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Old 06-16-2013, 04:58 PM   #1
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We would like to be part of a caravan

One day maybe we are hoping we can be part of a caravan. Our neighbors 2 doors up have an Airstream and caravan once or twice a year. We still work, so it is hard to fit it in, but maybe we could caravan once a year...
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:26 PM   #2
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We would like to be part of a caravan.

Greetings m.hony!

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
One day maybe we are hoping we can be part of a caravan. Our neighbors 2 doors up have an Airstream and caravan once or twice a year. We still work, so it is hard to fit it in, but maybe we could caravan once a year...
There are many types of caravans available, some of which are sponsored by the WBCCI (Wally Byam Caravan Club International) as well as some operated by private companies and there may still be some operated by Good Sam. My experience lies with the WBCCI/Vintage Airstream Club caravans, and the length as well as the cost can vary. Typically, a caravan is at least ten days, but some can stretch out to as much as six to eight weeks. The caravans that I have taken were all three in the ten to fourteen day length, and I enjoyed each greatly. The WBCCI/Vintage Airstream Club caravans are generally publicized in the Blue Beret and/or The Vintage Advantage. Local units of the WBCCI also operate caravans, and some of these aren't advertised beyond the local unit's newsletter . . . but participation is open to all WBCCI members. To me, the caravans provide an excellent value, and often include attractions and/or activities that someone unfamiliar with a particular area would be unlikely to discover.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:04 PM   #3
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I exchanged a number of messages with WBCCI officers proposing to make available some of the info from Caravan Leaders (routes, places to stay, things to see, etc) so that they might be used by small group "casual caravanners" who are club members but can't handle the 45 to 65 days required for Official Caravans.. After some hopeful starts, I was finally told "No Way!" since WBCCI leadership doesn't want members trying smaller informal caravans along their routes.. One of the reasons given was that "People might try to organize their own.." Sigh..

I still believe some could have been money-makers for the Club, since a few caravans sell out a year in advance or more, and a lot of members (and non-members..) would pay for some useful intelligence on how to see the Rockies or the Western National Parks or Eastern Canada in 2 or 3 weeks, rather than 9 or 10... I suppose this is another item that will have to wait for next generation of leadership to step in and innovate... < And I am a long-term WBCCI member, but unlikely to ever join one of their caravans..>
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:00 PM   #4
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Basically, because we still work, we could never caravan until we retire. Our neighbors who caravan have invited us and tried to convince us of the benefits of joining WBCCI. I do remember something being misspelled on the post card inviting us to join- maybe it was aventure instead of adventure. I pointed this out to someone in an email. Doesn't reflect positively on WBCCI. I don't know why a person couldn't caravan for a few days and then go home while the others keep caravanning. At any rate we won't be caravanning for awhile.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:18 PM   #5
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"People might try to organize their own.."

Why is that so bad? Why does it all have to be about making the almighty dollar? Why is everything so "PAY ME" orientated? The whole idea to me is sharing both stuff and ideas. If I can help you I will, stop by the house, I'll treat you to some refreshment and swap ideas and info without any thought of gimmie gimmie.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:40 PM   #6
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If you are interested in travel and want to see this wonderful continent that we live on, why would you want to follow someone else's bumper and surrender your day to day decisions and planning to someone who looks on you as just a number?

Owning an RV is all about freedom! Being able to do your own thing, not being tied to schedules, flying by the seat of your pants. Stopping when you feel like it and staying at that fantastic riverside boondock site until you run out of grey water storage.

You will meet just as many people winging it and they will be from every walk in life.

Don't tie yourself to a 'CLUB' if you are still capable of exercising your own independence.

Dave
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:42 PM   #7
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There are many local WBCCI units that organize short caravans. It is encouraged by the leadership of WBCCI. I do not know who you talked to but they are not telling you the right story. Some locals even have "come and go" caravans where people can join or leave the caravan any time they want. It does make the bookkeeping a little more difficult for the caravan leader. Talk to the local presidents and see what they offer. The national caravans are a different story. They are scheduled years ahead of time and are designed for those that have the time and money to spend two weeks to a month on the road. They usually cover great distances 200 to 300 miles at a time. Good Sam has similar professionally lead caravans, but those are usually more expensive per day.
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:33 PM   #8
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Ok... Reminder please... What's a "caravan"? Is it from point a to point b only or is thee a rhythm to it?

Been a while since clearly defined or
I am really that DENSE.

