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ESCANABA – Since the 1930s, Airstream caravans have been providing travelers with the luxury of traveling in style.

This year, Escanaba is the host of the Wally Byam Airstream Club’s 60th annual International Conference. Airstream members have been camped at the U.P. State Fairgrounds since Saturday, with some traveling from Canada, across the U.S., and even as far as Australia. All to enjoy the great outdoors and the luxurious camping lifestyle.

“They’re just so cool,” said Richard Girard, President of the Wally Byam Airstream Club. “I mean they’ve been around since 1935 and Wally Byam built them and it’s the Cadillac of old RVs. My RV is 42 years old. There’s not too many other ones that you’ll see around 42 years so we have a lot of vintage rigs. People are really proud of their Airstreams, they’re like second homes.”
 
Airstreams are widely recognized for their rounded, polished aluminum coachwork. For some, they’re a reflection of the past; for others, they’re just quite simply fun.
 
“We’re serious travelers; we’re serious Airstreamers,” says Sandy and John Perryman from Washington state. “We travel a lot and we like doing it in an Airstream.”
 
For the Perrymans, being a part of the Airstream world presented itself when the Washington couple decided to purchase one back in 2001. Since then, it’s been quite the experience for the couple.
 
This former club President and Secretary have stayed in every state apart from one. An experience, they say, that has been once-in-a-lifetime.
 
“There are people that are in this club that, to us, are almost like family,” said John. “Every year we get together someplace and we meet the same people, we go to dinner and it’s almost, like I said, a family relationship. That’s what appeals to me the most.”
 
When I asked them their future plans, there was no indication of this couple settling down any time soon.
 
“Our club has what we call regions,” says Sandy. “There are 12 regions in the country and we belong to Region 10, which is Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and a couple provinces up in Canada. We’ll probably pretty much just stay in that area and do our traveling from now on.”