Jamie / Joker:
Well my parents would both say I was conceived in the back of a show rig or one of my father's working rigs. I was a trucker at birth. I crossed almost all of North America by the time I was 2 in rigs. I was driving my father's rigs on his lap from ages 2-6 and driving alone in yards from 6 up.
My father had a few vans and many station wagons and hot rods as I grew up but he was never a Vanner but definitely a trucker. I drove everything he owned including his pride 78 Pontiac Firebird T-top 455 5 speed (people's choice winning) car before I was even a teenager.
I grew up in a divorced family with 2 homes and living most of my life with my father. He was a trucker and owned a few hot rods, used car dealerships and stores.
I remember being called often to pick my father up at bars at 3:AM in exchange for food and use of the cars all before even having a learners license. Those were the days of country style living. My father trusted me from 12 years old to the day he died with any and every show car or tractor trailer of vehicles he owned. He too, was old school. He trusted me but always had something to teach or say while I was driving. But that was just his way. To make me better and become best I could be.
My life as a kid was all about hot rods and racing BMX or freestyle. I was always part of his crowd of hot rod guys or he was a part of my life in my sports.
I was born in Ontario. I lived with my father in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia but also lived with my mother in Montreal Quebec.
My parents married very young and moved to Montreal together. That is, whenever my dad was home and not Truckin. Montreal was home until my father had enough of the French vs English bullshit and moved to N.B. and then N.S.
So I bounced back and forth living in Montreal and the Maritimes. At the age 12 almost 13 I moved back to Montreal to live with my mother and stepfather. They were really strict about school and other things I was not used to. They lived in a large city and driving was not an option for me any more. So I became a rebel teen and went into the system. To get out of the system I took to the Army Cadet reserves then the reserves. By 14 I was on my own and at 15 almost 16 returned to Nova Scotia to become the soldier I wanted to be.
I lived with my father for a very short time. But both of us were to hard headed to live together anymore. I spent a bit of time with the army and doing odd jobs. At 15 I had my learners license and at 16 my full license.
I could not handle living with parents as I was way to independent for that. I moved out and lived with my ex-girlfriend. Her family owned a plumbing and heating company. So I became a plumbing and heating specialist in their company and had a company van until we decided to break up. My ex-girlfriends neighbor was a competitor in a much bigger company and asked me if I wanted to work for them and get paid a shit load more plus a van.
He also took me in for a few weeks until I got settled. During these few weeks he told me of his old work van at the scrap yard. And he knew it had a ton of company paid work done to it but it was in really rough condition. It needed a transmission and it was full of shelfs and shit but that I could get it cheap as my own 1st ever in my name vehicle.
So off we went to the scrap yard on Friday. The owner told me $400 for it. But it needs to be out by Monday or it's crushed. I paid for it on the spot. Told him I would be back with tools to get it out of here. He asked if i wanted him to tow it our for me. My reply "if it doesn't leave the spot it sits in by its own power. Then I don't want it." When I went to get tools, my ex-girlfriends older brother saw me and asked what I was up to. I told him I just bought my new boss's old van. He laughed and said "You will never get that old piece of shit running." That was all the motivation I needed to hear!
So back to the scape yard I went and within 45 minutes I had that p.o.s. running and blowing black smoke for all N.S. to see.
I drove it about 8-10kms and it no longer had any reverse or Drive, just 3rd gear. So back to the scape yard i went. The guy said "Any old chevy van back there, you can have the transmission." Well, by closing time that Saturday I changed the transmission 3 times until I found 1 that worked good. I finally got it home!
So I now owned a p.o.s. rusty old chevy van full of parts and grease and oil from dash to rear doors and it had almost 740,000kms on a very tired 250 straight 6.
I then met the love of my life (my wife) and we moved in together while doing multiple jobs. Tow truck operator, Mechanic, limo driver, plumbing and heating and so much more. But slowly plugging away at this old p.o.s Chevy van. I used brake cleaner on the entire inside. I then made a bed and benches and so many other little things. I did all the body work and roll painted it with tremclad paint a few times and really made it a much nicer looking van.
My 1st motor was a Corvette 350. I finally got that in and re-did everything. All new exhaust to everything under the van and drive train was brand new. I drove that motor and surprised a ton of friends with it. I drove that thing like it was a 1/4 mile hotrod all the time.
My wife and my friends and I drove all over every back road in the Maritimes in that van finding eventures and living the life. Work all week to party and travel on weekends and holidays. We also had 2 other vanner friends. One, a teen like us and another was in his 50s, his van was my dream van and he belonged to the MVC.
Both my van and I attend our 1st real van event while I was around 17 in Cape Breton N.S.. Where, because we were young and stupid, we only stayed a night then went our own way.
Lots of cool vans at that event. Unfortunately that motor eventually had enough of me and how I treated it and blew up on me in the middle of a -40 snow storm during a Christmas trip from Halifax to Montreal in the middle of nowhere, Woodstock N.B..
It was the 1st big trip for my girlfriend and I in the van.
