June 19, 2014

Wally and Stella Prepare for Their Journey

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Wally and Stella Prepare for Their Journey

The day had finally arrived. Wally and Stella Byam were preparing to leave for New York, where they’d head off to Africa for the Airstream Caravan. Arthur Ruiz, Caravan mechanic, also had his rig ready. As they readied their trip, Wally and Stella addressed the Jackson Center, Ohio Airstream employees. They explained the adventure ahead, and what their efforts in manufacturing means to Airstream owners – both on the African Caravan and those enjoying the byways in the States. With their Airstream rig in New York, Wally and Stella have just one final stop before they leave for Africa. They travel

Airstream and Advertising

Have you ever discovered a paradise in the wilderness? A spot where you felt like you could stay forever? A hidden stream, a quiet canyon, a windswept shore? If such a scene permeates your dreams, prepare now to visit it – in an Airstream. There is no wilderness too remote for an Airstream…shipshape as a trim yacht, maneuverable as a sports car, Airstream is the answer to the question, “how shall we be free?” Start living. Get out of your rut and on the road to travel adventure.

Airstream at the Greatest Spectacle(s) in Racing

The 140th Kentucky Derby has just concluded, with California Chrome winning. My thoughts go back to my Airstream memories of 1957. Airstream Trailers, Inc. offered their first domestic Wally Byam Caravan, the Kentucky Derby/Indianapolis 500 Caravan, taking in the some very beautiful and historic areas, and adding two premier sporting events. For Wally Byam, it was the introduction for “Stella’s Gold Airstream” designed by Stella in Europe as her dream Airstream. Wally displayed “her Airstream” to the world as an entry in the Kentucky Derby parade. The real grandstand for the Gold Airstream occurs on the Airstream Wally Byam African Caravan.

Cooking Up Adventure

Grub? Grub is a word from the 19th century that means gourmet, not a small little worm or a prospector wanting a grub stake to search for gold. Grub is normally reserved and associated with beans, salt pork and hardtack. Grub was Wally’s word for a meal, going shopping for food, or even going to a night club for dinner and entertainment. More than once during a Caravan potluck, Wally thanked the ladies for the wonderful grub. Wally once herded his grandfather’s sheep for a full summer. There is no doubt that outdoor cooking became a part of Wally’s life during this

The Blue Beret and Airstream Goodwill

Why did Wally Byam get involved with head coverings? In 1948 he and Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. toured Western Europe. On that trip, Wally was introduced to the beret. He found it covered his head, kept it warm and could be folded up and stuck in his pocket. Very simply, he found it to be practical and convenient. The beret became part of the Byam persona. Friends, Caravanners and Airstreamers followed suit and adopted the “Blue Beret” as a tribute to Wally. On Airstream Caravans, the beret announced to local citizens that the Caravanners were an American group traveling through their

Roaring Lions in the Night: Kruger National Park

What is the main attraction in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert? Animals! The land of Africa is one with nature, and the animals roam the Earth freely, with grace. It is possible to account for almost every animal you might find in a zoo in sub-equatorial Africa. With animal abundance and economic hardships there are poachers harvesting animals at an alarming rate. Trophy hunters are rapidly losing their respect in their hunting and killing African game. This comment is a red flag, making you aware that times are changing in Africa. Nick Charles and I left early from Pretoria,

Exiled Napoleon and Old Johnathan

This article is a continuation of the previous Airstream Caravan journal from New York to Cape Town.  When we left the New York docks, we were thinking about the African Caravan, and not landing on St. Helena. We were able to go ashore and spend several hours roaming the small rocky island certainly a travel gift. This is the story of Old Johnathan, a two hundred year old land tortoise, and the exiled despot Napoleon Bonaparte. The British determined that Napoleon would never return to Europe sailed him to St. Helena, an island so remote that his return to France was impossible.

The African Adventure: from New York to Cape Town

We were journeying to the most formidable continent on Earth. A place of beauty, culture, and history. Distances play a very important part in the story surrounding the Airstream Wally Byam African Caravan. A straight-line distance from New York to Cape Town is 7,800 miles. With our two island stops, the mileage was probably a few hundred miles longer. The Airstreams and tow vehicles went by sea from North America to Cape Town. A few Caravanners, including Wally and Stella, flew to Cape Town. I sailed on the African Enterprise, owned by the Farrell Lines. Eighteen days sailing the Atlantic

Wally and His Majesty the Ethiopian King

Imagine this: the Airstream Wally Byam African Caravan in Ethiopia. It’s 1959 and His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia, Elect of God is with Wally Byam, Founder of Airstream. The two are walking the Caravan’s campground together. Earlier that week, the Caravan was hosted by His Imperial Majesty in his palace. Each member of the Caravan shook hands with Haile Selassie, who spoke through a translator with the adults and spoke to the children in English, The Caravan parked at the prestigious Royal Race track grounds. We enjoyed

The South American Airstream Caravan: What Happened?

Only Wally Byam could have conjured up his first Airstream caravan trip, through Mexico and Central America for four months. Imagine leaving El Paso, Texas and roughing it along the center of the continent all the way out to Managua, Nicaragua. Then soon after that, adding visits to Canada and Cuba. Picture your Airstream and tow vehicle being loaded on a steamship in Brooklyn, New York and heading for Rotterdam in the Netherlands for a comprehensive six month tour of Europe. It made sense to Wally to go all out for an Airstream caravan to South America, and/or one to Lebanon