Today, Abu Simbel has been moved to high ground, reconstructed piece by piece, to preserve and protect the relics from the threat of water damage from the Aswan High Dam and Lake Nasser.
Wally Byam outdid his own negotiation skills when he arranged with the Egyptian Department of Antiquities to allow the Caravan to stay the night beneath the Pyramids of Giza. Imagine waking up in the morning with the pyramids in your front yard, just beyond your doorstep!
Wally sent a cable back home to my mother, Helen Byam Schwamborn, on February 6, 1960. It said:
Because the impossible takes a little longer, we arrived a little late, but you can tell the world that the Wally Byam Caravan from Cape Town to Cairo is history.
Like any great achievement, at the end we celebrated. And did we ever do it! Our banquet was held at the Nile Hilton, with a four-course meal fit for a Caravanner. The menu became an autograph sheet as the night went on.
Did we have entertainment? Did we ever. The kids created a skit with songs that not only was a highlight for the evening, but one to be remembered forever. The lyrics told the story of our travels through Africa.
Click here to see for yourself. Hum the music for "Down in the Valley" and then include the lyrics from the program, "Down in Ethiopia."
Did we do the impossible? Maybe. One thing we knew the commentaries in Johannesburg were true, with the exception of one forecast.
The roads were just as bad as they discussed in the newspaper. Their one forecast that we would have to turn back? Nope. We made it through.
Consider the following. Wally's leadership was underestimated by the South Africans. Then, maybe most importantly of all, the stick-to-it-iveness, American ingenuity of the mighty Airstream, and the Airstreamer spirit of never giving up.
Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn has silver in his blood. 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.
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