Let me take a moment to thank a group of wonderful weirdos who invite me to all the fun shindigs and continue to introduce me to some of the best people ever: Moped Army. I’ve never owned a moped. Hell, my first time riding one on a city street was less than a year ago. Somehow, a weekend trip to Vegas a few years ago led me to some stellar folks. We now vacation together, plan and execute group motorcycle trips and get stoked on every opportunity to hang out in different cities together. During this trip I’ve crashed a hotel room, stayed at someone’s dad’s house, shared Dominican food, got crazy with some midnight tacos, snuggled some dogs and split a campsite with folks united by mopeds.
I spent six nights in Baltimore where I ate, drank, had my tires changed again, and met up with moped friends-of-friends. Turns out a bunch of moped friends know a guy named Aaron traveling around the US in Francis the Bus, his Volkswagen van-turned-photo booth. We’re on a similar path and keep missing each other by a day or two. He found me on instagram while he was in Richmond, VA. I was headed that way the following day. We exchanged a few messages, and soon the moped gal hosting him invited me to crash with them for a night.
Since we’re both south-bound, we opted to share a campsite somewhere in North Carolina. A campground called “Down By The River” popped up in his search. That had to be the place.
I arrived an hour or so before the van, so I bought a couple bundles of mostly dry wood and tried to start a fire. It had been pouring rain for the past few days, so there was no kindling lying around. Without a hatchet, I struggled to tear off pieces of wood using just my hands. It wouldn’t light. I tried twisting paper and using that to get things moving. Nothing. It was too humid. So I opened my gas tank and dunked a few twisted pieces of paper into it, one at a time. The third piece snagged the edge and dropped from my fingers. It was dark, so no use in trying to fix that now.
Aaron pulled up, listened to my woes, pulled out a hatchet, chopped kindling, and got the fire started. We spent a couple of hours chatting about our travels until my eyes were ready to slam shut.
Once in my tent and snuggled into the sleeping bag, I began envisioning being stuck on the Blue Ridge Parkway due to a clogged fuel filter. Then realized I may not even get to ride the BRP because of my own stupidity. Which was worse?
After tea and snacks in the morning, we packed and then tried fishing the paper out of the gas tank using a bent wire hanger. That didn’t work. I topped off the fuel in hopes the paper might find it’s way to the top. Nope. Looks like I’m going to ride on a highway to my next stop and keep the tank more than half-full.
Francis the Bus was headed to Atlanta and I was aiming for Hendersonville, NC. Hopefully we’ll find each other again in New Orleans for the MONO moped rally.