Stranded: The Stuck Brake Adventure

August 28th, 2013
Blaine, Minnesota
11:04 AM

Have I got a story to tell you!

If you follow our schedule, you probably noticed we sang at the Kalona Gospel Sing in Kalona, IA last weekend.  We left on Thursday and sang on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  It was a long and hot, but blessed and fun weekend.

When we left Des Moines, Iowa on Monday, August 26th, we fully expected to be home by suppertime that evening. It wasn’t an extremely long trip (only about five hours or so), and we didn’t have any commitments that night. We were highly anticipating a week at home after the Kalona Gospel Sing and before the Floyd Gospel Sing on September 6th, 7th, and 8th.

Yet, as I type on this beautiful Wednesday morning, we are still 45 miles away from home. Yes, Wednesday.

The trip home went smoothly; it was quiet and we made only one rest stop. We had no problems…that is, no problems until the we smelled the smell.

On Highway 169, just north of the Twin Cities, a peculiar aroma filled the Glory Bus. It was putrid, like something was burning. We thought it would pass (as most smells do while traveling) but as we continued, the smell lingered. Some of us smothered our faces in blankets and scarves as Dad decided to pull into his mom’s nearby townhome to check out the bus.

We are so grateful he did.

When Dad stopped the bus, we piled out and immediately choked on the smell, which was stronger than before. Running around the bus, we discovered to our horror the back left wheel well was billowing with smoke. PANIC! Imagine eight Garms racing about the poor old Glory Bus, unhitching the trailer, removing valuables from the bus (Bibles, schoolbooks, computers, cameras, pillows, etc. etc.), and trying to remember the combination to Grandma’s garage to get water and buckets. Ben was also seen by the smoking tires wondering how in the world the fire extinguisher in his hand worked.

The garage was soon opened and a brigade of amateur fire-fighters grabbed whatever bucket-shaped containers they could find and filled them with water. Dad doused the tires several times (the last time laying under the bus) until the smoke finally began to dissipate. We then realized the bus wasn’t going to immediately start on fire, so we loaded our valuables back on board.

Our dear grandma resides in an assisted-living (she had a stroke last year and has been unable to move back), so her townhome was vacant. After an exhaustive search, we eventually discovered a key while Dad called a local truck repair shop.

After Dad was off the phone, we realized we probably weren’t going to make it home that night.

Dad suspected the Glory Bus had a stuck brake, and the guy at the shop shared his suspicions. At first, Dad was told we wouldn’t be able to get the bus repaired that evening, but after another phone call, he learned the shop was open until midnight and could work on it.

We unloaded from the bus all our suitcases, sleeping bags, and other personal belongings and deposited them in Grandma’s house, preparing for an overnight stay. For the trip we had packed along some old microwave popcorn for our hotel stay, so I “made” popcorn, while Dad and Mom drove the Glory Bus to the repair shop.  When they arrived at the shop, they learned from a disgruntled mechanic that the building had just lost power.  (Just the news you want to hear when you bring a vehicle in for repairs, right?  Right.)  They walked two miles back in the blistering triple-digit heat (collecting a golf ball and old steel ball bearing on the way) while we kids enjoyed supper and listened to Classical MPR’s favorite film score countdown on Grandma’s old Magnavox. 🙂

And then, we waited.

Dad and Mom ate supper and we waited. We played a family game of Farkle and we waited. We organized our stuff and waited. We got ready for bed and we waited. We went to sleep and we waited. We woke the next morning…and we waited.

Farkle on Monday night!

Farkle on Monday night!

A call eventually came with an update. First, the power was back on in the shop, and yep, the brake was stuck. All the brakes’ slides seemed dry, so should they oil them? (Dad said yes.) Oh, and the wheels needed new studs and lugnuts too. Lovely.

The waiting continued throughout breakfast, and lunch, and come suppertime, we realized again we weren’t going to be home Tuesday night either. Dad kept calling periodically and each time there was a new complication (for example, they “couldn’t” find parts locally, so it was looking like they’d have to order them from Memphis, TN; Dad quickly informed them studs and lugnuts were available locally).

