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Old 04-08-2013, 09:48 AM   #1
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AS Club Experience? Likes, Dislikes, Good & Bad?

For those who have been in or are in AS clubs, what's the best and worst part of your club experiences? What would you like to see in an ideal club?

Or, do you just prefer solo camping?
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:59 AM   #2
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I have nothing against clubs but I prefer to be independent and follow my own schedule.

I also like to travel independently as I enjoy researching my route and doing what I want to do while on the road.

Dave
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:25 PM   #3
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AS Club Experience? Likes, Dislikes, Good & Bad?

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Originally Posted by mstephens View Post
For those who have been in or are in AS clubs, what's the best and worst part of your club experiences? What would you like to see in an ideal club?

Or, do you just prefer solo camping?
I have been a member of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International since 1995, and became a lifetime member approximately eight years ago. When I joined in 1995, I was among the younger members at 36. My view may be highly influence by my membership in the Vintage Airstream Club (an Intra-Club of the WBCCI). Throughout all of my travels, I have found a warm welcome when attending both large and small rallys as well as a variety of local unit activities. As a Free-Wheeler for many years, I found the caravans to be an excellent way to see the country with a more "local" perspective . . . and I was often able to travel with someone who would allow me to follow since I didn't have a navigator (particularly in the days prior to GPS). While I don't have a particular dislike of solo travel, I do enjoy the friendships that develop when one camps with some of the same people on a regular basis.

I can't imagine being much better satisfied than I am with the WBCCI. It would be nice to see lower rally fees for the International Rally, but at the same time, I don't want to go back to the days of 3-AMP electrical service without the possibility of air conditioning . . . and I enjoy attending the seminars and a number of the evening programs.

Kevin

P.S.: I will admit that I don't pay particular attention to the national dues since becoming a Lifetime member . . . as a lifetime member, I must pay my unit dues to remain a member in good standing . . . my local dues are a small price for what the club provides me while the amortized cost of the lifetime membership doesn't seem too bad after eight plus years.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:09 PM   #4
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I'd say it depends on what you're looking for, and what unit of the club you join.

I happened upon a unit that camps pretty much every month, has a great group of laid-back people and always has fun, casual events. I'm certain that we use and enjoy the trailer more because of our membership in the Heart of Texas Camping Unit than we would just on our own. Closer to you (but not really "close") is the Four Corners Unit, which seems from attending an event with them and meeting some of their members in other settings like it's very much like Heart of Texas.

We've also had good fun times at every AIRForums event we've attended.

If you prefer quiet communing with nature to social interaction, you may prefer traveling on your own. I recommend trying some of the AIRForums rallies or looking for something 4CU is doing that you can attend and just trying it out. And if you're ever in Texas, join us for an events with HoTCU.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:38 PM   #5
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I joined when we got our Airstream a few years ago.

Not really so much for the rallies and caravans, as I tend to prefer to do my own thing when traveling with the trailer, and am not into big gatherings, but I thought it might be worth it for the club magazine and perhaps access to Airstream parks etc.

I dropped our membership after a couple of years as the magazine seemed mostly about rallies, club rules etc. The Tech info I was hoping to get in the magazine is more readily found on the forums.

Also it turned out that most of the Airstream parks don't require WBCCI membership.

As others have said, it really depends on what you want. I'm sure it is perfect for many people, but just wasn't worth the $$ for me.

If we do want to join in a smaller gathering of AS owners now and then - and we have done that - there are other opportunities.

Brian.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:13 PM   #6
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We did join WBCCI when we got our trailer a year and a half ago. In that time, I've discovered some good things about being in a club, and some bad things. Bad enough to make me want to know if there are other clubs to consider, and what they may be like.

I definitely enjoy the idea of group camping and of longer group trips or tours too. I'd like to get that good stuff though without feeling like I have joined an archaic religion led by ancient high priests. I suppose there is a good side to having a looooooooong tradition, but there is also a very bad side.

So, I am surveying the landscape.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:22 PM   #7
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WBCCI is as traditional as Airstream itself, I feel privileged to be a member of both groups. We see as much interest in the red numbers on our Airstream as the trailer itself.

