|Sleeping Capacity||2 – 5|
|Exterior Length||31' 3"|
|Exterior Width||8' 5.5"|
|Exterior Height w/AC||9' 9.5"|
During the 1956 Airstream Caravan through Europe, Wally Byam designed a dream trailer for his wife, Stella. It was built in spring 1957, ready for the All-American Caravan through the United States, which visited the Kentucky Derby and Indianapolis 500. The Airstream’s floorplan was constructed to Stella’s specifications, with expansive living and storage space for the married couple. it was custom-made, and built to stand out. Using gold anodized aluminum, it was regarded as a precious crown jewel, immediately recognizable.
After traveling through the Nubian Desert, the African Caravan reached the final leg of our journey. We loaded our Airstreams and tow vehicles onto a barge for transportation across the water. As we floated down the Nile, a rare opportunity presented itself. As we reached the temples at Abu Simbel, we stopped and went ashore to visit the marvelous antiquities.
Our introduction to Ethiopia? The remnants of a severe flash flood. I previously wrote on the African Caravan’s difficulties traveling through the Northern Frontier District, with the highway system’s fragile ecology. At last permitted by the Kenyan government to pass through the district, we were in dangerous territory, due to the season’s heavy rains. Ethiopia was brutalized during the Second World War. The Italian Expeditionary Forces conquered Ethiopia, exterminating thousands upon thousands of its citizens. Government officials, religious leaders, and the intelligentsia were systematic victims of mass murder. Bombs, tanks, and machine guns destroyed the Ethiopian armies, too much for
As Wally Byam looks on, the Golden Airstream #1 is being towed through the Southern Ethiopian quagmire, pushed by Caravanners and Ethiopian Imperial guards. His International Harvester truck had broken an axle, so was being towed separately.
Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn has silver in his blood. His mother, Helen Byam Schwamborn, was the cousin of Airstream founder Wally Byam, and founded the Wally Byam Caravan Club. Each week, Pee Wee shares one of his many stories, including his experiences on the iconic Airstream Caravans, his time spent working in the Airstream factory, and the many Airstreamers he’s befriended, far and wide. In this week’s Throwback Thursday with Pee Wee, Dale talks about the allure of vintage Airstream travel trailers and how they make you feel like you’re a part of history. Enjoy this video? Watch the rest of this
Just east of Victoria Falls is a marvelous feat of engineering, spanning a length greater than two football fields. As the African Caravan crossed a great bridge over the Zambesi River Gorge, we crossed one of the continent’s longest rivers, winding and flowing through the continent. The river also serves also as the border between the countries today called Zambia and Zimbabwe. Great beauty, both natural and manmade, abounds as you travel through the area.
We take it for granted in the United States where we can obtain fuel for our vehicles. Even in the less-densely populated areas of our country, far from major cities, there are fuel stations within a number of miles. But what do you do in Africa, in 1959, where such resources are often unavailable?
Years ago, I was asked to judge engineering presentations at Arizona State University. The students had been asked to plan, manage, and assemble their own Airstream African Caravan. One ambitious group in particular I remember. They believed they could travel from Cape Town to Cairo in a period of just two months. The roads in Africa have improved since our historic voyage across the continent. But what we found in those days put us often in a precarious and dangerous position.
Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn has silver in his blood. His mother, Helen Byam Schwamborn, was the cousin of Airstream founder Wally Byam, and founded the Wally Byam Caravan Club. Each week, Pee Wee shares one of his many stories, including his experiences on the iconic Airstream Caravans, his time spent working in the Airstream factory, and the many Airstreamers he’s befriended, far and wide. In this week’s Throwback Thursday with Pee Wee, Dale explains the purpose of Wally Byam’s Airstream Caravans and how the unique way they were able to connect with people, all over the world, even across language barriers.
What a wonderful testament and legacy Wally Byam left behind when he wrote the Wally Byam Creed. To open a whole world of new experiences…a new dimension in enjoyment, where travel adventures and good fellowship are your constant companions.