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Stories from Africa: Drum Hill

Travel opens doors for unexpected experiences. It was no different for the 1959 Airstream Caravan. After leaving northern Rhodesia, we began to experience many different types of roads. Limited tarmac, smooth but unpaved roads, and even shake-you-up washboard roads. If you’ve ever experienced road construction in the United States, you’ve seen how we control traffic. A flagger directs you with a handheld stop sign, hand motions, or some other way of coaching you through safe passage. In the Belgian Congo, the Caravan approached an area called Drum Hill. In several respects, the tight control of the Hill was atypical of

History, Like Lightning, Can Strike Twice

In 1960, the Airstream Caravan traveled across the great continent of Africa. One destination was the ancient Roman ruins located at Jerash in Jordan. The ruins were nearby the capital city of Amman. The 1963-1964 Around-the-World Caravan arrived and stayed at the Jerash ruins in 1964. Wally Byam always enjoyed the benefits of advertising, beginning with his Stanford University days working on the school newspaper as advertising manager. Wally would have enjoyed this two-page spread in an RV magazine, published in 1968, with the caravan once again parking in a wagon wheel in the main plaza at Jerash. This area

Wally Byam Stores

Airstream has a long history of retail store sales. It all started in 1945. Wally Byam, founder of Airstream, was working with Lockheed as an engineer. He kept highly detailed notebooks, both dealing with work and personal entries. One personal note pointed to his post-war endeavors. He decided he wanted to become involved in the direct mail order business, but when the war ended, he instead returned to manufacturing. In 1947, Wally reopened the Airstream factory. Years later in 1960, when the African Caravan ended, he returned to Los Angeles. He was making the necessary arrangements to transfer Airstream’s responsibilities to

Family Thanksgiving 1943

While family gatherings were commonplace during World War II, it was a rare and wonderful occasion when a member of the military could join in. In 1943, the Schwamborn, Byam, and Boyce families gathered with friends to share in a celebration of the holiday. This was a particularly special occasion because of the time period this story takes place in – gasoline was rationed, which limited auto travel. During wartime, a celebration with family is very special. While I don’t recall what we ate on this Thanksgiving, food rationing made a holiday like Thanksgiving a changed experience. I remember my

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