Sometimes it's not about what they can do for you, but what they do for all of us.

doug k
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:03 PM   #8
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We're WBCCI members and love it. Best experience is the friendship. Worst experience is the idiocy of some of the moves WBCCI has made or tried to make in recent years. Fortunately, our unit is pretty drama-free.

While we enjoy rallies, we still do plenty of camping on our own, because we like to have a mix of rallies and just us doing what we want. We usually make 3 or 4 rallies each year, while we usually take a dozen or so trips with our camper each year. Last year, we went camping with some of our tent friends at a national park - we had the Airstream and they slept in tents... it was a GREAT trip, but probably not something we'd want to do all the time, either.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:55 AM   #9
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I guess then that the WBCCI is the only real (e.g. organized) national club? In some ways that's very surprising.

The comment above about the "red numbers" nicely characterizes what I think happens when traditions become too dominant. The idea of some minor fetish being more important than the trailer, and what it means, would never enter my mind as a new owner! (no personal offense intended there to the poster.)

For me, the important values are the adventure, the learning, the solidarity that is possible in a group.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:14 AM   #10
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I guess then that the WBCCI is the only real (e.g. organized) national club? In some ways that's very surprising.

The comment above about the "red numbers" nicely characterizes what I think happens when traditions become too dominant. The idea of some minor fetish being more important than the trailer, and what it means, would never enter my mind as a new owner! (no personal offense intended there to the poster.)

For me, the important values are the adventure, the learning, the solidarity that is possible in a group.
It's the only national Airstream brand-specific organized club.

There are some fun gatherings organized by individuals on AIRForums, and while I haven't attended a TAC rally people seem to have fun there too. I've no idea what the Good Sam rallies are like, but they seem to be large which doesn't appeal to me particularly.

Find the right WBCCI unit and it can be very fun. As I wrote earlier, my unit has about one campout per month. We tend to have 10-30 trailers, and often some of the attendees are affiliates (members of other units who camp with us) and we're growing in terms of our membership.

We have very informal campouts. Generally we'll have happy "hour" where some of us bring appetizer-type food, and on a weekend campout we may have one "planned" pot-luck and one meal where we each bring something to grill. We don't eat dinner at 5 pm (generally we're starting to think about gathering for happy hour around then.) We don't wear blue berets and have our unit flag for every campout, it's about the destination and the camaraderie, not about pomp and procedure.

I know we are not the only unit in the organization that operates this way, but I also know that there are much more old-school units out there. Unfortunately I don't know anything about units in your area, but looking at the map it seems that in your general vicinity there at 3 or 4: the Northern California Unit, Golden West unit, Santa Clara unit and based in Reno there's the Sierra Nevada unit. Contact them all, see if there's a convenient event for you to join as a guest. Any unit should welcome you and be accommodating about having you attend an event as a guest, since we should all want more members in the club.

On edit, I see that you joined when you bought your trailer... if you're still a current member, you're entitled to attend ANY unit's events (space available, of course) so you should definitely try all the ones that are in range for you.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:59 AM   #11
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The red numbers are not a "minor being fetish more important than the trailer", I never said that. The red numbers represent who we are and the people we meet are interested in the trailer and the WBCCI, and tell of grandpa or an uncle who belonged and traveled with them. It's part of the Airstream tradition and we feel good being a part of it.

We are relatively new members and have not matched a caravan up with our travels yet, but look forward to the opportunity. Looks like a value and another opportunity to meet, travel with, and learn from great people.

doug k
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:26 PM   #12
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DKB--
Yes, indeed we may try some other units. And I know there is sure to be variations within units due to personality and whatnot. However, I am not that enthused about the basic operating traditions of the "WBCCI" itself, apart from the local flavor. I guess I would say that if I was trying to make an ideal club for AS travel, I wouldn't do it that way. Of course I am simply expressing an opinion of personal preferences - not a judgment on what other people are doing.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:30 PM   #13
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.....I never said that.
I wasn't quoting you. I was interpreting that expression based on my own views of what your comment meant to me. Sorry you took it that way.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:33 PM   #14
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From what I can gather TAC appears to be very informal and there aren't all that many rallies or group activities through the year. The part I DO like of WBCCI is that there are a LOT of events to choose from. We do a lot of camping, so going out 10 or 12 times a year is cool for me.
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