Day 10 September 15th, Sunday

Day 10 September 15th, Sunday

I was able to spend the last night in the city, but in a very nice Hampton room with a comfy bed that was gifted to us. It was amazing! The boys were able to swim and play in the pool 3 times and were tired. After bringing them home I decided to make the final food and water run for the 10 day mission.

It was a hot day and I found that it was best to deliver supplies after about 7:00 pm, but before dark. This is a prime time when it is not too hot and is not dark yet. Many people are in migration. I found spots in the city to deliver all kinds of supplies in an efficient and effective manner. I feel we did a lot of good for these people in some of the hottest weather we get.

Upcoming needs will be blankets, jackets, backpacks, and socks. Despite your views or opinions, or even mine, people will struggle with sleeping in a house or even a dry place this winter despite all we do. Some people will sleep outside, but we can make sure they at least survive it. Donate blankets for a more impactful next step in the mission to help people be comfortable.

In planning future acts, I would love to do something for the homeless one weekend a month and next year plan for 2 weeks of service. So for next month I would like to pass out blankets and clothing items. I have hygiene bags to pass out and water is always needed. Be prepared to see the Blazer of Glory in the streets of Chattanooga doing good for other people.

 

I think the Fallen 5 would be proud of the 2019 mission. The final act of the Fallen 5 Drive is to dip our tires into the river as a way to end the mission until next year. It is always a relief to complete a tough assignment. We were successful in achieving change for many people in Chattanooga because of your support! Thank you for the support!

Joshua David Kapellusch

Day 7 September 12th, Thursday

Day 7 September 12th, Thursday

Waking up on the 12th meant taking down the flag from the main sign. I wanted people to see the flag flying and know the 9/11 victims and Fallen 5 were not forgotten. Once up I went to remove the flag by driving there in the Blazer of Glory, but the shifter broke when I went to back up. Once realizing what just happened I decided to walk to the main sign. Since we slept in the park it was not too far of a walk. I actually enjoyed the walk early in the morning to retrieve the flag. In the dawn’s early light, the flag was still there!

We took a couple pictures of the flag hanging and then folded it up for next year. I taught Olivia how to fold a flag. Each time the flag was folded this year someone learned how and I got practice too! Flag raising and folding is important process and holds respectful meaning in each fold. To fold a flag one must take great care with each fold because you must reach the end with enough excess and have formed a perfect triangle.

After folding the flag, the humbling walk back in front of the building where the men lost their lives gave me time to think about their last moments. I am still here with a mission and they left while on their mission. Picking up the flag and carrying it on is all of our duties and we each do it differently.

Getting back to the truck I figured out what we could do to get a cable made as soon as possible. The part that broke was critical. I called Hudlow Axle and they recommended Hydraulic Supply Co. in Chattanooga and they were able to make a custom cable before the end of the day. We decided to go shopping and get more supplies for making burritos again. The people requested them as they are filling and easily eaten.

After getting the cable and food I set to work fixing the truck and adapting the plans for the day. I forgot some small bags and needed ice for the cooler. Once back at the truck I set up a cooking station for 96 eggs and 50 burritos with cheese! My little fold up table and Coleman grille were ready to cook 6 eggs at a time and package up the food as quickly as possible. After 2 to 3 hours of cooking I was exhausted and it was dark. I got to work before looking at the clock, but it took much longer than I anticipated. The pups and I were ready for bed!

Joshua David Kapellusch

Day 6 September 11th, Wednesday

Day 6 September 11th, Wednesday

Instead of driving across a bridge for 2019, I was sleeping under one. This time in Chattanooga, TN. The Fallen 5 Drive for 2019 had a different mission, making a difference for people in Chattanooga. I put myself in the shoes of people who are homeless, by living in the truck for most of the 10 days during the 2019 mission. In this way I could see what it is like to survive on the streets.

