SierraNevadaAirstreams.orgHistory

Enjoyment of the whispering winds, the zephyrs, the airstreams of the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin areas of the United States in a recreational vehicle.

The 1959 African Caravan


Planning documents - Mileage, mail stops and other details

News Clippings - Press release, bulletins, and news clippings from various publications

Read the highlights of the trip written by Pee Wee (PDF).

Pee Wee's high school paper on Africa

Conversation with Pee Wee – Part one

Conversation with Pee Wee – Part two

Read the Caravan Roster (PDF)

The Caravan support vehicles

View photos of the Caravan

Guest Book for farewell Dinner at the end of the Caravan (PDF)

Crossing the Nubian Desert - Water, water, no more sand, digging out, why didn't we cross on a camel, more sand, wishing for no more sand...this is not a delirious moment, this actually occurred in 1960 with seven Airstreams, and three auxiliary vehicles crossing the Nubian Desert.

The single man on the rope is Lou Mousley, #50 our wagon boss. He was on several caravans. He was the Wagon Boss in 1956 European Caravan, the 1957 Eastern Canadian Caravan, and of course Africa. The lady pushing the trailer, is Etta Payne who wrote two books based on her Airstream adventures

Read Pee Wee's thoughts on the proposed 2009 Caravan to Africa

2009 Airstreams in the Wilds commemorative rally held in Ohio, USA

Click on image for larger view

Getting the green light

Wally Byam didn't give me a green light that I was going on the African Caravan until April 1959, he required 35 Airstream families to commit to the Caravan before I could go. At the time I was going to college and a few of the shots were numbing and bordered on pain. Very difficult to carry text books, this was an era where backpacks weren't being used. I look at this as a score card for needle pricking. Due to time separations and multiple vaccine series several shots were done aboard the African Enterprise our passenger freighter from New York to Cape Town. There is irony to this vaccination card, three years later when I was drafted into the Army I went through the same series of shots plus others covering the four corners of the globe where Army might station you. So much for needles and pins.

1960 Memories From Pee Wee’s Passport – Wally Byam African Caravan, Khartoum Sudan

May 2017 posted on facebook - Anyone that has seen the large amount of material that I have can appreciate that when I find something that I haven’t seen for years I am amazed at the find. These are memories from a passport yielding personal information and travel for a 21 year old. (I left the United States at age 20.)- Pee Wee

In going through several boxes marked 1959-1960 I found my passport. This was not the passport I began the African Caravan with, but the renewal passport issued in Khartoum, Sudan.

On the official pages the description of the bearer and the official stamp, unlike a passport from the State Department, everything is hand written and not machine printed.

On the single sheet with eight pages nostalgia turns back the hours and days in my life.

The passport was issued on January 5, 1960. We departed Egypt, UAR from Alexandria for Beirut, Lebanon. We shipped on a small steamer with our equipment on the M.S. Massalia as noted by a stamp in the front of the passport.

There is a brand new Adam’s apple passport picture. On the next page the country of “Bulgaria” is scratched off by hand. The United States had only recently allowed American citizens to travel to Bulgaria. One of my duties along the way was to collect applications and passports from the Caravanners and go to the Bulgarian consul for visas.
My new passport gave me passage in the following countries Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Jugoslavia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Netherlands.

I left the United States on June 21, 1959. On page ten of the passport is a wonderful and almost miraculous stamp “Admitted New York, New York May 30 1960”. I left Bakersfield on or about June 9, 1959 and returned home on or about June 15, 1960. For eleven months I traveled outside the United States, and I was away from home one year.

Page 13 is included just for the experience in traveling through an Iron Curtain Nation.





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The documents provided and the pictures in these photo galleries have been used with permission of Dale Schwamborn. They are intended for personal viewing and enjoyment only and are not to be used in part or in full on other websites, for commercial purpose, or for any other use. For information on this material you can contact Dale at peewee@sierranevadaairstreams.org







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