Archive for Flashbacks

Road trip games

Jonathon Ramsey on Autoblog: Our Top 5 Favorite Road Trip Games Of All Time — (No, We’re Not “There Yet”).

Road trip games, those boredom-battling tests of concentration and quick vision meant to speed the hours, are some of the closest things we have to auto mythology.

Like early tales of Zeus and the Chupacabra passed down by oral tradition, they mean a lot to us, some of them make us laugh and some scare the pants off us, and no one knows from whom, when or where they originated.

I Spy, Road Trip Bingo, A is for Armadillo, Alphabet, Cow Poker … what are your favorites?

These days, it seems that parents are looking at other ways to keep the kids occupied. Consider the Raspicar wireless media server projectI wanted a way to stream video files to different Ipads and ipods I own to entertain my 4 children during long car drives.” Maybe the Pokemon Go phenomena will get an adaptation to automotive travel? 

It used to be we’d get maps at gas stops and plot travels and take notes on locations on the paper maps. No more. It’s electronic maps, wikipedia, and a whole lot of games on a tablet. Things have changed.

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Cutting back. Changing times. WBCCI Amateur Radio Service Nets

It’s a sign of the times. AJ4UX says the WBCCI sponsored 20-meter International RV Service Nets [are] Discontinued.

When WBCCI was created in the 1950’s, the primary need for amateur radio was for communications for caravans which roamed far and wide across North America and into the rest of the world.

Because we have been unable to recruit volunteers to manage these two nets, the low participation primarily due to poor propagation, and the replacement by an extensive network of mobile telephone service over North America, the officers decided to discontinue sponsorship of the two 20-meter nets.

The other three nets, all operating on 40 meters, are healthy and have a full complement of net managers and net control stations. These nets, spanning the lower 48 states and into all Canadian provinces, continue to provide excellent contact among net members for social, technical and communications purposes.

The 40 and 20 meter bands are popular for mobile operations. 40 offers regional propagation characteristics most of the time while 20 is better for DX or distance contacts. For local communications, the 2 meter amateur band, often with repeaters, and the CB radio service were used. CB does not require any testing or paperwork for a transmit license so it was very common for in-site rally news and communications. 2 meter with repeaters did require some paperwork and a technical and regulatory test for a ham license but it worked well for metropolitan area coverage.

Cell phones now cover most of these communications needs for sitewide, metropolitan, regional, and national coverage. In addition to voice, they also provide SMS for short text messages and I’net access for information sites and discussion forums. As the cell network has built out and the technology has become more prevalent, the need for CB and ham radio communications has dropped. CB is now nearly just a vestige and ham radio moving more towards the hobbyist aspects with the Preppers coming in because they see it as a doomsday backup.

There is more here, though. “unable to recruit volunteers” and “low participation” bespeak of change. This change is related to the recent ‘rogue Trustee‘ brouhaha in the WBCCI. It is about the Annual WBCCI rally being an order of magnitude smaller than in its heyday – despite Airstream cranking out trailers as fast as it can and despite the iconic nature of the brand and its vintage attractions. The need for in-person meetings to make decisions and printed matter distributed by the post office to communicate and inform and the disappearance of special costs and fees for long distance telecommunications, are technological advances that have diminished the need for the traditional local club operating in the traditional manner with a newsletter and a monthly gathering to decide what to do and how to do it. There are also social changes that divide personal loyalties and provide alternative means for satisfying social needs that diminish the need for the traditional local club. 

For each of us, these changes provide more options for us to express ourselves and find satisfaction and meaning in life. For traditional groups, it means finding ways to adapt to a membership that is not so bound to the group. This is not going to be easy. It will be exploring many new ideas. It means tripping and stumbling and growing and exploring. Errors will be made. Ideas will die. But some ideas will surface and flower. People will get angry and do harmful things. Our mettle will be tested. 

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Drive a model T?

Sometimes we don’t know how good we have it. Take a look at the 1911 Model T owner’s manual and compare. These days you do have lots of controls and gadgets to work with but they are for the media and navigation systems, remote controls for locks and windows, and other such conveniences. In the Model T, the controls were critical to getting it to run down the road. There were three floor pedals. Spark advance and throttle were on the steering column. A lever on the floor to the left of the driver had something to do with gears.

I remember my grandfather running the ‘stage route’ down near Payson. It was a short trip but he could count on having to repair a flat and carried a bag of fuller’s earth for the clutch and often had broken axle problems. That was then. Things have changed. 

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Trailering, 1952

Josh dug up Living in a Trailer by James Jones from the July 1952 edition of Holiday Magazine. Some things haven’t changed much in 63 years — some have.

“THE FIRST TIME you tow a house trailer you keep jerking the wheel to compensate for that crazy sway in the back end. It takes a long time to get enough used to it to ignore it. The first haul I ever made with mine—a trip that, although I didn’t know it then, turned out to be the first leg of a junket that would take me clear across the country and back and consume a year and a half—was to Memphis, Tennessee, from my home in Illinois. That’s about 400 miles, and it took me four days to make it. A year and a half later, on my way home from California, I hauled from Tucson, Arizona, to El Paso in one day. I had left a green-eared neophyte, and I was coming back a veteran. There is no pride in the world more rabid than that of a confirmed and dedicated trailerite. The next winter I took my trailer to Florida in four days, just about 1,200 miles.”

check it out. People, parks, and tours back when.

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2002 MBCU Calendar

The Monterey Bay Unit put together a restrospective calendar – 11 years ago!

The calendar has been scanned and broken into 3 PDF (rather large) files. See the 2002 MBCU Calendar index page.

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Rally Ribbons

Ribbons are used to identify participants at WBCCI Rallies. Here is a photo gallery of a few from the 70’s to the 90’s



See the photo gallery!

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Bryan and Jo’s Airstream Friends (1960’s)

The Harrison’s kept a photo log of friends they met at rallies and caravans.



#441 Dick and Fanny Nevel Photo taken in Arizona May 27, 1962. Participated in Airstream Company Caravan #33 Eastern Canada Summer 1963
See the photo gallery!

See who travelled in what kind of Airstream some fifty years ago!

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Popular Mechanics Airstream Slideshow

See The Airstream: Secrets of America’s Silver RV. “The retro styling of the Airstream is as appealing today as it was back in the 1930s. In the book Airstream: The Silver RV, available Aug. 13, author and PopMech alum Tara Cox celebrates this iconic travel trailer with some curious and little-known facts.

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memorabilia: ‘old style’

Nowadays, with computers and stuff, the memorabilia made to remember participation in events and activities can get rather flashy. Not so long ago, it was hand crafted and had an appeal of its own.

See the photo gallery!

This collection was from the Wally Byam Caravan Club’s Monterey Bay Unit ca 80’s.

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Airstream travels – Harrison diary of the 1957 Mexican Caravan – Juarez

January 15, 1957

Left Juarez 8:10. Caravan started leaving 8 shart. Weather fine but a little chilly. What a sight after we all got strung out on the Highway. Over 200 trailers. Have to be seen to believe. Met up with our neighbors, Mr. & Mrs, North from MO and Mr. & Mrs. Luckynot from WA.

Back to Juarez for a few highlights. “The Banquet” needs some mention. Our introduction to the land of Mananna. Soup, cold beer. Shrimp cocktails – ran short and served fruit instead. By the time turkey was served at our table everything began to run short. I doubt if some of the people got anything to eat. The floor show was something they picked up out from one of the drivers in Juarez. But all in all we had a nice banquet.

Now back on the road to Chihuahua. The road is narrow and bad shoulders. We were traveling too fast so three of us decided to travel together and drive slower. Stopped for lunch about 1 o”clock. Arrived in Chihuahua about 3:30 pm. All three of us parked together. State Band here to greet us and a Mariachi band to entertain. Spent the evening sitting out in front of our trailer with our neighbors and enjoyed the new moon. Very beautiful.

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Airstream travels – Harrison diary of the 1957 Mexican Caravan

January 12, 1957

The next morning she gave us a bunch of canned goods, some fruit cake and pecans which we appreciated very much. We went back to the trailer just before noon, got ready and came on down to Juarez and was very glad we didn’t wait till today as they were running out of space in the ball park and some of them (caravanners) had to park outside in the street. They have had quite a lot of meetings today. We registered, got our berets, identification cards, tended to our insurance and are almost read to go. I am cooking a supper so as to get it over with before dark.

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Airstream travels – Harrison diary of the 1957 Mexican Caravan – pre-caravan vistis

January 9, 1957

Miami – Visited Ernst for a little while – stopped raining. Stayed in Demming over the night. Arrived 7pm left at 10:19am. Raining. Side trip to Ray (a section here I can’t figure out) Rain, visibility poor. (a section here I can’t figure out). With rainy weather we were going to get back to Superior. Made it OK but would not like to take a trailer into Ray’s again. Trip over from Superior to Miami, rain and fog. Could only see about 20ft. Lots of water running over Airstream. Trip through Globe might need a detour. Approximately 4 miles or more of very rough and muddy road. Good trip back all the way to Demming.

January 10, 1957

Mesillia Park. Arrived 12:00 rain and some sun. Visited Florence and Bill. Had a good Mexican lunch. Left about 2:30 for Rancho Grande Trailer Park. Made connection with the Caravan. Leave for Juarez Saturday Jan 12, 1957.

January 11, 1957

Did a little shopping in El Paso. Bought Dad a couple pairs of Kahki pants and a few groceries then went back to see Florence and for supper, they took us to La Posta and had a good Mexican supper. I did a little washing before supper and fixed the hems on a pair of pants for Dad. Florence insisted we send the night with them and loaned us a couple pairs of Bills P.J.’s.

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Airstream travels – Harrison diary of the 1957 Mexican Caravan – pre-caravan travels

I think a lot of these diary entries were written by Jo Harrison.  Some of the handwriting was a little hard to read.

December 21, 1956

8:30 am From Rose Arbor Trailer Park, Chula Vista, CA Weather good – MI (mileage I believe) 38175.6 On our way to Dots (Bryan and Jo’s daughter, Dorothy) for Xmas. Coffee break at Ramona 10-o-clock. Kingman 8:15 pm. Mileage 385805

January 8, 1957

9:35am Mileage 38703. Leaving Dot’s, rain, clouds, and wind. We are off on the second leg of our journey. Ran out of gas 1 ½ miles Kingman side of Congress J?? highway. Car came to our rescue then had a time getting car started. Had lunch and on our way by 2:10. Arrived at Ray 6:45. Leaving 9:30 – Rain

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1957 WBCCI Caravan to Mexico – Sautillo the last entry in the trip log

2/26/57 – Sautillo – cloudy and windy. Swell new road to Sautillo – lots of jucca – desert country. Arrived about 2:30. Trailer Park at Huachest Court – 12 pesos – light and water, sewer, swimming pool. To market in p.m. Very cloudy and cold – some rain. Supper in trailer.

2/27/57 – Town in a.m. For more sight seeing. Made some purchases. Left camp 1:30 for Monterrey and points north. Menterrey large city – industrial – surrounded by mountains. Drove on through. Camped on road at Vallicillo. Last supper outdoors. Laredo tomorrow.

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1957 WBCCI Caravan to Mexico – Market Day

2/24/57 – Trip to Santos market day. Dr. Caryslie, guest Indian in gay dresses – very colorful. Pot luck supper in our patio with 9 other caravanners. Leave in a.m. For Sautillo.

2/25/57 – Left camp about 8:30 – road bad but weather good. Took road to Sautrella in prefernce. Solote Falls side trip – gravel road – beautiful falls – camped in hacienda of Jorge Pasqual on road to Sautello – not much mileage today. More mountains- bypassed Victoria. Hacienda of Jorge Pasqual has a beautiful mosaic design on walls etc.

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1957 WBCCI Caravan to Mexico – El Bonito

2/21/57 – El Bonito – weather cloudy – real jungle country – rain last night. We decided to stay over – to town in the a.m. (Valles) Nice town – gas for trailer, gasoline for car, bottled water. Good looking vegetables in market – fresh meat. Swim in pool of warm sulphur water in p.m. – very nice. This is a real nice place. Unable to take any pictures due to weather. Supper in patio.

2/22/57 – Still cloudy in a.m. – left with car for trip to Tampico – rainy, no chance for pictures – bad detour, lots of much – just before Tampico road which was washed out during a hurricane last year. Drove over to beach, lunch out on breakwater – not too much time to look around – very muddy and dirty. Will not take trailer over to Tampico – lots of water everywhere. Good trailer park washed out last year. Back to camp by 6 p.m. Rain most of the way.

2/23/57 – Rain during the night. Tried fishing in the river. Ruin of hotel from hurricane. 7 Caravanners arrived in camp. Mexican service n.g. – Good swimming.

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1957 WBCCI Caravan to Mexico – Curenavaca to Ixmiguelpan

2/19/57 – Curenavaca to Ixmiguelpan – weather good although windy. On arriving in Cuernavaca it was cloudy with a few drops of rain. Left Cuernavaca about 8:30 a.m. Long pull over mountain to Mexico City. Quite an experience driving through the city – made it O.K. Picked up two other trailers who followed us through. Stopped for lunch on road and picked up five more trailers, 9 of us all together. Very poor road, very bumpy – not many grades today. Wonderful farming country. Quite a bit of wind. Arrived in Ixmiguelpan about 3 o’clock – parked trailer in rear of service station for night – just two of us, lost other trailers – lights and water – 8 pesos – very reasonable and nice place to eat. Very old town. Left around 8 o’clock the next morning (Feb 20). The Weather was cloudy and rainy. This has been a day – up one mountain, down another – very crooked road. Ran into fog and rain.Very hard to follow road – slow driving – unable to see much of the country but the road was a marvel of engineering – beautiful. Rainy in Tamazunclle – drove on until about 5:30 and spotted a trailer park – lights, water, sewer, sulpher bath, 15 pesos per night including bath. Might stay over tomorrow. Very lush jungle growth – real tropics – farms on mountainside – bananas growing with papayas, pineapples, sugar cane.

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Virginia City, NV in 1960

A visit to Virginia City in 1960

See the photo gallery!

That was fifty years ago. Not much changed. A bit spiffed up, perhaps.

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1957 WBCCI Caravan to Mexico – Cuernavaca

2/18/57 – Cuernavaca – Left Acapulco at 5:45 a.m. – stopped on road about 9 for breakfast. Very pretty drive – lots of mountains – many small grottos. We stopped at one. Arrived in Cuernavaca about 2 p.m. Very poor road into town and in repair up hill all the way and very hard to pull. Cars got hot. Had a hard time finding campground – athletic field at the north end of town on the side of a mountain. Good place to camp but very run down – no showers or toilets in stadium – very poor shape. Car and trailer turned over just before getting into town – two women – driver fell asleep – no one hurt but plenty of damage to car and trailer. Protest riot in town after arrival – university students and police.

Signed out of caravan today – on our own – some to Puebla, some to Toluca, some to Laredo, etc.

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1957 WBCCI Caravan to Mexico – more in Acapulco

2/15/57 – warm (hot?) good breeze – breakfast with all the caravanners at 8:30 – nice get-together – after breakfast, trip to town for provisions. Bought a pair of sandals – haircut – home by noon. Lunch – over to beach all afternoon. Rented a chair, 2 pesos each – no fish – nice swim. Card from Paul Witten. Cooler today. Leave hear early Monday a.m. For Cuernavaca. Supper in patio – quite a breeze.

2/16/57 – Manana Fever – just didn’t do anything – two siestas – pretty warm – nice hamburger roast on beach by all the caravanners – nice swim before – great evening.

2/17/57 – Weather very warm – just took it easy. Will leave tomorrow for Cuernavaca early. Will go on through to Mexico City the following day on up toward Laredo with a sidetrip to Tampi CO. Lucknotts are going along, ww will leave the caravan. Nice swim in afternoon – supper on patio. Packing up afterwards for early start tomorrow.

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