Can you be talked into going to Deadhorse for a Q & A session?
We'd love to hear your experiences.

Milo
Milo,

A good starting point for a few answers is the website that the Sierra Neveda Unit has.

I really don't like canned speeches. Who cares how many hours a person was in labor when he was born, the waist size of his shorts, or if he melts in the rain. My preferences are to answer questions. I find that questions inspire the memory and the audience. If I don't know an answer I will say that is beyond me.

Where is Deadhourse?

Sue and I haven't participated in Club or Airstream functions because we currently don't have an Airstream.

I did go to the 2005 International Rally, the Dedication at Kentville, NS. Later on this month Sue and I are going to Breckenridge, CO for the VAC rally. We went to Canada as guests of Airstream and the Club.

Dale.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:48 PM   #28
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Dale,

I agree with your take on speeches.

I have found Q & A's a lot more interesting.

As a history buff I have read up on topics that interest me. But to be able to ask questions of a participant of that history is so much more enlightning.

Milo
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