This Past Weekend in IN, IL & WI (Van Ailin' III)
Tue., Jul. 25. 2006 12:15am EDT
Stop us if you've heard this one before: The ApologetiX van has engine problems and breaks down in a Big-Ten college town while heading towards Chicago IL. God provides in unusual ways through the kindness of others and the band is still able to do the concert (albeit late), as the staff at the venue works like a NASCAR pit crew to help the band get ready. Van winds up at a shop in Madison WI.
Sounds like our May 21 episode on the way to our concert in Goshen IN, doesn't it? Actually, it's a report from our July 22 concert in Chicago -- almost exactly two months later!
Last time, we were heading east toward Chicago (and eventually Goshen IN) from a concert in Minnesota when the van broke down near Madison WI, home of the University of Wisconsin Badgers. This time, we were heading west toward Chicago from a concert in Indiana when the van broke down near West Lafayette IN, home of the Purdue University Boilermakers.
One of the major differences this time is that the engine in question is under warrantee, because it's a reconditioned engine we had installed after our ordeal in May. That's how the van wound up in Madison WI again; the shop that installed that engine came and retrieved the van. We'd thought for several weeks that it hadn't been running quite right, but it's not easy taking it back to the shop that did the work when they're located almost 600 miles away!
Thankfully, Saturday's breakdown was "only" 275 miles from the shop. Furthermore, Saturday's breakdown was only 125 miles from the venue, unlike last time, when it was 270 miles away. That's a good thing, because the flatbed tow truck that came to get our van broke down shortly after picking us up!
Well, it didn't actually break down, but the "stop engine" light came on -- not the "check engine" light, mind you -- the "STOP engine" light. (We wonder sometimes if the "check engine" light on our van is a typo and it's really supposed to say "wreck engine.") The driver had to pull off the road several times to investigate the situation, and he nursed it the rest of the way to a spot in Gary IN where we'd asked him to drop the van off.
Ironically, the driver looked quite a bit like Bill Engvall, the comedian on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour who always says "Here's your sign." Sure, we know what most of you are saying: ApologetiX, if you're wondering whether to get rid of that terrible van, "Here's your sign." (By the way, the "terrible van" mentioned in our song "We're in a Parody Band" was actually our bass player Keith Haynie's old Ford Aerostar van. That's the one that broke down in "Philadelphia late at night" back in 2000. But our current model, in use since November 2001, has certainly proven to be a worthy successor.)
Thankfully, the first place our tow-truck driver had to stop to check the engine was Rensselaer IN, which just happens to be the home of our old friend Rein ("pronounced "REEN") Bontreger, and his family. We called Rein and told him we were in town if he wanted to have a quick visit, and he hopped in his car with his wife, Suzie, and oldest daughter, Aimee. We were just down the road from his house, and that was quite providential, because Rein offered us the use of his pick-up truck, which just happened to seat five and have a trailer hitch, for the rest of the weekend.
It wasn't the first time Rein had come through for us. The owner of his own graphic-design company, Rein helped design and construct props used in both our "Downer of a Sister" video and "Samson Comes Alive: An Evening With ApologetiX" DVD. He also manufactures the ApologetiX stickers we sell at concerts.
It wasn't even the first time Rein had helped us with our van situation. He'd never publicize this fact himself, but since the Apostle Paul often acknowledged the charity of other brothers, so will we: Rein and his family also gave us a sizable financial contribution back in 2003 when the van blew out its engine and its transmission on the same road trip.
Rein's company, Reinforcements Design, specializes in shirts, hats, stickers, signs, and graphics. If you'd like to see more of his work, check out his website: http://www.reinforcementsdesign.com. You'll recognize the company's flaming rhino logo, which we proudly display on the side door of the ApologetiX van.
Thank you, Rein, and thanks to the rest of your family: Suzie, Aimee, Tori, and Asher.
Special thanks also to Pastor Robert Belfort, the promoter of Saturday's Chicago concert, who came to meet us in Gary IN, when the tow truck dropped off our van, so we weren't all crammed in Rein's truck. Pastor Robert also drove three of the band members an hour to the hotel afterward.
Our drummer, Jimmy "Vegas" Tanner, asked us to mention how much he enjoyed talking to Pastor Robert on the way from Gary to Chicago. "The whole time we talked about who our favorite drummers were and swapped some cool stories about them as well."
Thanks also to:
Our concert coordinators for this past weekend's concerts: Pastor Joshua "Roethlisberger" Kennedy (Sheridan IN), Pastor Robert Belfort (Chicago IL), and Dr. Jim Boots (Kimberly WI). Although the van had problems, the concerts all went very well.
Our merchandise coordinators: Beth, Emily, Kristin, Jon, and Nancy (Sheridan); Beth, Diana, Arlene, Sabrina, and Anna (Chicago); and Chris, Brandi, and Alex (Kimberly).
Van Aillin' III
Diary of a Bad Van:
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|Massive steam coming out of the thermostat. Hopefully, it wasn't hot long enough to do damage to the head gasket. If that's the case, just taking it out will get us back on the road! ||How many cell phones does it take to get the motor club to get the tow truck dispatched in case there WAS damage to the head gasket? Two. |
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|While we're waiting for the tow truck, and hoping we won't need him, Karl removes the alternator, the serpentine belt, the air intake, the top hose, and eventually, the thermsotat. ||Starts right up, but the acid test is the exhaust pipe, and sure enough, there's antifreeze coming out the exhaust. Even though we pulled over before it even overheated, it was too late for the head gasket that keeps oil gas and water separate. |
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|Just in time for the tow truck to get there (90 minutes after we called- not bad for the middle of nowhere!) ||Our beloved Van in its natiural habitat! |
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|NO WAY! The TOW TRUCK breaks down! But guess where? ||Right at the exit where ApologetiX superfans, the Bontregers live! Rein Bontreger's graphics design company is called REINforcements, and they sure did arrive! |
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|A fond reunion then it's off to borrow the Bontregers' truck! ||J and Hubie head back to the Bontregers. With the tow truck good to go, Jimmy, Keith and Karl ride with "Dave" to ride out the rest of the 100 miles he's allowed to tow us on the motor club. We called the promoter and he was to meet us at the 100 mile point. |
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|And that took us to Sears. We dumped the van off, jumped into the promoter's Yukon and headed to Chicago. ||Later, we discovered there was PLENTY of room in Rein's truck for all of us to ride. Jimmy, J and Karl in the back, Keith and Hubie in the front, and it was a party bus! The next day, we flew two of the guys home (Hubie had Monday morning responsibilities and Karl had to get to the studio) |