CARAVAN BASICS Note: these Caravan Basics provide a framework for the development and enjoyment of WBCCI Caravans. Each Caravan Leader will use and/or modify them to best fit individual Caravans or style of leadership.
Caravans are planned to the best of a Leader’s ability – but, in spite of all the contacts, telephone calls, and letter writing, things can go awry. If that happens, try to take it in stride – the next day will be better. Remember, this is a Caravan Club, not just a rally or trailer club. So, please………
Enter the caravan with a spirit of adventure, because it really is. Enjoy yourselves, the scenery, the people, and local events. Keep well and cheerful, be cooperative and courteous. Drive CAREFULLY, SAFELY, and INTELLIGENTLY Assume your share of responsibilities. Help your fellow caravanners. Become a family SMILE – and remember, we are making FRIENDS FOR LIFE.
ALCOHOL: Please exercise restraint in the use of alcohol. Do not take beer, wine, or liquor containers outside your RV. Pour drinks into mugs or glasses. We need to watch the reputation of WBCCI.
CARAVAN JOBS: Many caravan jobs will be rotated. If you have a medical problem, which precludes the performance of certain jobs, inform the Leader. If you cannot be in the sun or on your feet for two hours to help park, or if you have joint problems and can not bend over for an hour to help dump, tell the Leader in advance. There are plenty of jobs, and none is more important than any other. There will not be make-work assignments because there is too much to do and too much fun to be had for that.
The essential jobs for most caravans are: Welcome committee; Parking; Water; Cookout committee; De-Parkers; Dump crew; Caboose.
CAR POOL: Many caravans will have car pool tours. The tour guide or Caravan Leader will give tour details over the CB (Citizens Band Radio). Drivers must have a good operating CB. The general policy is to share expenses so that we can use the minimum number of rigs. A common method is to multiply the number of miles traveled by a standard amount (.20 or .25) then divide the total by the number of people in the car (including the driver). This will insure that everyone pays on the same basis.
CB: A CB (Citizens Band Radio) is not mandatory, but they are STRONGLY recommended. If you do not have one installed in your tow vehicle, one of the hand held HELP versions that plug into your cigarette lighter is inexpensive and quite serviceable. It is also very handy to have a CB in your trailer since the CB is used to update general information from time to time. When trying to contact each other on CB, please use your name, not handle. It is very difficult to keep track of many different handles. The official caravan channel will be 14 (unless it is formally changed). If you desire to hold private conversations on the CB or escape interference when on the road, switch to another channel, but remember to return to channel 14 when nearing caravan destinations.
CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT: Please bring comfortable walking shoes, warm and cool weather clothing, and rain gear. Layering is always effective for warmth and takes a small amount of room to pack. Be sure to bring your Camera or Video Recorder and a set of binoculars.
COOKOUTS: Leaders may be able to schedule cookouts. They are not potlucks. All food, except drink, will be furnished, and duty assignments will be made for these activities. The cookout crew will purchase food, cook, serve, and clean up afterward. To have cookouts, grills are often needed to fix hamburgers, soups, or whatever for large groups of people. If you have a portable grill or cooker, please bring it with you. Portable tables are also needed for serving from time to time.
DRIVERS MEETINGS: Drivers Meetings will generally be held late in the day so as not to interfere with more important activities. Both the driver and spouse are encouraged to attend. They will be as short as possible and will be used to review the next day’s driving instructions and to answer any questions.
EMERGENCIES: The Caboose will consist of two units. They, and every caravanner, are expected to assist in any way possible in an emergency; however, the Caboose is not to be expected to repair your rig or leave the prescribed route to find you. Be prepared to help yourself. Should you have a major breakdown, notify the Leader as soon as possible. Each stop will have an emergency telephone number. If you are in camp and need help, turn on the lights and blow the horn in your tow car.
