From Oct. 24 through 27, 47 members of the Washington DC Unit of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI) converged on The George Washington Birthplace National Monument for a weekend encampment.
This encampment was for the 2013 installation of the Unit’s officers for the 2014 camping season and was hosted by Harley Muse and John Gilliland, who are residents within the park boundaries and whose property is adjacent to the park property on which the encampment was held.
The Airstream Aluminum Brigade of the Continental Army had arrived to enjoy the natural beauty of the park and to both renew old friendships and make new ones. These iconic Airstream trailers were conceived in 1931 by Wally Byam and are made today in Jackson Center, Ohio. Trailers from the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s up through a 2012 model were on display in a field in front of the Gilliland/Muse property. They came from as far away as Ontario, Canada; Florida, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.
Encampment attendees were informed of local attractions and places of interest and local history. Groups of attendees caravanned to Stratford Hall, visited George Washington’s Birthplace sites and toured local towns of Montross and Colonial Beach. A group gathered Thursday evening for dinner at The Inn at Montross, enjoying their Thursday Night Bistro.
Breakfasts were provided by Unit members at the encampment site on both Friday and Saturday mornings. Thursday night’s dinner was an “on your own” night, so members either prepared their own at their trailers or dined at local establishments. Friday evening dinner was a traditional “pot luck” that consisted of many dishes prepared by trailer owners. Some of the dishes were prepared by experienced Dutch oven chefs. Saturday evening dinner was catered by a local barbeque concern, Kittrell’s BBQ, consisting of BBQ chicken and fried trout with two sides. It drew many positive comments. Evening desserts were provided by Unit members. It was served to 47 adults and five children.
Prior to each evening’s meal, members gathered at a campfire in the back yard of the Muse/Gilliland residence with a view overlooking the Potomac River. This time is always looked forward to as it provides time for members to catch up on their activities and relate stories of things “Airstream” from past years. The campfire was attended after dinner by the group, many staying up into the wee hours for star-gazing, conversation and togetherness, despite the colder weather.
After a busy weekend of visits to local sites, visits with long-time friends and new friends alike, the group awoke Sunday morning after three days of camaraderie and began preparing their aluminum homes for their homeward journeys. Instead of “striking the tent,” they hitched up their rigs to their motorized horses.
The sign of a successful encampment is the parting comment of a great many attendees – “See you down the road!”