 

I was lucky compared to most since I had a vehicle to transport me and sleep in. On 9/11 we woke up with a flat rear tire, a slight delay, but we got rolling nonetheless even filling the tire on the side of the freeway to meet Lebron Clark in Ringgold, GA. Somedays even when things are perfect, you will get a flat tire.

Lebron Clark from MTN View Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Ringgold, GA donated $1,000.00 to the mission of helping local people who are homeless. We will certainly use the funds to help cover the costs of the mission and could not do it without his support every year of the Fallen 5 Drive! Thank you Lebron!

In previous years I spent most of my time traveling in the truck at 70 to 80 miles per hour, stopping only for carefully planned fuel stops, bathroom breaks, food, and sleep. In 2016, the first year of the Fallen 5 Drive mission, we stayed at hotels except for a few nights under the stars – which were my favorite. Each year thereafter on the Fallen 5 Drive, more nights were spent in the truck because it embodied the connection to our natural environments and energy of the drive since it had to be made in 5 days as well!

Last year my dog and I made the trip together and I made it an order to sleep in the truck every night on the way out. I succeeded in sleeping in it even at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge on the fifth night! I wanted the ruggedness of the trip to represent a deployment or hardship similar to what forward operating marines or others experience on the battlefield.

September 11th and July 16th are the same dates to me. I pay my respects to each and this year was no different. September 11th sparked my passion for patriotism to protect my community and serve my country. I served for over 4 years overseas during war. I made Chattanooga my home. The terrorist who attacked us caused us to mourn, but actually made us stronger, noogastrong. My mission is to show our solidarity and remind others of the sacrifices the Fallen 5 made for us. I honor that and these men the best way I can.

I flew another flag on the sign of the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center of Amnicoal Hwy on September 11th, 2019. Our American Flag represents the hardships we have overcome together and our unity as Americans. What it means to me is that we work together like the stitches and striping, the stars and the bars. The flag represents our history, both good and bad. We must allow ourselves to react to one another with love and respect at all times, despite intense personal feelings without thought. Democracy is meant to be a logical process of deciding on issues to unite us, not divide us, based on majority voting.

We have shown as Americans and Chattanoogans, that we can be united especially after a tragedy. However, we should not only be united after tragedies, rather all year and over years and this is what I am attempting to demonstrate. To help those with the least is the best I can do.

Additionally, those that demonstrate the core values of what it means to be an American can often be found in public service such as in the military, judicial circuits, and police and fire fighting people. More important than government services is the neighborly or good samaritan acts we can share with one another when we are in need. Learning skills such as CPR or simple wound care can save people’s lives in emergency situations. As a country we should have millions more who are certified. There is a lot we can all be doing to help one another in need.

On this day I chose to feed service people such as cops and firefighters. I chose Krispy Kreme doughnuts of course to hand out to different departments. I first visited the Chattanooga Police Department on Amnicola Hwy since they saved everyone’s lives that day on July 16th, 2015. They were very thankful for the 24 doughnuts that were dropped off! I then visited UTC’s Police Department since they are always vigilant in protecting the future leaders of the community, as they become leaders themselves. My final stop was at the fire department off Main Street across from Slick’s Burgers. They were all gracious.

Joshua David Kapellusch

Day 4 September 9th, Monday

This morning’s sunrise was especially beautiful! The morning changed from dark, to a light orange and pink sky which shone brighter as the day awoke. The buzz and roar of life began and another day started for the Fallen 5 Drive.

I was quite sore by this time since I was not prepared to run and sleep in hard places. Doing a new physical fitness program combined with sleeping on the ground and vehicles was a new level of soreness for me. Despite the soreness, stretching and a little ibuprofen went a long way.

After a few days of being in the streets, we realized there were more needs beyond food and water. We began planning a list of hygiene items we could purchase and put together and pass out for people. In addition to giving food we wanted to provide a level of care in which people could feel more comfortable.

