The Road Solution
Gary had given me the
directions for the repair facility in Memphis, TN. With kids and the Church coach
trailing behind, I went immediately to the shop in Memphis. The mechanics came out and began opening
doors, panels, and check points.
The air conditioning system was still working properly and it
was very cool in the coach as we sat in the repair facility.
after an hour of searching, they came to me to report that they had an
unusual problem not related to the air conditioning system. They could not duplicate the problem
and thus with the system working, they could not determine the cause
for the failure.
I checked in with
Gary in the Fort Worth office and he said that until it happened again,
there was nothing anyone could do.
He would continue talking to Eagle to see if anyone else had a
problem with the new Model 15s that could be related to our coach.
It could be that it
would not go down again and that it would work properly for the balance
of the trip. But it is best to
never bet on the unknown. If the
problem can be identified, it must be repaired or it will go out again
when it is least expected.
I reported to Robert
their findings and that we needed to get back on the road. He agreed we needed to get
going. We were due in Glasgow,
KY that night. We were only in
Memphis at the time. Our time
was slipping away from us as we waited for instructions. It was decided – move out!
Ninety miles up the
road, we made a quick stop in Jackson, TN for lunch. Then it was back at it to get to
Glasgow. We could make it but we
had to use all of our time for the road.
As I was getting my
speed built again on the road, I went across a rough spot on the
interstate. Construction takes
its toll on the roads today.
Almost immediately I noticed the air conditioning system had
turned off again.
Now I had an issue
with an action/reaction response.
Sure enough, the coach started getting warmer again. Finally I had something to hang my
hat on as to a possible problem.
The only difficulty
now was getting the information to the office in Fort Worth so they
could research what had happened and get back to me. We could not just pull over on the
road; however, time was too short.
The transportation ministry
I had started required that I have constant contact by phone at all
times. I had purchased a 12 volt
car phone; rigged a bag pack with 2 VCR 12 volt batteries for power;
and was able to have phone contact 24/7. I called Gary in the office while traveling
up I-40 toward Nashville, TN and reported the problem.
Prior to coming to
Overland Stage, Gary had originally worked for the alternator company
that supplied these large alternators for coaches. He was familiar with their operation
and went to work to research the problem we had discovered.
Nashville was the
next major city. We were
supposed to go north on I-65 toward Glasgow. Nashville is a coach town as numerous
charter companies provide coaches for entertainers there. Many had several Model 15s on their
Company in Mission, TX recommended several opportunities for service in
Nashville. We set our sights on
getting there as quickly as possible.
When we arrived in
Nashville, I called Gary. Based on
his past experience, Gary had one technique to make sure the alternator
was the problem. Gary instructed
how to get a heavy duty jump wire; remove the cover on the alternator;
and jump across the two terminals.
We followed the
instructions and the air conditioning system started working
immediately. Doing it a couple
of times and getting the same results, we determined that the
alternator terminals were indeed the problem.
Obviously when going
into Jonesboro, I had hit a rough spot in the road causing the
terminals to separate. Leaving
Jonesboro, again I had gone over another rough spot in the road and the
alternator started working. Then
when leaving Jackson, I went over a bad stretch of the interstate, and
it stopped working as the terminals had shorted out.
Now with the
solution in hand, we would need to replace the alternator with a new
alternator. I was given a
charter company that worked with country music stars. This particular company had several
new Model 15s on hand, but it would take 4 to 6 hours to make the
I got with Robert
and suggested that he select a skeleton group from the choir that could
perform without the entire group and use the church coach to go to
Glasgow. I in turn would get my
coach to the shop in Nashville and get it repaired. We could meet up the next day enroute
to Alexandria, VA which was our next stop.
Robert had a reputation that he had never missed
a performance since he had started his mission work with youth
choirs. He agreed with my plan
and we met with the chaperons in Nashville to determine who, what,
when, and where to make it work.
The chaperons were
not as eager to conform to this new plan. They felt it necessary to keep the
group together and cancel the event for the night. Robert had to accept their
conclusions. He called to cancel
the choir presentation for the evening.
Robert then called
Two Rivers Baptist Church. They
gave him permission to bring the group to their church and unload them
while I went for repair. The
church coach drivers went to a motel to sleep. To make Alexandria, VA and get back
on track, It was evident that we would be driving through the night.
I left for the
repair shop. Gary had arranged
for an alternator, however, the alternators were $3500 each. The facility wanted to make sure they
would get their money or a new alternator to replace the one they let
us have. I gave them my credit
card and Gary shipped an alternator on a bus from Fort Worth to replace
the one they were giving us.
The repair facility
had a brand new Model 15 that was leaving on Thursday and since it was
Tuesday, they had plenty of time to get the new alternator
installed. It could be ready for
dispatch by Thursday.
Five hours later,
they had my alternator replaced and we were ready to go. I got back to Two Rivers Baptist
Church at midnight and we loaded the kids for travel through the night
to Alexandria, VA. The church
drivers were awakened and they came with their coach to hit the road.
We left with a
celebrity country singer’s alternator.
I cannot give you the name for obvious reasons. He never knew we got his alternator.