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Tales from the Vus

imageThe PCM Vus has served as our bus/taxi/limo, trailer-puller, parking lot sentry, temporary shelter and steady companion for countless fellowship and mission trips and other adventures. Oh, the things the Vus has seen, heard and endured for almost 15 years! We invite you to share you own story or memory of/in the Vus in the comments section below, or reply to an existing comment to add your memories to the story.

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Guest - Brad Wendel on Monday, 03 February 2014 09:54

"How I Crashed the Vus into a Railroad Track" by Brad Wendel - Many of you have probably heard this story in one form or another, but here's what really happened. Back in the fall of 2002 I drove the vus for the Youth Group to a hayrack ride at Shady Acres in Council Bluffs. I used a new technology called "Yahoo! Maps" which provided me detailed driving directions from the church to the site. You'll have to believe me when I tell you that it was Yahoo! that sent me down the 2-lane highway in front of the Iowa corrections facility. As you know there is a set of railroad tracks that run north/south parallel to I-29, the 2-lane highway passing directly underneath it as you head east to Shady Acres. As I approached the railroad bridge on that highway, I remember vividly seeing the yellow clearance sign to the right of the road and thinking to myself, "Hmm, that's shorter than bridges usually are. I wonder if that will be a problem." Seconds later the front of the vus reached the bridge, and even with the dip in the road I looked up and saw just how close the deep, brown wood of the bridge was to the top of the windshield, and I knew we weren't going to make it through. I slammed on the brakes just as the vus roof connected with the bottom of the bridge. Metal on wood created a horrible, loud, screeching sound that haunts me to this day. By that point the momentum of the vus had carried the front of the vus past the bridge, so I knew there was nothing to do but gun it and get through. For a good 5-6 seconds the terrible screeching continued as the rest of the vus scraped its way under the bridge. When we came out the other side I pulled over immediately. Kevin Breyfogle exclaimed from the back of the vus, "What the hell was that?" I gulped a reply while Kathy Sutula admonished him for his choice of words, even though she was probably thinking the same thing.

I jumped out of the vus and onto the hood to try to asses the damage. I couldn't see much, but there was clearly paint missing from the top of the vus just above the front overhang. The kids started to come out saying this and that, and Kathy herded them back into the vus, and we made our way to Shady Acres, the kids laughing all the way while Kathy and I nursed minor heart attacks. I pulled the vus up next to a small hill and jumped out and up the hill so I could look down on the top of the vus. On each side of the roof of the vus was a long streak of silver metal where the bridge trellis had scraped and pushed the roof of the vus inward, almost like a plane had landed on top and its wheels had left track marks as it passed. The kids all let out a "OOOOHHH" in unison, remarking at the beauty of the damage and postulating on just how upset Pastor John would be. I was thinking something similar, although with a great deal more panic in my thoughts.

The damage to the vus was extensive, but not fatal. To this day the bar by the front door isn't quite hinged to the ceiling because my brilliant maneuver had pushed the vus ceiling down far enough to make it insecurable. The next day I called Pastor John and told him what had happened. He replied calmly, perhaps holding in hysterical laughter that erupted once we hung up, and told me that everything would be alright. The worst was when the Session met the following month, and Building and Grounds reported what had happened. It so happened my mother, Linda, was on Session at that time, so when they began the story by saying "So, this is what happened to Brad Wendel," my mother sighed and replied "Oh, Lord, what did he do now?"

I don't regret using Yahoo! Maps for directions, nor do I regret my cat-like reflexes that gunned us under and through that bridge, ensuring the safety of your children and our beloved vus. All I can tell you is to always double-check your routes, slow down if you think there's a chance you won't clear an obstacle, and don't let Kevin Breyfogle curse during youth group events.

In case you're wondering, the height of the vus is now 9 feet. Consider yourself warned.