Peace

Channing
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:32 AM   #9
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What is the cost and why is there a cost? Are there planned sightseeing excursions, museums, meals? A caravan through our town 3-4 years ago stopped overnight in the Civic Center parking lot. Very ghetto, dangerous, and unsafe. Maybe the planners/organizers were not familiar with the area? If I had to pay money for that I would be mad. I did go look at all the trailers, though. I own a Harley and I am not a member of HOG, so I may never be a member of WBCCI.
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:35 AM   #10
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Are campground fees included in the cost of a caravan? So...I pay them money to tell me where to go and when to go there? I may like the rally scene better- we're having a rally at x location on y date. Come if you want to. Handle your own travel arrangements and campground reservations.
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:45 AM   #11
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We do most of our touring by ourselves and enjoy the flexibility. The club offers pre planned activities along the way for those who want communal travel. Each has its own benefits and responsibility. Paying annual dues allows access to the benefits offered by the club, but does not limit our possibilities. It is true that actual operating expenses of the club are mostly not directly related to providing the benefits we personally use or value. The dues could be significantly reduced, if the club's organization and operations were modernized and resized to reflect the number of members remaining in the club. I, however; do not feel many people want to lose their positions or full time employment (for the paid staff). The HQ has about $200K in salaries and benefits and the Region and International officers receive about $100K of paid benefits.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:21 AM   #12
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I am presently on a WBCCI caravan and am posting this response from a campground in Newfoundland. Caravan kitty fees generally include all camping fees, a few group meals, and many group activites. The leaders work very hard to put the caravan together and make sure it functions well. Our leaders came here a month ahead of time to rework the route and make sure of all the camping arrangements. They have a lot of time and work in developing the "drivers manual" and the caravan route and stops. The drivers manual is the personal work and property of the leaders. The leaders are not paid. The leaders expenses are paid out of the kitty fee. Not sure why they should be expected to post their work on the internet? Sometimes caravans camp in alternative sites. In really high demand areas some campgrounds will not reserve the necessary number of sites. Camping in alternate areas sometimes lets us stay in a desirable area that does not have a campground (Seward, Alaska, for example). Looking ahead the next two stops on this caravans have very limited services. Finance is by "kitty fee" system. WBCCI provides liability insurance for the caravan. Short caravans are done by the local units. Want a short caravan, join up and form one or go on a local. Not all local units have short caravans. Ours does not. But you can go with the caravan from any unit. Shortest national caravan is the Cajan at 2 weeks, I think. A caravan is not for everybody. But for those than can do it, it can be a wonderful experience.
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:54 AM   #13
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Make it happen!

m.hony

As someone that has put together caravans from Bealeton VA Ė Perry GA (To International Rally), Bristol TN- Clayton NY (Historic Rt.11), Cumberland MD-Vandalia IL (Rt.40 National Road), I can tell you all of them are different. Many times when planning a caravan you donít always have the time/money to pre-run the route, make sure all the places you are staying are the best spots. The caravans Iíve helped plan there is ďno-chargeĒ you pay for what you use and nothing more. We normally try to stagger the nights between dry camping, E/W(dump) and full hookup campgrounds in an effort to keep the price down. Just finished up a 10 day, 9 night caravan out National Road with an average cost of about $17.00 a night.

In the spring of 2015 we will be doing the lower part of Historic Rt. 11 from Bristol TN Ė New Orleans. All I do is find the places to spend the night, tell you the road to stay on, give you things that you can do along the way, the rest is up to you. What you make of it is up to you. All we ask, if you plan to be later than say 8:00pm rolling into the next spot, let someone know so we donít send out the hounds for you.

So, you want to go on a caravan. I say, make it happen. Look at a map, find an interesting route, setup up the places to stay and ask people to join you!

Enjoy,
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:59 PM   #14
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That is a lot of response in 24 hours.. Clearly a topic of some interest.. First a couple background points..
- We've done thousands of miles of 1 trailer "caravans" on our own, meandering and letting spirit move us from Canadian Rockies to Arizona to Oshkosh to Oregon/Washington coast.. I am generally not a details and plans and logistics person, but having a suggested route map and some ideas for places to stay or stopover and attractions/restaurants would be of value to many, including me.
- My communications were with the highest levels of WBCCI at the International Convention, and were presented as the final answer for WBCCI Leadership, so no appeal or reviews seem forthcoming.
- I understand caravan leaders put a lot of effort into their notes and planning. If some were unwilling to share, that is fine. Some would be interested, however, but apparently have no formal channel to do so.
- I understand regional caravans do occur, though many seem constructed around getting to the International Rally or home again. As noted, they are not usually widely publicized, and have the same issue of being restricted to a single fixed schedule.
- Insurance is a marginal distinction, since their would be no liability or risk to insure if the Club weren't organizing and promoting and setting payment prices for the event. If a small group drove off on vacation together, I'm hard-pressed to understand what collective risk would need additional coverage beyond the risks addressed by individual insurance.
- The IBT raised the issue of "leaking the info to our competitors" which reinforces that they view caravans as a business.. That risk could be addressed via restricted paid downloads to members only, or sales of paper versions to members in good standing, but was an additional reason to object at IBT level..
- My premise has been that small groups of Airstream owners who have established friendships or solo travelers with a personalized travel calendar would like some assistance heading off into strange new territories.. (As Wally said - going over that next hill...). I still believe that is a 21st Century benefit the club could provide to enhance its value to new younger members, who are never going to be able to join a 3 month international caravan, nor are they likely to attend a lot of International Rallies each July... The remaining weekend unit rallies and occasional short-form regional or unit caravans leave a gap that is not being addressed...
- As for us, we'll probably head off to eastern Canada or Alaska on our own in a year or two, after scouring the Forum for posts and ideas from those who've traveled the roads ahead of us. I hope to be finished with this topic for now, and wish all happy travels, wherever and however they feel comfortable getting out and seeing the world in their Airstreams..
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