Our food from the weekend’s travels was almost gone, so we raided Grandma’s pantry with expired canned and boxed foods and had a dinner of old bacon, pork and beans, chow mien chicken, cornbread stuffing, salmon patties, asparagus, and hotdogs. (Thankfully, there was a gas station within walking distance, so we were able to pick up a few essentials, like eggs, butter, milk, and water.)

Ben and Sam doing dishes.

Ben and Sam doing dishes.

We enjoyed playing games with each other to help pass the time:

Leesha and Caleb engrossed in chess.

Leesha and Caleb engrossed in chess.

The epitome of boredom: Mom playing "Barrel of Monkeys".

The epitome of boredom: Mom playing “Barrel of Monkeys”.

Sam and Caleb deep in a Boogle competition.

Sam and Caleb deep in a Boggle competition.

It was so weird, yet so natural to be stuck at Grandma’s townhome. We had everything we needed to get by (even old food in the pantry!) and we had each other. We were safe, and extremely grateful the bus did not start on fire (which it might have if we had not stopped in time). Yet, here we were, stranded, with no way to get home. We kept wondering why God wanted us to be there, and why we couldn’t go home. It was an exceedingly odd situation.

Tuesday night passed, and some of us actually got some sleep that night.  🙂  Wednesday morning we received word that, surprise, surprise, a tire was flat on the bus.  (We don’t know how or why.)  It was sent across the street to a tire shop and though they couldn’t discover any damage (strangely) simply refilling the tire took all of Wednesday.

While we waited Wednesday, we took the opportunity to pull my keyboard out of our nearby parked trailer to examine and finish some of my original songs and work up another new song by a friend.  Exciting!

Taylor engrossed in songwriting.

Taylor engrossed in songwriting.

Around 5:00 that evening, we finally received word that the bus was ready to go.  Dad and Mom once again, braved the rush-hour traffic (on foot, mind you!) to pick up Old Glory while we kids cleaned Grandma’s home and prepared our belongings for moving out.  It was so thrilling to know we were actually going home.  When the old Glory Bus finally drove up, we were more than ready to climb aboard!

Thankfully, no other oddities occurred during the travel home, and it was grand to eat supper at our own house.

It was like we had lived in “limbo land” for a couple of days – as though we were caught in a time warp.  We don’t know why the Lord allowed this strange trial, other than to keep us reliant on Him. We were needing to reorder a new batch of our “Thank You, Lord” CDs, but this $1200 repair bill taught us our timing is not necessarily the Lord’s timing.  God likes to teach us to trust in Him in all things!

“Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9, ESV)

Well, there is the promised adventure for you!  As we always say, “You never know what’s going to happen next on the Glory Bus!” 🙂

Signing off…for now.

-Taylor for TGF

June 2013 Recollections

What a busy spring we had (can you believe it’s summer already?)!  We’ve already had some wonderful road trips and met lots of wonderful people.

If you follow us on Facebook (you do like us on Facebook, right?), you probably have been reading the interesting journey we’ve had with our friend Mal.  (If not, here’s a post that will give you an idea of what’s been going on.)  During the month of June, we made a number of trips to different hospitals and assisted-livings; it was a roller coaster ride with cancer, surgery, and recovery.  Mom has given much time and energy to assist Mal, and though he is recovering his strength, his dementia is progressing rapidly.  We do appreciate your prayers for him and our family during this season.

Visiting our friend Mal.

Visiting our friend Mal.

One of the most exciting happenings in June was the arrival of Jayme’s new mandolin.  She sold her violins that she had outgrown and used the money to purchase a Loar LM-500.  She is thrilled to finally have her own mandolin (and is already becoming a better picker than I am)!

Jayme's new mandolin (she sold her old violins to buy it).

Jayme’s new mandolin (she sold her old violins to buy it).

The weather finally warmed in June, and of course, warm weather means working and playing outside!  With the wonderful rain we have been receiving, our lawn has been demanding numerous “mowings”.  At least once a week, Dad, Ben, and Sam fuel up the mowers and spend the day cutting grass (and dandelions).  The only downside to the warmth and rain are the mosquitoes.  Eek!  They have been particularly nasty.  We have also enjoyed playing games of “Horse” with the “new” basketball hoop Dad recently hung up.  Our grandpa gave us his old hoop earlier this spring – the same one much smaller versions of Ben, Leesha, and I tried used to shoot hoops with – and Dad mounted it on our garage.  Sam, Jayme, and Caleb (or as they call themselves, “The Pioneers”) can often be found having some serious basketball games!

