Airstream club gets ready to roll the trailers

In a few weeks, if you see a convoy of gleaming silver trailers rolling down the freeway bound for Napa, go ahead and stare.

The NorCal Airstream Club, which will embark in early August on a caravan to Napa for a rally of Airstream aficionados, is used to the gawking. In fact, these folks love it.

Many of the members, old enough to remember when vintage Airstreams were new, spend much of the summer on the road, attending conclaves of like-minded RV lovers, who bond over the minutiae of Airstream maintenance, the splendor of a well-appointed interior and the pride of ownership.

Most, like club president Dennis Richardson, 72, of Fair Oaks, were introduced to Airstream living by their parents, owners of originals made by legendary trailer designer Wally Byam.

“My mom gave me her Airstream in 2001, and I started taking her (the trailer) to rallies and Airstream events and got to know other people in Northern California with them,” Richardson said. “I tow it with a Chevy truck, and it’s a haul. It’s 6,400 pounds on her axles and another 800 pounds’ towing weight. People definitely notice it coming down the road.”

One of the longest-serving members of the Nor Cal group is 89-year-old Grace Weaver, of Bass Lake, east of Oakhurst. She said she cherishes the camaraderie inherent in Airstream ownership.

“I’ll tell you something my dad said, ‘I liken it to a fraternity,’ ” Weaver said. “It’s a good, enjoyable retired life and a chance to see the world with other people. We’ve heard all sorts of comments and jokes about (Airstreams). A group of us were down in Palm Springs at the Follies stage show. And the announcer said before the show, ‘We have a group of people in attendance tonight that live in tin cans.’ ”

The club, Richardson said, is always looking for new members, especially those below retirement age. Its website:

“We’d be tickled to death to get young people,” he said.

Sam McManis

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