The year is 1911.
Picture a young boy: poor, hungry, ignored.
He travels with his sheepherder grandfather, tending the flock.
The young boy is required to take the animals up into the mountains of Oregon, for months on end, alone. Only a make-shift wagon with a canvas top pulled by a mule will be his shelter.
He has some beef jerky, a thermos, a hardwood cookstove, a kerosine lantern, and a few mystery books. A water stained adventure magazine is his favorite.
When he returns the livestock to low ground in the autumn of 1916, he packs a sack and jumps a ride on a train, down the coast to Los Angeles. HoBo style.
He joins the Merchant Marine, and travels, and dreams.
The boy feels the pull of learning, and working several odd jobs and sailoring during the summer months, he, somehow, affords his way through Stanford University.
In 1921, at age 25, he graduates from the College of Law, but will never practice. He has other ideas.
The memory of travel on the High Sea has set his rudder.
In the backyard of a small wood frame house in Los Angeles, the man builds ships. Land ships.
They have all the comforts of home: self contained clean water, cooking, refrigeration, sleeping quarters. Toilets.
They can easily be pulled from a the back of a car. And everyone has a car. They’re the new craze.
A grown man can stand erect within the confines of his own shiny ship. The captain of his own vessel.
People come from far and wide to see the ‘craft’.
He sells them as fast as he can build them- one at a time.
He publishes a small newsletter instructing fellow enthusiasts on how to build their own to accommodate the demand, but his followers would not only prefer he build them- they also want him to guide them in the adventure.
The man forges ahead, finding financing, hiring engineers, developing a manufacturing plant, and setting off on adventures around the world with his land craft. All the while, asking for others to join him.
And they did- to Egypt, Europe, India, as well as, the great American outdoors, which were all backscape for the Wally Byam Caravan Club International group of adventurers, and the making of an iconic American company that would become known as…
And my sister-n-law has one.
And my adventures with her are still unfolding.