Tis the season for outdoor sports!

Tis the season for outdoor sports!

June found the Glory Bus heading into northern, southern, and western Minnesota…and even into Wisconsin!  We enjoyed going to several new churches and sharing brand new songs.  Our first stop for the month was at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, MN.  It is our grandpa’s home church, and he’s been wanting to get us there for quite some time.  So, Cindy Rupp, Hosanna’s extremely talented music director (seriously, she’s probably the best piano player in Minnesota!), invited us to sing during worship on June 8th and 9th.  Grandpa couldn’t have been any more excited! 🙂  Despite a dying water pump on ole Glory, we made it safely to Mankato and had an absolutely delightful weekend.  It was refreshing to worship with and minister to the people of Hosanna!  And it was great to spend time with grandparents, 1st and 2nd cousins, and other family members.  Grandpa took us out to eat at Old Country Buffet on Saturday and wowee, was that good – and filling!

Here’s a video of Sam, Jayme, and Caleb sharing “Boundless Love” (one of the songs on our new CD, “Out Front”) at Hosanna:

Regrettably, I didn’t get any pictures at our next stop, Living Savior Lutheran Church in Nisswa, MN, but we had fun meeting up with friends we have gotten to know over the years!  Thanks to Dick and Mavis Erickson for inviting us up again, and special thanks to Mayor James Wallin for the brats and beans – they were fantastic!

We had sound issues before the concert in Nisswa, and we decided that we needed to set-up our equipment in our house to E-Q the troubling frequencies.  So, for the next couple of days our home was filled with all our sound equipment.  It had been years since we practiced with microphones and speakers, so it was a very beneficial time for us.

We spent the weekend of June 22nd and 23rd in Wisconsin for the Blessed Assurance Gospel Fest.  Linda and Kurt Holtz hosted the event and we were glad to be able to attend this year again – thanks Linda and Kurt for asking us to come!  Also at the fest were The Herrlinger Family, Gary Froiland, Almost There, Rich Eberly, and Cindy Begert.  It was enjoyable to visit with friends we’ve made over the years.

That Sunday morning we sang at Wesley United Methodist Church in Marshfield, WI; what a fun, supportive congregation!  It was a special opportunity to join them in worship.  Pastor Joel Deaner-Rogers and his family were great to meet and talk with.  We hope to come again soon!  (And thanks for the rolls and mugs, y’all!)

Pastor Bob Benard invited us this year to come back to Eagle Bend Assembly of God, Eagle Bend, MN the weekend of June 29th and 30th, and we were excited to return.  For one thing, Pastor Bob makes the best grilled pork chops ever (his secret is his secret seasoning!), and for another, the folks are so kind and encouraging.  There was a community concert on Saturday evening, and we sang during worship on Sunday.  Mom and I even played piano for a couple of congregational songs!

Here is a photo gallery highlighting the concerts I mentioned above.  Enjoy:

We look forward to meeting you somewhere along the journey!  God’s blessings to you today and always!

“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” (Psalm 25:8-10)


The TGF Blogger (aka Taylor)
Respectfully submitted by
The TGF Blogger (aka Taylor)
Pictures taken by Taylor and Jayme

Pictorial Recollections (December 2012)

The Garms Family blogger was slow to post this picture post of memories from December, but enjoy the photos anyway!

Also, thank you to everyone who submitted captions for this silly photo!  To read all the captions, click here, and check out the winning one below!

Was that Scott Fowler who just walked by?

“Was that Scott Fowler who just walked by?” (Caption submitted by Daniel Mount)

The 2013 concert season kicks off next week at First Baptist Church in Baxter, MN, so be sure to visit our calendar to see when we’ll be in your area!

Pictorial Recollections (November 2012)

Since I don’t have as much time (or motivation!) to write out entire reviews of our past concerts like I used to, I thought I’d instead share some pictorial memories from our November engagements.  (Pictures say a thousand words, right?)  🙂


Blessings and Joy in the Journey!

Taylor for The Garms Family

 (Click on the photos for a larger view.)