Sierra Nevada Airstreams: MemoriesTravelogues

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.

Frank and Carol Colligan

Articles about their adventures written for SNU newsletters

Caravanning in Our Backyard (Wilder West Caravan 2010)

When we learned about the WBCCI caravan titled, “Wilder West” we said, “Why would we go on that? We’ve been to almost all of those stops.” After all, we live there! We signed up anyway because we really like the leaders, Enid and Bruce Paulk, whom we had met on another caravan they led.

The caravan began in Rio Vista, CA on the Sacramento Delta, crossed the Sierra over Kit Carson Pass (Hwy 88) and really focused on the Eastern Side of The Sierra, terminating in Las Vegas. We enjoyed a lunch cruise on Lake Tahoe, a ride on the Virginia & Truckee behind a steam engine, side trips into Yosemite Valley, Bodie, Death Valley, and much, much more.

Whenever possible, the leaders arranged for private tours and we really delved into the mining history at Tonopah and Goldfield. As it turns out, a couple that was on the caravan, Dorothy and Kent Charles, are retired Park Service employees who worked at Death Valley National Park. Not only did they help lead our adventure there, but they put on a slide show the night before followed by handing out signed copies of a book that Dorothy had written about Scotty’s Castle. (It is still in print and available at the visitor centers in the Park).

Another caravaner, Carlos Leach, is the grandson of a member of an early caravan to Mexico led by Wally Byum. He entertained us one night with home movies of that adventure. You must admit; WBCCI members are an interesting group of people.

The caravan’s path crossed the SNU’s September rally at Obsidian Dome. We managed to drop by for a short visit, along with Dick and Judy Martiny from Georgia. Maybe our unit can schedule something with this caravan when it runs again in 2012.

Shared meals are of course an important part of the caravan experience. We had dinner together every travel night and enjoyed several breakfasts and cook-outs (prepared by caravan members).

Our experience on the Wilder West caravan proved that you can have a really great time even if you know the territory. We learned a lot about our own backyard, and have come to love it even more.

Wilder West Caravan

Report from 2010 Region 12 Rally Hemet, CA

We found ourselves in Southern California in October so decided to attend the Region 12 rally. There was a good turnout (around 90 rigs). We enjoyed the entertainment and tours that were organized for us. As is almost always the case, one can find interesting things to do if you just stop and look around. Hemet was no exception. It was also fun to spend some time there with SNU members, Von and Yvonne. We attended the business meeting and below is a brief report:

During the executive session, Robert Stansbury, of Carson City, NV, was elected to 2nd VP. The 2011 Region 12 rally will be held at Jackson Rancheria Casino near Jackson, CA. The dates are 10/13 to 10/17. Details on the 2012 rally will be announced by 4/30/11.

The Rose Parade Rally is a go. Registration was at about the break-even point and they decided to “go-for-it.” (Note: it was a good call; as this is being written they have 21 rigs signed up, about 6 over the break-even point which will guarante a profit for the Region.)

They talked-up the Hobo Rally in Blythe, CA (1/31 to 2/6/2011).

During the general meeting, the Treasurer reported that the region has over $24,000 in net assets.

The members voted to grant a subsidy of $750 for the Region 12 luncheon at the International Rally, cancel the July 4th picnic at that Rally and completely subsidize the cost of one breakfast at the 2011 Region 12 Rally. They also voted to reimburse travel expenses of up to $1,500 for the 1st VP to attend the IBT in Texas.

We found the process interesting to observe. There was very lively debate on all of the issues involving money. Our Region 12 President, Judy Bechthold did a great job keeping the agenda moving, allowing all to speak to the issues and keeping the meeting on schedule as well.

We would encourage you to work the 2011 Rally into your travel plans next October.

Finally, everybody knows Airstreamers love good food and know where to find it. We detoured a little off route to have lunch at our favorite Mexican Restaurant, Domingo’s in tiny Boron, CA. Just as we were finishing a delicious meal, the Airstreams began to gather….about 10 in all; up and down the block and crammed into the small parking lot down the street. Apparently Domingo’s isn’t a closely guarded secret among WBCCI members.

Domingo’s in tiny Boron, CA

Airstreams at the Rose Parade

Frank Colligan

We finally made it to our first Rose Parade Rally this year, and are so glad we did. About 25 rigs gathered a few blocks off of Colorado Blvd in a school yard and the fun began. Airstreamers traveled from as far as Tennessee, Texas and Eastern Canada. We had a large tent where we shared several meals and fellowship. The tent was filled with music, dancing and more food as 2010 wound down and the calendar turned over to 2011. The rally was well planned and executed. Hats off to Ken and Judy Bechtold and all involved. As with any event like this, many people work very hard to make it such a success. We had plenty of time to enjoy the area attractions; museums, lovely neighborhood tours, float building tours and after the parade, the up-close-and-personal encounter with the floats.

Of course, the reason we came to Pasadena, was to be able to sit in our own chair on Colorado Blvd and watch the famous parade. Arranging the seating had the feel of a military operation. Our chairs were collected on the evening of the 30th. At 0530 on the 31st, they were taken and deposited near the curb on the parade route, thus staking out a stretch of valuable real estate. At 1200 the chairs advanced to the curb. At 2359 the chairs advanced to the "honor line" in the street, their final position. We were now four rows deep with an unobstructed view. Everyone drew a time slot and we took turns on "chair watch." The scene along the route was amazing. Something like a 5 mile long tailgate party that lasted 24 plus hours! Due to a cold snap that gripped Southern California, temperatures were about 15 degrees cooler than normal this year....but no rain on this parade. So all the warm clothes came out of the closet along with blankets and warm drinks to get us through the night and morning.

In a word, the parade was spectacular. Watching it in your pajamas at home might be more convenient and comfortable, but there is nothing like seeing it roll by a few feet away. It is an experience you'll never forget. There are many options and tours available for this annual event, but you can't beat having your warm and cozy Airstream parked nearby for all the festivities. The plan is to limit this rally to 25 rigs, so if you are available next New Years to have a great time with a great group of people, get a deposit in early. We might just see you down there!

Photos were taken by Art Kelly WBCCI # 3199 and used with permission. To see all of Art's photos of the rally and Rose Parade check these links. Pasadena Rose Parade -|- WBCCI Region 12 Rose Parade Rally Great pictures. Thank you Art.

Escapee's Care Center

Photo gallery

What options do full-time RVers have when the time comes to hang up the keys? What if they need some assistance with everyday chores? What if they would like to continue living in their RV? If they belong to the Escapees RV Club, they have a great option in Livingston, TX, adjacent to Rainbow's End, the large Escapee park. Livingston is locate about 60 miles north of Houston. Joe and Kay Peterson, the founders of Escapees, had a vision to provide total support to the full time RV community, and they set aside the land and set up a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization called CARE (Continuing Assistance for Retired Escapees). CARE is a licensed adult day care and residential program.  To learn more about CARE please go to

CARE is very affordable due in large part to the dozens of people who volunteer here every year. In exchange for a full hook-up site and meals, volunteers typically commit to a month doing a variety of chores. These include preparing and serving meals, cleaning the kitchen and dining room, driving residents to their appointments, socializing and playing games and being on-call over night and on weekends acting as first responder if a resident presses their medical alert button. Some volunteers focus on maintenance and lawn mowing as well.

It is a gratifying way to give back and many volunteers return year after year. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at CARE. It really is all about the wonderful residents there and we plan to return to help out again. Check out the website and maybe we'll see you down in East Texas one of these days.

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