"How I Crashed the Vus into a Railroad Track" by Brad Wendel - Many of you have probably heard this story in one form or another, but here's what really happened. Back in the fall of 2002 I drove the vus for the Youth Group to a hayrack ride at Shady Acres in Council Bluffs. I used a new technology called "Yahoo! Maps" which provided me detailed driving directions from the church to the site. You'll have to believe me when I tell you that it was Yahoo! that sent me down the 2-lane highway in front of the Iowa corrections facility. As you know there is a set of railroad tracks that run north/south parallel to I-29, the 2-lane highway passing directly underneath it as you head east to Shady Acres. As I approached the railroad bridge on that highway, I remember vividly seeing the yellow clearance sign to the right of the road and thinking to myself, "Hmm, that's shorter than bridges usually are. I wonder if that will be a problem." Seconds later the front of the vus reached the bridge, and even with the dip in the road I looked up and saw just how close the deep, brown wood of the bridge was to the top of the windshield, and I knew we weren't going to make it through. I slammed on the brakes just as the vus roof connected with the bottom of the bridge. Metal on wood created a horrible, loud, screeching sound that haunts me to this day. By that point the momentum of the vus had carried the front of the vus past the bridge, so I knew there was nothing to do but gun it and get through. For a good 5-6 seconds the terrible screeching continued as the rest of the vus scraped its way under the bridge. When we came out the other side I pulled over immediately. Kevin Breyfogle exclaimed from the back of the vus, "What the hell was that?" I gulped a reply while Kathy Sutula admonished him for his choice of words, even though she was probably thinking the same thing. I jumped out of the vus and onto the hood to try to asses the damage. I couldn't see much, but there was clearly paint missing from the top of the vus just above the front overhang. The kids started to come out saying this and that, and Kathy herded them back into the vus, and we made our way to Shady Acres, the kids laughing all the way while Kathy and I nursed minor heart attacks. I pulled the vus up next to a small hill and jumped out and up the hill so I could look down on the top of the vus. On each side of the roof of the vus was a long streak of silver metal where the bridge trellis had scraped and pushed the roof of the vus inward, almost like a plane had landed on top and its wheels had left track marks as it passed. The kids all let out a "OOOOHHH" in unison, remarking at the beauty of the damage and postulating on just how upset Pastor John would be. I was thinking something similar, although with a great deal more panic in my thoughts. The damage to the vus was extensive, but not fatal. To this day the bar by the front door isn't quite hinged to the ceiling because my brilliant maneuver had pushed the vus ceiling down far enough to make it insecurable. The next day I called Pastor John and told him what had happened. He replied calmly, perhaps holding in hysterical laughter that erupted once we hung up, and told me that everything would be alright. The worst was when the Session met the following month, and Building and Grounds reported what had happened. It so happened my mother, Linda, was on Session at that time, so when they began the story by saying "So, this is what happened to Brad Wendel," my mother sighed and replied "Oh, Lord, what did he do now?" I don't regret using Yahoo! Maps for directions, nor do I regret my cat-like reflexes that gunned us under and through that bridge, ensuring the safety of your children and our beloved vus. All I can tell you is to always double-check your routes, slow down if you think there's a chance you won't clear an obstacle, and don't let Kevin Breyfogle curse during youth group events. In case you're wondering, the height of the vus is now 9 feet. Consider yourself warned.
Guest - Connie Duckert on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 17:52

Great story; I hadn't heard the details before this! I have a question, though. Where did the term "Vus" come from? I know it's been used for years but don't know the story or significance behind the "V".
thanks

Great story; I hadn't heard the details before this! I have a question, though. Where did the term "Vus" come from? I know it's been used for years but don't know the story or significance behind the "V". thanks
Administrator on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 23:47

If memory serves, the name for the Vus was made by the youth of the church at the time we purchased it. It was bigger than a van and not quite big enough to be a real bus. So, they just combined the two types and called it the Vus. The name stuck.

If memory serves, the name for the Vus was made by the youth of the church at the time we purchased it. It was bigger than a van and not quite big enough to be a real bus. So, they just combined the two types and called it the Vus. The name stuck.
Guest - None on Sunday, 16 March 2014 17:58

Now Kevin what is your version of this story?

Now Kevin what is your version of this story?
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