Chapter VII  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 yard.


Eagle Manufacturing 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 change.


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. 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.