Apr 29, 2024 | Club News, Rally/Events

President’s Corner – May 2024

 

Boondocking and the Eclipse 

LaVerne and I joined ~50 Airstreams for the 2024 Moonshadow Eclipse National Event Rally in a farmer’s field just north of Little Rock, AR.  What a great event to highlight the special events available from our Club, plus enjoying five+ nights of boondocking. 

Sunrise at the Moonshadow Eclipse Rally in Central Arkansas 


Creating the “Wagon Wheel” For the Moonshadow National Event Rally 

It’s that iconic “circle” that takes us back to our historical roots.  I asked our Club Historian, Joe Peplinski (BRN# 702), about the history of the circle parking.  

Here’s what Joe said:   “Wagon Wheel Airstream parking goes back to the days of Wally Byam himself and even to before the formation of our club.  Attached is a photo of the oldest confirmed Wagon Wheel, which occurred during the 1955 Mexican Caravan and is composed of almost 500 trailers!  Taken in January 1955, this Wagon Wheel was formed 7 months BEFORE WBCCI was founded!  The location is Guaymas, Mexico, near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  Louis Mousley, BRN 50, is credited with perfecting the Wagon Wheel, but Lou missed this caravan, so Wally must have set up this massive wagon wheel himself.” 

1955 Mexican Caravan, a.k.a. Caravan 500 

And here’s a recent example, designed by Jason Landrum (BRN# 7359) and Paul Greene (BRN# 6398) for the 52 Airstreams that attended the recent Moonshadow National Event Eclipse Rally in Morrilton, Arkansas. Definitely is precision parking and quite the fun. 

 

The Design of a “Wagon Wheel” 


Boondocking and Dry Camping 

Have you ever tried boondocking or dry camping in your Airstream? Are you interested in learning more?  Did you know we have “Boondockers” Intra-Club (airstreamclub.org/boondockers). Here’s a couple of thoughts from your fellow members: 

Avid boondockers Jim and Carmen Beaubeaux (BRN# 5108 and Living In Beauty Blog) recently shared this with a media reporter: “People are simply looking for fresh air in a quiet, spacious, scenic area — a place to relax, watch a sunset, have a bite to eat, take a walk, enjoy some stargazing, and go to bed — no hook-ups or amenities necessary.” 

Dale Schwamborn (BRN# 0002 – Yes, “2”) also shared his unique perspective on boondocking: “Having traveled on five caravans and seven years with the Gold Airstream…what are air conditioners? I am now being told about dry camping after some +50 years ago. That was all I did. It is good to know that Airstreamers today are finding their own way. There are many, many backroads.” 

Boondocking at the Moonshadow Eclipse Rally in Central Arkansas 

Just prior to “totality” at the Moonshadow Eclipse Rally in Morrilton, Arkansas 


Livestream from nine Club Eclipse Rallies

Did you miss the event?  Check out the livestream link from our YouTube page (click on image below).


Behind The Scenes: New Member Welcome Material and BRNs 

Ever wonder how those “Big Red Numbers (BRN)” are made?  LaVerne and I had some time in Jackson Center after our IBT Strategy Meeting and had the opportunity to help our HQ folks print the new-member material, replacement BRNs, etc.  And for context, remember our Club has roughly 150 new memberships (300 members) joining per month – it’s a LOT of work but well worth it to welcome our latest members. Here are the general steps: 

  • Print the new member badges using a “badge printer.” 
  • Program the laser cutter to out (2) sets of BRNs in either 4″, 5″, or 6″ sizes.   
  • Assemble the new-member packet (Blue Beret, BRNs, stickers, name badges, discount flyers, welcome and instruction material. 
  • Print the mailing label and attach it to the mailing envelope. 
  • Roughly 30-45 minutes per new membership packet, but what a great service from HQ for our new and current members. 

 


Cruise Rally 

Last month, our National Events Rally (NER) Chair Margaret Handshoe (BRN# 1993), with Jason Grendahl (BRN# 3064), proposed a new type of NER: Silver on the Seas (July 4th – 11th, 2025).  Keep an eye out on the “Events” page and the National Events Rallies page: (https://airstreamclub.org/nationalevents) for more information. 


Annual IBT Strategic Planning Meeting  

Last month, I described our Club as consisting of two elements: the “Just Camping” side and the “Business” side of the Club, which provides the structure and sustainability to the “Just Camping” side.  Consistent with any well-led organization or Club, it’s imperative to regularly step back and look at the needs of our members, the future of our Club, key initiatives that we can align around, review progress on prior year initiatives, and, of course, a thorough understanding of our club finances.    

To that end, your International Board of Trustees (Executive Council plus the twelve Region Presidents) met last month in Jackson Center, OH, to spend three solid days on the “business” side of our Club.  Your Region Presidents will share more later, but while our top priorities didn’t change much, we resolved some important discussions and directions. Great meeting.  


Current Club Strategic Priorities 

  • Internal Communications 
  • External Communications 
  • Welcome and Retain Members 
  • Infrastructure (buildings and software) 
  • Training at all Levels 
  • Financial Literacy and Sustainability 

 


Upcoming International Rallies 

  • As of early May, we have less than 100 spots remaining for our Rally2024 in Sedalia, Missouri. We expect to sell out with just over 1,400 Airstreams. 
  • Rally2025: York, PA (August 2025) 
  • Rally2026: Tentatively Minot, ND 
  • Rally2027: Due to popular demand, “Back to Rock Springs,” WY
  • Rally2028: Tentatively east of the Mississippi 

That’s it for now!

Looking forward to seeing you all down the road, and let me know if you have ideas for our Club.

  Eric McHenry

Eric McHenry

International President / BRN 153 // Amateur Radio callsign AA6EM

emchenry@airstreamclub.org

<h4><a href="https://blog.airstreamclub.org/author/ericmchenry/" target="_self">Eric McHenry</a></h4>

Eric McHenry

International President Eric McHenry (BRN #153) and wife LaVerne (BRN #253) are owners of a 30' FB Classic, "Kawika" and reside in Northern California wine country. Both are avid and long-term campers, from the early days of backpacking, tent camping, kayak camping, and now Airstreams.

Related Posts

View the ACI Eclipse Watch Party Broadcast

View the ACI Eclipse Watch Party Broadcast

April 8, 2024 was a historic day as the solar eclipse’s path worked its way through the United States, and Airstream Club International members were on hand at various sites to view the spectacle. Enjoy coverage from all of the Rallies as ACI’s Marketing and...

Your Vote Matters: Proposed WBCCI Constitutional Amendment

Your Vote Matters: Proposed WBCCI Constitutional Amendment

On Feb. 22, 2024, the Wally Byam Caravan Club International Board of Trustees (IBT) moved, and approved, that the IBT propose amending its Constitution to change the title of Treasurer to Finance Director and to change the process of how the Finance Director is...