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Wally’s Other Vehicle

Wally Byam traveled with two wheels. His Solex bike, with a small motor on the front wheel, carried him on the 1956 European Caravan. You might see him on a Caravan with a collapsible bicycle or a two wheeled miniature motorized scooter. On the African Caravan, he mounted a Vespa motor scooter above the front bumper. Why this fascination with two wheeled transportation? At a prearranged time Wally had meetings to discuss the trip with the Caravanners, and he went around the Airstreams with his bull horn calling, hurry, hurry, hurry — meeting time! He repeated this as many times as

Caravan America and the Birth of the Wally Byam Foundation

A Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. What is Caravan America? When Wally Byam became ill, his wife Stella Byam and the Airstream Executives discussed how to honor Wally after his passing. They came up with the Wally Byam Foundation (1961–1977). “PURPOSES…to help achieve a greater knowledge of the daily life and cultures and of the history and aspirations of peoples in our own county in all the Americas, and around the world – and thus to enhance international understanding and goodwill… to further the concept of travel by trailer as a unique and an

More from Morocco: Why Wally Loved Africa

Did the dream of Africa enchant Wally Byam? As a youth did he read Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs or writings by Dr. David Livingstone and Henry M. Stanley? Where Wally’s African aspirations came from were known only to him. Maybe it was the National Geographic Magazine from February 1925 that dedicated an entire issue to the following article: “Cairo to Cape Town, Overland,” a journey the length of Africa by a man and his wife. In the early 1950’s, Marius Hansen, a friend, employee and neighbor, had traveled across North Africa. He tales of intriguethat fascinated Wally

A Journey Through Africa: the 1959 Caravan

It is now 2013. Today, how do we envision Africa? For many of us, it’s a flight into Nairobi and being met at the airport with a hotel bus that whisks us away for an adventure on the Serengeti Plains. Turn the clock back to 1959. 54 years ago, Wally Byam, master of Airstream travel, took a Caravan of 41 Airstream families to Africa. They were to experience a singular historic trip beginning in Cape Town, Union of South Africa and ending in Cairo, Egypt. By the time they’d left Alexandria, Egypt to head to Beirut, Lebanon, they had been

Wally’s Best Friend, Chica

It was 1951, and the Airstream Wally Byam Caravan was traveling to Mexico and Central America. The Glassey brothers, friends of Wally assisting him on the Caravan, were driving along the highway in Mexico. They saw a hungry, frightened, lost puppy. They stopped and picked the puppy up. The young dog was a beautiful Irish Setter. Wally rescued the dog, whom he named Chica, and with food and love, Chica and Wally had that friendship that is so endearing and everlasting between man and dog. I remember as a youngster visiting Wally and his first wife Marion at their home

Wally’s Adventures: the 1954 Calgary Stampede Parade

After several trips south of the border to Mexico and Central America, Wally Byam decided it was time to go north of the border to Canada. The summer of 1954 saw the Airstream Wally Byam Western Canadian Caravan embark on a quest north. The Calgary Stampede was on the schedule for Caravanners. This world renowned event is one of many “treats” for the group. The Calgary Stampede is a ten-day event branded as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” It traces its roots all the way back to the late 1800s. Everybody loves a parade, and Wally was no exception. As

The First Wally Byam Caravan to Eastern Canada

Wow! What a year! In 1955, we were having Airstream’s first Wally Byam Caravan to Eastern Canada. Wally and Stella Byam left for Europe from Montreal, Canada to scout and make preliminary preparations for the 1956 Caravan to Europe.  Helen Byam Schwamborn joined Airstream to organize and lead Caravans, as well as to organize and manage the Wally Byam Caravan Club, newly formed by Airstream owners during the Eastern Canadian Caravan. This was one special year moving Airstream forward. Wally Byam always enjoyed and celebrated his birthday on the Fourth of July, for this was a very special day, and

Wally Goes South: the 1951 Airstream Caravan

Wally Byam had ongoing financial difficulties in keeping the doors open at Airstream. Three times, he came back after his factory had been padlocked shut by the government. Wally had that unique quality to face adversity, conquer it, and move on. In 1951, the status of Airstream was precarious. With encouragement from Airstream owners and his association with Trail-R-News (a trailer-oriented magazine) and with the Los Angeles Times, he planned to form a trailer caravan (open to all trailer brands) to Mexico and Central America. Wally also saw the opportunity for publicity with this venture.  No one had ever gone

Wally’s First Love: Camping

When an Airstream owner is approached by someone who recognizes it, the first comment is always, “Do they still make these things?” The Airstreamer always says yes – they are manufactured in Jackson Center, Ohio. That familiar Silver Bullet, still seen on the byways and highways and on television. How often do we hear someone say, “What would Wally do?” What did Wally do when he was guiding Airstream, leading Caravans and returning home? Two words: camping and hiking. In this photograph, Wally Byam is standing in a very jaunty position with a sailor’s cap. This picture appears to be

Travelling as a team, with the WBCCI

Airstream since its creation, has always had a focus on community. After all, how many other travel trailer companies can boast something as unique and community-driven as the pink flamingo? Whether you’re new to the experience or a seasoned veteran, travelling in your Airstream is just more fun with others. That’s where the Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI) comes in. The WBCCI was officially formed in 1955, but its roots begin even earlier than that. To build interest in Airstreams and to help encourage people to seek fun and adventure in new places, Wally Byam himself invited other Airstream