Thursday, April 05, 2007

International Rally - we're not going!

I think I started something last night. Since hearing about the WBCCI turning the Capetown to Cairo guys down and not supporting them in 2009, we decided not to go to this years' s International Rally in Perry, GA. Here is the letter I mailed yesterday requesting. Alot of people posted in response to my post last night, and now there is a "Boycott the International" thread on the Forums.


It is with sad regret that I have to cancel my 2007 International Rally registration. As I understand, I have to formally notify via letter correspondence my desire to withdraw from the rally. I am enclosing my 2007 International Rally registration coupon as required. I also understand that I will be charged a $25 fee, and will lose the $135 for the 30A electric fee.

My reasoning to cancel is based upon the WBCCI IBT Executive Committees decision to not support the 2009 Capetown to Cairo Caravan. If the WBCCI can not support that (what the WBCCI was founded on – a CARAVAN!), then I can not support the WBCCI International. I know, what is one person. IT IS NOT JUST ONE PERSON! Many feel this way – and I bet I am not the first – more will do so! I pay $55 a year for membership, and then $510 for an International Rally to support the WBCCI; and then the WBCCI can not support its members on a 50th Anniversary event? I think Bert and Roger have done all that has been asked by the WBCCI, and even more so – and then the WBCCI IBT EC says No. Poll the membership – I bet majority is willing to support it! If you feel you can’t – maybe the WBCCI should seriously consider dropping the “I” - it stands for International right? Or is it Isolated?

At this time, I will remain a WBCCI member. I had serious thoughts on dropping my 6 years of membership all together. I am remaining for two reasons. 1. The camaraderie of the Washington DC Unit of which I am the 2nd Vice President – this Unit still has the Spirit of Adventure that started it all!, and 2) I enjoy being a member of the Vintage Airstream Club (VAC) and will continue to do so! Just so you know – these are the only reasons I am remaining a WBCCI member!

In the letter to Bert Kalet and Roger Wilson, the WBCCI International President, Don Schaffer, states that the WBCCI has never promoted a caravan of this type. What? Sure, Wally was still running the show, but the WBCCI, started in 1955, ran many Caravans in the late fifties. They were done from then to now, with and without Wally. As a young Airstreamer, third generation WBCCIer, (age 37) with a family, and member in good standing, I say “It should!!!”

I think the WBCCI has lost the bubble on what Airstreaming is all about! Why support the Caravan? The WBCCI has a lot to gain from it. The advertising of the WBCCI on the international stage will attract like minded people looking for the sense of adventure. I truly believe the sense of adventure in the WBCCI has become tepid in the group and is increasingly looking less like the club Wally envisioned. What would Wally have said if his own club stated, “ We are not supporting you Wally” ? He’s no doubt rolling over in his grave right now.

I am embarrassed by the IBT EC decision not to support Bert and Roger’s African Caravan. The WBCCI, being risk averse, is missing out on the adventure spirit that started it all – a great opportunity for some much needed press! I will remain a member – albeit, dis-heartedly at the moment. When dues time comes up, re-newing will be a hard decision that I will have to weigh. It will depend on what the club leadership does this year at International. If the club continues in what I consider the wrong direction, I may have to resign and drop all-together – that remains to be decided upon.

In addition – I VOTE NO on the MH issue! Although this is a separate issue, it is related. If the decision is made to allow other makes into the club, then I will leave the WBCCI all together.

Recall two points of Wally Byam’s creed:

To lead caravans wherever the four winds blow... over twinkling boulevards, across trackless deserts... to the traveled and untraveled corners of the earth.
To play some part in promoting international goodwill and understanding among the peoples of the world through person-to-person contact.

Concerned Member,

Robert H. Baker
WBCCI #2820



Don Collimore said...

Good letter. Well reasoned. Your decision not to attend is a proportionate and appropriate response. The IBT has lost touch with its membership and the core values of the club. They are quickly becoming totally irrelevant to you, me and anyone else with an Airstream.

Sig said...


Great letter - it was caravans like this that actually got me hooked on the airstream mystique.

I seems like the WBCCI may have losts its way.