That morning I made some more bread, as part of our money saving programme and we hung about for a bit while the batteries charged. Our wiring still not behaving quite as it should. It appeared that the battery protector had failed and I’m not convinced the split charge was working as it should. This would need some further investigation.
Lee managed to arrange to look at a new bike, after the telegraph pole incident we only had one rideable bike still. While we don’t use them that much, when it comes to visiting cities it is very useful and also cheaper to be able to park the van on outskirts and cycle around. We also needed to collect some post from the post office near Charlotte.
Leaving the campsite at around 3pm, it had finally stopped raining and we drove around an hour to meet the guy about a bike. Having checked it out it seemed in pretty good nick, so we paid him the $50 he wanted and managed to squeeze it inside the van. The people told us where the local tip was as we need to dump the old bike and we set off, with me restraining Amy as bits of bike wobbled around in the back. At the tip, the woman on the gate was very much in love with the van, to the point she waived the fee for us to go inside which was a bonus!
Taking both bikes outside we swapped over any bits we could, and threw away the broken one. Now with two working bikes, we set off. The post office was now shut as it was after 5pm (we had only made it to the tip with 5 minutes to spare), so we decided to drive into the city centre and find somewhere to park.
Prior to arrival, we had looking into parking and it appears Charlotte is the capital of getting you car towed, both illegally and legally. Initally, we were planning on parking at the pub next door and sleeping in the car park after getting some food there. However, according to the reviews online, you car is liable to get towed while you are a customer inside, and the landlord gets a cut of the fee. Not fancying this anymore we decided to go with the email from the venue that said there was parking opposite for $5, so we decided to go with that.
The multistorey did indeed offer parking for this amount, but only on the upper levels. We drove into the first level which was a two hour maximum stay just fine, but the upper levels height limit is 7’, and we are just a bit too tall for that. So instead we drove around to the pub we had been thinking about deciding we would have a drink there and see what we thought about the towing situation.
We pulled into the car park and it was clear this was not going to be somewhere we stopped as the entire car park was on a very generous slope. As we arrived someone shouted ‘Welcome to America!’ from the patio outside. We parked up and a guy came across to say hello. He told us he worked in the pub and warned us not to stay in the car park at night as we might get towed, and told us the homeless people might break in and steal our things in the meantime. Feeling fairly freaked out at this point, we headed into the bar for a drink. We spoke briefly to him and his friends outside who said, “we don’t do that anymore” in reference to whether we wouldn’t get towed, but to make sure it was best to put a copy of our receipt in the window. The bar maid said it was fine to leave the van while we went to the gig, so feeling slightly more optimistic we decided to order some food. It turns out that the person we were speaking to, Andrew, works in the kitchen. So on his recommendation we went for some stuffed peppers and the black bean burger.
Soon it was time to head around the corner to see Adelitas Way and there mulitple support acts; , Blacklite District and The Black Moods. The support acts were pretty good, I’ve always found Blackite District a bit of a guilty pleasure, a bad Hollywood Undead. You listen to some of there lyrics and they are downright embarassing, on the other hand they’re incredibly catchy and you can’t help humming along. I suppose for just the two of them and a newish band, it’s still pretty good.
The Black Moods were really good, which meant I couldn’t justify buying one of their cool vests.
We also got to meet the band, which was pretty cool.
We had watched the support acts from the balcony upstairs and had been chatting to the guy sitting next to me, who turned out to be a jeweller! For Adelitas Way however, we went down the the standing area. It was a small venue so we could get right up to the stage and they played a great set.
We also got to met the lead singer afterwards, who seemed like a nice guy. Not sure what’s wrong with Lee at this point though.
I also treated myself to one of their t-shirts, mainly because of the logo.
Shortly afterwards the bouncers kicked us out, and we went back to the van to move it to Walmart. That afternoon we had already had one instance of the gear linkage falling out of place again and it had done it again as we had parked. It was a cold night, around 6 degrees, and Lee had to give the linkage a shove back into place before we could carefully drive off. We hoped the replacement part would waiting for us at the post office tomorrow.
We ended up parking inbetween two containers in the corner of the carpark on a very busy dual carrageway. So after not the best nights sleep, the following morning we set of to find the post office. We also popped into Walmart before we left to do some food shopping as we were planning on heading out into the mountains by Asheville and would need some more supplies to last us the next few days. We decided that the time had come to buy one of these kits from Walmart too.
After more careful driving we came to the post office, which it turned out was one specifically for the university. Parking somewhere we clearly shouldn’t, I stayed with the van and Lee went to get the post. Sometime later, and just in the nick of time as I was about to get moved on, he came back clutching our amazon packages. We had ordered a harness in order to be able to put Amy on a lead for walks, and also special kitty rucksack for when she got tired legs (spolit rotten our cat). Apparently the post office were less than friendly and even less helpful and had been about to send our parcels back to Amazon as there was no student under Lee’s name, despite the fact they had only been there a day. When Lee mentionned that we were supposed to have another parcel coming they were not particulary happy and grudgingly agree to forward it to another post office, although we are still not convinced they would actually do it.
Naturally, the post we didn’t have was the part we needed the most. After we hurridly got off the campus, we sat in Lowe’s car park and I found that there was a classic VW garage 10 minutes away. We decided to try our luck there.
Monkey Nuts certainly had a lot of VW’s, and he did have one new bushing. The only problem was that it seemed to be a bit old and brittle and we weren’t convinced that it would last long either. Still, it was better than nothing and David who was working there kindly offered us to pull our van into the workshop to fit it. He also lent us some tools so that we didn’t have to get all of ours out of the cupboard. We managed to fit the new part, albeit not brilliantly and the gears seemed a little more secure. This is the cause of all the problems.We would just have to hope that the moody post office actually forwarded our post. Thanking David, we left and set off on a 4 hour drive out to the mountains. We were heading for Blue Valley Campground, another free campsite near the mountains where I was keen to see the autumn colours in all their glory.
As it was a long drive and we had spent a lot of the morning faffing around, including a stop off for water again on the way, we didn’t reach the campground till well after dark. This resulted in us going down the wrong road, which was quite narrow and hard to turn around in and then not really being able to see where to go. Eventually though we had a spot and pulled up. We tried to light a fire with some wet wood, which needless to say did not go very well and therefore ended up cooking our pizza, one slice at a time, on the stove.