The Lone Star State and a Broken Belt

Texas / April 22, 2012 / by Gelb
The Lone Star State and a Broken Belt

This was our first full week in Texas. We started in the Panhandle and made it all the way to Houston by the end of the week. We've done some amazing stories this past week, and will be heading north in the coming days.

We arrived in Lubbock, TX Sunday night from Liberal, KS. On our drive down, our front air conditioning unit's casing was blown away after the intense winds we faced coming through Oklahoma. We arrived at the Lubbock KOA mid afternoon and set up shop. Amy Chin got to hang out with some family friends in Lubbock that night while the rest of us slaved away with our various tasks.

Because we were absolutely zonked from the drive the day before, everyone had a good lie in. I ventured out to find a replacement a/c casing. Once found, I headed back to the Bus to see how everyone was doing. When everyone was up, Chris assisted me in removing the remnants of the old case and installing the new one. This involved me getting on top of the bus and only loosening and re-attaching a few screws, but I felt very d-i-y and quite chuffed. 

As the internet situation at that particular campground was next to nonexistent, we all headed out to a local coffee shop to get some work done before the story. Our story for the day was the Lubbock Challenger Little League - a little league co-founded by Jeff Gibson - that makes it possible for children with physical and mental disabilities to play baseball. We felt so welcomed by Mr Gibson and all of the parents and kids at the game and thoroughly enjoyed the doubleheader. It is a fantastic project and I hope we can show you just how much fun the kids have in the final piece. The Amys, Chris and I were then treated to a delicious dinner by Mr Gibson while Steven got to hang out with an old friend he hadn't seen in years. Lubbock was great!

On Tuesday, we decided to attempt a long driving day and try to make it to San Antonio by the evening. Everything was going fine, until we passed through Eden, on route 83 on the way to Menard. There was a strange sound. Upon revving the engine, the sound grew louder. Something wasn't right. We pulled over and discovered a tumbleweed had made its way under our hood! The culprit had broken our alternator belt. A simple fix, but as it was after five and we were in the middle of nowhere, this was a problem. 

We phoned up Coachnet (they really must be hating us now) and they organized for a tow truck to come and get us. The problem was, the nearest place that could see us was in San Angelo, which was behind where we were, and could only see us on Thursday morning. That would mean a whole day spent twiddling thumbs. 

The tow truck driver, Josh from Home Towing could not have been more brilliant. He was very interested in the bus, and talked through everything he was doing. He found out (quite quickly) that I wasn't at all mechanically inclined. While he was getting the bus all secure, I was able to ask all sorts of questions and his insights were incredibly helpful. We were towed to the San Angelo KOA, exhausted and a bit frustrated to be stopped by something so simple.

Wednesday morning, I was determined not to have to sit there for a whole day. After calling around to a few places, it was clear that no one would be able to come out to us or see the bus until the following day. I decided  to try to put the thing in myself. After getting the belt and asking a few people at the local O'Reilly's Auto Part Store, I gave it a go. So far, (knock on wood) it is still working! Chris any Amy Rose both helped with the belt installation as well as untwisting another belt that was having some problems. We all felt quite mechanically superior in the moment. We were on the road by 1pm, getting into San Antonio that night.

On Thursday morning, we made our way from San Antonio to Houston to meet up with Amy Chin's parents at their house. They very kindly are putting us up for a few days while we are in the area. That evening, Chris left us to go up to Ohio to see some old friends. 

Friday was spent doing some bus admin work and preparing for the party the Chins were throwing for us. Friday night was a wonderful get-together of some of Amy's family's friends. They were all so lovely, and we chatted about the bus well into the night.

On Saturday, Steven, the Amys and I took a drive down to Galveston. We played some mini-golf (Amy W won; I'm sure we'll never hear the end of it…) and checked out the wood ma that were carved on ripped trees that were damaged during the hurricaine. We made our way back to the Chins' after a long day and week, but looking forward to the next one!