It's been a long ride...literally.

Today, we said goodbye to the Whale Van, and replaced it with a new Santa Fe. Much smaller vehicle to be sure, but so much more modern and easier to drive. Plus it looks really cool!

I feel sad to say goodbye to the van. So many memories. It was a vehicle you wouldn't miss as it rolled down the road.

I remember the day in 2002, when our boss (at the time) gave me the OK to search for a replacement for the aging Whale Van. If I remember correctly, it was a Ford Aerostar.

We purchased that van in the early 1990s, so we had held on to that vehicle for a long time as well. I had a budget cap to keep in mind, so I couldn't just go out and buy the hottest., tricked out van on the market.

My boss and I finally agreed on a new 2002 Dodge Van. It would make for a great moving billboard, covered with rock artists and our logos. Before we had the new van wrapped, I had a bit of a mishap with it. One day as I was driving the old Whale Van into the parking ramp, there was an open space next to the new van. I thought I had enough clearance to get into the parking spot. Wrong.

The right bumper of the old van melded into the back left side of the new van. The dent turned out to be about a foot in circumference. How am I going to tell my boss what had just happened? I went directly into his office and told the truth. After a short amount of silence, he burst out laughing.

After he was done laughing, told me to get an estimate and get it fixed. What a relief. That conversation could have gone the opposite way. Before we sold the Ford van, we took it on a 30 day-30 city/town/village goodbye tour, where people could sign the van before we had the wrap taken off and sold. That was fun. We really went to 30 towns throughout the Southern Tier of New York and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.

We ran the Whale van for 16 years. Tons of events, live broadcasts and parades. Surprisingly, it's only got 40,000 miles on it, and is still in good shape. Even the wrap is in better shape that you would expect after 16 years. This week the wrap is begin taken off, and the van will be sold.

16 years is a long time. Lots of memories with that van. Goodbye old friend. The ride was awesome.

Here's our new ride. May the next 16 years be kind to it.

Doug Mosher