For food we planned on cooking eggs scrambled with cheese and wrapping into a burrito. We got 60 eggs, 40 tortillas, and a couple pounds of cheese. We picked up another 4 cases of water to pass out as it was going to be hot for the next few days. It was quite a bit of work as we cooked, wrapped, and packaged the food. As we drove around passing out water and food, we asked what more needs were and so we planned to make a trip to the store for toothpaste, toothbrushes, wipes, band aides, alcohol pads, and other items.

By now I began to recognize certain people and they knew us as well. Often as I drove around town, my new friends would wave or say hi!  It felt good to be doing good for others. The opportunity to do good for others is possible if we simply choose to do something. This simple mission has created so much joy and value. It was a great day to honor the Fallen 5!

Joshua David Kapellusch

Day 3 September 8th, Sunday

Day 3 began with a beautiful sunrise in the morning overlooking the City of Chattanooga. It was peaceful and calm. With the sunrise we could hear the traffic and energy of the city come to life. Each day on this mission I awoke wondering how much good I could do for others in need. My mental balance was between serving those who were living, those who sacrificed their lives for others, and serving my own needs.

The major plans for the day including cooking hot dogs and passing them out with water. This means we would set up the grille and cook and package them up in zip lock bags. Each morning I made French pressed coffee, as I do every morning, and began planning the day. Each day at this point was going to be planned as the day went. I was learning a lot about what the real needs on the streets were.

Food is a big part of what we were doing. Additionally, seeking resources such as blankets, hygiene items, and coats was an important next step. I learned new information from those we served and we asked what their needs were. Some spoke of anticipating housing soon while others wanted simple items such as hand sanitizer.

My personal goal is to raise awareness for the status of homelessness in Chattanooga and care for these people on a personal level. Being a small team of dedicated people and dogs, we were able to impact people on an individual basis which was a special experience. Part of driving around was finding new places that were overlooked by others. Generally, there were people close to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen which is open daily for food and other resources.

To spread the word on our mission we headed to the Sunday Market at the First Tennessee Pavilion which was also a car show. We walked around with the dogs for a bit and shortly after left to help more people in needs. Later that night we visited Craven’s House again overlooking the city.

 

Joshua David Kapellusch

Day 2 September 7th, Saturday

Day 2 September 7th, Saturday

Mack, Miley, and I awoke early in the morning in the truck and I was very tired from the day before. For 2019 I wanted to put myself in homeless people’s shoes by living in the truck for the duration of the mission. Preparing for the mission was stressful and difficult to cram everything into the truck. Making room to sleep was quite a challenge, but we managed to make some comfort. I had not anticipated the discomfort from working out since it had been so long. A good night’s sleep is nothing to take for granted.

After stretching and waking up I went on another run with the dogs. Taking a grown dog is tough, but two with one being a puppy is quite a challenge. After we started the dogs got the hang of it somewhat. As we ran across Walnut Street Bridge the puppy was dragging behind; I thought she was tired. To my surprise she had to potty and so there I was picking up turds with my bare hands and running them to the trash! Next time I will bring a bag or at least try and make them go potty before we run! I made two laps for the Fallen 5 and loved crossing Veteran’s Bridge and seeing their plaques on 5 poles. It inspired me to push harder, to know I should be doing more for myself, to honor the Fallen 5.

After getting back to truck I realized I was completely covered in sweat and my Noogastrong shirt was soaked. I realized that I didn’t have a shower either and I would just have to cool down. I made some French pressed coffee and ate a little food. Our next mission was to hand out water and the PBJ sandwiches. We searched the town over and looked for people. We were successful in giving away all of the food and most of the waters. The goal is to hand out 2 waters and 1 food item to each person.

Another mission is to make the truck look as good a possible to represent the Fallen 5 properly. The decals and paint from prior years is show it’s age. After my accident I was not able to care for the truck and it sat outside for the winter and the sun got the decals to peel. I headed to the library to reprint the decals and put them on for each man. I want people to know what the truck is about when they see it, so I can point to their names and speak about their sacrifices.

