©Bert Gildart: Yesterday, several friends (Hi, Todd; Hi Dave) called asking why no recent posts — and the answer is that our time has been booked in ways in which we are unaccustomed. First, the business of writing has been demanding; and two, we have moved to Fountain Hills near Phoenix to attend an Airstream Rally. And that, though lots of fun, has kept us jumping.
Airstream rallies provide opportunities for members to share information about travel
Specifically, we’ve been attending the Four Corners Chapter of the Wally Bynum Caravan Club International, known as the WBCCI, and the group chose McDowell Mountain Regional Park for the gathering. Though one of my first assignments as a freelance travel writer was to cover – back in 1988 — the huge Chinese/American international rally held in Black Hills, this is the first rally Janie and I have attended.
The rally coincided with St. Patrick’s Day so Irish attire provided the theme for the gathering, which included about 20 trailers, all, of course, Airstream Trailers. Monies charged those who attended provided for a number of meals and for some of the attire that dramatized the occasion, which was the green hats. At such times, everyone, of course, claims to be Irish, but several in attendance actually were Irish — one hundred percent Irish — and with his blue eyes, curly blond hair, Pat was genuine.
Theme of this Four Corners Airstream Rally was Irish, and appropriately everyone dressed the part. One members, on right, was 100 percent Irish and Pat certainly fit the protocol.
Airstreamers have been holding rallies for decades and the purpose is to bring together people who share in common the travel life – and who do so using an Airstream travel trailer. Such commonalities create fraternity and the gatherings makes good sense, as techniques to improve travel with the trailer of choice can be shared. Techniques can run the gamut and typically include discussions on solar panels, wiring, hitches, general trouble shooting – virtually anything that can make life easier while on the road.
For us the gatherings also provide opportunities to learn about the peripherals, specifically the rally’s many mountain bikers. By joining several of these hard-core bikers on rides along trails that course through these beautiful mountains, we learned much about the current rage in bikes.
Mountain bike trails in and around McDowell Regional Park offer hundreds of miles of premier riding.
Apparently, most devotees to the sport have made the leap from bikes using the old 26-inch tire to brands that incorporates the new 29-inch tire. I rented one of these gems, and delighted in the way in which these full suspension bikes handle the rough rocky terrain typical of trails in this premier regional park. And true, the 29-inch tire seemed to provide more stability and a bigger bang for each revolution inscribed by the pedals.
Campfires were another major attraction of the rally, and each night everyone convened around the cheer, glow and warmth generated by these settings that seemed almost atavistic. Weather during the rally was perfect for the first two days, but then it turned, dumping inches of rain on our Airstreams and blanketing the surrounding mountains with snow. Not to be deterred members gathered around propane fires beneath the shelter, and the camaraderie continued.
Though the weather deteriorated, camaraderie did not. This group was creative and created warmth with a propane fire.
Though Janie and I have been told that many Airstream Conventions are noted for regimentation, that was certainly not true of the Four Corners Unit, which was relaxed. In fact, the group prides itself on informality and we’ve concluded that if we are in the neighborhood again, this is a group with which we would like to mingle again. Certainly, we’d feel privileged if we could join the Four Corners Chapter of WBCCI.
AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THREE YEARS AGO:
*V-BAR V HERITAGE SITE
ADS FROM AMAZON AND GOOGLE AUGMENT OUR TRAVELS: