Neither destructive rainstorms nor the shutdown of the federal government deterred a caravan of 64 people from hauling their iconic recreation vehicles across the Southwest to explore the natural wonders of the region.
The Farmington (N.M.) Daily Times reported that as part of a package set up by Wally Byam Caravan Club International, 34 groups of people are wrapping up a two-month trip through New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. The club is an RV organization named after the inventor of the Airstream travel trailer, which can be recognized by its distinct, round aluminum body.
Parked last week in a corner of New Mexico’s McGee Park parking lot near the San Juan County Fairgrounds, the 31 Airstream trailers and three motor homes formed an L-shape whose shiny, metal exterior reflected across the parking spaces. The group arrived in San Juan County on Tuesday and departed on Friday morning, bound for Albuquerque and the International Balloon Fiesta.
John Larson was traveling with his brothers, Harold and David, and sister-in-law, Donna. They used the caravan to spend time together as a family.
“We are on the Southwest caravan, where we will travel the Southwest in one big circle across 50 days,” Larson said. “The trailers are very distinctive in contrast to other trailers.”
The goal of the trip is to visit regions of the four states that casual tourists doesn’t see.
Of the national parks the group has visited, Larson said the only park they were unable to see was the Aztec Ruins National Monument because of the government shutdown.
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A display at the LaPorte County Historical Society Museum in northwest Indiana is featuring the history of the Airstream trailer through photographs, as well as the history of the Midwest Unit of the Airstream Travel Trailer Club, according to the South Bend Tribune.
Photographs, scrapbooks, banners, jackets, flags and other memorabilia will be displayed through April.
The Midwest Unit of the Airstream Travel Trailer Club, known as Wally Byam Caravan Club International, was founded in Michigan City in 1957. Named for the inventor of the Airstream travel trailer, the unit went on to include nine states in the Midwest, according to a news release.
Club members proudly toured the country together in their shiny streamlined travel trailers, made of aluminum, for many years until the unit disbanded in 2007.
The museum, at 2405 Indiana Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.