 

 

 

 

 

For the 2nd round of feeding I decided that hot dogs would be a good thing to make. I bought 48 hotdogs, buns, beans, ketchup, mustard, and other supplies for feeding. I also bought more water and filled a new cooler to keep the food safe and cool out in the hot weather.

For the evening we decided to park somewhere more quiet and secure. Sleeping in a truck with no top and exposed is a unique experience. You hear everything and feel the city, it never sleeps. We visited Craven’s House and were blessed with an amazing sunrise.

Joshua David Kapellusch

Day 1, September 6th, Friday

September 6th, 2019. Day 1.

The 2019 Fallen 5 Drive began with an early morning 6:30 AM run across Walnut Street Bridge and across Veteran’s Bridge. The two dogs and I stretched out, then I did some pushups and leg lifts. My goal is to honor the men with as many laps as I can run, and think about what they sacrificed while doing so. PT is a big part of daily life in the military and I know getting myself into shape will be a good thing for me as well. I want to take these 10 days to improve my community and myself.

My goal this year for the Fallen 5 Drive is to honor these men by doing good things for the community through my actions. Feeding and helping the poorest in our community is important because it is how we Americans should be taking care of one another. Serving your country can begin by helping people right in your own back yard.

Once I reorganized the truck after getting supplies, I headed to the Chattanooga National Cemetery to visit the graves of the SSGT David Wyatt and PO Randall Smith. It was a very peaceful day to observe the tempo of the city. The cemetery is very calm and it was an honor to spend time resting with some of our national heroes.

Once I finished at the cemetery I drove to the mural near the cemetery. After taking a picture of the truck next the mural I headed to the river park to let the dogs swim and check on the memorial in the river park. As far as I could see there was no progress on the site unless I was missing something. One of my goals is to check in on Fallen 5 memorial sites to ensure progress is being made and that they are kept up.

I begin the Fallen 5 Drive the same way every year. I visit the initial shooting site and eat a meal with the Fallen 5 at the Lee Hwy memorial. This year I folded up a flag with 2 volunteers for the Navy. It was special teaching these young men about the heritage they are about to embrace. Once I arrived at the Riverpark, I dipped the tires back in the Tennessee River and put water on the flag.

Now that the drive began, my next mission was to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pass out waters. I made about 40 sandwiches and handed out about 60 water bottles. I simply drive around and see who needs food or water. Since I have been helping some people who are homeless, I have a good idea of where to start and where I can make a large impact. One of the highest concentration of people with needs is outside of the Community Kitchen. We often deliver most of the supplies here after driving around for a few hours. After a long day the dogs and I slept in the truck off Lookout Street.

Joshua David Kapellusch

2019 Fallen 5 Drive Update

2019 Fallen 5 Drive Update

After long consideration of the impact and goals of the Fallen 5 Drive, I have made the decision to “deploy to Chattanooga” for 2 weeks beginning September 6th, and ending on the 15th of September. I will live in the truck for these 2 weeks, helping people who are homeless by feeding, watering, and securing resources for these people in honor of these men.

My ultimate goal is to find at least 1 homeless veteran and get them housed. I will also feed and water at least 50 people per day in their honor. I will do ground work on finding what the status of the memorial at the park is and see why it is delayed. I will honor these men, their lives, their families, and the community they left behind. We have a lot of work to do here in Chattanooga, and I feel I can impact more people this way rather than driving across the country for 2 weeks.

Traditionally the Fallen 5 Drive was about taking the folded Amnicola American Flag across the United States and flying it from the Golden Gate bridge to honor these 5 brave heroes. After committing myself for 3 successful years, 15,000 miles, and thousands of dollars from myself and sponsors, I have seriously considered the impact of my actions. I feel that helping living, breathing citizens of the United States of America in Chattanooga, it would better honor their sacrifice by working in my community.

