Photograph by Carl Russell in Fernie, British Columbia
In This Issue

2014 IBT Report

Out of State LLCs

New Online Options

Room to Grow WBCCI

About Adventure
Quick Links
Support Your WBCCI Sponsors
News and Views
An Informational Newsletter from the WBCCI  
Electronic Communications Committee

Committed to providing news about our club  
and views from our members. 
Please email your contributions to 

Issue #10                                                                       February, 2014 
Blue Beret in Print or Online?
Are you full-timing or do you read the Blue Beret online more than in print?  You can save the club printing and postage costs if you elect to receive the Blue Beret ONLY online.  Just email Cindy Reed and let her know you don't need a printed copy. 
WBCCI Logo Header

What's on Your Website? 
The ECC is preparing to reorganize our club's website.  Please tell us what content you would like included and what functions you'd like our website to offer.  Email with your suggestions.  We're all ears!

2014 Winter IBT   

"The Cajun Encounter"

by 2011 Hobo Queen Hedda Smithson


The News: who, what, when, and where? From January 6 to10 Rayne, LA and Region 6 hosted representatives of the twelve Regions of WBCCI, International Officers and folks who enjoy meals, music, and making memories.  


My Views: The meals were amazing and reinforced any concept I had of Southern food and hospitality. Skillfully put together and served by Region 6, the chicken gumbo with dirty rice (*Cajun dishes), a pork loin meal with unforgettable sweet potatoes, bread pudding and cobblers were heaven! Many Airstreamers know "Ghosts in the Swamp", i.e., oatmeal with ice cream. Here, they upped the ante: optional hot praline sauce. No one at my table turned this down. Instead of biscuits and gravy we Yankees were offered two types of grits - plain or cheese. Oh my! It seemed the cooking crew just lived in that kitchen! All their efforts were much appreciated.

*Cajun dishes include the "holy trinity" of seasoning: celery, bell peppers, and onions.


Entertainment included some slapstick and corny comedy with The Louisiana  Purchase, who rewrote the words to several familiar songs to reflect the area and culture. The next evening we enjoyed Cajun music played with the sounds of a squeeze box and fiddle. They didn't play "Shrimp Boats" (Jo Stafford) or "Jambalaya" (Hank Williams). We listened to a number of catchy tunes sung in the Cajun language, but I couldn't understand a word. The last evening featured a rendition of CCR's "Rollin' on the River." Jim C and Larry B were quite athletic! I have never laughed so hard.

Meetings, after all, were the main purpose of the gathering. From an outsider's perspective the essential meetings were both worthwhile and productive. The tone of both the seminar and the IBT meeting itself was that of respect. People spoke their minds; people listened to what was said. Decisions were made based on what benefited the members. A recap of the motions passed follows.   


And now, here are some of my memories:

  •  *Rayne is the Frog Capital of the world; its frogs are shipped to famous restaurants such as Sardi's in NYC. We tried frog legs; think dissection in biology, yet tasty. Goofy looking statues of frogs made of concrete have been placed all over Rayne, each decorated by the sponsoring businesses.
  • *Rayne is known as a city of murals and most of them involve frogs. 
  • *St. Joseph's Cemetery is listed in "Ripley's Believe It or Not" because graves are oriented north south rather than east west. "Why?" is an area for you to research. 
  • *The colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. Purple is for justice; green is for faith; and gold is for power. So now you know.
  • *Rayne, like so many towns we visit for meetings, is connected to the railroad. Originally called Pouppeville, the name was changed to honor the man who supervised the laying of the tracks.  
  • *One couple who came to the meeting in their Airstream had just been married on January 3, 2014(!) and were seen on the dance floor more than any other couple. They even followed the local Cajun music group to a gig in nearby Lafayette for more dancing.

If you'd like to experience Rayne, LA, its meals, music, and memory- making, sign up for the mid-winter IBT in 2016. We are going back and we hope you will join us!

