Day 2. Paducah, KY to Salina, KS. 594 miles

Waking up in the Blazer of Glory is an adventure in itself. Before leaving I picked up a tarp and some large clamps to make a “tiny house” for Mack and I on our travels. Each night after driving as long as I can I stop and try to pick a city with fuel, parts, and a place to park. We got lucky and found a nice place next to a McDonalds.

In the morning we were in the shade luckily, because the sun was warming the day quickly. Mack had fun night of protecting the blazer from evil cats! Someone was feeding them and it seemed to be a cat haven.

This day I knew I had some maintenance to do on the truck. Before leaving I completed some pretty extensive repairs and upgrades. At some point I had to divide up the tasks to ones I could complete on the road. It makes it more fun that way! I’ve brought most of my tools and spare parts to make any repairs as needed.

I arrived at O’Reillys to change my rear differential fluid to a heavy synthetic Royal Purple oil to cut down on the gear noise and give me a piece of mind. Royal Purple is the only oil I trust for racing or any extreme abusive situation. In fact, I only change the oil in the blazer once a year before the trip. After talking to some nice people and getting the work done, we were on our way.

This part of the drive is long, hot, and somewhat non-eventful. I planned out my fuel stops for the day. I would fill up in Saint Louis with Natural gas and propane. The goal would be to drive across Kansas without using any gasoline. The gasoline is actually just a back up….40 gallons worth! I try to use clean, American fuels the whole way. Mack and I just ripped across the country flying old glory for the Fallen 5 using American fuels. It is perfect.

Thank you to our sponsors and contributors for making this mission possible!

Mtn View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA

Grace Frank Group in Chattanooga, TN

Off-Grid Living & Design – Tiny Homes in Wildwood, GA

Joshua Kapellusch

Day 2, 2018

Day 2. Paducah, KY to Salina, KS. 594 miles

Day 1. August 2nd, 2018. Chattanooga, TN to Paducah, KY. 267 miles

The departure date was very welcomed after a few mechanical delays with the ’72 Chevy set us back. After getting everything fixed up and tested I set to leave on the 30th of July. Some work-related tasks needed to be completed as well as work on the truck. So eventually I left with my dog Mack on the 2nd of August in the rain. We ate supper with the Fallen 5 as I do every year. I take this time to really feel the emotion of the event 3 years ago.

The entire trip is focused on the Fallen 5. I constantly ask myself if I am doing enough, in the right way, and to the right people. I do know that I perform to my absolute best in this honorable mission. I am the keeper of the Fallen 5 Drive flag from the Amnicola shooting site. My duty is to fly it from the Goldgen Gate Bridge for them. So in reality, I just need to get that flag there on that bridge – everything else is part of the story. People love stories. I tell the story of the Fallen 5 everywhere I go.

I begin the drive each year by starting the Fallen 5 Drive from the memorial site off Lee Hwy in Chattanooga. I then take the path of the shooter to the Naval Station and Marine Reserve Center. On this part of the drive it has the most meaning, to take up a new mission for good and carry their honor. It is my way of fighting the pain of loss and the fear of hateful acts. We must show love and unity, not hate and division. The Blazer of Glory carries this message.

After dipping my tires in the Tennessee River and putting water on the American flag I set out for the 5,000 mile mission! I departed sometime around 5:00 pm. I always drive in Chattanooga for a bit for encouragement then set out for the 5,000 mile challenge ahead!

At about 1:00 pm I settled into the Blazer of Glory for the night with Mack my dog. I intent on sleeping in the truck for the entire trip as an added level of excitement! Stay tuned for more!

Thank you to our sponsors and contributors for making this mission possible!

Mtn View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA

Grace Frank Group in Chattanooga, TN

Off-Grid Living & Design – Tiny Homes in Wildwood, GA

Joshua Kapellusch

Day 1, 2018

Follow along for the 2018 drive for the Fallen 5.

Fallen 5 Drive Update

Dear Supporters,

On July 16th I drove the Blazer of Glory all over Chattanooga, TN and to Ringgold and Rossville, GA. The community support was amazing! People always waive, honk, and give the thumbs up. It makes me so proud to be a rolling, living, memorial to the Fallen 5. I visited all of the memorial sites dedicated to the Fallen 5 on July, 16th and paid my respects. It was an honor to travel and see all the supporters in the city while in the Blazer of Glory.

I have delayed the departure of our trip to July 30th due to mechanical failure in the rear differential in the Blazer of Glory. Over the course of building the roll cage and rear bumper at Hudlow Axle in the week leading up to leaving, I noticed a small leak and drip from the pinion seal. Sometimes this can be fixed by simply changing the seal, or in this case it needed to be rebuilt. On July 16th I arrived at Hudlow Axle to repair the seal; I changed the outer pinion bearing and crush sleeve in hopes of fixing the problem.

