Backroads Journal

Introducing Wallie, the Little Airstream

Being the consummate daydreamer, in my younger years I would embark on great adventures in my mind that would take me to places I had never been. My mental wanderings would be in the persona of a guy named Wallie. Now, I have no idea where that name came from, but Wallie was an adventurous and outgoing lad, two qualities that I seriously lacked in my youth. You could say that Wallie was my fun alter-ego.

Now, when I was growing up, my parents would take us on long, summer tent camping vacations. We would drive and see as much as we could in my Dad’s two week vacation time. I have always kept the feeling of excitement heading out on the road, but over the years, Nancy and I found ourselves opting more for country inns than campfires. I still had the desire to smell wood fires and listen to the nature sounds of the forest, but my old bones wouldn’t take sleeping on the ground anymore. We had to find a more civilized way of experiencing the great outdoors!

After several years of pondering the merits and draw-backs of Sprinter vans, motor homes, pickup campers, pop-up camping trailers and all the variations and sizes of travel trailers, we finally settled on the combination of luxury and needs that would satisfy both our need for comfort and my call of the wild. Last February, we finalized the dream and purchased a small Airstream travel trailer. The model is their new Basecamp. Sixteen feet of polished aluminum, black glass, full kitchen and bath. It’s easy to pull with my 4Runner and has the combination of comfort and minimalism that we were looking for in a camper. Pulling it off the dealer’s lot in Oklahoma City, I knew the little Airstream had to be named Wallie!

Since last March, when we brought Wallie home, he has traveled with us twice to the Colorado Rockies and South Dakota’s Black Hills. We have experienced a total solar eclipse and many wonderful campfire moments. He’s gone with us to K-State football weekends and to meet up with a retired motorhoming high school friend at El Dorado Lake. We’ve seen sunsets and sunrises, and everywhere we go there are people who ask us about Wallie and want to visit. It seems that our Wallie is adding adventure to our lives and forcing me to open up and be more outgoing, just as the Wallie of my youth!

As you read this, the floor of my office is littered with travel information about the Hill Country of Texas and the Great Circle Tour up and around Lake Superior, which are two of the trips on our schedule for 2018. My ultimate bucket list road trip to Alaska is coming in the next couple of years, but in the meantime, you might see Wallie on the road in and around Kansas. If you do, give him a wave and a honk. He, most likely, will be taking us to new and fun places that we have never been.


You can check out the Airstream Basecamp here:


You can follow along with us as we search the country for those special and amazing spots out there on the backroads.  You can follow us on Facebook, at Backroads Press: Stephen Perry or pick up the Twitter feed @BackroadsPress, or @BackroadsWallie.

Stephen and Nancy Perry

On the Road with Wallie