Sierra Nevada Airstreams - Recreation with vehicles in the Sierra Nevada and American Great Basin areas

Is aluminitus hereditary?


The Harrison and Leipper families have been members of WBCCI continuously since it's inception in 1955. Currently all members of the Leipper family are members of WBCCI and three are members of the Sierra Nevada Unit. Virginia Leipper (#1183) is a second generation Airstreamer. It was her parents, Bryan and Jo Harrison who started the family on the Airstream journey. Bryan and Jo Harrison joined WBCCI in 1955, the year it was founded. Virginia (and Dale Leipper's) children Bryan Leipper (#772), Diane Leipper (#772), Anita Leipper (#5502), and Janet Leipper Smith (#9814) are third generation Airstreamers.

The family attachment to Airstreams is not just the trailers, it is the memories. Going to rallies with our grandparents, including the 1962 International rally in Auburn WA. Meeting so many wonderful people. Listening to our grandparents stories of their Airstream adventures and seeing their slide shows. Seeing their enthusiasm and excitement. When Dale and Virginia became members of the Monterey Bay California Unit, one or the other of us "kids" often tagged along, even though by then we has all gone our separate ways. We always felt welcome and we learned a lot from that great group of people. In fact Bryan bought his Airstream from MBCU members and it was the MBCU which made it possible for Bryan and I to get our grandparents original WBCCI numbers.

Bryan and Jo Harrison

Bryan and Jo Harrison were full timers for almost 15 years. They owned several Airstreams including a 1951 21 ft Flying Cloud and a 1961 26ft Overlander. Bryan and Jo were active in several units and directly involved in the formation of units in Texas, Arizona, and Nevada. They attended rallies all over the U.S. including WBCCI international rallies in Winsconsin Dells WI in 1959, Colorado Springs, CA in 1960 Auburn WA in 1962, and Bimidgi, MN in 1963.

They participated in several caravans including the 1957 Caravan to Mexico and 1959 Caravan to Eastern Canada. Bryan and Jo also traveled extensively on their own and with friends they had made through various WBCCI adventures.

After the death of Jo Harrison, when Bryan Harrison was no longer able to tow his Airstream, his daughter Virginia and her husband Dale took him with them on many of their Airstream outings.

Dale and Virginia Leipper

Dale and Virginia Leipper joined the Monterey Bay California Unit not long after its formation in the early 1970's. They remained members of the MBCU until the mid 1990's. After moving to Nevada they joined the Sierra Nevada Unit. Dale and Virginia started out with a 1962 Bambi. The majority of their Airstream adventures, including rallies and MBCU caravans, occurred with the Bambi.

It was this Airstream that led to two of their most memorable experiences. One was when their tow vehicle broke down on the way to a rally. The only thing available to tow the trailer to the rally was a U-haul trailer that was large enough to drive the Bambi right into the back. Needless to say they made quite an entrance at the rally. The other was a skit Dale and Virginia did at an MBCU rally on how to take a shower in a Bambi with one half gallon of water. That skit was such a hit, they were asked to repeat the performance at a Region 12 rally. Mom still has her “birthday suit” - a black plastic bag with Birthday Suit written on it.

Dale and Virginia have attended Region 12 rallies and WBCCI International rallies including Boise ID in 1986 and Bozman MT in 1989

Bryan and Diane Leipper

Dale & Virginia's son Bryan and daughter Diane purchased their Airstream in 1994. They have been active members of the Sierra Nevada Unit ever since. They are also associate members of NorCal. Bryan and Diane attended the International rally in Boise ID in 1998 and the International rally in Salem, OR in 2006. The last four years their mom, Virginia has traveled with them. In 2002 Dale and Virginia bought a BVan as towing the trailer was no longer feasible. Now the BVan is the tow vehicle for Bryan's Airstream. This has enabled Virginia to keep on traveling in her own Airstream but instead of driving she now has a chauffeur.

Anita Leipper

Anita Leipper, youngest daughter of Dale and Virginia, purchased her Airstream from SNU members in 2004. She is a full timer and spend much of her time being a camp host in various Oregon parks. In 2005 Anita attended several SNU rallies.

Janet Smith

The most recent family member to purchase an Airstream is Janet Smith. It seems she just couldn't ignore the lure of aluminum. Her adventures are just beginning.


In the late 1990's after realizing their grandparents slides and other memorabilia were suffering from age, Bryan and Diane began the process of scanning as much as possible. Bryan and Jo Harrison had kept very good diaries of their travels and log books of the majority of their photos and slides. Scanning this material has enabled the family to enjoy the early days of WBCCI as well as share it with others through our website.

Happy hours, pot lucks, and gopher holes were the basis for many great memories. Happy hour, usually held before dinner provided a great time to share the days activities, to go over plans for the next day, and most of all to just sit an visit. They were and still are, an important element of the social fabric of rallies and caravans. Pot luck and “mustgo” meals were also held at almost every Airstream gathering. There were any number of varieties of pot luck meals including some where people were formed into small groups with each group sharing a meal together at someone's trailer. Mustgo meals helped clean up the leftovers before hitting the road. My Gramp loved barbecuing chicken for Airstream gatherings. My Grandmother has a recipe book which is a collection of recipes that were favorites of pot luck meals. The book was created by a fellow Airstreamer and presented to my Grandmother.

Gopher holes have pretty much become a thing of the past due to changes in regulations amongst other factors. In the early days of WBCCI, decorating the hole you dug for your gray and black water was a labor of love. There were contests to determine the best decorated gopher hole. My Gramp took great pride in his efforts and often used things he had found during his travels to make his hole outstanding.

The Fourth generation?

It is beginning to look like aluminitus might be spreading to the fourth generation. Janet's daughter and son-in-law seem very enamored with Janet's Airstream and I am sure there will be lots of camping trips for all of them in the Globetrotter. So beware, if your family members start taking an interest in your Airstream they may be showing signs of hereditary aluminitus!

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