Sep 20, 2012

First e-Van-t, longest from home winner and all round great time!!

Having been away from home for so long it was great to see this sign!
 So as I headed into Canaan, Connecticut I checked up on facebook and saw that my online friend Cherry from Cherry Wanders was going to be in Somers Connecticut. I was pretty close and as I was sending her an email to see if she wanted to make a long awaited personal meet and greet I remembered that the Super Somers, Custom Van Show was being held for the weekend.

 I promptly shot her a message that said I was on my way, hooked a right and started the 1hr drive across state towards the show. It was raining out like a holy bejeesus and that didn't really stop all weekend long. Of course I still hadn't stopped to fix the leaky front window so I was stuffing paper towel up in the front window on and off for the duration of the drive. It's not a solution but it's a red green temporary fix and it was good enough for now.

 When I got the the show I saw Cherry's van parked right up front, checked that there was power there and hooked the Beast into a 110v life line allowing the AC unit to spring to life!

Wood grill and bumper! Looking like a classic custom van
 Cherry came over and we did a meet and greet before settling in to get to know each other in person. Turns out that you can be a good judge of character online as well. Cherry was a fun loving girl who ended up in her van out of different circumstances than mine but is making due with what she has. She also travels with 6 cats which makes me praise her patience and ability to change litter as often as she does...6 cats, you heard me right! All of the very well behaved and since she has a topper like mine they have room to curl up and chill out without laying all over her living space.  

Maybe the best custom I saw. It probably helped that right after this the rain started coming down in buckets but i really love his hood and headlight combo
The show was pretty much what I expected...drunken madness mixed in with great people, shiny happy vans, every day travellers and the odd motorhome attempting to camoflauge themselves as a van, much like a hippy wearing a brooks brothers suit yet having on "all natural bamboo underwear" in an effort to stay connected...well actually not really the same thing at all and I coudl care less what people showed up in but the community had some things to say about these big living folks and not all of them were supportive of their comfortable quarters.

 This being my first van run was to be a bit of an initiation. A "Puppy" is what Cherry said I was called and indeed a puppy is what I felt like. Knowing no one but her and her knowing a small circle of vanner friends that she had met at her last two shows...I felt like I was tailing her constantly but if she noticed she didn't seem to mind. I make friends well but in groups it's tougher to find the right people to hang with. Turns out Cherry knew my kind of peeps and within a few hours I was making friends with some vanner veterans who didn't seem to mind  my puppy-ness. (of course they didn't actually know I was a puppy...if they did it might have been a different story). Not like i am a real don't drive over 30000kms, survive a propane explosion, do all the repairs yourself without assistance or any initial know-how...and stay a puppy!

 A few of them were folks and it was great to put a face to the handle. (my handle is Honkytime just for the record) Others were just real friendly and some were even down right awesome and made me blush (thanks Becky...from the guy with the nice teeth).
Led Zeppelin anyone?

Not a van...but so clean and gorgeous
After meeting her crew I wandered over to the registration desk and dropped my name in for the "Furthest from Home" category. I asked if it was from where your plate was from (meaning home), they said yes and that meant I was in for 2700+ easy win with gas pigs like these!!

 Day one was drinking and names. Day Two was the show, more drinking and more names!! There was a band  each night but night one my ears felt like they were going to die from discomfort and night two...well night two I just couldn't dig the tunes. But I'm sure both bands are actually good...just not for me.

 I met some very cool people during my weekend at the show. Some shout out's to Bryce, Becky, Dan, Eric, Joe, Puppy, Mark (more on mark in the next post), Charlie - the host with the most(at first I thought I rubbed him wrong or something like that...maybe I did maybe I didn't but after the initial feeling I didn't think about it too much and by the end if there was anything it wasn't there anymore)...there were lot's more but as of this post those names stand out the most.
vroom vroom!!

when this s done it will be one of the most awesome vans already is!!
 Anyway the show and shine was cut short by rain so I didn't get to see the inside of many of the vans. The entire weekend was a rainy mess with spots of gorgeous sunshine that would bust through the clouds and begin to bake us to death. One poor dude with skulls adorning his van (very nicely done) had a river running through his tent by 6pm on friday and by 7 he had packed up and was pissed off and left back to New York (a 4hr drive).

 In fact the aftermath of the rain was pretty bad in a few select location. The mud pit down by the barn, the track it carved into the main roadway causing more than a few bent ankles as they attempted to navigate in the dark back to their temporary homes and of course my own rain issues of wet upper bunks windows and the odd trickle out of the side window (camper window not pop out).
This is Pete's van! He has spent a lot of time and years on it, everything is custom, all nautial themed and wood worked inside. Pretty sweet!
 But the rain took it's fair share of breaks and it's not cool in Connecticut in the middle of July and it was drying out as fast as it came down making for smiles all around and everyone emerging from their chosen places of shelter to venture out once again and mingle with like minded people.

 After hearing about some van shows back in the 80's and 90's I believe there was an element of wild release of inhibitions at this show but I fear that it's just a reflection of our current society where only a few people are actually having fun and the rest are running around with so much going on in their heads that they have forgotten what real fun is. (taking your kid to the mall for halloween makes you very un-fun just to let you know)
1st place winners. Right to left, Bryce, Charlie and me!

the light show...

The custom vans spared no expense and guys like Dave and Pete have rides that have been in show shape for close to 30yrs. It's a testament of commitment to a project and a lifestyle that I fell in love with along time ago and didn't even know it.  
Sure to get you laid in any situation! ;)

Lights out.....

Lights on!!

Whose that? Oh yeah...winner!!

Neat little van (Dodge 1985 Horizon)! We had a great talk and he checked out the taj mahal of vans (mine) and promptly declared jealousy over the spaciousness of it compared to his!

recording the moment!
 And one of the best things about the show was meeting Mark who at the time I got to know him was assisting a fellow vanner (Eric) use his sluice box as they spent a few hours digging for gold. Turns out mark absorbed an entire Geology degree through (almost) osmosis by being around geology majors for a few years. His and Eric's passion for the rock was great and being the lover of gold that I am I had lot's of questions about the sluice, the process, the prospects around the area and a ton of other curious questions I had.

 After getting to know Mark a bit he invited Cherry and I out to his place in West Chesterfield, new Hampshire for a hang out and even though we had decided we would check out a local campsite and then head up the next day we actually found ourselves on the road after the show packed up and we were headed straight for Sugarbrook Farm and the hospitality of Mark.
fave van leaving...

Cherry and the Wayward Pussy mobile ready to rock!! New Hampshire here we come!
 ps...I'm going to show this van eventually and it will be a stand alone in any east coast contest...just need a few touch ups and I'm looking forward to the next time I get to get to a show!

A flash from the past....I likey!!

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