Naming My Traveling the American Road Ride

After more than 1,000 wonderful suggestions, I’m finally ready to take the major step of naming my car. After all, I’ve already logged more than 2,500 miles on the beast after starting this epic road trip. If not now, when?

There were a number of strong entries. Marylin Thomas had a good suggestion: “If I had a Ford Explorer I probably would name him after one of the famous explorers but it would have to be an American one.” It’s a great, thoughtful idea, but a little short on specifics: An American explorer like Meriwether Lewis or someone who explored America like Columbus?

It remains an open question…

Maxine had a sci-fi inspired name, going with TARDIS, a name from Dr. Who, translated to my road trip: Traveling the American Road, Driving in Style. But that might be a little lengthy for a nickname-not to mention way too nerdy for mass consumption.

A different Marilyn suggested I take a cue from my tag numbers, saying “I have named my cars using their license plate letters. HZL368 was named Hazel. WZZ3508 has been named Dorothy, after the Wizard of Oz.” The downside is that my plates don’t create an inspired name, as I only have one letter among a sea of numbers.

At least one commenter went with a pun: “Since this is the Traveling the American Road car, how about Jack Car-ouac.” I like it, but it’s not quite there.

I’m going with Andy‘s idea, which comes with a similar literary reference: “I think you should name it ‘Charley,’ after the 1960 memoir ‘Travels with Charley,’ by John Steinbeck, who traveled America with his French poodle Charley.” For coming up with the winner, Andy wins a free HP VEER PHONE (valued at $99.99), as promised in our original announcement of the naming contest. Nicely done, Andy!

It’s more than just the poetry of the entry I like. A friend of mine bought me a copy of the book before I left to start this trip-and he picked up his own copy too. When I finally get home, still a long while from now, we’ll talk about the book we both plan to read while I’m traveling. But for now, it’s a connection to home I’m carrying with me, a reminder that no matter which floor I’m sleeping on, this trip, like all trips, will eventually come to an end.