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  • Writer's pictureRacquel Foran, Publisher

What's in a Name?

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

We (I) wanted to name our new camper van, but that was a challenge in itself.

I don't know why, but I know I am not alone; I like to name my vehicles. I admit, however, not all have been named, but some, like our new camper van, just need a name.

I really love the look of our van. She's a rare girl. Most Holidaire van conversions sit on Ford F250s; finding a Dodge with a Holidaire conversion is rare. In addition, our girl sits on a 3/4 tonne frame, not the usual 1/2 tonne. We don't plan to tow anything but might be tempted to tow our '66 Mustang one day as the van is capable. You also can't see it in the photos - I'll have to post a better one - but her stripes are actually barbed wire. And for a 31-year-old vehicle, the decals are in remarkably good shape. I just think as far as camper vans go, ours is a pretty cool looking one, so she deserved a cool name.

My best girlfriend suggested Vanna White as soon she saw the van. I loved her instant creativity, and didn't hate the name, but it wasn't quite cool enough. Jim kept insisting she looked like a Bertha (I didn't disagree), but again that name did not feel at all cool to me. I then came up with Claudia Van Ram (she's a Dodge Ram) but Jim didn't get it, and I'm not exactly a Jean Claude Van Damme fan, so what was the point? And then inspiration hit me, Van Helen.

In a little homage to Jim's mom, Van Helen won the naming game.

A little back story. Jim's mom Helen passed away a little less than two years ago. Before his mom passed she had lamented to one of his siblings that they were all going to blow their inheritances on buying cars. Jim is the youngest of six children, four boys, two girls. His dad was a mechanic, as is his oldest brother. And between all the family members they have owned too many cars to count. Currently Jim and both his living brothers own classic Mustangs! And she was right, they all bought a vehicle of some kind or another when they received their inheritances. Our purchase was the van.

When we traveled to Calgary to pick up the van, we had dinner with Jim's siblings. During this dinner Jim's sister informed us that their mom had always wanted to buy a camper van and go road tripping. But Jim's dad was a big guy, tall and large, sleeping in a tiny camper was not his thing so he never wanted to buy one. It seemed that even though she didn't approve of her children buying cars with their inheritance, perhaps we were living one of Jim's mom's dreams for her with our purchase.

It wasn't until a few nights after we arrived home that Van Helen came to mind as a name. It felt right. I little nod to rock n roll with the Van Halen reference, and a homage to Jim's mom. We now had a van, the van had a name, and it was time for the Van Helen Vanventures to begin!!

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