We’re off! This 5-week vacation had been long in the planning and delayed for two years. Caleb and Halie were on hand to snap some pics of the send-off.
The first leg of this vacation was an 8-hour drive across Ohio into West Virginia, meeting up with NOVA members at the Beckley WalMart. This was our staging ground to caravan the last 40 miles into Lewisburg, WV for a week at the WBCCI International Rally. As we pulled into the Walmart, we saw three silver Airstreams in the far end of the parking lot; Terry and Sue, Dan and Dawn, and Mike and Diana, were already present in the parking lot. We broke the cardinal rule of staying at a Walmart (don’t look or act like you are camping) and set up chairs in a grassy spot under some shade trees.
Dinner involved a short walk from the Walmart parking lot to a Bar-B-Q restaurant in an adjacent parking lot. Back at the campground (I mean, parking lot!) we made a quick trip to buy jugs of water to take to the rally location. Torrential rain during the past few days had caused flooding in the area of the rally fairgrounds causing a boil-water alert. We had a full tank of water on board, but thought four gallons of drinking water would be prudent. After another quick sit under the shade trees we all retired to our Airstreams for the evening.
Our get-up time was 7:00 with a plan to leave for Lewisburg by 8:00, but we were wide awake at 6:00 a.m. When we poked our heads out the door there were at least 8 other camping rigs that had bedded down in the parking lot overnight, and some were also stirring. Tom walked to a near-by Starbucks and brought us back the morning fix – his first Starbucks ever!
Leaving promptly at our 8:00 target time, we drove the 40 miles on very steep roads (downhill 7% grade) to the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Lewisburg. Tom was leading the way, and occasionally I could get a picture of some of our caravan in the rear view mirror.
We drove into the marked entrance and took our place in the Bull Pen -- the lot to hang out in before being escorted to our permanent spot for the week.
We were immediately included in a total Airstream experience. Everyone had a story to tell about their trips or their Airstream. Here is a 1963 Airstream that was beside us in the Bull Pen -- the owner proudly showed us a bullet hole in the skin! I think it will be a week full of discoveries!
Fifteen minutes ahead of time, at 12:45 the parking crew showed up to face the line-up of rigs in the Bull Pen and to start leading them to their permanent spots. Because we were one of the first 500 to sign up for the rally, all four of our rigs were escorted to a gravel parking lot with full hook-ups: water, electric and sewer! The spots were a little close together; in fact when our front awning was open and Dan and Dawn’s back awning was open – they created a complete overhead canopy right outside our front door!
We barely had time to get set up before heading off to enter Charlie in the pet show contest. After rushing to get over there we were told that the registrations had closed and it was too late to have Charlie do her version of “dead dog” up on the stage. People were beginning to gather for the dog show and I went up to the front row of the audience and explained that Charlie wasn’t going to be able to do her trick – but she wanted to perform it for them . . . unofficially. I did part of our little dead dog routine several different times . . . and they loved it! That was the extent of the pet show for us, and we returned to the Airstream to put Charlie in the comfort of the air conditioning.
I don't know what else might lay in store for us this afternoon and evening . . . it is time to study the program and events and make a plan for the rest of the day!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown