Meeting Strangers From the Internet

After a quiet night at Cabela’s in Lacey, Washington, I got some work done. Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I moved to a nearby boat ramp — once again chosen because they’re designed specifically to accommodate trailers. After a little more work, I decided to make my run to Tacoma mid-afternoon, before rush hour traffic started.

I was wrong. Even in the middle of a Thursday afternoon, there were backups in both directions for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I don’t like cities. In fact, I think I’ll make even more effort to avoid driving into them in the future.

This was for a good cause, though. For the first time in real life, I was on my way to meet Jason, who I met on the Livejournal #motorcycles community over 20 years ago (back before # was known as a hashtag). We have many common interests and have kept in touch over the years. If we actually lived near each other, we’d hang out all the time. We never have, but meeting up for beer while I was in the neighborhood had to happen, so it did.

I was already spending the night at North 47 Brewing Company (thank you, Harvest Hosts), so Jason made the trek down from Seattle after work. The online friendship translated perfectly into real life. We spent the night talking about motorcycles, work stuff, nerd stuff, life stuff, and everything else friends discuss. He checked out the van, and most importantly he got to meet Lister because that’s what really matters. After he left, I hooked up to the excellent Xfinity WiFi that was available and entertained myself to sleep.

The next day I used that same WiFi for a couple of work meetings, a little bit of actual work, then set a course for Wally’s Drive-In in Buckley. There I met Glen, a.k.a. Tenere Across the USA. He, too, has a camper van that he normally travels in with either his Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 or Tenere 700 on the back, just like how I used to carry my KLR. I remember years ago when he visited my friend Kate in Massachusetts, long before I even considered van life. Now we’ve become good online friends with our common interests and several mutual friends, particularly after rediscovering each other on a Facebook nomad singles group, so it was great to meet him. Like with Jason, we had plenty to talk about and got along great. We’ll probably meet again somewhere down the road.

If/when I get back to the southeast, I’ll try to visit his compound in Arkansas and have him show me the motorcycling around the Ozarks. Until then, Glen is a fountain of information about great places to visit and ride all over the country. As the name of his website implies, he’s been all over the country, meeting locals and learning the best roads from them. After accomplishing all this, he decided to settle in Arkansas, and visit family in Washington during the summer. Sounds like a great life to me.


Certainly, one must take care when meeting strangers from the internet. I’ve made some great friends this way, but I’ve met a few wackos as well. Fortunately, Jason and Glen are both wacko in only the very best ways. I look forward to crossing paths with both of them again.

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