The Weasel’s First Tattoo

The Weasel’s First Tattoo

Yesterday I was talking with a co-worker of mine and mentioned how excited I am for the 2010 RV season to begin so Deke and I can take advantage of all the events the WBCCI has planned. His response was: I hadn’t realized that the primary purpose of owning an Airstream was to spend time with other Airstreams.

I guess in a way, I hadn’t realized that either.

We received our WBCCI identification number in the mail a few weeks ago…..it’s the big red number you sometimes see on the forehead of trailers or motorhomes that belong to club members. Before we bought ours, we often wondered what they meant and by the looks of the number of postings about them on Airforums.com, a lot of other people wonder too. The numbers are utilitarian and symbolic and are not to be messed with (take note those of you who just want to paint numbers on your model or affix your own random numbers). The practice of numbering the trailers was adopted by Wally Byam as a way of recognizing members from a distance on those long caravans (he was #1 of course). After you join the club, you’re assigned a number and that number stays with you, and moves with you throughout the years – it can be transferred to new Airstream models as you trade up or scale down your home on wheels. Our number is 5 digits, and with the help of Sue Chestnut, Northern Illinois Unit Treasurer, we got one that’s easy for us to remember: 17707. One is easy enough to remember, and followed by the day we got married, we shouldn’t have any problems telling people what number we are. Technically, its 17,707 – but the numbers in the club go much higher. That’s a lot of Airstream members who have joined, caravanned and made the most of their experiences in the WBCCI.

Applying WBCCI Numbers

When I got the WBCCI club directory, one of the first things I did was look up who had the lowest number. Whether or not this person is the first official recipient of the number or it was passed on to them*, there’s something very romantic about imagining what the rallies were like when everyone had two digits.

As for the numbers themselves, keep in mind that in the age of vinyl letter cut-outs, instant banners and wall decals, these numbers are unlike anything we’ve seen. Their font is unusual, but does come up as the “Airstream” font (http://www.urbanfonts.com/fonts/Airstream.htm), and not all the numbers seemed to be the same size when we got them. They’re incredibly angular and severe which is only magnified by being fire engine red. The thought of putting up 5 numbers in perfect alignment on a surface 9 feet up that wasn’t even flat did not have a promising ending, but we managed. Getting the numbers on the Airstream seemed a bit of a production as we read through the two page instructions that came in the envelope. In the end we learned that water is the key – probably the opposite of what you’d think.

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The Weasel looks a little different now that she has a number, but it also makes her look like a member of the team – kind of like a number on a sports jersey. In our little Airstream community, I’m glad people will know we belong to the club and I look forward to the conversations I’ll have with others about what rallies I’ve been on. I’ll keep the WBCCI directory handy on trips so that when we pass someone or see someone in a park with a number, we’ll be able to look them up and see where they’re from as well. There’s a camaraderie about all this that I look forward to.

WBCCI Numbers Properly Affixed

* If you let your membership lapse you lose your number. It then gets recycled back into the mix for the next person to use. If you buy a used Airstream, you might be able to see the remnants of the old number and be able to find out who owned it in the past.

6 Comments

  1. Hey you 2… sorry to resurrect an ancient post, but I came across is when I was looking at posts about putting the numbers on.  

    Let me just say that 5 is now my least favorite digit (and our # is 15566!)  I guess you were putting yours on in a cool garage somewhere in Chicagoland, while I was doing it in the sun on a ladder in the street, that could make some difference in in the attitude at the end of the day. Finally, though, the Argosy is legit.  I’m going to the Region 9 Rally in Mineola, TX on Friday so I figured I’d toe the line.  

    Reply
    • The 5 would be a nightmare!! I hope the Mineola rally was great! 

  2. Hey Deke & Tiffani~

    Great blog – love the navigation via photos, too. Nifty.

    So congrats on the big red digits. We haven’t pulled the trigger on WBCCI yet, but will revisit the topic as the weather warms up and our thoughts turn to getting the trailer out on the road. I’d be curious to find out if the old numbers on ours is available: 5352. If you happen to have that directory lying around, take a peek for us!

    Have a good one, and maybe we can all get together for a de-winterizing party this spring, though from that photo I’d guess yours is tucked in some warm, indoor spot… you lucky dogs!

    Reply
    • Hey Brad, thanks for the comment and nice to meet a fellow Chicagoan Airstreamer! We’ll be sure to add your blog to our list of links (btw – a links page is on our top 5 New Years Resolutions!)

      We’ll be sure to research that number and get back to you after the Holidays. And as far as a de-winterizing party, we’re all in!

      Talk soon,
      deke

  3. Hello Deke and Tiffani. Fun blog. We’ve put off applying our Big Red Numbers but your recent posts reminds me to do so. Soon! After winter, before rally season. We’re going to try the static cling method. Will you be going to Gillette?

    Reply
    • Hi there, RG! Airstreaming.net looks great as well, we’ll be sure to add it to our links sections!

      I’ll be the first to admit that we were a little nervous about applying anything permanent to the Weasel’s exterior as well. Chalk it up to our overactive imaginations, but Tiff and I really got a kick out of the whole process. Our first rally was a hoot, and we’re planning to hit many more next year (we’re definitely planning on Gillette, if we can get the time off!). So when it came time to place the Red Numbers, it was almost ceremonious. For a few minutes, we felt like those crazy caravaners from the 50s and 60s who toted their belongings all across the world behind Mr. Byam’s lead. We hope to do a lot more traveling in the years to come and for us, its just kinda cool to be part of the history behind those numbers.

      Thanks for commenting, and we’ll talk to you again soon!
      -deke

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