The very best plans are made to change. Here I am still in Washington, D.C. waiting for parts from Jackson Center, OH. Apparently Airstream manufactures many parts as needed, not stored in a warehouse. I am told it will take 4-6 weeks for the parts to be made. So, I will travel on Tuesday to Chapel Hill, NC for Thanksgiving with family, and return to Virginia when the parts have been received. Not what I had initially planned but the joy of retirement is no schedule. Fortunately, good friend Sylvia will ride along, we call it our Thelma and Louise road trip.
Here is more about the history America’s iconic travel trailer, the Airstream.
Airstream’s creator was Wally Byam a graduate of Stanford and avid traveler, Wally began building his own trailers in his backyard. Wally’s dream was to build a travel trailer that would move like a stream of air, be light enough to be towed by a car, and create first-class accommodations anywhere. During World War II, Wally suspended building trailers, and worked at Curtiss-Wright aircraft manufacturer and learned about factory production and aircraft design. Over the next 80 years putting experience plus millions of miles on roads the Airstream continues to evolve built with aerodynamic design and with no planned obsolescence.
The Torpedo Car Cruiser, was the first factory-produced trailer designed to towed by a car. In the early 50’s, Airstream moved its operation from California, to Jackson Center, Ohio with the help of Wally’s lifetime friend and financier Neil Vanderbilt, who served on Airstream’s board of directors. Wally died in 1962, but the production of Airstreams continues to this day. In 2006, 65% of the Airstreams built since Wally Byam’s first trailer were still on the road. The newest model is the Basecamp, which looks like Wally’s original small trailer.
Airstream produces a limited number of trailers each year, and they hold their value. An Airstream is an investment. At least that is what I am hoping for.