It’s safe to state that the renowned Airstream Wally Byam Caravans made history as they passed through the world in a few of the most remote locations. 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the Caravan that began all of it: the journey to Mexico and Central America from December 1951 to March 1952. On the event of that anniversary, we’re recalling at 70 years of unbelievable experiences in far-away locations.
Wally Byam opened the very first Airstream factory in 1931 in Culver City, California. From the very start, Wally aspired to go out on the roadway and put his item to the test. He understood that the very best method to present brand-new owners to the Airstream Lifestyle was to reveal them first-hand all of the possibilities for travel and experience.
In 1951, Wally chose to lead a group of travel trailers from Texas to Nicaragua The journey was promoted in numerous publications consisting of the Los Angeles Times Wally anticipated around 35 trailers and was amazed when 63 trailers of all kinds reached the departure point in El Paso, Texas. In order to track everybody, a number was painted on each trailer, with Wally’s Airstream being # 1. This custom continues today with the Big Red Numbers you see on some Airstreams.
The very first Caravan ranged from December 1951 to March 1952 as the group took a trip through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and ended in Managua, Nicaragua. It was not a simple trek– just 14 of the initial 63 trailers finished the journey, and Wally stated he ‘d never ever do it once again. Thankfully for everyone, that vow lasted just a year.
After getting numerous demands to lead another Caravan, Wally accepted lead the Mexico West Coast Caravan throughout the Winter season of 1952-1953. This Caravan presented lots of aspects that recognize to Caravanners today consisting of “Satisfying Time,” a typical “cat” to spend for costs, and “tasks” for Caravanners consisting of the Parking Committee and Caboose.
A specialist online marketer, Wally understood that Caravans were a crucial tool for the business. In 1954, he worked with expert photographer Pat Terry to picture and advertise the Mexico East Coast Caravan. This Caravan of around 100 trailers was likewise included in a June 27, 1954 short article in Look Publication
The very first Caravan to Canada was kept in the Summer season of 1954 and included around 100 trailers of all brand names. The group took a trip through Western Canada, going to the Calgary stampede and the Olympic Games in Vancouver. Quickly, Caravans to Mexico and Canada ended up being yearly occasions.
In 1955, Wally started the most significant Caravan to date. Nicknamed the “Caravan 500” due to the fact that it included 487 travel trailers of all brand names, the individuals took a trip from Nogales, Arizona to Acapulco and back. Sadly, the big group showed to be excessive to handle and Wally suffered a cardiovascular disease while on the journey.
After recuperating from his cardiac arrest, Wally took a trip to Europe throughout the Summer season of 1955 to hunt areas for a future Caravan to Europe. He asked his cousin Helen Byam Schwamborn to lead the 1955 Eastern Canadian Caravan in his lack. Wally likewise asked Helen to deal with Airstream owners to form an Airstream club. On August 3, 1955 the Wally Byam Caravan Club was formed in Kentville, Nova Scotia.
1956 included 2 Caravan firsts: the very first abroad journey to Europe and the very first journey to Cuba. The 87 European Caravanners went to sixteen nations in 6 months. Not to be outshined, the 82 Cuban Caravanners had the chance to fulfill Cuban President Fulgencio Batista.
The very first all-American Wally Byam Airstream Caravan was kept in 1957. Taking a trip completely within the continental United States, the group went to the Kentucky Derby and the Indianapolis 500. This was the very first Caravan to be led by Wally’s popular Gold Airstream.
In the Winter season of 1958, Wally set out as soon as again in his Gold Airstream to lead a Caravan of 35 Airstreams through Mexico and Central America. This 5-month Caravan backtracked the path from the extremely first Caravan. Although the group still came across rough roadways and rivers that needed to be forded, the Caravan was eventually a success. It was even included on the ABC tv program Vibrant Journey in January of 1959.
In 1959-1960, Wally started his biggest journey yet: a Caravan from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt In overall, 106 individuals ages 6 to 86 joined this unbelievable 7-month, over 12,000-mile long journey throughout Africa. Caravanners satisfied Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, went to Victoria Falls, checked out ancient Zimbabwe ruins, and more. To top all of it off, Wally worked out with the Egyptian Department of Antiquities to permit the Caravan to remain the night at the foot of the Pyramids of Giza.
After reaching Cairo, twenty Airstreams continued through the Near East to sign up with the 1960 European Caravan in Trieste, Italy. From there, 4 Airstreams continued behind the Iron Drape and one set of brave Caravanners, Oscar and Etta Payne, continued to India and the Far East, hunting areas for the All Over The World Caravan.
While leading Caravans through Mexico, Europe, and Africa, Wally imagined leading a Caravan that would circumnavigate the world. Sadly, he was not able to satisfy this dream prior to he lost his fight with cancer in 1962. In 1963-1964, satisfying a guarantee he had actually made to Wally, Airstream’s Chairman of the Board Andy Charles led the popular All Over The World Caravan The renowned Caravan of 105 individuals took a trip from Singapore to Cabo Da Roca, Portugal in 403 days. Caravanners went to the Taj Mahal, swam in the Dead Sea, and even parked their Airstreams in front of the Kremlin.
Throughout the next twenty years, Airstreamers continued to check out the world. In the Winter season of 1965, the Pan American Caravan was the very first authorities Airstream Caravan to reach Panama by roadway. And in the Summer season of 1965, Airstream hosted the very first authorities Caravan to Alaska. The business likewise hosted 2 Caravans to Mexico in 1968 for the Summertime Olympics in Mexico City. The 1970s included t he initially Caravan to Jamaica in 1970 in addition to numerous Caravans to Europe.
Caravan history was made as soon as again in the 1980s thanks to a series of 9 Wally Byam Caravan Club International Caravans that visited China from 1985-1988 with eleven custom-made 21′ Airstreams. The very first WBCCI Caravan to New Zealand and Australia was likewise kept in 1985.
The brand-new millennium included 3 noteworthy Caravans consisting of the Vintage Airstream Club Caravan to Belize in 2000, 2 50th Anniversary Caravans to Central America and Panama in 2001, and the WBCCI Golden Anniversary Caravans in 2005 which backtracked the path of the 1955 Eastern Canadian Caravan associated with the Club’s starting.
In his Creed, Wally guaranteed “To lead caravans any place the 4 winds blow … over twinkling boulevards, throughout trackless deserts … to the taken a trip and untraveled corners of the earth.” Over the previous 7 years, Airstreamers have actually responded to that call, chasing after legendary experiences and producing memories that last a life time.