Airstream rally promises silver to Comstock

Robert and Cecelia Stansbury had always planned to travel once they retired, but they had no idea where the journey would take them.

In preparation of leaving their jobs in the Bay area — he as a high school biology teacher and she as a legal assistant — they sold their share in a cabin in Hope Valley. With the proceeds, they bought an Airstream trailer.

“The year we bought our trailer, as a promotion they were offering a year of free membership into the (Wally Byam Caravan Club International),” Cecelia said.

And that changed everything.

“We had no idea it would end up as our main retirement focus,” Robert said. “But it has.”

This week, they are hosting the regional rally at the Silver City RV Resort. As president of the California-Nevada region, Robert and Cecelia, the vice president, are organizing nearly a week of activities in Carson City, Douglas County, Lake Tahoe, Virginia City and other regional highlights.

As part of the rally, they will also organize a fundraiser for local woman Heidi Smith, who was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

About 65 rigs, more than 120 people, are expected to attend the rally — Bringing silver back to the Comstock — from Tuesday through Sunday. At 4-6 p.m. today, members will open up their trailers to the public for an informal open house where those interested can see the Airstreams inside and out.

After retiring in 2010, the two moved to Carson City, where Cecelia lived as a child when her father served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.

Among the club-sponsored caravans, the couple has spent a month touring Canada, another month in Florida, three weeks in Kentucky and two weeks in Louisiana.

They have visited the capitals of 49 states, attended 10 international rallies all over the country and toured 34 national parks.

“We have been to places we would have never thought we’d go,” Robert said. “We have found out this country is full of a lot of wonderful people.”

In addition to now serving as the vice president of the regional organization, Cecelia has also served as secretary of the international club.

“You get it for the Airstream,” Robert said, “but after a while you stay for the people.”

They even open their driveway with full hook-ups to any members who are passing through town.

The club also motivates them to accomplish the goals they set when they retired — the reason they bought the Airstream in the first place.

“It gets you to use your trailer,” Cecelia said. “It’s a big investment to just sit in the garage.”


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