News & Views
An informational newsletter from the WBCCI
Electronic Communications Committee
November, 2014

A Hearty Welcome to WBCCI's
New Corporate Manager, Lori Plummer

Lori Plummer joins the staff at WBCCI as the new Corporate Manager. Over the last 25 years her career has been spent in small business environments across several different industries and working in QuickBooks at all of them. Plus, she is an Intuit QuickBooks ProAdvisor. She has worked her way up from a clerk through positions as bookkeeper, administrative assistant, general manager and business manager to an Executive Director. The one thing her titles had in common was that they did not always represent her responsibilities. In all her positions, she wore multiple hats and is a "Git R Done" kind of person who is very resourceful and thinks outside of the box to make things happen. For the last seven years as the Executive Director at a Humane Society, her job was her passion and very close to her heart, and taught her even more about "Living on a shoestring and a prayer!" She is an analytical thinker and caretaker by nature. She is passionate about helping both her 2 legged and 4 legged companions achieve goals and live a good life. She thrives on challenges, works well under stress, and knows when to ask for help when she needs it. She tries to always be lighthearted and positive no matter what she is facing, but still has the ability to stand her ground if needed.


Lori lives outside of Bellefontaine, Ohio on a small hobby farm with her longtime boyfriend Brad, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 goats, and a flock of chickens. (ALL rescued animals) Besides the animals they also farm about 15 acres each year themselves. At times it is difficult to get away from the farm, but when she is able to get away she loves to travel, learn about history, experience other cultures and cuisines, and enjoy adventurous remote ATV trail riding, camping, and fishing. Other hobbies include motorcycle rides, helping restore Farmall Tractors, country music, card games and cooking. She also volunteers her time to help reduce the homeless pet population at a spay and neuter clinic and rescue groups when she can. After 14 years of companionship last November Lori lost her beloved German shepherd Tuff and since that day she tries to live by the lessons she learned from Tuff: "NEVER stop playing, WAG more BARK less, Be LOYAL and FAITHFUL, Be QUICK to FORGIVE and LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY".


Lori is more than excited to join the family at WBCCI and believes THIS is the job she has been waiting for. She wants to learn about the club, meet the members so they can have a face with HQ and reassure them she is here to serve them and the club to make it last another 50 plus years. Lori has a long to do list and a big learning curve of culture, procedures and processes. Even though she has several ideas right now her plan is to work closely with all the staff members, officers and club members to learn why they do what they do to get a full understanding of the methods to their madness prior to making any changes. In the end the goal is to have an extremely efficient HQ to save time and resources so WBCCI will continue to grow and flourish for many years to come.


No introduction to Lori would be complete without a gallery of her four-legged friends.










Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Rally 2014

Two hundred Airstreams parked at the 2014 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Rally. 

Have you ever awakened in your Airstream and, during those first moments of wakefulness, wondered "Where are we? And what's outside our door?"


At the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta that isn't a problem. Even if you're a member of the Crack of Noon Club you'll be awakened well before dawn by low-flying planes and helicopters, preparing for the Mass Ascension of Balloons. If you sleep through the engine noise you can't ignore the audible whoosh of the Dawn Patrol rising directly over the 200 Airstreams parked at the edge of the launch site.    



There is no need to board a bus at 4 a.m. to see the Ascension. You need only walk outside your trailer, coffee in hand, dressed in "whatever" to stand mesmerized by the display of color and unbridled creativity that fills the sky above you.  

Nancy Drag, David Boyd, and David Fernandez toasting the Dawn Patrol 


If you are fortunate, your next-door neighbor may fill your empty coffee cup with champagne so you can toast the ascension together.  You can watch the ascension from your trailer or venture down to the field to surround yourself with color, sound, and the excitement of the lift off.   If you are even more fortunate, the "Albuquerque Box" will be working and after you've delighted in the spectacle of 500+ balloons floating overhead they actually COME BACK! The winds in Albuquerque are such that, by varying the altitude of the balloons, the pilots can lift off from the launching place and return there (or close) an hour later. Two shows for the price of one.   