I went to the Golden Gate Bridge because during Vietnam people threw garbage on returning veterans. And more recently, the San Francisco 49er decided to not stand for the flag, and this is garbage as well. Before the washed up quarterback decided to not stand for that beautiful flag, I/we had already completed 2 successful missions of flying it from the bridge – we took it straight to the middle of the bridge to say – NO, WE HONOR OUR FLAG, OUR COUNRTY, AND THOSE WHO HAVE SACRIFICED TO KEEP IT FLYING.

This year I feel that I can impact more people than the few I meet on the highway. Last year I helped 8 homeless people, and this year I will help at least 600 right here in Chattanooga. With the rising costs of housing locally, there are more than 700 homeless people who need assistance right now, every day. I will find out what their needs are and keep you all updated. I will give rides, facilitate feeding people from sponsor donations and out of pocket donations, and generally be of assistance to anyone in need, especially veterans. I will have a daily schedule posted in the next few days. My goal is to demonstrate how we as Americans, can work together and care for one another.

To help, start by spreading the message of the mission. Share, like, and donate if you feel compelled to help your fellow humans in need. Over the next few days, I will be raising awareness and generating support. Starting now until the 15th I will accept donations of money, food, water, clothing, backpacks, socks, and general items for living. We can all do a little, and a little goes a long way. Remember, that without community we have no country – and to have strength we must remain United in these States of America, under God.

Thank you. For more questions or resources please call or text Joshua at 423.414.8233. Email fallen5drive@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Joshua David Kapellusch

Founder/Driver of the Fallen 5 Drive

Warrior

Warrior

What is a warrior?

Warrior as defined by Dictionary.com.

Warrior: 1. a person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier. 2. a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.

Some of us are born warriors – seeing the need to fight for others, to improve their lives no matter the cost. When a warrior places value on their life, they calculate the possibility of their maxim effect of their efforts and the potential cost. The cost of living on without fighting for one’s innate and inalienable right to pursue happiness, or other’s rights to happiness – is higher than the cost of losing one’s life in the battles that will ensue for a greater good.

Warriors fight battles in the war with a purposeful end in sight. The glory of battle is not lost on the battlefield. The glory of heroism is never forgotten – a legacy of life given for others, a true sacrifice is made and the legend of the warrior never dies. Those who survive the war, have a duty to honor those fellow warriors now without their physical voice. We warriors must embolden ourselves for we now represent those that can no longer wave the flag or speak their peace. We must never let our brethren die inside us for it is the pilot light for our own warrior spirit that keeps us alive. We living warriors must live our lives, not focused on the dead, but to rather live our lives with purpose for the warriors who are resting.

A warrior’s spirit never dies, only resides like a waning tide. We pull away to reset ourselves on giving life, rather than taking it. We build in place of destruction. We rebuild ourselves.

The warrior’s spirit is driven by love. Seemingly contradictory – one must take a life in order to provide a better life for others. One must protect their good, their way of life – one must always fight for what they believe is right. Following God’s word, a warrior on a warpath can embark on a mission that is just if the purpose of the fight is rooted in the word of God, and in line with love. A warrior need not always kill another human, but they must relentlessly attack and defend against evil that causes harm to the warrior’s tribe and purpose. A warrior must defend against and kill the evil spirit within another human, for it is not life-giving.

My warrior spirit lives on inside me and I will always fight for good – for God – and for love. A warrior wars for peace and protection; a warrior sacrifices their life so that other’s may have a better life. A warrior is born, but never dies. A warrior yearns to sacrifice everything. A living warrior is jealous of those who had the opportunity to die, they must live on in their honor with a renewed purpose of giving and protecting life, rather than taking and harming life. Life is precious and delicate; it is not guaranteed. It must be fought for, even in peaceful times and places. Honor a warrior by living a positive life – be life giving. Honor the sacrifices they made for you, for you will never know the gift of giving the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield.

