This past weekend, we bid farewell to our beloved band van. We had been planning on an upgrade for a while now, but to actually say goodbye was bittersweet. I have often thought if my favorite eclectic dive bar were a vehicle, it would be our van. The outside is adorned with bumper stickers from our travels out west, mud, and the classic paint wear of seemingly every Chevy Xpress. The inside is full of marked-up road maps, set lists, and CDs, with a tapestry on the ceiling, patterned curtains over the windows, and cedar planks from my grandfather, which my dad and I installed on the walls before a cross-country trip in 2019. It’s not pretty, but it certainly has character.
Not to mention, this van held many memories-- some of our first travel gigs to Upstate NY in the summer of 2018, countless band trips along the East coast, and our first month-long trip across the country. It has been cooked in, slept in, and loaded to the gills with gear. We have struggled through some of the coldest winter nights on trips to Vermont and Upstate New York with no heat. We nearly took that van through a tornado driving through Kansas and a hurricane in Massachusetts. We’ve been to mechanics’ shops in Montana, Washington, Oregon, & Utah just trying to get that van patched up and back on the road. We have overheated on the side of the highway only 30 minutes into a five-hour drive to a wedding show. So many times, we thought it was the end of her driving life, but she just kept on truckin’.
So, as the buyers came to check out the vehicle, I wondered if we really should let it go. Funny enough, it seemed that even the van did not want to leave us either. The keys had been slightly turned, the battery had died, AND it had run out of gas-- which never happened before in the five years we have owned it. But nonetheless, they bought her up and the van, no longer ours, was gone by nightfall. We know we are moving on to something better, but still the familiar has a place in your heart. Cheers to old vanny and all the good times!