Sometimes though, the landings aren't exactly spot-on. An errant balloon may land in the parking lot behind trailers, so you can grab the gondola as they skid to a landing then help the crew to gather up the hundreds of yards of fabric, stuff it into the sack, do the "heiny press" and load both gondola and balloon into the chase vehicle. They appreciate the help and you get to be part of the magic.  

























So, what then? You have the whole day free to explore Albuquerque, have a breakfast burrito, buy roasted green chilies, explore the extraordinary International Balloon Museum that is next door to your trailer, take a nap, or visit with your Airstreaming friends before Happy Hour at 4 p.m. Then the show really starts.


As the sky darkens there is again the familiar "whoosh" of propane burners on the parade grounds. But this time there is no ascension. Instead, hundreds of balloons are inflated on the field, at first a few at a time, then suddenly on the count of three, ALL the burners are ablaze at once and you are surrounded by 90' tall balloons filled with fire and color and sound that is like nothing else on the planet. It's the Evening Glow and fireworks. Venture onto the field with the balloons and you will never, ever forget it.  














A most incredible day, but it's only the first of four, weather permitting. Each day is different, but wonderfully similar as well. As the balloons become more familiar each day you look for new ones: Darth Vader, the whale, the bees, the cow, Smokey Bear, or the fire hydrant. Special balloons are everywhere, in every imaginable shape, and from all over the world. Favorites come and favorites go as the variety increases each day, but the awe never diminishes.  


























Spectators are welcome on the field at all times, so getting up close and personal with a balloon or a crew is a common occurrence, not a rarity. Have a question? The balloon pilots and crews are more than happy to answer anything. They are there for the spectators. Their entrance fee includes unlimited propane, so they will inflate and fly as often as the weather allows, just for the enjoyment of the 800,000+ visitors. Don't let that number alarm you, though. WBCCI members are parked so close to the field that it's easy to avoid any crowds at all and stay within the Silver City if that's your choice. It all happens right in front of you.


Next year, or the year after, make time in your schedule the first weekend of October, when the air is cool and the skies in Albuquerque are blue and clear, at least until they fill with balloons. You will never forget this Rally. And you will never experience a crystal clear October morning again without closing your eyes and remembering.....  



Digital WBCCI Directory

Coming Soon:
  Watch your email in December for your opportunity to request a digital PDF WBCCI membership directory to load on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, so you can look up your Airstream friends when you're on the road and your print directory is somewhere else.

Amateur Radio at the Region 12 Rally  


During planning for the annual Region Rally in Pahrump Nevada, two Region 12 Amateur Radio "hams" decided to include a special set of activities focused on introduction to Amateur Radio, followed by a one-day study session preparing attendees for a license exam to be held at the Rally. It was a tremendous success!


Amateur radio is growing at a rapid rate, partially due to new lower-cost equipment and a removal of the rules that previously required expertise in Morse Code. Additionally, the reality is that dependence on cell phones for emergency needs can be problematic, depending on traveling locations, disaster scenarios and just plain "keeping it simple".


  Roger Peeples (KD6FBF)  WBCCI #9110 


With the help of the WBCCI Amateur Radio Club (ARC) and the local  Southern Nye County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (SCARES), we were able to put together a set of three events at the Region Rally that resulted in nine (9) new WBCCI hams successfully passing the formal testing session. We were pleased that this represented a success ratio of over 75%. Also, as door prizes, two ham radio kits were given out to individuals who signed up to take the test.


So what is Amateur Radio and why is it growing in popularity?

Amateur Radio has been around since the 50's, but suffered a deep decline in active hams as long distance landline rates dropped and cellphones, internet telephone (Skype) and other new methods of communications became mainstream. Partially in response to the dropping level of hams, the FCC relaxed the licensing requirements in 2007, removing the daunting requirement of learning Morse Code. Since then active ham licenses have grown dramatically.



Unlike cellphones, Amateur Radio operates off the normal private-sector communications grid, relying on either direct radio links between users (can be worldwide or local), or through privately owned "repeaters". During an emergency, or when in areas with poor or unreliable cellphone service, Amateur Radio provides a way to connect to the outside world when needed.