A warrior is always watchful for the next battle. They seek the weak, not to exploit, but to protect and provide. A warrior’s spirit never dies and we are always vigilant to needs of the weak. Our abundant strengths, courage, and intuition guide us. Each battle is new and unique, we warriors battle on so others may have a voice to speak. Death and evil chase life and happiness with a vengeance – for evil is never satisfied, until death presides. But death does not know that without life and love, death and evil have no purpose. A warrior is capable of love and mercy, whereas evil and death do not know love. A warrior is able to deliver justice in an envelope of hate, packaged and delivered intentionally to the source. A curious devil will open this pre-addressed letter unknowingly motivated by a unruled conquest of curiosity at the cost of demise. A warrior leaves it up to their adversary to open the envelope, but gives no mercy once opened. A warrior will include their return address as an open invitation for the opponent to attack or seek mercy. A warrior is capable of mercy and forgiveness as they fight from a source of love, derived from God.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” A warrior loves their enemy, and they win the battle before it ever begins. Life is meant to sustain and grow. Life is movement, and death is stillness. A warrior’s life is a living one – and their spirit never dies.

Do good, and never give up. We are all warriors in our words and actions. No warrior is perfect, nor is every battle won. Victory comes to warriors when they give everything and by the grace of God, we shall open our eyes one more day – to fight on for good, for light, and for love. Be a warrior and fight on. You are never alone and you have a purpose if you are still living. Be slow to anger and listen with your heart. Trust your intuition and if you doubt, pray.

Joshua David Kapellusch

The Return Home

The only thing left to do for the annual ceremony after folding up the flag is to put ocean water on the flag and tires to connect the two bodies of water. When we leave the shooting site I dip my tires into the Tennessee River and put river water on the flag. When I arrive on the coast the bodies of water are connected. The final connection for the completion of the mission is to dip my tires back into the Tennessee River and put final drops of water on the flag until next year.

Once off the bridge I feel an extreme weight lifted off my shoulders. The first 5 days and the 6th day are all about getting to the bridge in time without breaking down. Even months before leaving I must begin preparing for the mission. Last year I had to leave late due to a lack of funds to leave on the 16th of July – the annual date of the attack. We chose instead to be on the bridge on September 11th and it was very special. This year I raised more funds before leaving and also worked hard to save money up. I also plan my whole summer around making this trip. I have never worked harder in my life, prior to leaving for the 2018 trip, to prepare the truck and my schedules.

That last little drive over the bridge is so exhilarating! Mission complete…until I get home! I am relieved of duty at this point! I made plans to meet my best friend from when I was in the Air Force who lives in San Francisco. He and his friend went surfing as Mack and I sat on the beach relaxing watching the waves crash and flow. Throughout the trip it was my goal to have deep self-reflection and really address some things in my life that needed to be dealt with. I struggle with depression and am technically a serviced disabled veteran, although I struggle with shame admitting this.

This trip gives me hope for each coming year to do something that gives me purpose, which is unique, and can be used for good for others. I fight my depression not with pills, but with positive actions. I try hard to do good things for good people and teach others what I have learned. I make a personal goal to do a good deed for someone or something each day. This is my medicine; kindness. I honestly wonder sometimes if I actually suffer from depression, or is it the world that is depressing? By doing good things I can serve both philosophies, positively. However, I forget to focus on myself and address my own problems at times. This year’s trip allowed me to reach new levels of understanding, vulnerability, patience, and knowledge as I persisted to challenging my insecurities.

In the military you harden your heart. You learn to not feel or express emotion –basic human functions – to better do your job. After years of challenging experiences, a hardened heart and mind, and some trauma you are different forever. The hardest thing to ever do is soften a hardened heart or try to connect to people who have never served in the military. The bonds veterans share across all branches in the Department of Defense, is one of the strongest ever created. Even over generations a single look and head nod is all that’s needed to convey a thought of understanding. Sometimes a tear or two will fall from an expressionless face. We veterans all know without words, the meaning behind every tear we shed for the sacrifices we all made to make this country a better place for all of us. We all gave some, some gave all.