EQUIPMENT: The following minimum equipment is recommended: (1) Fuses for battery system and pump. (2) Fire extinguisher in tow vehicle and trailer. (3) One 5/8″ dia. 25 ft. and one 5/8″ dia. 50 ft. non-toxic [white] water hose. (4) Two free flowing Y’s with caps. (5) One shut off Y. (6) Sewer hose, 10 ft. min. (7) One 5/8″ dia. 8 ft. and one 5/8″ 25 ft min. sanitary drain hose [non-white] (8) A two-gallon wastewater container or bucket. (9) Wheel chocks. (10) Leveling blocking. (11) Tow cable. (12) Highway hazard safety triangles. (13) Water jug. (14) Small shovel. (15) 50 ft. electrical extension 10 or 12 gauge if possible. (16) A water pressure regulator. Mark any loose equipment with trailer number.
FINANCES: All WBCCI Caravans are self-supporting. The Leaders have estimated all of the expenses and based the Kitty fee on that estimate. The Leader will administer the Kitty, which consists of all caravan fees, and a caravan member will be asked to audit the books. You will receive a detailed cost build-up before leaving and a final accounting at the end of the caravan.
FIREARMS: It is recommended that you not bring firearms on a caravan.
FLAGS: If you choose to fly your flags, international protocol requires flying the flag of the host country (Canada, when in Canada) in the position of honor: facing the flags, the host flag is on the left, if two flags are flown; flags are to be the same height.
FUEL: Diesel, and unleaded gasoline is available everywhere. There will also be ample access to propane. Fill your rig with fuel prior to a move day. This limits the need to stop with your trailer attached and reduces the congestion at service stations.
GENERATORS: If necessary, operate at hours and in locations that do not disturb other units or gatherings of caravanners. Caravan Leaders will determine when it is appropriate to use generators.
GETTING ACQUAINTED: Making new friends is as much a part of caravanning as the things we see and do, but we must work at it, and ultimately, it is your responsibility. There will be cookouts, dinners, GAMs (Get Acquainted Meetings), or some type of group activity at almost every stop, which will offer get acquainted opportunities. Use them. Car-pool whenever possible and switch around so that you have different companions.
HITCH-UP: Please do not attempt to socialize with your neighbors while they are hitching up; it could, and often does, cause them or you to forget something (perhaps a critical safety step).
IDENTIFICATION: WBCCI numbers must be on all trailers and motorhomes. All of us must wear our badges at all times outside our Airstreams – this includes tours unless otherwise directed. Badges are often used as passes for entry into attractions.
JOURNAL: A caravan journal includes a narration of activities experienced daily throughout the caravan. It is a great memento of a special event in your life and should have the participation of all caravanners. Can you rhyme, or draw, or write an interesting dialog of our activities? If so, would you like to provide input to the caravan Journal – all input is welcomed. Someone is always needed to edit a Journal – it is usually presented to all caravanners at the end of the trip.
LEAVING CARAVAN: Overnight, unauthorized absence from the caravan results in automatic dismissal. However, anyone may leave the caravan and return with the Leader’s permission in advance. No refunds are made for missed caravan activities because of absence.
LIABILITY: Neither the club, nor its officers, nor any WBCCI sanctioned Leader of caravans shall be responsible for the loss of or damage to property, or the injury to or death of any participant in any duly authorized WBCCI Caravan. Protect yourself and your Airstream at all times. Cary proof of vehicle liability coverage (Canada requires a special “yellow card” available from your insurance company, usually at no charge).
MAIL: If a caravan is long enough, there will be scheduled mail stops. A caravan member will be assigned the job of “mailman”.
MAPS: Each caravanning unit will be provided with maps or a road log of the caravan route. However, it is also informative to stop at State and Local information centers for additional maps and data. A Rand McNally Road Atlas is also very handy.
MIRRORS: Please remove removable mirrors and turn in affixed mirrors anytime the trailer is disconnected from the vehicle. Not only is it dangerous to have extended mirrors, in many states it is illegal.
PARKING: There will be Parkers at every stop to guide and assist you in parking. Parking may be assigned on a rotating basis, unless you are unable to assist in this activity. If you would prefer to have your spouse direct your parking, just let your “Parker” know – and follow their instructions. Do not arrive at a scheduled campsite before the caravan leader.