An excellent example of this was during one of the caravans to this years Region 12 Rally, where a caravanner had a truck tire tread separation on a desolate strip of roadway heading towards Death Valley. No cellular coverage was available and CB communication was unusable due to distance and terrain. Fortunately a ham on the caravan was able to establish communication with the other caravanners and direct the stricken vehicle to a rendezvous area where a safe tire change was possible with the help of other caravanners.



Amateur Radio and WBCCI

The WBCCI Amateur Radio Club was formed in 1963 by Earl Johnston W0ICV, as the "Airstream Net". At that time its membership consisted of hams who owned Airstream travel trailers and were members of the trailer club. The club has in recent years reorganized and expanded its operations in order to serve all amateurs interested in Recreational Vehicles and in travel. The club is officially chartered under the WBCCI, as an "intra club".


The WBCCI ARC hosts daily nets 364 days a year (every day except ARRL Field Day) where traveling hams get together to chat and exchange information. It's an excellent way to keep in contact when on the road and with friends who also enjoy Amateur Radio.


Get on the Air!

Take the opportunity to learn more about Amateur Radio, either through your local amateur radio club, or potentially at some future WBCCI event. For more information about the Amateur Radio activities at Region 12 rally, contact either Eric McHenry (AA6EM / WBCCI #2242) or Roger Peeples (KD6FBF / WBCCI #9110). Or go online and look at the Region 12 website at:


Special thanks to Jim Cocke (N5RTG / WBCCI ARC and WBCCI 3rd International VP) and Dick Grady (AC7EL / Pahrump SCARES club). We couldn't have pulled this off without your support and help!


Submitted by: Eric McHenry (AA6EM / WBCCI #2242) and Roger Peeples (KD6FBF / WBCCI #9110)



Message from WBCCI President,

Joe Perryman


I have some very good friends who I've known for many years. They have always dreamed of taking some trips. They bought a nice Airstream, got it already to go, and for over 10 years dreamed their dream. Recently, age and failing health has really shown its power. The dream was never lived and now never will be. Grandchildrens' graduations, aging parents; the list goes on and something always seems to block our dream. So many of us have dreams; we look forward to that big caravan, or that trip of a lifetime. Sandy and I have dreamed of taking one of the big caravans to the Maritime provinces of Canada. We even had a deposit on the Nor' by Nor' East Caravan just prior to Sandy's nomination for International Secretary. But with the demands of that office, we just couldn't find the time. Now, almost 5 years later, time clicks along; I am 71 and not as strong as I was then, and we still haven't gone. There is so much to do, so little time. How easy it is to postpone things that matter to us. Sometimes the things that are blocking us are real, but we need to know that time passes quickly and we have no guarantee of tomorrow. For some of us our life becomes a life of dreams. Oh! If I just had this summer to go on that caravan or rally. Oh! If I didn't have to make that few more dollars I'll need for a more secure retirement, then I could attend that rally or take on a leadership role in my unit.


Here is what we need to think about; there will always be demands on our time. Our families are with us always; there will always be graduations, weddings and birthdays. They are there, and they will never end. But, here's an unfortunate truth; life is finite, and it's much too short, and it will end. Our health is a precious gift, but it has limits, and it's too soon gone.


My point is easy to see; it's not always wise to put things off or to postpone the things we dream of doing. Sometimes we just have to say to ourselves, "I have this dream, and I'm going to live it," make our apologies, and go.


WBCCI offers so many wonderful options for adventure, just a quick review of our great caravans are enough to excite most of us; a chance to see, and do so much. And they are all led by leaders who know the area, and for the considerable time and effort they spend organizing and preparing these caravans their only compensation is our enjoyment; they do it all for us. It may not be that everyone enjoys the structure necessary to make the caravan work, but there are all kinds of opportunities for us to plan our own. We also have so many fine national and special events rallies, and a constant string of unit, region, and International events. Oh, and by the way, it's not too soon to plan to be with us at the 2015 International Rally in Farmington, New Mexico. It's a great opportunity to combine a visit to an International Rally with an in-depth exploration of the national parks in the 4 Corners area.


Remember, Airstream made your RV to live in comfortably while you enjoy all this country and all WBCCI has to offer. The time to do this is now. I know for some of you in the north it may not seem like the ideal season, but it's the right time to make resolutions and plan your trip. Do it, do it while you still can, DO IT NOW! Remember the best dreams lead to action. To all of you, I leave this message: your Airstream was made to use. Use it!!