As I watched those waves coming over and over I realized the waves are like problems in life – they keep coming each a little different, but they never stop. We have the choice to keep swimming or to stop fighting and drown. With each powerful wave is a lull. In these lulls we recover and regain our strength for the next one. My hope is to inspire others to achieve their dreams as I have no matter what they are or how crazy they may seem. The Blazer of Glory is a vehicle of innovation and inspiration.

After getting even colder sitting on the beach we were finally ready to eat. I had not eaten all day! I invited my friend Casey to perform the water ceremony on the flag as it would have a lot of meaning for both of us. It was a special ceremony for me to do with one of my best friends. After eating and saying our goodbyes I set out to see my Mother and Step-father who haul produce from California. In about 3 hours I then saw my Mother way out in some field full of fog at midnight! This was pretty special. After saying hello and giving some coffee away I said goodbye as they drove off. I was exhausted and ready for bed. There was no way I was going to drive anymore in that fog! Mack and I slept until later in the morning. This was the first time I felt fully rested in 7 days!

The next part of the journey was to realize a dream of mine for years…cruise the California coast in my convertible, American truck using clean American fuels. I was headed south to LA and The Enthusiast Network TEN, the headquarters for Hot Rod Magazine, Roadkill, and many more. My goal was to get noticed and publicized to further reach more people and inspire kids into responsible, high-tech hot rodding. The Blazer of Glory is loved by everyone.

Mack and I arrived late into the night. Driving into LA at 3:00 am to the hot rod mecca of the world was a thrill. I may or may not have shredded the flag on the solar panel due to some excessive speeds. 2 days earlier I noticed the flag starting to come apart and my little blasts didn’t help. Once in the parking lot I decided to make friends with the security guard who was awesome, and then I drove around for a bit checking out some Roadkill cars and finding a place to park and sleep. It was my intention to sleep in the parking lot, wake up and stay until someone noticed us. That’s exactly what we did!

After completing that mission, I was free to drive further south to visit my best friend from high school. He and his wife live the good life on the coast so I had no problem spending 2 days there. On my way back home to Chattanooga on the southern route via Interstate 40 east, I visit my Great Grandfather who is a WWII veteran of the Navy and who sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge many times during the war. I spent another 2 days in Las Vegas with him, went gambling for the first time with $5.00, and created memories that will last a lifetime. Driving into Vegas I hit a sand storm then intense rain which all blew straight into my face.

I look forward to getting home as quick as I can. I use mostly natural gas along the southern route home because it is the cheapest and is always available. I filled the propane tank in Vegas and never filled it again. I stopped in Winslow, Arizona and in Oklahoma City. I stopped in to see the Farmtruck and Farmbird. I was hoping to meet the guys from the show, but they were not there. Mack and I then set out for home with no other planned stops other than for food, fuel, or rest.

We had a pretty major breakdown. My driveshaft blew out on the freeway at about 65 mph which was my biggest fear with that truck. I put the truck in 4wd, backed up to pick up my driveshaft, and got off on the next exit. Normally I would just keep driving in front wheel drive, but for some reason this year all my 46-year-old spinning parts wanted to come apart. I found a small repair shop and they graciously offered floor space, spare parts, gave me $20.00, and bought my supper! I could not believe the kindness of Adam & Brooke Dishman in Warner, Oklahoma. If you need any kind of repair visit their shop Waysen Tire & Lube at 15 Williamson Circle, Warner, OK 74469. 919.913.4304. I “band aided” the driveshaft together and even welded the u-joint caps to the rear yoke since it was extensively damaged.

Mack and I made it back home on the 16th of August after 14 days on the road and ~ 5,300 miles later. We finished the mission by dipping our tires in the Tennessee River and finally by putting water on the flag. Looking at the next 2 years, I am thinking about how to make it better, different, and more meaningful.

I express the deepest and most sincere thank you to my sponsors, my supporters, my friends, family, and strangers on the road who become my heroes. Thank you,

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

2018 Fallen 5 Drive, Out.

The Return Home