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!
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
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.
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.
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.
the years I have owned several vans,
1969 GMC Window Van
1987 Astro Van
Chevy Long Wheel base
1993 Ford Van
1992 Astro Van
1978 Chevy 4x4 van
1966 GMC Van
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!
I say, van-on my friends until we park together again!