Don't leave home without one! (As the saying goes.) Or without "him" as the case may be.
That's how a lot of people feel about Allen Hernke of Cannon Falls.
It was an enthusiastic group of around 50 folks who were heading out on a bus tour to Cape Cod and surrounding areas last summer. The eight day excursion planned by the Shepherd's Center of the Cannon Valley was set to visit Martha's Vineyard, seaside towns like Hyannis and then Plymouth Rock and more. They had been informed about the rules of the charter bus, which were for "the safety and happiness of our groups." These rules told them to "kindly" remain in their seats while the bus was moving. And every 2 1/2 hours the bus would stop for public restrooms.
Even driving directions were included, showing where to turn and merge and stop. (Does this mean the bus driver would have 50 "back seat drivers"?)
The bus trip was pleasant and folks enjoyed the beautiful countryside. But there was one glitch. (You knew this was coming, right?)
When they arrived at the Toledo, Ohio Museum of Art, the bus broke down. But don't despair. It started again.
It was a couple of days later, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, that they couldn't get it started at all. And this is where Allen Hernke came in handy.
Allen is a partner in Hernke's Rock and Lime and has spent many years driving heavy gravel trucks and also repairing them. At 75, Allen can recall being mechanically inclined even on the family farm as a kid. It all came "naturally" to him. So of course Allen wanted to take a look at the charter bus engine and see if he could help start it.
Now if you were the bus driver and a tourist asked for a hammer because he thought he could help...what would you do? Well, apparently the driver declined Allen's offer of help.
Then I heard that since Allen couldn't get a hammer he asked someone for a rock! Finally the driver changed his mind. Allen got the hammer and went under the bus and a few blows later... it started!
It later got repaired by the company and there were no more similar problems.
As Allen's wife, BettyAnn, explained, whenever they go on a trip, even to Norway, Allen has to find out what kind of a motor is in the bus!
As far as future trips from the Shepherd's Center, some folks want to make sure that Allen Hernke is one of the members of their group!