PETS: Pets are welcome but must be under control at all times and leashed when outside. Pets are to be exercised outside the camp area, and owners are to clean up after them every time – rain or shine. Remember, we are guests, and no one wants to walk in a pet’s mess. Do not bring pets to meetings. Current rabies certificates are required. Make appropriate arrangements for pet well being when long tours are scheduled away from the campground.
ROADS AND CARAVAN ROUTE: The caravan route will be reviewed at a drivers meeting before each move. As a general rule, the surface conditions of roads on which we will travel are good. Although some of the secondary roads are narrow, all are safe. (if there are exceptions to this rule, the Leader will let you know in advance)
SMOKING: No smoking at any group function. Please comply with restrictions posted elsewhere.
SPECIAL SKILLS: If you have special skills (such as electrician, plumber, mechanic, first aid, etc.) that you would care to make available to the caravan, please let the Leader know at the beginning of a caravan.
TOW VEHICLE & TRAILER OR MOTORHOME: Both should be in A-1 condition. Check the brakes, wheel bearings, belts and hoses, and have good tires and spare (be sure to check the air pressure in the spare). Radiator: always check to see that your radiator is in good condition; if the fin tubes are 25% restricted by chemical build-up, do something. An auxiliary transmission cooler is a good investment if you do not have one. Overheating can cause problems costing much more than a new radiator. Remember, it is much cheaper and more convenient to prevent problems at home than to have failures on the road.
Check the hitch ball regularly for tightness, cracks, and broken welds. Lubricate hitch as required. Check hitch platforms for cracks and missing or loose bolts. Check wheel lugs for tightness, and have a good battery; be sure pump, water heater, and refrigerator work; gas bottles are full and have current certification; check for gas leaks.
TRASH: Every stop will have trash disposal. Most disposal spots request that we use plastic bags. Many will provide them, but it is best if we come prepared with our own. GLAD has a 30 pack box of “Large Kitchen Garbage Bags,” size 2 ft x 2 ft 6 in, 13 gal. capacity that is very convenient if you do not have other preferences. Please do not dispose of loose trash or paper wrapped trash unless so directed.
TRAVELING: The caravan will not convoy. Travel in groups of 2 to 4 for safety. Maintain at least 100 yd. intervals on the highway; remember if you can read the numbers on the Airstream in front of you, you are too close. If you travel alone, let others (especially the Caboose) know it. NEVER attempt to pass on downgrade or upgrade on a secondary road. If 4 or 5 vehicles pile up behind you, pull off the road at the first safe spot to let them pass. Be sure your rig is entirely off the road, and watch for rough berms and debris. If you need help, raise the hood and set out safety triangles. Have someone on the CB communicate with other caravanners.
WATER: Although Leaders try not to have scheduled stops without water – it is always possible to be surprised. Therefore it is best to be prepared – ALWAYS CARRY A FULL TANK OF WATER, and use it to keep it fresh. Be sure your tank is clean, the pump works, and there are no leaks. Fill your tank before you leave for the next campsite – you never know what may be there. If you are hooked to water caravan style, it is best to fill your tank in the middle of the day when usage is low. Water hoses can be sterilized by pouring a mixture of water and Clorox through the hose. BE PREPARED.
WATER HOSE CONNECTIONS: Replace washers at the beginning of the season and carry extras. If you hook up to the pressure line, a pressure reducer may be necessary for use between the Y and the Airstream at some locations. High pressure can damage plumbing. Water filter systems should be only on your supply line, not including your neighbor’s line.
WORSHIP SERVICES: Often there will not be scheduled Caravan Worship Services. We regret that it is necessary to schedule some caravan activities on Sunday. Not to do so often means adding days to a caravan. When in a fixed location on a Sunday, we recommend that you attend local churches – this offers a wonderful opportunity to worship in a different setting and meet local people – most often they are very interested in our caravan activity.