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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Did It Have That, 'Deer In The Headlights' Look?"

This past weekend the Dixie Echoes found ourselves on a fairly long trip deep into "Yankee territory". We started out on Thursday night in Brunswick, Ohio at Brunswick United Methodist Church. We had a wonderful time with the folks there. In fact, if you'd like to read a concert review of this evening, Internet guru and southern gospel fan, Daniel Mount was in attendance and posted his thoughts of the night on his blog. Read the review HERE.

Then it was off to Holland, Michigan for another great concert. Just after the concert was over we learned that our friends the Dove Brothers were singing just 17 miles away. So naturally we gave 'em a call and were all able to meet up at the local Applebee's for a great time of food and fellowship. The Dove's are some of our dearest friends and we always enjoy getting to spend some time together. After we were done eating the Dove Brothers headed out to Goshen, Indiana and the Echoes headed over to Vassar, Michigan for a Saturday night concert at the high school.

Around midnight after being treated to a wonderful meal at a local restaurant the Dixie Echoes headed south to Fairfield, Illinois for a Sunday afternoon concert. The last two weekends we've had to travel in Randy's old motor home while he's been doing some extensive maintenance to the bus. Due to having to wait on parts to be shipped in we just haven't been able to get the bus road worthy just yet. As much as we missed the 'ol bus, we were thankful that we had the motor home available; it sure beats jumping into a van and trailer for the weekend!

While en route to Illinois we happened upon a small herd of deer. Now, we see thousands of deer on the sides of the road, grazing peacefully and thankfully leaving the roadway to the humans. But this night found some "not so bright" deer looking for grass in the middle of Interstate 69. Scoot was driving and said that they were lined up 3 across, standing nose-to-tail. There just wasn't any chance of swerving, or slamming on the brakes for this one! So we went head on with them and although we suffered quite a bit of damage the deer still lost this joust. We think that at least 2 of the three made it out, but one did find his way from the front bumper to the rear bumper taking a complete tour of the undercarriage on his way. One of the others it seems did ricochet down the drivers side as we were able to find a few scuff marks and minor dents in the bay door panels.

The majority of the damage was confined to the lower driver's side front bumper. It completely destroyed that entire corner and knocked the main bumper off of its mounts. So we spent nearly an hour on the side of I-69 at 3 a.m. getting the bus put back together with duct tape. We were able to get the bumper taped back on and the generator hood taped down when we realized that we were losing all of our air pressure. Of course as you know the air system is what controls our brakes. When the air pressure is too low the parking brake will not release, so you're stuck where you're at! So after some sleuthing we discovered that 'el Bambo busted an air line right behind the front headlight, and after some more work Randy was able to get the line reattached and everything back together enough to head down the road. We weren't sure what that air line serviced, but within a few minutes we found out! Out of nowhere the air horns on the roof of the bus started whaling as loud as they could! Apparently the deer busted off the regulator that controlled the air flow to the horns, and after repairing the line it was reattached directly since that regulator was destroyed. So after all of that repair we had to get a pair of vice grips and clamp that line shut to get the horns to stop. Naturally that brought some laughter to a very stressful situation. But thankfully we were able to get on the road and arrived in Fairfield, Illinois around 8 am Sunday morning.

The folks at the Community of Christ Church made a bunch of tired singers feel right at home. We were able to sing to a nearly full house of smiling folks who were really enjoying that old fashioned quartet singing. It was a long weekend, but God always knows which people to send to the concerts to charge our batteries and refresh our spirits. After we were treated to a great meal at a local restaurant we pointed the 'ol motor home toward Pensacola praying this leg of the trip would be as uneventful as possible, and other than a small traffic delay in Nashville we made it home to Pensacola around 6 am.

The black lines on the bumper is the duct tape. Thats all that was holding the bumper on. You'll notice a space of several inches between the bumper and the generator hood, there's not supposed to be any space there! Thankfully this was all the damage that was done, but its more than enough!


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