Friday, June 24, 2011

My Favorite Van....

Cool weather is least for a day or two.  While umpiring at Rockford last night, the wind picked up and on several occasions blew a straight line rain into our faces, at least at me, the catcher, and batter....I had to stop the game twice for 5 minutes, not so much because the amount of rain, but because what the accompanying wind was doing with it.  Still got the game in under 2 hours, as the hometown Parkway team defeated Celina 4-2 to get revenge for a 7-2 loss at Celina(which I had also) earlier in the month.  The season is winding down, at least the regular season.  Starting next week, the Junior ACME and ACME tournaments will begin, and I will be kept busy for the next month or so, working those.  Tonight I am scheduled at Spencerville for ACME, then tomorrow morning, Sam and I will head south 40 miles to Sidney to work a scheduled double header for the Sidney American Legion. 

A crowded house this weekend, with Hal home for a wedding and his two small dogs, coming with him....

My Favorite Van_____

I have written on several occasions about various "road trips" I have taken over the years...with an assortment of friends...Rick Pearson, Rick Tester, Nick, and others, including one back 1975, the summer of that year of "Jaws" the movie, with Jim Olson and Mike Schilling.  That story is posted elsewhere on this blog and can be found with some research if you want to read about those exploits.  Today I write about the vehicle we used on that trip....a 1961 Ford Econoline Van.

While living just a block away from where Patricia and I are located today, and while working as the manager, bartender, and occasional "bouncer" at The Red Door in downtown Celina, I always had a variety of transportation.  One being my Kawasaki Motor Cycle, usually a newer this case a 1973 AMC Hornet with Levi Seats, and another "beater" vehicle...mostly a rusting pick-up truck of varying models and types.  In the winter of 1974-75 I went looking for something to haul the hunting hounds around in, as well as the hound dogs of the two leg variety that I ran around with.  I headed to Coldwater one day and happened to see this ugly assed panel van...ugly green in color, with a cut out window and the usual rust on the bottom sides, like any good 13 or 14 year old vehicle had back in those days....perfect I thought to myself.  I purchased it for the grand sum of $400.

The inside had just the two bucket seats, and a pull down bed, which was hanging from the driver's side wall. I guessed it was used for camping, or use your imagination?....for me, the inside was just right.  It had plenty of room for the Coon Hounds, and the Kawasaki Dirt Bikes.  And it could be used for sleeping, such as the Florida 75 trip, and carrying a large number of cases of beer..again, see Florida 1975.

I had and used that van for about 2 years, until I headed back to college at Nelsonville and Athens...frankly, I don't remember how I got rid of it, or why...but I remember it well, and some of the exploits were legendary in my circles of friends and outlaws that I hung around with.  It, despite it's penchant for dropping U Joints, It, especially for the low cost and grand memories, had to be one of my favorite vehicles that I have had the pleasure and pain to have owned.

Enjoy your weekend...

back later>>>>

Photos-The Van sitting on Fulton Street back in the winter of 74-75, at our place on the corner of North Brandon and Fulton, in Celina, just a block away from where we reside these days.  Then you have me, in the Summer of 75 at Daytona, compete with "Arrive Stoned" license plates in rear view window, a sure asking to get pulled over.  The back was, at this time, filled with camping gear, two Kawasaki Dirt Bikes(for riding on the Daytona Beach) and about 25 cases of beer...which we had no problem going through and more in our 10 day Florida Odyssey.  You really need to double click that second photo for a close up...that was a picture or microcosm of my life some 35 years ago, for better or worse.  And the last, the Van at the OS State Park, just north of my old hometown of Venice, Florida.  We camped here for a few days of fishing and beer drinking before heading north to Disney World(in it youth, like us), and then on to Daytona Beach and Myrtle Beach to round out the trip.

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