News & Views
An informational newsletter from the
WBCCI Electronic Communications Committee 
October 2014  
Photograph by Phillip Westermann, on the Alyeska Caravan

*Laissez les bon temps rouler"

(Translation: Let the good times roll!)...and roll they did! on the 

 

2014 Cajun Country Caravan

 

Led by Larry and Judy Boudreaux 

 

If you drive across the USA on the Interstate you might be deceived into thinking that the US is all one culture. But drop south of I-10 into Abbeville, Crowley or St Martinville, Louisiana, and that notion will change quickly. You're suddenly in Cajun Country. Stay longer than a day and you'll be hooked by the land, the food, the music and the Cajuns themselves.  

   

Cajun Country almost defies words. It is a shape-shifting and charmingly laid-back culture. What appears to be true often isn't; It's even better. The roads are rough, but that slows you down and makes you smell the camellias. The people are disarmingly casual, with an almost "whatever" attitude, but they are perhaps the most welcoming, hospitable, gregarious, and helpful we've ever met. They are also reportedly the happiest in the US. At the Cajun Heritage Center the guide initially greeted us with a dismissive wave of the hand, indicating, "Come this way." It didn't bode well for a good tour, but after 2 ˝ hours we were still mesmerized by his stories of Cajuns, Creoles, and the history of the area. The food is sometimes spicy for northern tastes, but deliciously so and even the most weight-conscious among us went back for seconds, or maybe thirds. Really. Cajun music appears pretty simplistic at first: an accordion with limited range, a violin, and an acoustic guitar. That's all? But within ten minutes those three instruments will have a whole room of confirmed non-dancers on their feet. Now, there could also be a little alcohol involved in that process, because Cajuns do know how to keep the good times rollin'. Above all, though, Cajun culture is all about family, friends and community, which is why the state seal includes a pelican mother protecting her young.   

 

 

 

Considering joining the Cajun Caravan? Read on. .

 

Cajuns, Culture, Cuisine and Camaraderie are what defined this caravan.   The food and music are spicy and intriguing, as are the history and politics of Louisiana.

 

The highlights of the caravan?

THE JOKES: Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes told by our very own Larry Boudreaux, from Thibodaux. How can you not enjoy yourself?

 

THE PEOPLE: definitely, the people. Maybe the best advice for those visiting Cajun Country for the first time is to learn from the Cajuns themselves: Don't judge by appearance. Just accept and enjoy everything. As Larry Boudreaux put it so succinctly: Cajun people love people. They welcome visitors as they would family, with open arms, a joke (often at their own expense) and yet another ladle of their exquisite gumbo.

 

THE FOOD: do I even have to talk about it? Beignets, café au lait, gumbo, crawfish, hot sauce, jambalaya.  Oysters and bread pudding with white chocolate-rum sauce at Shucks. Did I mention crawfish? The lilting almost-French Cajun language is filled with improvised words to describe what the Acadian refugees encountered in their new home and had no words to describe, many of them involving food.

 

 

Steve Rosenthal ate 'em all. All 5# of crawfish.

 

THE LAND: Bayous, rice fields sprinkled with crawfish traps, live oak trees that were already old during the Civil War, Spanish moss, green pastures, and swamps everywhere.

 

Rice fields and crawfish traps are everywhere. 

 

THE SIGHTS: Rice plantations, architecture inspired by political rivalries, antebellum mansions, city centers protected by spreading oaks, a majestic Old Opera House fully restored to its former glory plus a tour of Petroleum Helicopters, Inc.

 

 

THE CRITTERS: alligators, rookeries with thousands of egrets, cormorants, bald eagles, crawfish, osprey, hawks, and turtles. Did I mention crawfish?

 

Ruthie Pierce, up very close and personal with an alligator on the swamp cruise.  


