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Vanning

My outlet from reality

By: Dan (Danío) Werry

Once upon a time there was this guy. At the time he was just known as Dan. Kind of a regular guy who drove a white 67 Firebird with slotted mags and fat 50ís on the back. Dan would cruise up and down the main drag (Woodman Blvd) in Dayton, Ohio every Friday and Saturday night. Well one Saturday night while hanging out in the parking lot of the local watering hole The Dixie Electric Company I met up with a friend who was driving an awesome GLOSS BLACK! Ford van with wall to wall silver shag carpet on the interior. The year 1982! My friend Gary Hudson who worked as a carpet installer was working for a Vanner. After Gary went to his first truck-in he went out and bought the Ford Van and had it painted and he finished the interior out himself. My brothersí friend Terry had a custom van and I always liked it, but he never talked about going vanning. Gary began to fill me in on all the happenings at truck-ins or Van-ins which some call it. Gary asked me if I wanted to go to one sometime and I expressed quickly YES, sure! When is the next one? Gary said in a couple weeks, we can split the costs, just bring your own food and beer! Easy enough!

My first truck-in was hosted by Mid-West Vans for their Inter-National event. As I recall there were about 750 vans in attendance. Yes, 750 vans! Remember 1982

To make an unbelievable story short I returned from that weekend a different person. I went out and bought a 1975 Chevy Van (shorty) with a 350ci motor and a 3 on the tree trans. The van was already somewhat customized but I added my touches like anyone would. It wasnít long before the Firebird was sold and vanning was the choice for the weekends. Ya see back then there was a truck-in somewhere in the tri-state area every weekend. Even the smaller truck-ins would bring in 350 vans.

I decided to join the same van club my friend Gary H. had joined since they made me feel so welcome into their camping spot a couple times already. Back then there were a couple of van clubs in the Dayton area and South Towne Vans LTD was a close knit group. At the time and for many years Gary (Woodstock) Pendington was the president. I stayed with STV for a few years before moving to Daytona Beach, Fl in 1986. I had sold my van and bought a car that would make the trip to Florida and was off to start a new life at the age of 25.

Several years went by and I eventually bought another van, an 86 Chevy (long wheel) with a 6 banger automatic in it. I put a gull wing door and visor I found at the local bone yard on the van, and had it painted dark blue metallic. It wasnít until 1995 that I spotted a little red early Ford van going down the main road with a blonde driving (Hattie Stumph) that I was able to find vanning in Florida. We didnít have the internet to search these things up like we do now. I didnít catch up to Russ n Hattie until later that month when Coastal was hosting a truck-in at Bulow Campground north of Daytona. See I was in the chiropractorís office when I heard some guy in the lobby asking who owns this van out in the parking lot. I was in no position to jump up and see what he (Spaceman) wanted. He left a flyer on the windshield and the rest is history. I soon joined up with Coastal Vans of Daytona and cruised with them for many years, and I am currently a member of Adventure Vans of Florida, and The Florida Van Council.

Over the years I have owned several vans,

1975 Chevy shorty     1969 GMC Window Van     

1993 Astro Van     1987 Astro Van

1986 Chevy Long Wheel base     1993 Ford Van      

1996 Dodge Van     1992 Astro Van

1994 Astro Van     1978 Chevy 4x4 van     

1968 Chevy Van     1966 GMC Van

2012 Ford van

Although the parties still go on late into the night I find myself more content on hanging out with friends around a campfire or radio playing some old-time rock n roll and exchanging stories from past adventures, and plans for new ones. The traveling also suits me. Getting out on the open road and seeing what this country has to offer and sights to see is awesome. Being there is way better than pictures!

So I say, van-on my friends until we park together again!

Danío

 

 

 

 

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