Motion Results from 2014 Mid-Winter IBT Meeting

by Robert Stansbury, Region 12 President 

Reprinted from the Region 12 Newsletter


Sixteen motions were presented at the IBT Meeting and all of them were passed. Though these changes are minor, we are excited that the board as a whole is working in unison. We have spoken through our votes to the membership, to our employees, and to the Airstream Corporation.  Here is a brief description of each motion. Some of them require a vote of the delegates at the Gillette rally. Please make sure your unit has a representative to vote for you there.


1. International units will be represented by an existing Region of WBCCI. This requires a delegate vote in Gillette. 

2. International units will organize as a non-profit group.

3. We are combining the Public Relations and Rally Promotions Committees.

4. We ratified a name change from the "Down Under Unit" to "Airstream Club Australia."

5. Members in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan will become part of Region 7.

6. We approved a new unit in Region 3, the Southeast Camping Club.

7. We approved a new flag for the Southeast Camping Club. 

8. We changed the duties for the Historical Committee by a substitution of responsibilities.

9. We will now list the number of people attending functions, as well as the number of Airstreams.

10. We voted to expand the dates that the International Rally can be held to between June 20 and July 30. This requires a delegate vote in Gillette.

11. We made a large change in the bylaws concerning the International Rally (Sections 7 and 8) by substituting an entirely new policy. See link below for a more detailed explanation.  

12. We voted to allow electronic renewal of unit and International dues. This requires a delegate vote in Gillette.

13. We now require a roll-call vote on each motion that is not unanimous. This only affects the International Board. This records the vote of each officer so the members know how their representatives voted.

14. We streamlined the method for replacing Region Vice Presidents in case of resignations.

15. We reinstated the "News and Views" electronic newsletter.

16. We removed the $45,000 line item for Headquarters Services from the International Rally Budget. This will result in a potential reduction in rally fees.


A full-text copy of the IBT Meeting minutes is available at: 

Mystery Rally
If you have any information about this Airstream rally, please email  Even WBCCI history-wizard Joe Peplinski couldn't figure this one out.
Law Matters, by Richard Jirus
We've all seen ads like this.  However, did you know that a new law has been passed in Iowa that penalizes people who live in Iowa but license and pay the sales tax for an RV vehicle through a dummy LLC in places like Montana or North Dakota. Minnesota has passed the same kind of law. The Iowa law provides amnesty if the perpetrators confess and pay the delinquent fees. Iowa has also promised a vigorous pursuit of violators by using the state police. I have read that the states of Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, and Maine are considering similar state legislation. It is important to note this refers to dummy corporations but does not include second homes. 

I would venture an opinion to all Airstreamers who contemplate such a practice: DON'T DO IT. Two states have already passed laws to prosecute violators and several other states are considering similar laws. The financial penalties are severe.

When White Boxes Dream...
Room for WBCCI to Grow

The WBCCI Central Office receives a monthly report from Airstream listing new vehicles sold by Airstream dealers around the country (and used vehicles if information is available). 

The final 2013 figures of new and used vehicles purchased by both members and non-members follow: (2012 and 2011 figures are included for comparison)

Year       New Airstreams Sold       to Members       to Non-Members

2013      1,827                                  156 (8.5%)           1,675

2012      1,391                                   98 (7 %)              1,293

2011      1,218                                   84 (7%)               1,034


Year       Used Airstreams Sold      to Members       to Non-Members

2013      188                                      136 (72%)           52

2012      178                                      117 (65%)            61          

2011      471                                      395 (84%)            76


A new non-member owner is sent WBCCI membership information and invited to join the club.  Following are the numbers for non-members who joined after receiving membership information:


2013    151 (9%)              2012      113 (8.7%)          2011      50 (5%)

What does it take?

 by Dick Martiny

The number of Airstream-made vehicles on the road is increasing every year.  This past year was Airstream's best sales year since the 70s.  Many new owners don't know about WBCCI and what they are missing.  So, what does it take to get them to meet us? 


