Her Way and the Highway is our email series celebrating the vibrant community of Airstreaming women. Featuring inspirational stories and expert advice from women who hitch up and hit the road, Her Way and the Highway comes straight to your inbox every week. This season, we're featuring stories from the inaugural officers of Stella's Sisters, an Airstream Club International intra-club for women who tow or travel solo. Subscribe and don't miss an episode
Lynda Hallmark Gammage had no intention of buying an Airstream when she pulled into a Texas Airstream dealer in September 2017. But without any research or planning, she bought a 2018 Basecamp on the spot.
Her husband had passed away suddenly in September 2012; before then they were avid travelers. Lynda had traveled across the country solo in her 20s. And she had grown up backing up boats. So perhaps this decision wasn’t as far-fetched as it might seem on the surface.
“My husband loved road trips, and I love to drive,” Lynda says. “Then he passed away, and then my mom passed away nine months later, and I just kind of wanted another adventure in life."
She had thought about recreational vehicles, but admits she hadn't done much research before heading to the dealer to see what was available.
"I pulled into the dealership, and there wasn't anybody in the parking lot," she remembers. "And I saw the little Basecamp there, and I just sat inside and went, I like you!”
She hasn’t looked back – except, of course, when she’s backing up! Backing up into her driveway is like threading a needle, Lynda says. But she’s proud to be able to nail it like a boss. She also recently mastered the art of the scoop, a parking move she learned from YouTube. Growing up with five brothers, Lynda isn’t easily intimidated.
As the inaugural vice president of Stella’s Sisters – the Airstream Club International intra-club devoted to supporting solo female travelers and helping them feel safe and empowered on the road – Lynda encourages women Airstreamers to embrace the challenge and master the skills, particularly backing up.
“It takes a lot of the fear factor out of your travels,” she says. “When you pull in to get gas or you pull into a store or you pull into anywhere, you just feel like, I can back out of anywhere now and that fear is gone. So I stress and stress and stress this to women.”
Another point she reiterates for new Airstreamers: Don’t take cell service for granted.
“I traveled with these women two summers ago to Lake Koocanusa in Montana, and they got ahead of me, and the signage wasn't very good to the state park we were going to, and we didn't have cell service. And so I almost ended up in Canada,” Lynda says. “Because you know, I didn't have any cell service or internet and so no Google Maps.
“I know we've gone over this, but make sure you have a road atlas. Make sure you have a paper map if you're going to be in these situations; know where your campground is and download Google Maps.”
Before another trip, this time to kayak the Buffalo River, Lynda purchased a battery powered watch, because without cell service or internet, she’d otherwise have no way to tell time. Smart, right? It’s these kinds of things that most of us never think about (and who among us is really great at consistently telling time by the sun or in the dark?) that the women in the Stella’s Sisters community help one another figure out. It’s not always necessary to learn the hard way.
As you read this, Lynda is likely on another road trip. Her husband always called her a free-spirited gypsy, and now her grandson calls her Gypsy. Maybe it was fate — her mother said her first word was “Go!”
That’s exactly what Lynda continues to do.
“From the day I purchased my Airstream, right to this very day, I have met some of the most amazing adventuresome women from all over the United States and Canada,” Lynda says. “Traveling out there in the wide open spaces, I never feel alone. I know somewhere, I have a trailer sister watching my back!”
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