Airstreamers Rally in Hoosier Fairgrounds
This week, about 50 of the Airstream trailer aficionados are gathering at the Tipton County 4-H Fairgrounds in Tipton, Ind., for a regional rally. Trailers from Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Texas and Tennessee are spending the week the area, the Kokomo Tribune reported.
It is the second time that Tipton County hosted the regional rally of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International. The first rally in Tipton took place in 2005.
Tours are being offered to Kokomo Opalescent Glass, the Kelly Agricultural and Historical Farm, House of Glass in Elwood, a blacksmith shop, and Pioneer Seeds. There is also an event at “A Summer Place” that will feature the showing of the movie “The Long, Long Trailer” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Betty Hutchens said Wally Byam started the club for Airstream owners to caravan together. She said there are caravans throughout the U.S. and overseas.
Jim Hutchens said the Illinois couple have traveled a “million” miles in their 1995 Airstream.
“We wore out three trucks hauling this trailer,” he said. “What we like about it we can drop the trailer and take off to see an area.”
Linda Zoeller said this was the second time they have been to Tipton.
“This is a lovely area,” she said. “The accommodations are good and the people are friendly. We’ve eaten at the Jim Dandy’s twice and shopped in Tipton and Kokomo.”
One thing all the Airstream owners agree on is that the trailers are well constructed and hold their value.
Rick Davis and Carol Deaton made the trip from Jamestown, Tenn., to attend a computer rally conducted by the Airstream regional group over the past weekend.
Davis rebuilt the 1961 Airstream the couple travels in and previously restored a 1954 model, that he sold after taking a trip to Alaska.
“It was in pretty rough shape,” Davis said of the restored 1961 model. “It had sat for 30 years and someone had been living in it.”
Davis remodeled the interior and added solar power to the unit.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years,” he said. “The trailers are durable and keep on the road. There are not many other mobile homes out there from the 1950s and 1960s.”
Deaton said the couple were in Tipton for the last rally and she described the community as a “nice little town.”
“This is a lot like a family reunion,” she said. “We just tell people we’ll meet you down the road somewhere.”
Jim Schwerdfeger is a vice president with the international organization and was making his first visit to Tipton from Texas.
Schwerdfeger has been to Missouri, South Dakota, Minnesota and Indiana with trips back to Texas this summer. His next stop is in Michigan to look at a potential rally site.
He tows a 1984 Airstream that he considers just like new.
“I know some of the people here,” he said. “It won’t take long to meet people.”
Schwerdfeger said at the national rally in Missouri there were 500 trailers. He said the national rally used to attract up to 4,000 Airstream owners.
“The kids are buying the trailers and fixing them up,” he said. “But with working two jobs, they don’t have time to go. It’s tough to be young right now.”
Barry Bell is in his first year as president of the region with one more year left in his term.
“I knew this was a great facility,” he said of the Tipton location. “It’s a friendly town, great facility with space for meetings and entertainment and lots of shady spots.”
Bell said he always used to travel in a trailer until a month ago when he purchased a 2003 Airstream motorhome for the additional space. He still owns the 1995 trailer.