This question has been asked in many different ways during recent years.  Some Units have located vehicles without membership and offered them free attendance at their next rally.  Other Units have placed articles with pictures in their local newspapers describing their recent gatherings.  Still others have used the new promotional postcard  (see below) to encourage a first visit.  Contact Julie Rethman to obtain a supply of these postcards to hand out as you encounter non-member Airstream owners on the road.   

Airstream, Inc. is placing literature about WBCCI in every new vehicle sold.  Everyone is trying and we are experiencing an increase in our Club membership.  Airstream sold over 1800 new Airstreams last year.  Can you imagine what changes our Club would experience if over half of that number choose to get to know us?


Members of the International Board of Trustees and the International Membership Chair are discussing options not currently available to the Regions or to the Units.  With changes to our By-laws and our methods of collecting the dues of new members, many exciting doors are opening.  Your Club's Leadership Team is working very actively to make some of these changes possible. 


What would you suggest?  If you had the authority to change some rules and methods, what would you do?  Would you be willing to share those thoughts with your Region Leadership?

 Online Registrations and Renewals
a Reality for Units and Regions

Some great news for Units and Regions looking at more online services

Over the last few years, if there's one thing most Units and Regions have heard from their members it is their desire to have the option to do more transactions online, rather than by physical mail and checkbooks. Online processing is not for everybody and certainly not all the time - but it's clear many of our members would appreciate the convenience of more online options from WBCCI.  

Why is this important for WBCCI?  

In the majority of their lives our Members have the ability to sign up for events and purchases online: they renew their automobile licenses, pay their utility bills, buy airplane tickets, book hotels, download books and much, much more.  In fact, our Members are not just becoming more comfortable with online registrations and purchases, in some cases they actually prefer online payments due to the convenience and security, especially if they are on the road or have busy work and/or social calendars.


Why should it be different for our WBCCI activities, registrations and events? Shouldn't we make it easier for our active Members to sign up for our Rallies, renew their memberships and even purchase items online?  Can't we offer the same online conveniences widely available elsewhere?  Or even more importantly, let's not contribute to potential perceptions that our Club is averse to or unaware of new trends and Member preferences.  Finally, let's try all we can to encourage more awareness and attendance at our events.  Offering a convenient way to register and pay is one great way to do so.


Well, it's time for some good news!

Over the last year, our WBCCI Electronics Communications Committee (ECC) has been working with WBCCI Headquarters (HQ), the WBCCI Executive Committee, several Regions and a growing number of Unit Treasurers and Webmasters to deliver the infrastructure for more Member-oriented online transactions.  So far our focus has been on automating and streamlining some of the paper-based processes that have been in use almost since our formation as Club. Examples include online New Member Registrations, online Courtesy Parking Maps, online Unit Location Maps, online Big Red Number reordering, online WBCCI Amateur Radio Club registrations, online Unit & Region calendaring, etc.  More is coming from HQ and the ECC over the next year, but this article describes one of the most-requested set of online services: Membership Renewal and Rally Registrations at the  Region and Unit websites.


New Online Renewals and Registration Capabilities

Note: All are available within your Unit or Region website

  • Online Membership Renewals

  • Online Region Rally Registrations

  • Online Special Event Registrations

  • Online Unit Rally Registrations

  • Online sales of Region or Unit material

Some Examples:

  • Santa Clara Unit Membership Renewal ( Look on the left navigation for "Join or Renew".

  • Santa Clara Rally Registrations ( Look on the left navigation for one of their Rallies under "Rally Schedule".

  • More examples are available on the ECC site ( Look on the left navigation for the article on Online Registrations and Renewals.  The article on the ECC site will give you direct links to more Units and Region examples. It's a rapidly growing list!