Reprinted from the November 2014 Blue Beret  

Photo by Anna Sullivan Photography
Light Painting
by Tim Kendziorski



This picture is an experiment in Light Painting. This is a process whereby you light the subject little by little, frame by frame, with flashlights rather than using powerful strobes. The results can look like you have a full studio of equipment to capture the image in one take but in reality, you are taking many images, lighting them in little bits and later assembling them into one final image. The results can be very dramatic and can really give the photographer a level of freedom to create in ways not available in conventional photography. I wanted to develop my skills as a photographer in this arena and my Airstream at the bottom of my driveway seemed like a perfect subject.


The process begins way before it gets dark outside. I gather all that I will need for the evening. For this shot I used several hand held spotlights, one of which is mounted on a pole for lighting the subject from above. I also have batteries to run not only the lights, but also to power my laptop which is important to see each shot as I take them. I used a tripod with leg extensions to allow me to position the camera far above where the normal eye would see to give the image an interesting perspective.






















While it is still light outside I set up the camera, tripod and laptop. I use the computer to fully control the camera and I also hook up a remote trigger so I can walk around with my light and operate the camera when I am ready. The laptop allows me to see the pictures as well as back up the images as they are taken. I compose the shot I think will look good and then check focus. Once I have it all set I tape the focus ring on the camera in one place so it doesn't accidentally get bumped. I weigh down the tripod to keep it steady. Then, once it is all set up, I stay as clear of the tripod as I can so as to avoid bumping it. It has to remain exactly in that position throughout the evening without moving at all. All of the images I will be taking will be stacked one on top of another so they all have to match up exactly. Keeping the tripod in precisely one position is critical to this process.


Once it starts to get to a nice twilight I start taking my first pictures. I don't light anything yet as I am looking only to capture the blues of the darkening skies. I take several images as I am not sure which sky colors will look best in the final image.



  Checking focus with a focus box


Twilight shot for the deep blue skies in the final picture 


Once it gets dark enough the flashlights come out and the real picture-taking begins. I adjust the camera remotely using the laptop to take 15 seconds exposures (I have the f-stop set to 16 so that my lighting is not too bright during this time). Once I trigger the shutter, I sweep a light over an area of the trailer to illuminate it. I start by lighting the top and work my way around to the sides and front. I sweep the light back and forth during the 15 seconds that the shutter is open. It's dark outside so the only thing the camera captures is what I am illuminating with my light. In the image below you can see the top of the trailer and the light trail of my light as I pass it over the top. I don't worry about that trail because I will remove the unwanted parts in post production.

I also take pictures illuminating the windows and doors from the inside of the trailer. This gives things a "lived in" look. And, to finish up, I light the ground and trees all around.


Illuminating the trailer with an overhead light 


Once I have all of the images I think I will need - in this case over 150 shots - I start post production. As a note, all of the software I use to make this shot is freely available to anybody online. You don't need to spend a dime on fancy programs like Photoshop to get great results. My primary operating system is Ubuntu Linux so some of the software available to me will not work on Windows. But there are alternatives online for whatever operating system you have.


I use a program called Darktable to control the camera and check my images on site as I am taking them. I also use GIMP (GNU Image Manipulating Program) to stack the images together and clean them up.


With GIMP, I combine the images one by one until I have the entire scene lit up as I want it to look. I also use it to digitally darken the cargo trailer parked next to the Airstream. Any light trails are erased leaving a great looking finished product. The actual process of combining the pictures is somewhat technical and if it is something you are interested in I would suggest looking up subjects like "Frame Stacking" online to get you started.


All in all, light painting is a rewarding way to expand your skills as a photographer. You can use this technique to photograph a lot more than just Airstreams. Enjoy!


Resources: - Photography workflow software available for MAC and Linux. - GNU Image Manipulation Program available for Windows, MAC and Linux. - Ubuntu Desktop Operating system.

Yet another creative way to display your WBCCI Numbers.

The WBCCI Central Office will be closed on Friday, November 28

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