Taryn Tracey of Rancho Cucamonga calls hers "Baby." Vick Brown of Rancho Cucamonga calls hers "Muffy." I call mine "Moose."

During this Valentine's week, these pet monikers that we have improvised are not directed at our significant others. They are meant for those we often end up spending more time with - our four-wheeled companions.

Our relationships with our cars are clearly some of the most intense co-dependent relationships that most of us have in our lives, so perhaps it is not so odd that many of us choose to put a name to that vast amount of metal and fiberglass that we depend on so much.

When Andrew Barrett of Etiwanda was in the Marine Corps many years ago, he ended up naming his Honda Accord the "Hotel Honda." Back then, he found that he and his service buddies were often unable to pony up the cash for hotel rooms when they were on leave, so they would spend the night drinking and sleeping in the tiny Honda.

Unfortunately, he found that he was forced to take on "maid service" duties on several occasions when a few of his guests faced the consequences of drinking a little too much.

In some families, the tendency to name the family vehicle is encouraged at an early age. Sheri Shepherd's very creative children of Rancho Cucamonga dubbed their gold motor home "Goldilocks," the red Ford F-350 "Ms. Candy Apple," and their blue Mitsubishi "Grover," since it was the same color as the Sesame Street character with that name.


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In another nod to the same children's television show, Jean Bristol of Upland's children named their frog-colored motor home "The Kermit."

Loren Pearl of San Bernardino says that when his children Jessica and Brandon were young, they dubbed their blue Chevy pickup the "Otter Pop," as it was exactly the same color as the blue version of that frozen confection.

Jasmine Virwash of Upland and Julie Patch of Alta Loma each found that they called their big, older cars the traditional big, older car name: "Betsy." And when I asked Myrtle James of Upland why she simply referred to her car as "She," she explained that it was because, "She's a GOOD girl." Asked then if she would ever call her car "He" she added emphatically, "Oh no!"

The name I now use to refer to my own vehicle is "Moose."

Not like the cute, lovable, Bullwinkle-type moose; more like the lumbering, gluttonous beast-type moose. In just a couple of short years, my stylish, cool-looking, once wildly longed-for new toy that I used to call "The Bullet" has become little more to me than a gas-inhaling, wallet-draining monster - now that the polish is off the apple and prices are up at the pump.

Come to think of it, in light of all the things I've actually called my vehicle every time I've pulled into a gas station recently, calling it "Moose" could almost be considered a compliment.

Michelle Groh-Gordy is a longtime traffic school instructor and the owner of InterActive! Traffic School Online - www.trafficinteractive.com. Send questions to drivetime@sbsun.com or write to DriveTime c/o The Sun, 4030 N. Georgia Blvd., San Bernardino, CA 92407. Some reader questions will be answered in print.