Monday, December 29, 2014

What's In a Name? The Motor Home Edition

Yesterday was one of the longest stretches I have ever spent on the road.  We woke up at 5:30 in Chicago (bumping the alarm up a half hour for one more precious segment of sleep) and hit the road as soon as we could (6 Chicago time).  There was on traffic snarl just before Knoxville TN, but it was a long one.  It probably layered on an extra hour and fifteen minutes.  We were tempted to stop in TN for the night, but pushed on.  We pulled into our home on Valleydale around 10:30.  I know that there are many people who pull that kind of drive routinely.  Long haul truckers probably do it almost daily, but 15 ½ hours is a long time sitting.  Rain, fog, winding roads in the mountains, knuckleheads who should not be driving, darkness when we started out – and darkness for the last 5 hours of the drive.  No stars.  No moon.  Just road.
Sport, Airstream Sport, Sport Model

While I drove most of the way on this, the last leg of our holiday journey, I had enough time in the passenger seat to record the names of RVs.  It started out with the classic Airstream.  Such a cool old-fashioned recreational vehicle.  While not exactly streamlined, its shiny round aluminum exterior is so timeless.  As far as I know, they have the same design as when I was a child.  But then I saw a Maverick, and I thought cool name.  So I began writing down the brands to consider the meaning behind the model.  Not that anyone would buy a motor home, fifth wheel trailer, travel trailer, truck camper or folding trailer strictly for its handle, but it must say something about you to haul a Mako along for your holiday trek. 


Take The Banshee for example.  According to, this means (in Irish folklore) a spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears to or is heard by members of a family as a sign that one of them is about to die.  This seems like an unlikely name for something you want to travel around the country in.  My guess is the person who created this moniker didn’t look it up.  What does a sign that one is about to die have to do with vacations?  You would think that someone would go behind the person whose job it was to come up with this brand name and check it out.  You know, just in case.  

The Big Sky Montana says something different.  That one makes me want to git-up-and-go; get out to the land of vast horizons, gaze up at the starlit sky and camp out under the full moon.  The license plate said Delaware, so the brand name might have been a wish fulfillment. 

I saw several RVs with animal names including The Beaver, The Cheetah, The Eagle, The Wolf Pack, and The Viper.  You’ve got to like the animal names.  They are wild, right?  Free to roam, hunt, forage.  Mate.  Animals seem at leisure.  They are unencumbered and unhampered.  Pretty good deal.  I can see why folks came up with these names.  Although The Beaver seems to stand out a bit from the others.  It seems more related to the Squirrel or the Hamster, The Chipmunk or The Field Mouse.  They are all rodents right? 

Some RV names are all about the place.  Sunnybrook, Heartland, Sunset Trail, Forest River are related to Big Sky Montana.  You want to be there, to get there.  Those names seem to make one a little dissatisfied with one’s current location.  You probably won’t see The Suburb, The Downtown, The Mall, The Boondocks inscribed on the sides of RVs.  No, when you see Lakewood or Gulf Coast you want to get the heck out of The Bedroom Community. 

find your current crossroads

I love the names that are simply inspiring, like Inspire, Allure, Idea, Harmony.  Others probably give the owners a much needed image boost, like Hideout, Roughneck, and Outlaw. 

There is definitely an art to naming these vacation travel vehicles, just as there is to naming any brand I suppose.  Here are a few that seem to defy the rules of naming, although they probably mean something to someone: Fuzion, Navion, Okanagan.  The first two came up underscored with red squiggly lines which means someone probably just made them up.  Okanagan is an actual name of a river in North America that flows south from Okanagan Lake in Canada into the Columbia River in NE Washington, US Length: about 483 km (300 miles) Also Okinagan. a member of a North American Indian people living in the Okanagan River valley in British Columbia and Washington (  You learn something new every day. I wonder how many folks driving around one of these vehicles know what their name brand means.

While I was thinking about brand names I came across this cool/bizarre/useful tool called WORDOID.  Wordoids are made-up words.  They look nice and feel great.  They are good for naming things…  Wordoid is the most creative way to find a catchy name for your new venture… In other words, if you're looking for a creative name that's brand-able but doesn't necessarily need to make sense, then you might find this tool helpful  What a brilliant idea for today’s brand naming.  No need to actually think of a label that makes sense when you can go to a name generator for a word that just feels good and makes no sense.  I have a feeling they used WORDOID when they came up with The Tentrax, The Montaj and the Lexor.

I wouldn't mind having a go at this RV naming thing.  And I don't think I'd have to rely on the WORDOID either.  How about The Autohome, The Funmobile, The Swankwagon.  No?  How about Zepherwind, Terminuslanding, Luxuriation?  (HA!  I come to find out that last one is really a word.  Go figure.)

OK, maybe not.  I'd better leave that to the wizzessionals, professenominons or the adeptuosos.