Ugli Mugs, Avon, NC
Today, I met Ollie. He owns the gas station in Buxton where I have spent the most money on the island. It’s my favorite place to buy gas and ice because the folks who work there are so friendly. Last time I was here, the guys told me to scoop up the ice on the ground in between the freezers because it was clean and what’s the use in it going to waste?
I walked in today to pre-pay for my gas and I asked the man behind the counter if he knew where the man with all the bikes on Buxton Back Road was. The ranger at the campground this morning told me about him when I inquired about a place to find a cheap bike. At first she told me about Island bikes, then the smirk on her face led to the story of the crazy on Buxton Back Road with all the bikes. Said he rides his bike up and down the island, an old, crazy, island looking guy. I could probably give him a donation in exchange for a bike. She said I could try there after a bit of hesitation. I figured it would be a great journey to write about nonetheless.
After this morning’s near heat stroke (more on this later), I decided maybe I should spend some time inside figuring out this blog thing and that on the way, I’d hit Buxton Back Road. She said I couldn’t miss it, but I did. The end of the road lead me, go figure, the back way to Buxton from Frisco. I decided to go ahead and get gas and some ice at my favorite locally owned gas station…which is where I met Ollie. I asked the man behind the counter if he knew where the old crazy guy with the bikes on Buxton Back Road was because somehow I missed it. With a question-mark in his eye, he told me that was the kind of place where he would take me but wouldn’t dare send me on my own. I asked him why and he said that Daryl, that’s the guy’s name, is a little crazy; that he comes in his store singing and saying things like “whore-monger” and the like. Okay, I think. He just sounds schizophrenic. I have talked to schizophrenic people before…they don’t scare me. Ollie told me it’s just two minutes down the road and that he would take me there. I waved the customer behind me up to the counter so he didn’t have to wait on our conversation. I told Ollie I’d go pump my gas and get my ice and check back with him. So that’s what I did, and next thing I know, there’s Ollie pulled up next to me in his truck. Tells me to go park around front. As I went to hop in the truck (I had absolutely no hesitations about doing so), he told me to watch out for the water bottle that may fall out when I open the door.
Ollie is probably in his later 60s and from Petersburg, VA. He used to be a teacher and coach for football and basketball. Some of his old players have made it professionally. He came to the island in 1983 and owns the gas station, a trailer park, and a couple of beach houses. If I ever want to get a good view of the ocean, I should call him…he would open one of his places for me. He asked me what I was doing here and for how long and I told him I was here for a little while taking a break in between jobs but that I might be looking for something here. That’s about the only conversation we could have in the two minutes to Daryl’s. Ollie told me to stay in the truck, so I did.
After he did, I could see why. Daryl wouldn’t stop talking from the moment he walked out of his trailer. After about 5 minutes, Ollie finally tired of his talking and came back to the truck. He told me there was a bike shop in Avon that I should try. Apparently Daryl didn’t want to sell any bikes, though he had quite an array…and they were each very unique.
On the way back to the gas station, Ollie told me more about how he decided to move here in 1983. Once back on the main road, he showed me his house and told me about how Earl really hit the economy and how when they close the Buxton campground, he takes a hit. His gas tanks were under 2 feet of water and didn’t get back up and running for 6 days. As we pulled back into the gas station, he told me I should come to Pops. It’s the bar where all the locals go up near Frisco. They go there everyday around 4:30 and they have great food.
At one point I had mentioned maybe finding a little job. When he recollected this, he asked me the kind of work I did back in West Virginia. He told me his mother-in-law owns the motel down the way and that she is looking for someone 3 evenings a week from 2-10. She does things her way, he said, and that she doesn’t want to pay a lot, but I could spend my days on the beach, and it’s just 3 days a week. I told him I saw that the café down the way was hiring and thought about looking into that. He said work there starts around 3am. Whew! Not sure I’m up for that. He said that’s when the cooks start, anyway. I told him I’d think about the job at the motel and check back with him. He gave me his phone number and told me that if I needed anything to just give him a call, that he likes helping people. I thanked him for everything and told him that if I didn’t see him at pops, I’d definitely be back around. He told me I should come to Pops. When I told him I was trying to pinch pennies and would probably spend time around the campground tonight, he told me I should come anyway and that he’d bring an extra dollar to buy me a couple of beers.
So this morning, Michael and Annette, my neighbors, helped me move to their campsite when they left. I wanted the view, especially if I was going to stay for a while, but the thought of going through what I went through yesterday was too much to bear, so I thought I’d just stay put. When they offered to help me move, I took them up on it.
The set-up was windy and ridden with prickly pears that dwell close to the sandy ground. It was a relatively easy move until all of the sudden, I thought I was going to throw up. I just over-did it, I thought, and that the sun had taken it’s toll. I paused for a minute, but a minute turned into about 15 because I started getting woozie and completely drained of all energy. In all honesty, I don’t want to say it because I know it will worry some people, but I almost passed out. Luckily Michael set up my chair in the shade and Annette came to my rescue with my jug of water. It was embarrassing but I had to abandon the set up and leave it to them to finish! They were sooo nice about it, though! There was nothing I could do, and I am unbelievably gracious for their kindness, both in the move and helping me through what I think may have been a near heat stroke! Note to self: do not mess with the sun. It is bigger than me and will crush me.
Off to meet Ollie at Pops. More to come…
PS- So because I need to be safety conscious being a woman traveling along, Ollie’s last name is Jarvis and Pops is in between Buxton and Frisco. I can't remember the name of the gas station he owns, but once I pass it, I'll email and let you know. I’m sure Pops will be another great story...