From the Desk of Craig Holland;
When we bought this 1984 MCI-9 we were totally in the dark about its history or mechanical state. We have built our home in it and it is pure grace that we’ve been able to drive it over 35,000 miles around this grand ol’ country so far.
We are currently parked at the Choo Choo Express Garage for repairs in Chattanooga TN. We’ve had minor repairs, mostly dealing with our tires, but this is our first major break down in the year and a half that we have owned the bus.
A little history; back in January we were rolling through California and one of my rear brakes locked up. A police motorcyclist just happened upon us and helped guide me out of the way. At the time, I was more worried that he would take a closer look at our moving house and want to write me up for who knows what. However, the brake ended up releasing and we went on our way.
This past week, while coming down a big hill on Hwy 24 (outside of Nashville), my brakes were smoking, which I had never noticed before. I pulled over and gave the rig a chance to cool down and we continued on to Chattanooga. We parked for a few days visiting family and making music. When it was time to go, I did a once over inspection and we left for our next stop in Asheville, NC. As we were leaving however, I noticed the left rear end tire locked up again.
We stopped and investigated, researching garages, debating financial options and the timing of our tour/schedule. I found a list of mechanics on busconversion.com, a bus forum community I’m a part of, and the Choo Choo Express Garage came highly recommend. It happened to be located just thirty minutes south of where we were parked. Also we were sitting on a three-day open window before our next gig. So, as much as I didn’t want to deal with the cost and inconvenience of repairs, we decided to bite the bullet and have it looked at.
We arrived at the shop where we were met by Don, the owner and proprietor since 1975 and Joel his head mechanic. I was invited to observe and learn along side the fella’s and as we did an inspection my brakes, we found them all totally worn down and about 4-5 seal leaks. To translate for folks who aren’t mechanically inclined, leaking oil on the pads gets hot and sparks a screw that is exposed which leads to a tire fire. Ultimately it could have ended poor if not catastrophic.
I tend to be a white knuckle sort of person and sometimes God has to knock me upside my head to avert bigger troubles. I’m thankful for this and the fact that I’ll have peace of mind running down the road (or hills) with good brakes all round. I’m also glad we are getting a once over and a base line for what this rig might need down the line. And, thanks to the hospitality of Don and his crew we’ve been able to park/plug-in at the shop during this two night stay.
Community has been a focus for us all along and we see this inconvenience as a way to participate in relationship through divine commerce and time spent with these fella’s, practicing perseverance, learning about the mechanics of our bus and trusting that we are covered though the ups and downs.
Our total bill was $2829.06. If you would like to partner with us to off set the costs of these repairs and keep us on our way you can visit www.modernday.org and share a tax-deductible donation. We are humbled and grateful for your continued support.
And for those who find themselves in need of the Choo Choo Express Garage, you won’t find them on-line or in the phone book, but you can reach them at 706-891-1242
Their address is 135 Prater Rd. Rossille, GA 30741