42nd National Truck-In Van Nationals
It's a tall order to try to describe the 42nd National Truck-In - Van Nationals, suffice it to say I have never experienced anything like it and don't know if I ever will, I don't want to get too carried away with the word awesome yet. It was part festival, part family reunion, part party but ALL about the Van. This dedicated group of die hard enthusiasts, referring to themselves fondly as Vanners, gather once a year for their National event. It is a weeklong Camping Jamboree blowout that this year drew nearly 600 Vans and over 2,000 Vanners from California to Maine, Michigan to Florida and all points in between. There were many International Vanners as well, folks from England, Australia, Canada, Norway and Poland. The National Truck-In is "The Big One" for Vanners and was a perfect way for me to get introduced to the world of Vanning.
Vanning could be considered the black sheep of the automotive family yet, it seems to me Vanners kinda like that idea and frankly really embrace it. "Normal" just might be a four letter word in the world of Vanning. Vanners do march to the beat of a different drum but to me it seems like it's one we should all march to. There was no pretension, no profiling, no mine is better than yours. It was all embracing, it was "man that's cool how'd you do it", it was "hey, you like Vans you're one of us." It was come as you are and do as you please. Respect yourself, respect each other, most importantly respect the Van, and above all have a good time while you're at it. I heard more than once that Vanners have more fun than regular people do. The open to all mentality of the Vanners is on display with the diverse field of Vans at the Van Nats. By the by, those in the know call the event the "Van Nats.". All makes, models, years and countries of origin are welcome, if it's a Van it's in! I was even able to get in on the action. It was my good fortune that the rental company ran out of mid-sized sedans and offered me a 2015 Town & Country. Enough said, oh so lucky me. I was welcomed into the Van Nats. with open arms, thank you very much Enterprise Rent A Car.
The Show Vans that turned out for the Van Nats. were outstanding; each a work of art, each a show unto itself. There could be 2 '67 Econolines parked right next to each other and the fact that they were both '67 Fords would be the only commonality. Each had a story, each was a labor of love and all the Vans were displays of individual creativity. The painstaking attention to detail was remarkable. It was all a feast for the eyes and ears, many had theme related sound effects or righteous soundtracks rocking their rides, including my personal favorite, Mr. Sammy Johns. Don't judge, I have Chevy Van on vinyl. Seriously, what other vehicle gives you so such a huge canvas to make all your own and man these folks really put their own one of a kind stamp on these Vans; Vans they were more than happy to tell you all about. I know a picture is worth a thousand words so I'll stop now. I just wish I could have taken a picture of "family", "community","dedication" and "passion" because that's what I think really made up the 42nd National Truck-In Van Nationals
Although the show trucks weren't too bad to look at, I think you'll agree.
Although Vanning is still an underrepresented segment of the automotive world, the tides seem to be shifting. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a front page article espousing the joys of Vanning and while at the Nats., there were several other media outlets on the grounds as well as a Documentary crew covering the event. Hey, what's old is new and cool never goes out of style, something I believe Vanners have known all along.
There is going to be more coverage from this show posted. I have so much video footage; it was impossible for me to go through all of it and create the video this show deserves in such a short amount of time. In the mean time check out the Most Recent Show Gallery. I have all my photos from the Van Nats. posted and I know you are going to love getting lost in them. Please stay tuned, I promise this video is gonna be a goodie.
I want to give a big thank you to a few special folks that really made my time at the Van Nationals memorable and very enjoyable. Many thanks go out to: Doc, Howard, Frank, Spider, Jay and DIane, Boone, Larry, Darrin, Bob, Mike, Trish, Rooster, Chris, George, Joe, Matchstick, Astro, Pete and Carolyn. You were all so wonderful to take the time to talk and educate me. You really made me feel welcome and part of the Vanning family. Thank you all so very much. I must admit to making an eBay inquiry or two since I've been home, keyword - Van. You never know.
If you are like me and want more of the good stuff on the world Vanning check out these Vanning resources; Vanning .com, ShowVans.com, CustomVanner, MuseumOfVanning, these are some great resources to introduce you to this wonderful world.
Don't forget, I'm Salina bound this weekend. If Kool Kustoms float your boat than you're gonna wanna cast an eyeball my way.
As my new friend Pete, the captain of the Golden Voyager would say "Have a Vantastic Day". Just knowing there are Vanners out there keeping it real, I know I will.
Til the next time - Keep on Kruzin!