 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HISTORY: Evangeline, the Acadians, the Germans,

the Africans, the Sicilians, the Spanish, the Catholic religion, and Huey Long. They all left their imprint on Cajun Country. The driver's manual said "two state capitol buildings in two days."  Are you kidding? It turned out to be a fascinating study of Louisiana and the controversial legacy (mystery) of Huey Long, among others. The award-winning multimedia presentation in the Old State Capitol wasn't your standard informational documentary. We felt as if we were in the Capitol while it burned and danced at the raves held there after Governor Long built his own skyscraper capitol building and abandoned the former capitol.

   

THE FUN: There's a reason the symbol of the Cajun Country Caravan is a crawfish centered in an outline of Louisiana. Everyone got to participate in a crawfish harvest in a boat driven by a tractor wheel. Now that's something you can't do elsewhere! Eating crawfish by the pound, or in some cases 5 pounds, at Richard's in Abbeville was nothing if not girth-expanding, but also an exercise in slowwwww eating. Those little critters are hard to handle for the newbie and most of us were newbies.

 

 

Harvesting crawfish by boat, or by tractor?

 

THE AUTHENTIC CAJUN MUSIC Sung entirely in French, music was a caravan theme. Everywhere we went, there was music: in a former cattle auction barn and community gathering place built in 1946, at the 9 a.m. jam sessions at Fred's Lounge, a live radio broadcast, our own caravan CD and the Savoy Music Center, where the world-famous Savoy accordions are made by Marc Savoy, who spent a good bit of his time talking with us about accordions, music, and life.   If you don't two-step at the beginning of the caravan, you probably will at the end, because only the most inhibited can stay seated when Cajun music starts playing.

 

Caravanners dancing in the twilight under the live oaks in Abbeville.   


Cajun Music at a former auction barn. 

 

Sixteen out of 26 units on the 2014 Cajun Country Caravan were WBCCI members on their very first caravan. Why did they start with this caravan? Because it is one of the most highly touted in WBCCI. Led for many years by Marilyn and Rick Solera, the two-week format is perfect for working Airstreamers.   Expectations were high. But every aspect of this caravan proved to be what the Cajuns call "Lagniappe"(a little something extra, just for you) ....

 

 

 

Saturday at 9 a.m.,the Cajun Caravaners were at Fred's Lounge.  

 

Just remember, in Cajun Country...  

 

C'est tout.  Merci, Larry and Judy Boudreaux, for sharing your world with us.    

 

 

 

   Article by Carolyn Beardshear, with photographic help from Irene O'Connell

For additional information about the Cajun Caravan, click HERE.

The President's Corner, by Joe Perryman
reprinted from the October 2014 Blue Beret

Recently my thoughts turned to attracting and retaining new members. What is it about an organization that makes people want to be a part of it? What do we do? What contribution do we make that justifies their continued investment in our existence? Is it the Blue Beret? Is it out of loyalty to the history, and the mystic of the Airstream brand, where WBCCI membership is a historical part of the experience? I believe all these and more are factors, but to lock people in as lifelong members, to keep them, to cause them to treasure their membership, there must be value for their dollar, something that they believe to be worth more than the $65 a year dues. For every member may find that value in something a little different.

 

For me, the answer is clear. WBCCI is about, at least in part, community. Unit membership is belonging to a group of people with whom we share a common interest, a bond, a fellowship; built around the love of RVing in general, and Airstreaming in particular. We are held together by social interactions and exchanges, a sense of purpose, a desire to participate with friends in activities for which we share a love. We are united in a common cause, share common interests, and there is mutual respect, acceptance and common support.

 

Our club represents a powerful, diverse, and dynamic community. It gives us a platform to share our experience and to get to know one another. I am amazed at the strength of the bonds I find within our group where the shared experience and mutual respect have cemented incredibly powerful relationships. I consider myself to be a part of a big extended family. Isn't that what WBCCI's about- bringing together new and old members to create an enriching environment of learning, and sharing with one another? People join people, not clubs, relationships really do matter.

 

The truth is that we do have in WBCCI,what I call a community. I travel among our villages to events where we share food, listen to music, share a glass of wine. We participate. There is that within us all that craves a sense of community. It's our native state; only with friends do we become our most fulfilled and only with friends are we at our best. Only with friends are we happiest.

 

For many years, until very recently, people in the USA saw an increase in personal wealth; they had more money, more things, and a more opulent lifestyle. Yet our self-described happiness has consistently declined. When we look at the countries with a high percentage of citizens who say they are happy, they are the ones where people identify with extended family. The happiest people are the ones with the most social interaction.

 

We absolutely must integrate our new members into our family if we are to thrive. As has been pointed out by some, part of our weakness in membership growth is created by the lack of retention. Members join and do not find a peer group. We must avoid developing a barrier of cliques that cannot be penetrated by new members, leaving them feeling alienated from the group.

 

No, it's not about a program. Programs are useless where we do not have a welcoming and caring environment, people who avoid judgment, and accept all others regardless of their age, religion, views, origin, or station in life. It's about respect, caring, supporting and welcoming. When we find common ground and unconditionally accept every Airstream owner, we will have found our true power and retention will cease to be an issue or a concern. We have something really good to share, and the more we give, the more we have; the act of giving does not diminish the givers. It expands them. It's just like the law of the harvest: you will always reap what you sow!

 



 Photograph by Anne Sullivan

Response to 2014 WBCCI Survey of Members has been off the chart!

The response to the recent WBCCI survey of members had an incredible response rate.  Over 53% of members who opened the email with the survey link took time to share their thoughts with our club's leaders.  Considering that the industry standard for survey responses is 10%, WBCCI members can be very proud of their involvement in making our club better.  We received hundreds of very valuable comments, which will take a while to analyze, so please be patient.  We'll publish the results as soon as we are sure all members have had a chance to offer their opinions. 

A print version of the survey was included in the October 2014 and a link to the online version was sent to all members with a valid email address.  If you did not receive that email, your email address may need to be updated at the Central Office:  jrethmann@wbcci.org

If you have not yet completed the survey and would like to, send a request to survey@wbcci.net and we'll send you the link.  Please give us your name and number in your request, just so we can verify your membership. Your responses will be anonymous. 

Airstream Plant Expansion Planned

Click HERE to read more about how Airstream continues to grow.

 

 


WANTED: A FEW GOOD WOMEN AND MEN 

FOR

INTERNATIONAL OFFICERS

& NOMINATING COMMITTEE

 

This is a call for candidates

Positions available include:

International President

International 1VP

International 2 VP

International 3 VP

International Secretary

International Treasurer

Nominating Committee (2)

 

If you have the time and interest to take on one of these jobs managing and leading your Airstream Club, please send your resume to

Lori Plummer, WBCCI Corporate Manager 

803 East Pike Street

Jackson Center OH 45534

Click HERE for more detailed information or contact John Stumpf,  

Chair of the Nominating Committee at: scbrick@bellsouth.net



Farmington International Rally 2015 
World Class Fishing on the San Juan River

Did you know the schedule for Farmington includes an entire day without any scheduled activities so you can explore this remarkably diverse area?

A recent trip to the Four Corners Area found us in Farmington NM, sampling the renowned fly-fishing on the nearby San Juan River, on the tail waters of the Navajo Dam.  It's famous for a reason and here are just a few of the hundreds of 12" long brown trout schooling around our feet and rising in all directions.  We could have scooped them up with our nets, but of course we didn't.

We found the fishing very easy and the trout very big!

There's no need to find the fish.  They'll find you.


The San Juan was shallow, easy to wade, and beautifully braided, with cold, trout-infested waters. Though much of the bottom is sandy, when there are rocks they aren't slippery at all.  






2014 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Rally


What they say is true.  The balloons do rise right over your trailer every morning. 
And sometimes they land pretty close as well.  It's all thrilling. 

Put this Rally on your bucket list!