We did hundreds of hours of Maritimes trips but never past N.B. That has its own awesome story but to make a long story short. My wife and I hitched a ride to Montreal and the van went to the tow yard were he told me he had a running Monte Carlo SS motor in a 10ft snow bank that he would sell to me for $500 and he will dig it out while we are in Montreal and guarantee me it would make it back to Halifax but he would not install it as he had never done a van. He said I could use his garage and tools when I return and install it myself. When we returned he had the van in a bay of his garage with the motor in front of it. We were still in a cold spell of -40s so he let my girlfriend, now wife, watch TV in his house while I took out and put in the new motor. Remember we were young and independent. We had very little money. So staying at a hotel and eating out and missing work could not be done for long if at all. We didn't have anything but some cash and a bank card with maybe enough to pay our bills.
So I went to work and worked hard. The old motor was out and new one in and tested and grill back to normal by12 that night. The only time he could help me, because he had paying customers, was to pull out and align it back in.
I was too tired to drive. Since I just drove 6 hours in the night to work on the motor job for 10-12 hours, so we paid for a hotel, only that one night. $30 and it came with breakfast. We drove out of Woodstock after breakfast and were home in Nova Scotia by 2:PM and back to work the next day on Monday.
That engine was one hell of an engine. I still own it and it still powers another van until we can upgrade that van. But it's such a good motor. I will keep it as a spare for life.
Many regular days of working many jobs passed and I was getting sick of the seasonal rush. Always too much work when busy and no work when not busy. So my girlfriend, now wife, and I just said out of the blue "Let's move to Montreal and give it a month and see what happens." We loaded the van with our cat and everything we owned in our apartment and moved to Montreal.
Within 2 days I had 3 job offers. Not knowing any French at all. Then came a 4th job offer. A good job that had medical and benefits and stuff I never had. So I took it. I had that job in 1 week of being in Montreal. It was with a large corporation and I started at the bottom and worked my way up to being in charge of Eastern USA and all of Canada's operations and warehouses. I spent 17 years with that corporation.
During those years I had kids and built on my career. We always owned the van and I slowly did things to better it but didn't have time for it. When we arrived in Montreal for the 1st couple months my van was my daily driver, but with traffic and the long distance traveled I quickly bought cars or trucks and just kept the van as my someday and all my life project. I drove it like 500 kms a year. But I knew I would never sell it.
My girlfriend and I got married and used it in our wedding party, then we had our 1st kid and we bought a home in the country that best reminded us of home. Nova Scotia.
Home will always be the Maritimes but work is where we had to settle.
Just before moving from N.S. to Montreal my van was painted a dark metalic Pearl Blue and the van was named L'il miss Infantry. Because of my past with the DND.
With life being life and me in the mouse wheel trying to be the best for everyone the van was left to be just a once in a while driver and hopefully get back to Vannin again once the kids got older. And that's what happened.
My middle child ( Ryder ) was just like me as a kid. I taught him to drive everything including double clutch 18 speed rigs before he was 12. He motivated me to go to car shows and stuff because that's what he loved. For his 11th birthday wish. He wanted to go to old school scrap yards and live the history of the cars.
Any way. We had a camp in Upstate N.Y. and we went to a car show in Vermont, were way off in the distance there was 2 vans. Way far away from the real show cars and more with the vendors row. That was all Ryder and I wanted to see. So we walked over and met the vanners now my brothers. Matt Plaude of the Vanished VC and we chatted for hours. I told him I had a van and during this time I was actually redoing it. Because Ryder loved it and wanted to help. So he told me of a few shows in the area. But my van was not ready. But I kept in contact with him. During that winter we did a complete rebuild of the Van and she came out as the H.M.C.S Blue Pearl. Named after a ghost tall ship story of Mahone Bay Nova Scotia.
I contacted Matt of the Vanished and asked him when and where the show was going to be. "We are coming as promised" i told him. I was told afterwards by Matt he thought I was just like everyone else that says they had a van or have a van but will never see me.
We ( Ryder and I ) took off to our 1st N.E.V.C show. LOST in Greenwich N.Y. We were blown away that so close to us in Montreal only 3.5 hours away there was such an active old school 2% van committee. We were hooked line and sinker into that committee and became the 1st and only 2 Canadian Vanished members. Vanning from Canada but in a Massachusetts club.
The Vanished is and always will be my 1st club but then we needed to find vanners closer to use for more enjoyment of Vannin and we felt we had to promote the shit out of 2% Vannin.
So we did just that. We then found a few locals and opened up C.S.V.C. Check our history page for that story. We just kept Truckin no matter what.
The world stopped. We didn't.
We just kept Vannin and promoting and getting bigger and adding to our 2% Vamily . But one thing has never changed from day 1 with my van to today. It's never done and never will be and we will always be making it better and it will never be for sale.
Now I am a dual patched in club member of the Vanished and a VP of C.S.V.C. and together our clubs and vans keep On Truckin and promoting the 2% way.
Keep On Vannin...2%
Cowansville, Quebec, Canada
email : email@example.com
Copyright © 2023 C.S.V.C 2% - All Rights Reserved.
Powered by GoDaddy