Steve Hudlow, the owner of Hudlow Axle, is one of our supporting sponsors and allowed me to fabricate the roll cage using his tubing bender. His company which I work for several years ago specializes in differentials, gears, driveshafts, transfer cases, and many other specialized drive train services. After driving the Blazer of Glory on July 16th with the intent to leave that day, it was becoming a realization the truck would need a rebuild on the rear differential.

Luckily, I was in good hands again at Hudlow Axle with parts and tools. I performed intense surgery on the Blazer of Glory on July 18th replacing the bearings and races in the carrier and on the pinion. The main gear ratio is 3.73 with open differential carriers. The gear set was certainly worn as well; basically, everything was worn out in the differential in the 46 year old truck! So after replacing the bearings, the pinion seal, and oil I drove the truck some more. The rear differential is a little loud and the overall reliability of the parts is questionable at this point since the truck needs to be test driven more. It blew a faulty pinion seal on the way home from Rossville last night.

Blazer of Glory Maintenance

The best plan for making the mission a success without being stranded is to delay the trip a couple weeks and test the truck. I am disappointed, however the truck is a machine and machines break down. We are lucky to have discovered the worn parts before leaving! I will keep you posted on our progress and thank you for our support!

Joshua D. Kapellusch

Watch the News Channel 3 “3 Plus you” Interview!

Follow this link to watch the amazing interview! Thank you to Julie Edwards and David Karnes from News Channel 3 for your support! We love you guys!

http://www.wrcbtv.com/clip/14456402/3-plus-community

A special thanks to Lebron Clark from Mountian View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA for setting up the interview and becoming the main 2018 sponsor! We are forever thankful!

Thank you to the Grace Frank Group for their 2018 sponsorship! Visit the website for more information on THE BEST real estate in Chattanooga!

Another huge thanks to Hudlow Axle coming through for us on the roll cage and rear bumper!

Stay tuned for updates!

Tune Into News Channel 3 for “3 Plus You” – We Will Be ON AIR! Friday June 29th, and July 4th

Julie Edwards from News Channel 3 called and invited us on her show! Lebron Clark from Mountain View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA arranged the meeting and we are thrilled! Tune into News Channel 3 for “3 Plus You” on June 29th, and again on July 4th.

Our message of remembrance is very important to be shared as it helps heal our community. Each year we must remember them and as time goes on it makes our mission even more important. The support from our community is awesome and could not be more proud of where we live.

As we drive across the United States thousands of people see the truck and remember the Fallen 5. The flag is hung from the bridge each year in their honor, folded back up, and rides in the dash of the Blazer of Glory.

Support our mission and remember the Fallen 5.

Joshua Kapellusch

Sponsor the 2018 Fallen 5 Drive, Read How

The goal of your sponsorship is to assist the Fallen 5 Drive Team with covering the expenses of the mission to carry the Amnicola American Flag to the Golden Gate Bridge to be flown. Each company or organization wishing to sponsor the Fallen 5 Drive is entitled to corresponding levels of support. The Fallen 5 Drive Team’s goal is to represent each company or organization fairly with sponsorship and placement on the truck and website. Earlier donations receive priority placement due to space limitations so reserve your space early. Joshua will customize your logo placement and coordination of any events and online support.

The overall goal of the drive is to maximize exposure for the remembrance of the Fallen 5 and our mission. In doing so we encourage people to support our sponsors who make the mission possible. We are a rolling, interactive Fallen 5 memorial that drives over 10,000 miles each year across the country and especially in Chattanooga, Tennessee throughout the year.

Levels of Sponsorship
Platinum: Primary logo / Company information placement on truck, falllen5drive.org website, and materials. Media coverage, name inclusions, and custom media around your company or organization. Events and other ideas are welcomed including media such as newspapers, tv news, and others to include potential national news. Joshua also speaks to people about the mission to groups in meetings to promote unity and purpose in the workplace. Sponsoring the mission is exciting!
$2,500.00

Gold: Prominent logo / Company information on truck, fallen5drive.org website, and materials. Mentions, inclusions, and custom media including your company or organization. Some events and other inclusions for certain events. Other ideas and custom supportive efforts are welcomed!
$1,000 +

Silver: Logo / Company information on truck, fallen5drive.org website, and some materials. Other ideas and custom supportive efforts are welcomed
$500 +

Hero: Individual, companies, and organizations are welcomed to support our mission. If you want recognition, please let Joshua know. Small donations make a huge difference in making the drive possible. We love to include as many people as possible since it feels so great to do something good.
$ any

To learn more contact Joshua at 423.414.8233 or fallen5drive@gmail.com. Any ideas or suggestions are welcomed! Visit our Fallen 5 Drive Facebook page as well.

Thank you,

Joshua Kapellusch

Fallen 5 Drive Story