Santa Clara Unit Join or Renew Example:

When asked about online membership renewal I was very hesitant. I was afraid that I would end up doing a lot more work, that it would cost the club too much money and that it would not be safe. After setting up a separate account with a bank officer, I decided to work with our webmaster and try it. There is a little more work keeping track of the accounts but this is balanced out by the fact that checks do not have to be deposited. To date the cost to the club has been minimal. Finally, the extra bank account, I believe, has made the process fairly safe - Ed Dodge, Santa Clara Unit Treasurer


Santa Clara Unit Rally Registration Example:


How to get started:

Two things need to happen to get your Unit or Region going:  

1) Your Unit or Region webmaster needs to configure the new online renewals and registration settings, and  

2) Your Treasurer needs to setup a PayPal account.   


Instructions on both topics can be found on the ECC website (  In addition, if you have questions and/or need some assistance feel free to contact the ECC at their email address (  They can get you going quickly, point you to great examples, and even help you configure your first Online event if needed. We've found this new capability to be very easy to use and well within the experience and/or skill level of the majority of our Unit and Region webmasters.

Thank you for taking a look...


In closing, I hope many Units and Regions find this information useful.  We're pretty excited about it - we see this as yet another way to encourage people to join our events by removing some very simple hurdles: no "coupons" to print out, fill out, find a stamp, find a check, write a check, find an envelope and mail it.  The reality is that we've all seen a shift in our generation (and beyond) where physical correspondence and physical checkbooks are becoming more of a rarity. Certainly not for all people, nor all the time - but more and more true for the new potential Members purchasing Airstreams and considering whether to participate in our events and join our club.


I write this article not only as a member of the Santa Clara Unit, but also as a member of the Electronic Communications Committee - we are a group that truly enjoys working with your leaders to provide such interesting capabilities as Courtesy Parking Maps, Unit Location Maps, Centralized Event Calendaring (Google Calendars) and now truly easy and usable Online Renewals and Registrations!

Submitted by:  

Eric McHenry

Region 12 / Santa Clara Unit (#2242)

Electronic Communications Committee Member

Region 12 and Santa Clara Unit Webmaster 


It is About Adventure
by Matt Hackney

Wally Byam is most famous for building the Airstream and the Airstream Company.  We all benefit from these creations.  He also created the Caravan for "Trailerites".  Wally was determined to demonstrate how travel trailers could open opportunities for adventures and friendships beyond our neighborhood.  His Caravans led to the founding of our Caravan Club for those who share a sense of adventure.

We can renew our sense of adventure by participating in a WBCCI Caravan.  The travel season is just around the corner and there are still opportunities to join our national caravans.   If you are leading a short caravan, is providing an opportunity to post for additional participants.  Simply send your information to Marion Pember.
If you are looking for a short caravan to join, take a look HERE.


If you can't spare the time to take a caravan, take an extended weekend and attend a rally with another unit.  Many regions have placed their units' schedule of events for the entire year on their website.  By participating in rallies with other units, you can share ideas from your unit and take back others for your unit to try. 
Finally, it is time to plan your trip to Gillette.  The International Rally returns to a beautiful venue this year.  On your way to and from Wyoming, there are so many beautiful state and national parks you could spend months seeing the sights.  Ask a few friends to join you and plan your trip today  

If you are planning a unit caravan to Gillette, why not let Marion post it to  You might pick up some new friends a long the way.  
A New Type of Campground, by Richard Jirus
Near the town of Watford City, North Dakota a new type of campground is being tried: indoor camping. The park features 10 insulated and climate controlled buildings that can house 236 campers. The need was generated by the mass of oil boom workers who needed housing and were living in their RV's. Eight of the buildings have been full for at least three months and the two recently built buildings that can accommodate forty foot rigs are already reserved.


Photograph by Beth Hackney, SE Camping Unit, Region 3
This is YOUR newsletter.  Please send the ECC your pictures, articles or items of interest to our members.

Copyright © 20XX. All Rights Reserved.