One Week, 2000 Miles, Stanley's Back!

Tennessee / March 25, 2012 / by Gelb
One Week, 2000 Miles, Stanley's Back!

This has been a heavy travel week for the team. From hearing early in the week that the bus was finally ready, to three of us driving twelve hours back to DC to pick up a second vehicle, we've been almost constantly on the move and getting back into the swing of things.

On Sunday, I re-joined the team, flying into Nashville from California where I was attending a memorial celebration for my late uncle Ian Young. Ian was a strong supporter of the project and a giant of a figure in my mind, and his passing was certainly emotional. The memorial service was wonderful and very well attended. After landing in Nashville, I re-joined the team at out hotel and we tried to plan out the week. We weren't sure of the status of the bus, and I was itching to phone Emile and James at the shop where it was being fixed. The only thing I knew for sure was happening was the story on Thursday - Our Thrift Store, in Franklin, TN.

On Monday morning I phoned Emile at Kent Mitchell Bus Sales and Service in Hammond, LA to ask about the bus. You'll remember we had broken down more than a week previously, when we had a gas leak. The tow truck driver then broke our shifting rod (the gear stick). While the fuel leak was not a major problem, the shifter was - Emile had to find a compatible shifting rod for our particular transmission (on a 1984 bus, remember…). We ended up phoning our friends at Jack Lyon's Truck Parts in Miami - who (of course) were happy to help. 

Emile and James, and Billy from Jack Lyon's had been discussing different parts and whether they would work or not - they settled on one part they thought might fit the bill. After receiving the part, it wasn't quite right, so they called in a transmission specialist who filed down the rod in order to make it fit with our transmission. The amount of time they took to make sure we were up and running represented the quality and value of their commitment to service.

On Tuesday morning, Amy Wallace and I took the rental car and drove down to Hammond, LA with the idea of getting the bus back early the next morning and beginning the long trek back to Nashville. It was a 10 hour drive down to Hammond, and all the while, an intimidating looking storm was lurking in our path.

On Wednesday we went to Kent Mitchell and met with Emile who took time to show everything they had done and to give some recommendations for good fuel valve maintenance. Just as we were finishing up, the rain started. It was quite a storm! We took refuge in a coffee shop for several hours while the worst of it passed, then began our slower drive back up to Nashville. We stayed the night outside Memphis, and planned to get back sometime Thursday afternoon.

While we were driving back, Steven, Chris, and Amy Rose were still in Nashville getting work done, and also taking care of our story on Thursday. The three of them traveled to Franklin, just outside of Nashville and had a great time filming Dave and all the folks at Our Thrift Store. I have a feeling they didn't want to leave!

Thursday was also very special as it was Amy Chin's birthday. In order to celebrate, we brought her some cupcakes from a fabulous place in Nashville and went out to a Tapas restaurant. Afterwards, we headed out to Opry Mills to take in a midnight showing of The Hunger Games. I'm not one for midnight showings as my bedtime has never been officially changed from 8:30pm, but it was an absolutely fantastic film. More importantly, Amy Chin enjoyed herself on her birthday.

Our Friday was taken up by us moving the bus to a campground and giving it a good clean. Friday night was also spent strategizing and planning to make sure the project is on the right track. A great discussion was had about our various roles and responsibilities, and I think you will start to notice a bit more of an uptick in the quantity of content produced.

On Saturday, Chris, Amy Wallace and I got into another rental car and began our 12 hour drive back to Washington, DC. For a while we have been finding that it is pretty crucial for us to have a second vehicle, both in the event of breakdowns as well as for simply getting around larger cities. My parents have very generously given us use of their van for this purpose. Using the van will cut out our rental car costs and give us a much more streamlined operation, making us more mobile and able to react to different situations and take advantage of different opportunities.

So, right now, we start our next week as we did this one, apart, but with several important developments. Stanley is back, we get the use for another vehicle, and we are organizationally on track to shift Bus 52 into a higher gear. A fantastic week, and we're all looking forward to Kentucky and Missouri!